Vehicle Overview

Honda launched the midsize Pilot sport utility vehicle for 2003, billing it as "not too big, not too small." Larger than the company's compact CR-V and youth-focused Element, the Pilot replaced Honda's Passport.

New for 2005 was a 255-horsepower V-6 that operated via a drive-by-wire throttle system. Upper gear ratios in the five-speed-automatic transmission were modified to yield smoother transitions. All trim levels added a tire-pressure-monitoring system.

More standard features, including a Maintenance Minder and three-row side curtain-type airbags, go into 2006 models. For the first time, a two-wheel-drive version with Variable Cylinder Management is available. The VCM system can automatically switch the Pilot's 3.5-liter V-6 between six- and three-cylinder modes to improve fuel economy.

Under new Society of Automotive Engineers testing standards, Honda's V-6 engine is now rated at 244 hp and 240 pounds-feet of torque. Actual performance is the same.

Three versions are available: LX, EX and top-of-the-line EX-L. Honda's Vehicle Stability Assist electronic stability system and XM Satellite Radio are standard on the EX-L. A new rear camera is integrated into models with the navigation system.

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