You probably don’t know this because I can’t recall mentioning it, but we drive a 2013 Honda Pilot. And we absolutely LOVE it.
Stefan had a BMW went we met and I a VW Passat. We drove lots of BMWs while in Germany and of course a couple Land Rovers and other random things. But when we moved back to the US, where the car choices are totally different than on the European market, we had to do a lot of research.
We wanted something roomy and practical but nice to look at. We were looking at being able to move things around, hold signs or exhibit gear, take the dog on trips, show visitors or clients around, throw kayaks on top and sandy beach chairs in the back, go camping and so on. Plus we’re a one-car family because we work together at the same company but Naples is a big place and we drive a lot, so gas mileage was also a consideration.
Being the smart analyst that he is, Stefan combed all available options, and together we narrowed our SUV choices down to two that we wanted to test drive: Ford Flex and Honda Pilot.
Once we saw them in person, there was no question… we were Pilot folks all the way. We’ve loved our choice ever since…
We ended up a 2013 Honda Pilot EXL (which was lots of bells and whistles and leather). I’m not an expert on Pilot trims, so some of these features may not be available on all models. Also, I’m not being paid by Honda to say these things about them or the Pilot; I just wanted to share my experience with you.
10 Things We Love About Our 2013 Honda Pilot
- It’s Spacious – If you’re not familiar with these SUV’s, the Pilot is fairly sporty and very practical with third-row seating that folds down to be the big cargo space in the back. We’ve taken it camping with our Newfie in the back and everything. We’ve had up to 6 people in those three rows of seating at once and all be super comfy. Still not quite as spacious as the 2006 Land Rover Defender I had in Germany but the Pilot still holds a LOT.
- Very Versatile – Because you can elect to have the third row of seats up or not, the Pilot is very practical and versatile when it comes to moving people and/or things. We moved our office twice in our Pilot — and didn’t need more than 4 trips (and some clever packing on my part) to get everything from A to B.
- Rubber Mats – Between kids, dogs, beaches, torrential downpours and life itself, rubber mats are the greatest invention ever. The Honda mats fit beautifully in the car and are easy to pull out, hose down and stick back in. They really keep the floors pristine and making cleaning a breeze. Germain Honda here in Naples added the rubber mats to the package and they were seriously worth their weight in gold!!
- Back up Camera – Most of our cars had a beeping sensor to tell you if you were close to something when you backed up. But the Pilot was our first to have a backup camera like an RV. I have to admit it’s a very cool feature although we often talk about how we kinda wish there could be a combined beeping and the camera. But brilliant none the less. Sometimes it is a bit hard to see in the shade or direct sunlight, but I usually did a visual scan with my own two eyes anyway as well just to be extra sure.
- Comfortable – The Pilot is comfortable in just about every seat of the car. The front seats are nice and it’s easy to get comfortable while driving. You can drive for 3 or 4 hours and feel relaxed in the seats, not all cramped up. The back row is very roomy and has plenty of leg and head room. The third row of seating is more comfortable for kids and those on the shorter side, but I’m 5’11” and road there for several hours over a recent weekend, and I found it to be ok. Certainly not the best seat in the house, but not bad either.
- Good Mileage – We found the Pilot to be quite fuel efficient, getting 17-18 mpg driving around Naples and a bit better on trips over to Miami via the highway.
- Lots of Storage Nooks – Storage between the front seats and in the doors is really convenient for stashing things like napkins, sunglasses, drinks, cell phone chargers, hand lotion, gum, etc, etc. There’s seriously a ton of storage in this SUV.
- Conversation Mirror – Never had one of these in previous cars and we thought this was a cleaver use of a sunglasses case in the ceiling of the car.
- Great Service from Our Dealer — This one isn’t about the Pilot itself, but we bought a maintenance package with our Pilot that includes oil changes, tire rotations and the like which was a nice convenience. We were able to drop off the car on short notice and have everything taken care of. Do wish the local dealer had mentioned the drop off/loaner car service though…
- Very Dependable – (*knock on wood*) We have had no problems with the car breaking down or giving us other trouble. The A/C was on the fritz for a while, but that was apparently a lack of coolant and when we took it in, Honda fixed that for free.
2 Things We Disliked About Our 2013 Pilot
- Poor handling on wet, slick roads – The safety of this vehicle in slick conditions was always a bit unnerving and we had to be extra careful about turns. Not sure if this was a braking issue or the tires, but altogether not a good thing.
- Poor breaking – Stefan (my husband) describes the feeling like “you are breaking a truck.” Unresponsive is a word that comes to my mind.
Overall, we have really enjoyed our time with our Pilot. We recommended it to lots of our friends and still think it’s a great car. While the safety was a major concern of ours, we just learned to slow down and be mindful of our driving style.
In fact, we just paid Honda the ultimate compliment and went in to get started on our journey to a new Honda Pilot…
Have you found a car that seems to fit you well? Share your story with us below!