A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Honda Pilot

If you’re in the market for a larger SUV, you might think that you have to resign yourself to a gas-guzzling monster like a Suburban or a Chevy Tahoe, but that’s really not the case. With the 2012 Honda Pilot, you can get a sizable SUV that comfortably fits eight people, carries plenty of cargo, and won’t completely empty your wallet at the gas pump. Though it’s only been around since 2003, the Pilot has become a serious contender against the likes of the Toyota 4Runner, Ford Explorer, and the GMC Acadia.

Key Features

If you have kids of varying ages and/or you transport adults on a fairly regular basis, you’ll appreciate how much legroom the second row of the 2012 Honda Pilot has. You’ll also appreciate that it has LATCH systems to accommodate three child seats if necessary.

The base model Pilot also comes standard with a remote entry system, power windows and locks, automatic headlights, an adjustable steering wheel, A/C throughout, 17” wheels, AUX inputs for the stereo system, and a number of other features. If you upgrade to the EX, EX-L, or Touring Pilot, you’ll also get steering wheel controls for the audio system, an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as heated side mirrors.

Changes for 2012

The front end got a major facelift in 2012 with softer edges around the grille and more chrome trim. Honda also updated the audio systems on the EX and EX-L trims to add a 2GB CD library and hands-free Bluetooth connectivity, as well as streaming audio. All trims across the line got a 1 MPG increase in fuel efficiency.

What We Like

If you have a lot of passengers and/or a lot of cargo, but you don’t want to buy a minivan, this is a great vehicle for you. Plus, it has better gas mileage than most SUVs in its class.

What Concerns Us

Instead of offering more packages with specific features available on lower-end trims, Honda mostly bundles features by trim level. This can be annoying if you want to buy a lower-end trim but you’d like navigation and a touch screen display with your package.

Available Models

All of the trim levels for the 2012 Honda Pilot come with the same 3.5-liter V6 engine with 250 horsepower and 253 lb-ft of torque. It’s also rated at 18/25 MPG (city/highway) for the 2WD model and 17/24 for the AWD model.

Major Recalls

Some 2012 Honda Pilot models have been recalled due to an issue with the vent shut float case failing to meet design specifications, and some models have been recalled because the driver-side airbag module may be missing some rivets.

Common Issues

While the 2012 Honda Pilot is very reliable and ordinarily runs very smoothly, some owners have reported issues with their vehicles shifting in and out of overdrive, which causes shuddering. This can be handled at a Honda dealership or with a qualified mechanic.

honda pilot 2012 interior


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19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
Attila was great! Very knowledgeable and actually detected a fault during a pre-purchase inspection that would have cost me later.
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Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
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18 years of experience
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Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

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He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
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