Honda Pilot Gas Mileage: 2003 – 2013

The mid-size Honda Pilot SUV was introduced in the 2003 model year. While the Pilot’s gas mileage may not seem impressive at first glance – highway gas mileage ratings of twenty or so miles per gallon (MPG) in 4WD trim – it’s good to keep in mind that it’s an eight-passenger SUV.

The Pilot was redesigned for the 2009 model year and is propelled by a 3.5 liter V-6 producing 250 horsepower (up from 244 HP in earlier models). All models use a five-speed automatic transmission. Although the Pilot is often criticized for being thirsty, the automatic transmission can reward light-footed drivers with higher than expected fuel-efficiency. The trick is to maximize inertia and drive with your foot off the throttle, whenever practical.

We’ve tested extensively with a 2003 Pilot that now has over 170,000 miles on the odometer. By using a ScanGaugeII, we were able to make significantly improve our gas mileage by changing our driving style.

If our high-mileage Pilot continues to hold up (fingers crossed), we plan to install low-rolling-resistance (LRR) tires and swap out all the fluids (engine oil, transmission fluid, differential) for synthetics. LRR tires in the Pilot’s 235/70R16 stock size include the Bridgestone Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia, Continental CrossContact, Goodyear Assurance CS Fuel Max, Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season, and General Grabber HTS.

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Honda Pilot Gas Mileage – 2003-2013

Year Manf. Model Engine Disp. Fuel Trans. City Highway
2013 Honda Pilot 2WD 6 cylinder 3.5 liter R (A5) Auto 17 24
2013 Honda Pilot 4WD 6 cylinder 3.5 liter R (A5) Auto 16 22
2013 Honda Pilot 2WD 6 cylinder 3.5 liter R (A5) Auto 18 25
2012 Honda Pilot 4WD 6 cylinder 3.5 liter R (A5) Auto 17 24
2012 Honda Pilot 2WD 6 cylinder 3.5 liter R (A5) Auto 18 25
2011 Honda Pilot 4WD 6 cylinder 3.5 liter R (A5) Auto 16 22
2010 Honda Pilot 2WD 6 cylinder 3.5 liter R (A5) Auto 17 23
2010 Honda Pilot 4WD 6 cylinder 3.5 liter R (A5) Auto 16 22
2009 Honda Pilot 2WD 6 cylinder 3.5 liter R (L5) Auto 17 23
2009 Honda Pilot 4WD 6 cylinder 3.5 liter R (L5) Auto 16 22
2008 Honda Pilot 2WD 6 cylinder 3.5 liter R (L5) Auto 16 22
2008 Honda Pilot 4WD 6 cylinder 3.5 liter R (L5) Auto 15 20
2007 Honda Pilot 2WD 6 cylinder 3.5 liter R (L5) Auto 18 24
2007 Honda Pilot 4WD 6 cylinder 3.5 liter R (L5) Auto 17 22
2006 Honda Pilot 2WD 6 cylinder 3.5 liter R (L5) Auto 18 24
2006 Honda Pilot 4WD 6 cylinder 3.5 liter R (L5) Auto 17 22
2005 Honda Pilot 4WD 6 cylinder 3.5 liter R (L5) Auto 17 22
2004 Honda Pilot 4WD 6 cylinder 3.5 liter R (L5) Auto 17 22
2003 Honda Pilot 6 cylinder 3.5 liter R (L5) Auto 17 22

Note: the EPA tweaked their testing procedure, starting with the 2008 model year, with the end result being that the 2008 MPG estimates are now lower than previous years. As always, YMMV.

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31 thoughts on “Honda Pilot Gas Mileage: 2003 – 2013”

  1. Our Pilot achieved 27 mpg hwy less than two weeks ago on a 1000 mile trip. I was following a moving truck. On a solo trip (approx. 425 miles) I averaged 23 mpg hwy. Hope this helps. 6-9-08

  2. I have averaged 15.99 miles per gallon in my 2006 Honda Pilot 4×4! Can we say Ouch! My neighbor has a V10 4×4 Extended cab and averages 16 MPG!

  3. If I baby it, I can get up to 24 mpg in my 2006 Honda Pilot (2WD) – that’s part hwy & part city driving. Not bad. Now, when my husband drives…it’s a different story! I’d say it averages 20. Still, not bad for it’s size.

  4. My 2007 Honda Pilot 4wd makes 14mpg cty and 19mpg road. 🙁
    Took to the shop and nothing wrong with it. But I am still satisfied with the car.

  5. We just got 31.4 mpg on our last trip in our 2wd 06 pilot. That’s the best we’ve done so far but we average about 20 city and 28 hwy.

  6. I drive a 2003 AWD Pilot and consistently achieve 12.5 mpg in warm weather and 10.4 in winter in 90% city & 10% hwy driving. 100% hwy driveing gives me 19.8 mpg. Honda has checked, rechecked & tuned & retuned the car with no changes recorded. I do notice however, that Shell gasoline gives me a consistent 9% better than any of the other retailers. Also, I am an easy driver & practice every eco-driving technique I know of.
    Honda should be ashamed of themselves.

  7. @Ian – Our 2003 4WD Pilot has over 140K on the clock. I know we score FAR better then that … although in town is tough (it is a big heavy AWD, after all).

    I’ll runs some new tests and set benchmarks after its tuned up and the timing belt is replaced.

    What’s your daily routine like? Have you ever considered using an aftermarket MPG gauge?

  8. Editor,
    In general, are your mileage figures (for any vehicle on your site) based at sea level? Can you refer me to any mpg altitude studies?

  9. @Steve – all of MPGomatic’s road tests are conducted at relatively low altitudes, unless noted. Runs to the beach are tweeted in real time on summer weekends. I don’t have any altitude study links handy at the moment.

  10. I just bought a used 2006 Honda Pilot EX-L with 45,000 miles and mix of local and highway driving (120miles one way trip) gave me 14mpg, 15.5mpg. Very unhappy.

  11. I bought a 2007 Honda Pilot 1 month ago (Nov 2010) and I’m getting 17 litres / 100 km or 14mpg strictly city driving. This is absolutely horrible and no where near the advertised specs by Honda. I agree, Honda should be ashamed of themselves and in my opinion this constitutes fraud. I’m now trying to get rid of it and looking at buying a Subaru Legacy Wagon. I’ll sacrifice the size and I’ll simply buy a roof box for storage during family trips. Anyone claiming to get 30 mpg is full of crap.

  12. We recently bought 2005 Pilot that has about 71,000 miles on it. Our first trip out to CA from UT….we got 16 mpg going there and about 14 mpg coming back. I was sorely disappointed! I love the car and especially the 4WD but the terrible gas mileage is making me think I should have got something else. Why do so many people show that their actual mileage is nowhere near what Honda advertises? How/where can we get accurate information about a car’s mpg ratings?

  13. I have on 07 Pilot EX 4WD. The mileage isn’t as good as I thought it should be…..Currently have about 74000 miles and the mileage range is 9.5-22.5 mpg. 9.5 is using an autostart and driving in sub-zero temps all winter long. 22.5 on interstate travels through different states. It is a safe car and most features seem easily functional for family use. Don’t like the mileage, but enjoy Honda reliability.

  14. LISTEN PEOPLE! Take my advice- do NOT get sucked into the luxury of this gas guzzler like we did! I thought I hated our V8 pickup, and it’s gas bill, but there was nothing that could have prepared us for the shocker when we did the math after filling up for the first time in our ’07 4×4 Pilot. We ADORE that SUV but it gets 15 MPG!!!! Come on Honda! We would have never catered the idea if we had been properly informed. Clearly Honda must be in bed with the oil industry. Sad, sad, sad. We’ve been had! Now it’s too late because we love the damn gas guzzler soooo much! A mortgage payment would be cheaper than the car payment and gas bill on this PIG. My heart loves my Honda, my brain says “You are a damn fool!” If your car shopping and you come across a Pilot, look away, just look away. If you can afford it, go for it! You WILL love it.

  15. @Robin – There’s a Pilot sitting in my driveway. It’s been a great truck over the years, but yeah … it’s not stingy with fuel. That said, if you make the effort to drive it with a light foot, the Pilot can return significantly better mileage on the open road, but stop-n-go traffic can be tough. Is your Pilot equipped with an Instant Fuel Economy gauge? If so, start using it all the time. If not, consider adding one. Also … the next time you need tires, consider switching to low rolling resistance tires.

  16. I just mad a trip from Missouri to Texas, which has quite a variety of roads (hills, flat, etc) and when I calculated my MPG it was about 25, way better than I expected. I attached a link if anyone wants to see the numbers.

  17. Purchased an 07′ 2WD Pilot December of 2010. Averaging 14-14.5mpg mostly city. Way worse than our larger Dodge Grand Caravan which got 19-20 in town. Thought we could get 17-18.Very disappointed.Will likely sell it next year for a Saturn or Ford Escape.

  18. Bought a 2008 EXL 4WD with 25,000. BIG mistake. 10 mpg city, 16 H’way. 4WD not as good as my 2000 Durango. Durango V8 gets better mileage (odometer 157,000). Can’t wait to trade it. DO NOT BUY A PILOT.

  19. I bought a used 2005 Pilot exl 4 speed last year I have driven it mostly on the highway. It is a two wheel drive with the option of becoming all wheel in slippery conditions and has the ability of 4 wheel in the lower gears. My mileage is around 24 to 25 mpg at 73 mph. If you have a tach, try and keep it in the 2000 to 2200 rpm. Your mileage will be around what we are getting.

  20. Bought a 2008 EXL 4WD with 60K miles this January. We’ve been getting 14-15 MPG and I am disappointed as well. Anyone try any mods to improve MPG? KN filter? different spark plugs? I guess I have to try driving like a grandma…it’s gonna be hard

  21. Hi,

    I just bought 2004 honda pilot, has 100k on it. It is not giving more than 12.5 mpg in th city. Changed plugs, and all orher liquids were checked but not getting better. I use shell fuel, tries both middle grade and the highest grade but no luck. Now will try regular, any other ideas?

  22. I have 2008 Pilot 4wd. I constantly get 14.5-15.5mpg on my average commute which consist of about a 60-40 split city highway driving. When I am on the highway more I might get 17. I do not have a light foot like my mom, but by no means dog my car.

    It does have a k&n filter….switch to e3 plugs and then the car began to run rough like the dealer said it would but did average about 16.5 on those plugs…but the reliability of those plugs was not worth the extra mpg….

    Now to the beach and back I averaged 21-22… Which is well worth the comfort the pilot provides.

    I love the car…the mpg is disappointing….but it’s wat I need….but if I knew it was goning to get that mpg I would have bought a suburban.

  23. About to purchase a 07 in 3 days 4×4 Pilot with 90000k. I will be putting on 240km of hwy. I will keep u posted on my MPG. I’m borderline hypermiler. Has anyone tried a chip in their Pilots? That’s my first add-on. I’m hoping it will be in before our trip. What can I say I need 4×4 and the space. Keep in mind you PAY AT THE PUMP BUT @LEAST your SUV WILL NOT BE PARKED AT THE DEALER 4 CONSTANT REPAIR SEE HOW FAST THAT BURNS YOUR WALLET. Loved our Escape but wow bearing are so cheap. 80k they’re done. Half the size of a Pilot. MPG not much better the list goes on. All I have read is poor MPG, well big deal its not a little RAV4 or CRV. Pilot is great other than that, it’s not so bad.

  24. I just bought a 2013 Honda Pilot 4×4 EX-L. I am on my third tank of gas. My driving so far is 80% highway in top gear ECO light on at 50 to 55 MPH. I am using all the economy techniques suggested. My gas mileage is 19 MPG. I bought the Pilot for the quality, size and amenities. The manufacturer advertised 24 MPG was a major factor in my purchase. The 13 Pilot appears to have a Cold Air intake on driver side so a FIPK would not help. Has anyone purchased a performance chip? {Not the el-cheapo device that modifies only the O2 sensor or the mass air flow sensor] But a real performance chip that truly modifies timing and fuel injection.

  25. @Jay – 19 MPG = not good. 🙁 Here are some ideas …

    What brand of gasoline are you using? If it’s an off-brand, try switching to one of the majors.

    The next time you take a highway run, reset the average fuel economy gauge as soon as you get on the highway. Driving for ten miles or more should give you a good indication of how things are going.

    Local driving can be tough on Pilot MPGs due to the weight factor … every time you touch the throttle, it’s costly. Stop-and-go is a wallet drainer.

    How cold is it in your area? How long is your normal commuting distance? Short commutes – especially in cold weather – have a significant negative effect on overall fuel economy.

    Gotta be careful with chips on new cars, as they can void warranties.

  26. Don’t know what you people are doing. I have a 2013 Pilot and love it 24 mpg is no problem. Traded in a 2006 mountaineer that only could get 10.4.

  27. I purchased an 05 honda pilot new in 2005. While I admit that I have enjoyed the luxury and the smooth ride, the gas consumption has been a total nightmare. At first,I did not pay attention. But when it became necessary I have to be the one to run two school kids around the small city I live in, I realized that a full tank (20gallons) was lasting me 5 days at less than 35 miles a day. Recently, I dropped my child off at school at San Antonio. Round trip, door to door, 648 miles. But gas, 40 gallons. I just did not know that other people were enduring what I’m enduring. I thought something was wrong with my particular pilot. I think even HUMMER can do better than this.

  28. Have had my 2007 pilot for just over a year. Wished I would have seen this site before purchase. HORRIBLE gas mileage! HORRIBLE! My ford f-150 6 cylinder got better gas mileage than this hog.

  29. I see a lot of negative posts about the pilot here. I am the owner of a 2003 honda pilot. Standard everything .. Yes, I wish I had the mileage of a car half it’s size, but the fact is bigger cars get lower mileage. I knew my gas usage would go up from my previous 93 accord but living in new England I often would rather a vehicle capable of traversing snow like a boss. That being said, if you want amazing gas mileage get a prius. Otherwise, expect that mileage posted about a car is generally best case and you probably will not see those numbers the way you are driving. If you do want those numbers, put an egg on your dash and don’t let it roll off. If it does you’re driving too aggressively.

  30. I just purchased a 2013 EX-L over a 4 Runner because of the gas mileage they advertised—–I’m so bummed, it’s getting half!! At fill up it’s 250 instead of 420 and I range between 10-16. Is Honda addressing this for anyone? It’s total false adverstising!

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