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Honda Pilot Real World MPG



  • Hey thanks man.
  • Anyone out there shocked at how terrible the mileage is on the new Pilot? I regularly drive on the highway and after 1,650 miles total I've averaged only 17 mpg!
    This is atrocious. This guzzler is completely killing our budget.
    The sticker is completely misleading. It's not even close. :mad:
    I have a 2012 Honda Pilot EX-L 2WD. I live in FL (flat terrain like a pancake) and don't drag race. I have the drive computer on and notice that at the slightest touch to the accelerator, the MPG does a nose dive. This is the case even on the highway. In city driving I will regularly see MPG go down to 12-14mpg.
    Anyone have any advice? Thanks in advance!
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    It is possible that you have a mechanical problem with your Pilot. This is something that needs to be checked out by your dealer.

    However, it is just as likely that traffic conditions and/or driving style are the culprits. And most folks don't like to admit that the driver may be the primary cause for poor mileage. FWIW I record every drop of fuel going into my vehicle, and do the calculations at the pump.

    A while back we took a trip from Atlanta Ga, to Myrtle beach in our AWD '03 Pilot. 4 people and luggage. Fuel mileage "Going" was 18 MPG. The return trip, the next day, yielded 26+ MPG.

    NOTE: We have been making that trip since the late '60s. First one was in a 67 GTO. Over the years, there have been a lot (20+) of vehicles involved. With few to no exceptions we always get better mileage going than returning.

    So what happened with the Pilot? Why the vast difference in going and returning mileage? And why the reversal, from norm, in which direction yielded the best mileage?

    During the "Going" trip I drove 10-15MPH over the speed limit, which was 80+ MPH on the XWAY and 65-70 on the secondary roads. It was pouring rain, and the AC was on the entire time.

    The return trip, I was driving the speed limit on the secondary roads and a maximum of 62 on the Xways. It was still overcast but not raining, so the AC was not necessary to keep the windows clear. Ambient temperature was the same in both directions, about 68 degrees.

    The GOING trip involved crashing through heavy rain at high speed, a much greater air resistance, pushing through water on the road, and operating the AC compressor. Not so on the return trip.

    Here are some things to keep in mind.
    There are two major differences in Highway and local driving.

    1. A body in motion tends to remain in motion. A body at rest tends to stay at rest. Every time we use our brakes, we have either just wasted gas and/or are about too. The more often we brake and the harder we brake, the more fuel we waste.

    Coasting to stops rather than waiting to the last minute to remove the foot from the throttle and onto the brakes saves fuel . Timing the traffics lights so we don't come to a full stop. When a stop sign has several folks waiting, try to get there when the last car has gone through so we only have to stop and start once. Tailgating results in too much brake and throttle and isn't going to get us there any quicker. Use the brakes as little as possible and come to full stops as little as possible.

    A store we frequent is 2.2 miles from our house. Starting with a cold engine in say 40 degree weather, the Pilot got 13 +/- mpg. The return trip would average more like 16 mpg. Driving a 12 mile round trip to another store would average more in the 18 mpg range according to the dash gauge. Biggest difference is a cold or warm engine. So combine trips. and keep the engine warm.

    2. On the highways drive at or slightly below the posted speed limits. Don't "Accelerate" up hills. Keep a steady foot. I've maximized mileage by not using the Cruise control and increased mileage by about 1 mpg over all. But that takes too much concentration for me anymore. So now I just set the Cruise on 62-65 enjoy the ride and let the cruise do the work.

    Our '09 Ridgeline is EPA rated 15/20. I consistantly average 18-19 mpg in local driving and 24-26 mpg on the road. My wife averages 22+/- MPG in her 09 RAV4, local driving. 28 mpg on the road. I can better both by 3+ mpg. She has a lead foot, I don't.

  • I am getting horrible mileage with my new Honda Pilot. I confess, I am a little confused
    about the ECO drive, the light seems to go on randomly..
    Does the heated seats and high heat really make that big of difference? I am only getting
    12 MPG around town and 16 on the road.
  • gbygby Posts: 5
    I had a 2008 acura mdx and loved it despite the bad gas mileage which was 12-15 in the city and 19-25.7 on the highway . Also, you had to use premium, But the power of the engine made the premium worth while. My wife and I decided to buy a touring honda pilot 4x4 and we thought the extra room and the 1 mpg would be the next move. And if all has proven correct I would do better than the mdx. Well, wrong .We have been getting 7.9 -12.5 in the city average with an extremely light foot on the accelerator and cars blowing the horn yelling move it or step on the gas ( nyc with very little traffic on weekends) and the best on the highway has been 22.2 coasting downhills (lol). Brought the truck in and did a bunch of tests and was told everything is fine and not to expect more then 11 mpg on average in new york city. We feel as we been ripped off . At least the acura mdx had a little muscle in its veins and handled like on rails which made it fun to drive and worth the gas mileage. Its just not exceptable to be put into this situation by honda and just except it thinking you've got one of the most fuel efficient suv's in its class. The kicker is the thinking that honda cares by having a cylinder cutoff to improve your mileage. The mdx had none of this ,only guts and much nicer looks and still got you better fuel economy.

    Unfortunately, the vehicle is 1 year old with 6,000 miles and as much as I would like to dump it I can't because money is hard to come by in these hard times. Only honda is laughing all the way to the bank.

  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Yep, bad mileage can ruin a persons day for sure.

    Go back a few dozen pages and you will see that some folks get reasonable mileage and others do not.

    I've posted mileages that many folks just refuse to believe, but others have posted even better. I've been driving for over 50 years, so am familiar with correctly calculating fuel mileage at the pump. For instance, I consistantly get 10mpg on our old 78 Chevy G20 van. The AWD '09 Ridgeline consistantly gives 18-20 in the same type "LOCAL" driving. My wifes '03 CR-V resulted in 22 mpg and her '09 Rav-4 does 23 with her driving and 25 with me driving.

    At 60 mph the Ridgeline consistantly delivers 25-28 MPG depending on terrain and driving conditions. At 70 it drops to 20 mpg if using the AC.

    At 60 the wifes Rav4 delivers 35 mpg on a good day, and at 70 it drops to
    30 if using the air. She gets 2-3 mpg less under similar conditions.

    Here is an interesting experiment. In our '03 4WD Pilot with 4 People aboard we took a trip to Myrtle Beach SC from Atlanta. It was raining, the AC was on the whole time, and the speed was 10 mph over the posted speed limits, So that would be 80mph on the express way. Fuel mileage was 18+ mpg.

    On the return trip, I ran the posted speed limit, and a maximum of 60 on the expressway. It was not raining and AC was used very little. 27 mpg!

    I don't know what kind of speeds you run or how you are loaded . But the newer Pilots are a lot bigger than the earlier Pilots and MDX models.

    You may already be aware of this. If you have Climate control the AC compressor runs constantly unless you turn off the AC button.

    Chances are good that you don't want to hear about the ways to improve mileage, so I won't bother.

    Good luck! :)

  • gbygby Posts: 5
    I appreciate all of the knowledge you have given me , But I think that the real issues are with the posted mileage expectations on the sticker of the cars at the dealerships. Many people are led to believe that they will get these numbers and trust the agency that comes up with these results. Why don't they list real world mileage based on your city and let people know the hard truth of real world mileage. We own three vehicles , 2011 Pilot, a 2010 scion xb and a 2009 honda accord v6. My uncle has a 2011 toyota avalon which I drive in the same manner as all of my others cars and come up constantly with an average 20.1 in the city and 32.5 on the highway. The accord v6 gives me in the same conditions 16.5 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway. The accord has only 9750 miles on it tires inflated to 34 cold psi with no ac on and 1 driver. I rented a lexus suv in florida and achieved an average mpg of 26.5 mpg and drove it at 75 to 80 . This only leads me to believe that toyota has really worked on there technology and honda has not ,still offering things like 5 speed trannys instead of stepping up to the plate. Honda has been losing ground over the years .They seem to be living on there past reputation of reliability to long and must realize there are new sheriffs in town. By the way the scion gets us about 18 around town and a whopping 35 on the highway with a 4 speed auto tranny.

    The bottom line is the auto industry has to be more honest with mpg figures and not hipe mileage numbers under controlled conditions....

    thanks again ....
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,971
    edited December 2011
    The EPA lets people plug their own mpg numbers in at so a potential owner could go there and compare notes (the EPA numbers are listed right next to real world numbers).

    The numbers for a few vehicles I checked seem higher than the EPA ratings. Mabye that's one of those self-selecting factors and simply indicates that people who really care about their mpg also know how to drive economically?

    And doesn't everyone carry a browser enabled smartphone or tablet with them now when they go to the dealer so they can crosscheck claims made on the Monroney sticker or those made by the salesperson? :shades:

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • okaniokani Posts: 20
    NYC again, I also live in NYC - mpg indicated by manufacturer never work in NYC :sick: Driving in NYC you won't get City MPG, take a look on fueleconomy dot gov what do they mean under City MPG, it is a different story - we have 10 times more stops & go's, my mechanic told me that he gets 8mpg in Brooklyn on his BMW 5series. You have to drive outside the city limits to see your cars real world MPG. Suburbs in NJ will give you City MPG and I-95 in Florida will get you Highway MPG. This is Brooklyn, Brooklyn - NY :mad: It takes 30 seconds for you to walk one block, now imagine your car driving that distance to stop on a red light and then go again + traffic. Go upstate, poconos, etc and see your mileage. I also blamed my car first, now I see what is it that makes my mpg horrible.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    edited December 2011
    Well said!

    Here are/is a couple of other examples of what conditions can do to mileage.

    A store we frequent is about 2 1/2 miles from the house. On a cold day the Pilot/Ridgeline get about 12-13 mpg going to the store. The return trip is more in the 18-19 mpg range.

    Leaving work, instantly involves a steep long hill. At the top is a traffic light that seems to have it out for me. Generally speaking the gauge will show we got about 8 mpg for that first 1.5 miles. If required to sit there for the entire length of the light the gauge wil drop to around 6 mpg, before we get moving again. If I manage to catch the rest of the lights green the entire trip home will net around 17 mpg. If I catch all red lights, the mpg will be more in the 13-14 mpg range. If I don't have to stop for any of the lights, the mileage will be more like 18-19 mpg.

    Point is, that the constant stop and go destroys mileage.
  • I wish it were just the stop and go that killed the mpg. Even highway driving stinks. I found that the ONLY way to get decent mileage is to use the cruise control. If you have to use the brake for anything then you'll have to touch the accelerator and just touching it kills the mpg's.
    I hate this car and will advise all who I know to beware of buying it before they take into account the terrible mpg's.
    Good luck with yours.
    aka Can't Wait Until My Lease Is Up!
  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaPosts: 1,078
    "The Beast" (2006 EX-OR) finally rolled 80k over Christmas weekend. I've been keeping a running log with each fill-up since I got him in July '06. I've been pretty much steady on mileage with him. Average Highway is 22MPG, and average City driving is 16MPG. The absolute worse mileage I have ever gotten with him was 9MPG and the best was 27MPG. In a mixed driving I have averaged 19-20MPG. I am looking come spring to putting him out to pasture and looking at something a little on the higher MPG range, but wanted to post an update on here.

  • okaniokani Posts: 20
    What about steady driving? When I'm on Belt Pkwy from Brooklyn to Long Island - speed is never steady in any line, my speed varies from 40 to 70 mph during my 27 miles commute, but when I'm trying hard - I'm trying to average 55 mph, it is very hard because all of a sudden you notice that there is no one around you and cars from the back catch up with you in 3-5 mins, the is psychological effect of being with crowd - you drive in a same way everyone is driving just to stay with the crowd. Just try steady speed, ignore others and you'll see improvement but become one of those annoying drivers that don't drive fast and take THE ENTIRE LINE :) Now, I understand them - they're thrifty drivers who saves on gas unlike others. As for the City MPG - big cities are not those cities where that MPG was based on. NYC - is definitely a City described on your car's mpg indicator, neither any other big city, it is rather towns in suburbia. Keep that in mind as well. My mpg went 28% after I started driving steadily ignoring other drivers + driving under 60mph. Other techniques involve over-inflating your tires, once again summer timer - mpg is better than in a winter time (you can google for it to learn why), winds, hills, etc. Just remember one thing - the best car is the paid off car. Replacing car that will give you better mpg doesn't make sense to me as of know because annually i'm losing $600 versus newer car with better mpg (20-25% improvements) but I have to lose $12K to trade-in my car and buy a new one. That 12K brakes into 20 years with $600 a year loses. Doesn't cut as of now.
  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaPosts: 1,078
    edited December 2011
    When I say 9mpg... there was no way any City was involved. I got my 9mpg on a drive in and around Rausch Creek and this is the only time I'm around the sub 13mpg range whenever we go up there. I grew up with driving around Philadelphia but now I'm out near Hershey / Harrisburg. Most of my drives involve moderate highways and alot of back windy twisty hilly roads.

  • ekcekc Posts: 30
    Just purchased a brand new Pilot 4WD 2012.
    The first and the most recent hwy trip yielded 19-22 mpg, mainly flat roads at 65-75 mph .... Should I expect the mileage would improve with time? Is there such a thing as breaking in nowadays?
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    edited December 2011
    Our 03 Pilot got good mpg from the first day. Only bad experience with it was after a battery disconnect. Mileage dropped about 4 mpg across the board.
    Figured the first bad tank was a fluke of how it was gassed up. The 2nd bad tank drew some concern, and the 3rd one prompted some research.

    Discovered that part of the New Car Get ready proceedure is for the service Dept to do an ILP. And according the the TSB the ILP should be done anytime the battery is disconnected, or goes dead. OR certain fuses are pulled. I did the ILP and mileage returned to normal.

    NOTE: If the ILP wasn't done properly before new car delivery or after a battery problem, the car may not get it's best fuel mileage. Newer cars may not require this.

    The 09 Ridgeline seriously conformed to the 15 city 20 Hyway EPA rating. This was in spite of my "Crafty" fuel mileage attempts. :cry: One of them was using a very light foot when moving away from a stop. The Pilot woiuld "Upshift" at 1800 rpm. But the Ridgeline didn't like that at all, and preferred to upshift at 2500 rpm.

    I finally decided "it was what it was" and just drive the thing. Learned to live with the fact that it's mileage was not going to equal that of the Pilot.

    But continued to not tailgate, not do "Jack Rabbit" starts, coast to stops, and not "accelerate" when going up hill. Somewhere around 10K miles the Ridgeline began to get about the same mileage as the Pilot did.

    It now returns 17-19 local driving and 25-27 pg on the open road at 60+/- mph. But at 70-75 mph the mileage drops to around 20-21mpg.

    As far as Break-IN is concerned, I truly believe in NOT driving at a steady RPM for the first 1000 miles. Using back roads instead of Xways helps with this. And not revving the engine over 3K for the first 300 miles and not over 4K rpm for the remainder of the first 1000 miles. And no hard acceleration during that first 1000 miles. Then drive as traffic dictates.

    Other folks believe in running them hard from the begining.

    Now real world is this, with fuel at $3.50 per gallon.
    A 500 mile trip at 20 MPG will cost about $87.50. At 25 mpg the cost would be $70. The difference in time would be about 1.2-1.4 hours.

    This would be a big deal to some folks and not to others.

  • ekcekc Posts: 30
    Thanks for your tips Kip.

    What is an ILP?

  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaPosts: 1,078
    "Idle Learn Procedure."

  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    edited December 2011
    Odie6 is correct.

    The ILP is The Idle Learn Procedure.

    Page eleven of this forum and starting about post 200 will tell you all about it. As you read through the various post, you will find tips on how to do it correctly with minimum effort on your part.

    You will also find plenty of post on how to hurry it up, which in my opinion would not work, as the "KEY" word is IDLE You will also find many nay sayers.

    When my mileage dropped that 4+/- mpg across the board, I was pretty disgusted with the car. The dealer didn't have a clue and said I was doing something wrong or had gotten bad gas at 4 different fill ups at 4 different stations. :sick:

    Pretty sure it was someone on this forum that suggested doing the ILP. I was skeptical but desperate enough to try it. It worked for me!

    Keep in mind that if it was done correctly by the "New Car Technician", doing it again won't accomplish anything, but can't hurt either. Keep in mind also that there are good technicians and poor ones. And the ILP is something that can't really be checked, like if the air in the tires was done correctly.

    Apparently it was important. At least at that time. Because there was a TSB on it. (Technical Service Bulletin)

    Strangly enough many Honda Dealers thought it did nothing more than make the car idle properly. So if the car was idling OK, the ILP either was done correctly or not necessary. Not true, in my opinion!

    I don't know if it is still necessary on the newer Hondas. But I did it on our '09 Ridgeline and the mileage is good enough that once again the NAY SAYERS are singing "No Way" :)

    FWIW: I lurk on several forums concerning fuel milesge. And it "Seems" that there are more Honda owners complaining about their mileage than the Toyota Owners. Yet when the car is correct and the driver is conciencious, Honda's get great mileage in their categories.

    Also the best tuned vehicles in the world will not perform at their best, if the driver and/or driving conditions are poor.

  • bobncbobnc Posts: 12
    I have a 2009 Honda Touring 4x4 and just returned from a trip to Florida from Asheville NC. 1,103 miles. 24.6 MPG driving on the interstate all the way at 65-75 MPH. My best was 26.5 on the same trip last summer. Great car to drive.
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