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Honda Pilot Real World MPG

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  • I just don't think you will get 28 mpg at highway speeds. On a highway, at less than highway speeds, possibly.

    ....and I can honestly say "we did"

    Joe
  • davidd3davidd3 Posts: 582
    Joe,

    As for my Pilot (2007 EXL 4WD), still averaging a bit better than 17mpg overall. Best case highway for me so far is not quite 22mpg. That's my own personal real world. Others do better (and I figure that I could likewise do better) in the city by using a lighter foot and on the highway by cruising at lower speed. Add to the mix that his is a 2WD and 28mpg highway seems possible (or at least not far-fetched).

    I'm still lurking, but haven't had much to say for quite a while. I'm much more concerned these days with quality problems with one of my other vehicles than with the gas mileage of my Pilot.

    Best regards,

    David
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Joe, :)

    Using your numbers there is 71% more wind drag at 85 mph than at 65 mph.

    Now if a vehicle gets say 18 mpg at 85 mph, ( mine does) then dropping the speed to 65 could conceivably yield 18 + 71% = 30.78 mpg.

    At 60 miles per hour the formula would look more like C X 60 X 60= 3600 C . !00% more wind drag at 85 than at 60. Therefore conceivably at 60 mph that vehicle should be getting 18 + 100% = 36 mpg.

    Of course we know that isn't likely to happen. There are other factors involved that I don't understand. I do know that we get about 23-24 at 65+/- and 26-27 at 60+/-
    when using AC and cruise sparingly. The only thing that changed is the speed and therefore wind resistance.

    According to the formula there is 17% more wind drag at 65 than at 60.
    23.5 mpg at 65 + 17% by dropping speed to 60 = 27.5 MPG which is real close to our best mileage trip of 1100 miles, as well as shorter trips.

    I see no reason that a 2WD with 6/3 could not achieve 28mpg or more, if driven conservatively at 60 mph. There have been other reports of great mileage on this forum which most folks seem to discount or ignore.

    I say WELCOME to those high mileage guys! Is it their particular vehicles or is it the way they drive?

    I read a long time ago. "If you don't think you can do something, you probably can't" ! ;)

    Kip
  • Kip,

    There are also other losses besides wind drag. Although a gasoline engine converts most of it's energy to heat anyway, there is room for efficiency improvements regarding how that engine moves the vehicle down the road.

    I do believe 28 or even 30 mpg can be achieved and I am just suggesting one way that I think it could possibly happen.

    When my car idles, I am getting zero miles per gallon. But if I turn-off the engine an push it 10 feet, I just got infinite miles per gallon.

    Both scenarios are possible, but one is much more probable to occur.

    Joe
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Joe,

    Just putting thoughts on paper. Maybe someone didn't know all this neat stuff! ;)

    We all know that speed affects wind drag, but I didn't know how drastic the effect can be until the formula you presented.

    As you are saying above, most of the energy of the combustion engine is converted to heat. I recently read that the gasoline engine only utilizes about 30% of the energy that's stored in the gasoline. The rest is simply heat or out the tail pipe.

    On top of that even more energy is used to cool the engine, such as the water pump. Then we add electrical loads which can result in the alternator being a bit harder to turn, then the AC compressor, Power steering and such! In reality that inefficient engine is doing a lot of work, requiring fuel, just running.

    Then we put it in gear which adds more load of moving liquids around inside the tranny. Now let's get this 4500 +/- # "Brick" moving and see how much wind resistance we can create. Amazing that we get the mileage that we do! :)

    Thanks,
    Kip
  • zarbazarba Posts: 30
    This is right in line with what we've gotten with our '07 EX-l AWD. 15K miles.

    I had hoped for about 18-19 avg, but it's not to be.

    It's a big, heavy AWD SUV. I'm surprised people are complaining about the mileage. :confuse:
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    the gasoline engine only utilizes about 30% of the energy that's stored in the gasoline

    And there's a good reason for that! There's a maximum efficiency at which any engine can operate based on thermodynamics. For an eye glazing account read about the Carnot Cycle. :)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • davidd3davidd3 Posts: 582
    This is right in line with what we've gotten with our '07 EX-l AWD. 15K miles.

    Par for the course.

    I had hoped for about 18-19 avg, but it's not to be.

    Same here.

    It's a big, heavy AWD SUV. I'm surprised people are complaining about the mileage.

    My beef is that my (and your) overall average mpg is about the same as our Pilot's city EPA rating of 17mpg. I was hoping to average around the mid-point of the 17city/22highway mpg ratings since my driving is mixed. I have had better relative mpg luck with most other vehicles I have had over the years.

    By the way, I got caught in an unexpected snow/ice storm today coming home to NY from MA. Very slow going. Saw some spin-outs and accidents along the way. Glad we were in the secure 4WD Pilot. Actually, we drove it by default. Due to poor gas mileage, I prefer to drive one of our cars on long trips when it's just me and my wife. But my daughter, a new driver who drives only the Accord for now, needed the Accord in the mid-afternoon and we didn't think we'd be back home in time. So we took the Pilot instead. Also made good use of the Pilot's utility today to help with a winter tire changeover on another family vehicle. Folded the 3rd row flat and easily loaded up 4 wheels/tires. A very good day indeed to be a Pilot owner. Tomorrow will be another trip to the dark side - errrr, another fill up at the gas station where Regular i
    s now $3.399.
  • mer66mer66 Posts: 14
    Me too, and I am not really surprised given the size and weight of this truck. 15-17 mpg average and 19-21 on the highway has been the rule for the last 40K miles. But then again, I never expected to get mileage higher than the EPA estimates. That is a rare occurance for any car. I dont think anyone can realistically expect to get more than about 21 MPG under the best of circumstances on flat out hwy drives with a Pilot.
  • Exactly correct on maximum efficiency.

    Heat engines use various engine-cycles, which describe how much WORK you can get out of an engine from a certain amount of energy, the rest is heat.

    The Carnot cycle is the idealistic cycle of energy transferred to WORK and could be 99% thermally efficient.

    The Otto cycle describes the 4-stroke engine. It uses the expansion of the gas/air mixture (ignition by spark plug) to do work, (pushing down of a piston). Given the Pilot's 10:1 compression ratio, its engine could only be 60% thermally efficient at best (its theoretical maximum).

    The 30% refers to the engines actual efficiency. Of the available 60% in an ideal Otto cycle, most of this energy in an engine goes into heat (not WORK) which is lost to the environment through the exhaust and through the engine block (which is transferred to the cooling system to keep the pistons from melting).

    So Kip, you are exactly correct on what you meant, but.... today's gasoline engine use over 99.9% of the energy that is stored in the gasoline, but only converts around 30% of it into WORK, the rest is heat.

    Since Tidester set the bait, I couldn't help but take it. ;)

    Joe
  • Ok... baited and hooked!!! Thanks for the revisiting of Thermodynamics classes in 2nd and 3rd year engineering.... :P Those were not my favourite courses and it set a shiver down my spine just remembering the torturous lectures! (Structures is my thing) There are so many factors that determine fuel mileage, not only on engine power, aerodynamics, driving habits, location, etc... the EPA listings is at best a huge guesstimate! For me... with an 07 EXL 4WD it all averages out to about 16 mpg city and 20 mpg on pure highway driving. I am just waiting for Honda's answer to the hybrid SUV and I will jump on it in an instant!! But for now, The Pilot is the answer to my family's needs.

    Cheers,
    Tess
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    Since Tidester set the bait, I couldn't help but take it.

    LoL! Outside of physics or engineering classes I think few people give much consideration to things like thermodynamic efficiency and fundamental limitations so I like to reinforce the point whenever the opportunity arises. :)

    Thanks for the additional reinforcement and ideas!

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    it set a shiver down my spine just remembering the torturous lectures!

    It's all in the delivery. Some teachers can do it and some cannot.

    You make an excellent point with regard to the complexity of overall fuel efficiency. Ultimately, the solution will likely be lighter and smaller vehicles but I don't think we're quite ready for that.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Why heck Joe,

    We may have a solution. All they have to do is to convert the "Heat" to usable, working energy to propel the car!

    How hard can that be? :shades:

    (Godda go take my medicine.)

    Kip
  • Kip, It is puzzling to me that a average home gas furnace that is solely intended to produce heat and not meant to produce WORK still can't get better that around 85% efficient. :confuse:

    Tess, I had two great physics teachers and I have fond memories of that whole learning experience. I am also in structures (and geotechnical) now. Your mileage is about the same as mine, I can squeeze a couple more mpg on the highway.

    I am waiting for the fuel cell automobile. That way, when I come home from work, I plug my house INTO MY CAR for home energy! ;)

    Joe
  • We have a 2004 AWD Pilot, and have always seen 18-19 in pure city driving (school and the mall), and 20-21 in mixed. Last road trip from Denver to South Dakota was around 22.5 with a heavy foot. Do the older Pilots get better than the new? I'm curious as we're at the end of our lease, and considering on 08 Pilot, but leaning more towards the new Mazda CX9 for something different. Either way, I don't want to get into something that's 15-17 mpg....otherwise I would buy and keep my Pilot.
  • Hi ,
    I just bought 2WD VP 08 model last month. I was hoping for the worst but got pretty good avg in 2/3 city 1/3 hwy driving to work . Got right around 22.15 mpg .I thought I calculated it wrong the first time but it was the same the secod time too (355 miles in 16 gal) I am hoping to clock over 26-28 in all hwy driving. I am planning for a 2200 mile round trip during xmas and will surely post the results.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Keep the speed down around the 60-65 mph and you can get near, or exceed your target MPG. Depending on load, terrain, and pedal preasure.

    At 70-75 expect closer to 22-23 mpg. Wind resistance at 70 and above really takes it's toll on Pilot mileage.

    This info was posted by "just average joe" and as I understanding it, is that (layman terms) wind resistance is basically a measurement of the vehicle frontal area X Velocity Squared. The frontal area is constant with the particular vehicle, so what changes is speed. Therefore at 60 mph the velocity part would be 3600. At 75mph it would increase to 5625. That is about a 50% increase in the wind resistance on the front of the vehicle, it will hurt mileage.

    Good luck, :)

    Kip
  • davidd3davidd3 Posts: 582
    Do the older Pilots get better than the new?

    I believe that they do. There was once considerable discussion in this forum about that. And I am not alone in my belief. You might want to scroll back and see if you can find it. Some good information and speculation there.

    I have a 2007 EXL 4WD. It's got about 14,000 miles on it. I'm getting 17.4mpg overall in mixed driving. I'd say my mixed driving is typically 1/3 city (not NYC or anything like that) and 2/3 highway (though mostly short trips ranging from 5 to 20 miles each way). My speed on the highway is generally 60 to 75, depending on the speed limit (which can be as low as 55 where I live). Don't have a lead foot. Acceleration of the Pilot does not excite me (and the handling is downright scary when you're used to driving sports sedans). Don't have a light foot either. I keep up with traffic.

    If you do not absolutely need 4WD, the new 2WD Pilot seems quite promising to deliver mpg even better than what you are getting with your 2004 4WD, thanks to the combination of 2WD (lighter weight than 4WD) + VCM technology (using only 3 cylinders at times). I do not believe that the 2WD version was available back in 2004 when you got your 4WD Pilot.

    The 4WD CX-9 is rated somewhat worse on gas than the 4WD Pilot, 15/21 as compared to 17/22. But if you want a change and something (at least in my opinion) nicer to look at and perhaps even fun to drive (zoom zoom), then by all means go for a CX-9 next. Makes sense to me. I'd certainly be checking it out if my lease was expiring.
  • I feel it is also a function of "breakin' in the engine". New engines run rich.

    As to driving styles I completely agree. Commuting with my Acura RL is like a racehorse... doing the family thing with the Pilot... the chuckwagon!!! Both are fun.. in there own ways!

    Cheers,
    Tess
  • Haven't posted in a while have only about 5500 miles on my 07 ex l awd and still only getting about 12 mpg true mostly city driving NYC and I read about all these people claiming to get 20 or better mpgs and I can't understand it I have tried lite foot ,heavy foot next will be no foot Someone was telling about a cold air filter system that is suppose to increase mileage and performance does any one know anything about it?????

    (
  • In all honestly and mid to full sized SUV will get horrible gas mileage in stop/start/pesky city driving. My worst tanks are of this type of drives. (13 mpg was my worst) You burn the most fuel in 1st to 2nd gear in acceleration.. the more you do that the more you burn. So if you are accelerating and braking within yards all day long it will drain your gas tank! If I didn't have to haul half the soccer/football team with gear most evenings and weekends (and now the ski/mountain season) I would have opted for a smaller 5 seater SUV.. but I need the 8. (and the cargo space)

    My bro, the Honda Specialist, says wrapping the filter is a myth... Be patient if you can... once the engine gets to 12 - 15K, mpg should start to improve. You have to remember that the EPA ratings are just a rough estimate... from a sample set. Some will get less than estimated... some will get better than estimated. Another thing is that some of those 20+ mpg postings are with 2WD which have a better mpg's than the 4WD's.

    HTH's
    Cheers,
    Tess
  • davidd3davidd3 Posts: 582
    still only getting about 12 mpg true mostly city driving NYC and I read about all these people claiming to get 20 or better mpgs and I can't understand it NYC driving will get you the worst possible mpg. Don't compare your mpg to that of other posters, because their driving conditions are totally different than yours. 12mpg sounds about right in your circumstances, at least to me. You might not even get 20mpg from a Civic!
  • davidd3davidd3 Posts: 582
    I feel it is also a function of "breakin' in the engine". New engines run rich.

    I recall, but not in detail, discussion about a change in the gear ratios and new Pilots revving higher than old Pilots at same speeds.

    Commuting with my Acura RL is like a racehorse... doing the family thing with the Pilot... the chuckwagon!!!

    The chuckwagon! I love it.

    I suppose that you too must have had those moments where you find yourself inadvertently driving the Pilot too hard, forgetting for a moment which of your vehicles you are driving (even though you are sitting at what feels like 10 feet above the ground). It's downright scary taking corners in a Pilot. As a highway cruiser, I have no complaints. But until you get to the highway, . . . you'd better take it easy. And as I understand it, so far as SUVs go, the Pilot is supposed to be better than most when it comes to handling. Heck, I'm afraid of going off the road or even tipping it over. So I mostly baby it through the turns.
  • I suppose that you too must have had those moments where you find yourself inadvertently driving the Pilot too hard, forgetting for a moment which of your vehicles you are driving (even though you are sitting at what feels like 10 feet above the ground). It's downright scary taking corners in a Pilot. As a highway cruiser, I have no complaints. But until you get to the highway, . . . you'd better take it easy. And as I understand it, so far as SUVs go, the Pilot is supposed to be better than most when it comes to handling. Heck, I'm afraid of going off the road or even tipping it over. So I mostly baby it through the turns.

    It took me about a month or so to "tune" my driving to the appropiate vehicle. Having at minimum 3 boys in the back, 2 of them teenagers arguing usually brings me back to reality!! ;) As for handling I am quite impressed with the Pilots cornering. It feels strong and solid and never a scary moment for me and I don't consider myself the "babying" type when it comes to driving. I even had to do emergency evasive maneuvers with debris on the road a couple of times both city and highway and I never felt that I was losing control. I guess the "feel" is in the beholder... I had the experience of driving a 90's Montero Sport and I whipped around a corner in that thing and I swear I was on 2 wheels!!!

    Cheers,
    Tess
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    David,

    Think this is what you were referring too.

    2004 Pilot specs: http://www.hondanews.com/search/release/1469

    2007 Pilot Specs. http://www.hondanews.com/categories/889/releases/3635

    Kip
  • Stand corrected.... thanks Kip!

    Cheers,
    Tess
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Don't know what you should feel corrected about! :)

    There is about a 12% difference in the overall ratio final drive ratio of the older and the newer Pilots when everything is locked up in OD. I've not run the numbers in the other gears.

    Honda prides themselves as being the "Highest fuel mileage Car Company". I can't imagine why they would change the "Ratios" if it would result in Poorer mileage.

    My take is that on flat ground with little wind an 03 might/will get better mileage than an 07. Simply because it is turning 100-250 less rpm, according to speed.

    I believe that in areas where rolling hills and worse are the norm, the newer Pilots may/will have the advantage, simply because they will stay in the upper gears longer before downshifting.

    My next door neighbor bought a new 07 Ridgeline a few months back. He drives conservative as I do, and his spread sheet shows his 07 Ridgeline getting about the same MPG as my 03 Pilot. He also discovered the vast difference in "Cruising" at 75 mph vs 65 mph. Nearly 5mpg according to him. It affects my 03 about the same.

    Riding in the Ridgeline, I have noticed that it tends to stay in OD longer, when going up a long hill, than my Pilot does. It may hold OD all the way to the top, where the Pilot will not.

    We have had some really "LIVELY" discussions concerning older vs newer Pilots and their mileage.

    Bottom line is that whether the vehicle itself is capable of 15/22 or 17/27, the driver will have great influence on the mileage. Most any vehicle will get better mileage when driven conservatively. Most will return worst numbers when driven aggressively. ;)

    People come on here and say things like >" 21 mpg highway is all that can be expected from a Pilot" . I believe they are absolutely correct for their particular circumstances and driving styles.

    Others "Post" really good mileage! That is a reflection on their circumstance and driving style.

    Kip
  • Kip,

    You are good at digging up those old posts! :)

    Here are some more interesting facts about this subject:

    My 2007 Pilot Final Ratio = 4.375
    Your 2004 Pilot Final Ratio = 4.428
    The 2007 Ridgeline Final Ratio = 4.533

    All 3 weigh about the same. They are all 4WD. They have the same engine, although my 2007 Pilot has a few more horsepower than yours, and the Ridgeline has a few more horsepower than mine.

    But your neighbor's Ridgeline runs at a lower RPM at highway speeds than both of our Pilots.

    Now let's assume that the Ridgeline has the same wind drag coefficient (which it doesn't and I couldn't even find any information on which was lower) So if everything else is the same, and we all drive at 65 mph, then my Pilot's engine turns more RPMs, moves more air through the engine, and is required to utilize the most fuel.

    I really want that sixth gear so that I could idle down the freeway.

    Just thought I would through-in some more of my car-dork information. :blush:

    Joe
  • Kip and Joe... being a GeerHead is not a bad thing!! I really want that 6th gear too... its called driving on the perpetual downhill and you can coast all the way!! I think Esher did it ... but he never got the chance to go into the 3rd dimension!

    Cheers,
    Tess
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