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Honda Pilot Real World MPG



  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    With two mile trips you'll never achieve good MPGs. I used to drive to my school daily when I was exactly 2 miles from it, with 9 stop signs in that commute. I averaged 19 mpg in my '96 Accord. Now that I commute 25 miles with 19 miles of interstate, that same car gets right at 30 mpg. In the short trips, the car was always using extra fuel trying to warm to normal operating temperature; by the time it got warm, I was at school and shut it off only to rinse and repeat that afternoon. EPA was 23/31 (under the new regulations it is adjusted down to 20/27).

    Enjoy your Pilot; I tend to think your mileage is right where it should be, if not where you want it to be. :)
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    The first leg of my commute to work is about 2 miles before encountering the 1st traffic light.

    Most days the display for that 2 miles will show I've averaged about 14 mpg. If I get stopped for a minute or so at the light, the average may drop into the high 12 mpg range. I can sit there idling and watch the average mileage drop on the display.
    Therefore if my trip was stopped at that point, my average mileage would be
    12-13 mpg. Cold engine and short trips are not conducive to good mileage.

    I expect that if I got stopped by all 8 lights on that route, my mileage for the 6 miles to work would be about like yours. Fortunately I get through most of the lights without stopping and the mileage goes up.
  • Kip, the 2010 RL has a lower 5th gear ratio (.612 vs .538) and the specs show the 2010 Pilot has the i-VTEC vs the VTEC in the RL. The pilot is rated for a bit more torque. Everything else looks the same. I switched the VSA off when I was parked and a big yellow triangle with an exclamation point appears in the dash. It also comes on when the VSA activates.

    My normal commute is around 27 miles. It begins with picking up two co-workers who are a few miles away where I drive through suburbia. Then I drive along a rural road for around ten miles with 5 stops signs. Another 10 miles on the interstate with a speed limit of 65. I drive like a grampa through suburbia and everyone else seems like they're drag racing. I start very slowly and then I try to coast to the stop signs from 1/4 mile away. I do 65+ on the highway

    When my wife drives only short trips in the Ody, she gets around 15-17 mpg but we get 24+ mpg on highway trips at 70 mph. So yeah, short trips kill mileage.

    Denver, your dealer is on the right track with the lower octane. Less oxygen equals slower burn so you don’t need the benefits of high octane to control detonation. Your mileage should get better by a couple mpg after a couple oil changes.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    edited April 2010
    >"Kip, the 2010 RL has a lower 5th gear ratio (.612 vs .538) and the specs show the 2010 Pilot has the i-VTEC vs the VTEC in the RL. The pilot is rated for a bit more torque. Everything else looks the same. I switched the VSA off when I was parked and a big yellow triangle with an exclamation point appears in the dash. It also comes on when the VSA activates."

    I got the VSA light to come on in the display. Gotta have the engine running. Duhhh!

    So if I'm understanding correctly I can choose to drive with the VSA "OFF" and the triangle will be lit. OR I can drive in normal mode and the triangle is off but will become lit if VSA is activated by road conditions. So in effect the lit triangle can indicate the VSA is on and active, and the lit triangle can indicate the VSA is off? Seems somewhat confusing. :confuse:

    Yeah, I saw where the Pilot has 253 ft# of torque at 4800 rpm and the Ridgeline has a few less..and reaches its torque at 4300 RPM. Are the gear ratios for gears1-4 the same for Pilots and Ridgelines. Is the axle ration the same for both?

    Did notice today that the RL is shifting around 2700 now instead of 3000. That's promising. :)

  • Kip, 1st gear through 4th gear are exactly the same but the final gear ratios vary by a different amount than what the fifth gears vary, so maybe a slightly different transaxle gear.

    You are right with the VSA light. When I was testing it, when it activates, the VSA significantly cuts power! I think the exclamation point warning lets the driver know that the engine is still running. The light goes off immediately when it deactivates as soon as you lift your foot of the gas. With VSA, I could not get the Pilot to even come close to slipping out except when I had the front tires on pure ice. But that is the same as going real slow and breaking on ice. There isn't enough traction for the tires to grip even when the ABS reduces brake pressure.

    I never did check my gas mileage when I was doing donuts at the ski resort, but I was probably getting 25 drifts per gallon. :blush:
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    >"I never did check my gas mileage when I was doing donuts at the ski resort, but I was probably getting 25 drifts per gallon. :blush: "

    Well, there ya go! :shades:

    25 "Anything" per gallon is a pretty good number for a Pilot! Now we know the trick is to turn off the VSA and power slide through the turns ! ;)

  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    >".... when it activates, the VSA significantly cuts power! I think the exclamation point warning lets the driver know that the engine is still running."

    My son has an 07 RL and hunts on a bunch of acreage with dirt roads going through it. Roads are rough and made up of lots of Georgia Red Clay. When the clay gets wet, it becomes very slick. He learned that with the wet steep hills and mud holes the VSA will get him through. Although he doesn't like the cut in power.
    He has turned the VSA off, only to discover he was left with more power while not moving forward. :sick:

  • I have a 2010 Pilot EX-L. How do i get instant MPG? The manual seems to cover the touring model more on this.
  • I just returned from a trip in my 2010Pilot 2wd. I got less than 22mpg on the interstate with cruise set at 755mph. I have about 1200 mi. on vehicle. Is this what others are getting? Seems low to me.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    >"I just returned from a trip in my 2010Pilot 2wd. I got less than 22mpg on the interstate with cruise set at 755mph. ..... Is this what others are getting? Seems low to me."

    Seems about right to me, or maybe a bit high for 75 mph. A Pilot pushes a lot of air. Air resistance is a formula: Frontal area of the vehicle times the speed squared. At 65 mph the formula would look like Ax(65x65). Or Ax4225. At 75 mph the formula would be Ax5625. So at 75 the wind resistance alone is 33% higher than at 65. Other factors such as tire resistance, efficiency of the engine at different rpm, load,etc. would also figure in. 2WD

    Drop your top speed to 70 and you might see an increase of 1-2 mpg.

    Over a period of 7 years of recording every drop of gas, Our '03 Pilot would consistantly return freeway mileage of 18-19 mpg at 80 mph and 26-28 mpg at 60 mph. Your 2010 may or may not reflect the same mileage or mileage differences.

    On the freeway, our '09 Ridgeline with 3100 miles on the clock is now getting 24+ mpg at 60 mph. At 70 mpg the mileage drops to 21 mpg. It may drop into the teens at 75 mph.

    Plain and simple: Speed kills mileage. :sick:

    Read your window sticker and you will find that the estimated MPG for your Pilot is something like 17-23 in big black letters. Now read the small print beside the large numbers and you will see how much they expect it could vary. Variance will be caused by speed, driving conditions, weather and so forth.

    A 500 mile trip at a constant 75 MPH will take 6.7 hours. At 65 mph it will take 7.7 hours. If mileage at 65 was 2-3 mpg better than at 75, the savings would be 2-3 gallons of fuel. That is $5-$8 more or less fuel and an hour more or less time on the road. Priorities depend on needs and wants. ;)

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    With highway EPA mileage listed lower than that, you should be pleased. At 75 MPH, my girlfriend's 185 horsepower Santa Fe gets only 23-24 or so.
  • Thanks for the replies. I'm used to driving a Accord V-6 getting 28mpg, so with a Pilot i'll have to get used to the reduced fuel mileage & slow down. It does ride better than the Accord, plus more room.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Yep. You're paying for that upright stance and extra 1,000 lbs of weight over a V6 Accord via fuel mileage. Nice vehicle though!
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    I don't know about the Pilot, but the Ridgeline, when the dash display is in "Average Mileage" mode there is a bar at the bottom of the display moving left to right and back and forth as the instant MPG varies.

  • kingfans1kingfans1 Posts: 137
    how do you properly check engine oil on 2009 honda pilot and ridgeline??
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    edited May 2010
    The dip stick is an orange handle (loop) on the front of the engine (toward front grill).

    After the car has been sitting on level ground with the engine "OFF" for a few minutes or longer, pull the dipstick out and wipe clean it with a clean cloth or paper towel.

    Note: if you use a paper towel, be sure no pieces of the towel stick to the dip stick.

    Re-insert the dip stick completely, then remove it again. Near the bottom there is a "Grid" . The grid has an upper and a lower "Mark". The oil should be on the grid between the 2 marks. If it is toward the bottom of the grid I would add a bit of Honda Approved oil, a little at a time until the upper mark is reached. Don't go over the upper mark . Sometimes "clean oil can be hard to see on the stick but if you rotate it while holding it horizontal you can usually see the oil mark on the back of the stick.

  • kingfans1kingfans1 Posts: 137
    ok. I don't know if I am checking the engine oil in Honda Correct Way.. My engine oil show just about the 2nd low marks. Should I be worry about it? If you have low engine oil, do the computer show????
  • kingfans1kingfans1 Posts: 137
    hi kip, I bought my 2010 honda pilot in November 2009. The car is only about 6500 miles...

    I received a letter from Honda, 5,000 mile service is due, service recommended.. The car is not even 1 year old yet, and 6500 miles..

    Do I follow the letter or MM ???
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    edited May 2010
    The car is should be sitting on a reasonably flat surface. If not, the dipstick may give a false reading as the slanted engine will move the oil toward or away from the dip stick.

    When a car is running, there is oil circulating throughout the engine.
    After the engine is turned off, it takes a few minutes for the oil to drain back into the crank case (oil pan).

    The dip stick has a sealing gasket built into the very top ,just under the handle.
    This gasket makes the stick a bit harder to push the last bit into the engine, but it should be done.

    So if the car is sitting flat, oil has had a few minutes to drain back into the crank case, and the stick is being fully seated when checking; you will get an accurate reading.

    If the oil level is showing real close to the bottom line on the "grid", but still within the grid, you should be OK. If it is below the bottom line on the grid, the car needs oil to be added or changed.

    Personally, if the oil level is more than half way down the grid I will add enough oil to bring the level back to the top, if I'm not planning to change the oil any time soon. I'm not sure if the distance between the bottom and top lines of the grid represent a quart, a half quart or what amount. If half way down I would add 1/4 quart of oil, give that a chance to settle into the oil pan and re-check the level.
    If that brought the level up pretty close to the top line I would stop. If not, add some more.

    If unsure what oil to use, get a quart of "Honda" oil from the dealer. You can be pretty sure that "Honda" BRAND IS WHAT CAME IN THE ENGINE FROM THE FACTORY.

    There are all kinds of opinions as to when the oil should be changed.

    Many say the cars computer keeps track of the type of driving that is being done and the "Maintenance Minder" will let us know when the oil needs changing. Others believe the oil builds acid over a period of time and should be changed at least every 6 months just to get rid of the acid ladened oil. Even though the driven mileage and "maintenance minder" (MM) don't indicate it.

    I personally change the oil every 5K miles or every 6 months, whichever comes first. Sometimes the oil may have only 3K or so at the 6 month mark But it still gets changed. I also use car brand oil filters. Example: in my Honda I use Honda Brand filters, In the Toyota I use Toyota brand filters. In the Chevy I use Delco (GM BRAND) filters. There may be other filters just as good for a dollar less. But when I use the "manufactures brand" filters I feel relatively sure it is doing the job it is supposed to do.

    FWIW: I got the Ridgeline the first of November 2009. (6 months) It now has 3000+ miles on it. I will be changing the oil in the next week or so. even though the MM says I still have 60%. Left. I will use "HONDA" brand oil and filter from the dealer, because the engine is still breaking in. Same thing the next couple of times. When 12K or so is reached, and I feel pretty sure the engine is broken in as much as it is going to be, I will start using synthetic oil.

    I may be wasting money, but peace of mind is worth something. $25 worth of oil and filter seems pretty cheap compared to the cost of a new engine.

    If I were driving 12K+ a year, I would likely use the MM after the first change. But as I only drive 6K+ per year, I will stick to every 6 months.

    Different strokes for different folks! :)
  • kingfans1kingfans1 Posts: 137
    edited May 2010
    Thanks Kip for providing a great information on the honda engine oil. I also want to point out about the shell octane..

    I have been using shell 87, 89, 91 on my 2006 camry V6.. Same route, used cruise.. mpg came out very similiar using shell 87, 89, 91.. So all shell octane are very good.. I will be using shell 87 on the pilot.

    here is the fuelly site to see it.
  • kingfans1kingfans1 Posts: 137
    hi I read some information the engine oil regarding to honda s2000... I think we can follow this on the pilot too.

    information from the website.

    because the dipstick goes through the cylinder head, oil draining back into the oil pan can wet the dipstick and give deceptive readings. so when checking the engine oil level, make sure you look at both sides of the dipstick, and use the lowest reading.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Very good!
    That is a neat web site.
  • When 12K or so is reached, and I feel pretty sure the engine is broken in as much as it is going to be, I will start using synthetic oil.

    I always consider synthetic oil, until I see the price at the parts store. What change interval are you planning on using with synthetic? It will be interesting to see if MPG is affected.

  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576

    My real purpose of the synthetic is to reduce wear on the engine internal parts.
    Better mileage would also be a good thing, IF it should happen. :)

    My understanding is that synthetic is slicker, than "Dino" oil and produces less sludge and carbon that can stick to internal parts. Many moons ago I raced 2 stroke motorcycles in cross country enduros, A friend that raced motorcycles was experimenting with a synthetic before most of us had heard about it. Seems it was called "Ameroil" or something like that.

    He heated a piece of 1/4 inch steal with a torch until it was really hot. Then put a couple drops of Dino and a couple of drops of synthetic oil on the hot metal. The synthetic vanished, but the dino left a very small but visible ash.

    I was impressed by his demonstration but still not convinced that oil from plants could lubricate as well as oil from petroleum. I didn't like the idea of an engine seizing up in the middle of nowhere, so I stuck with dino and just removed built up carbon from the top of the piston as I had always done, at the end of each season.
    When my family came along, I stopped racing and lost touch with my racing friends.

    Then around 2003 I purchased my first lawn mower with overhead valves and an oil pump. The guy at the store told me I would get a longer life from the engine if I would change to synthetic when I got about 15 hours on the engine. He said to not do it any earlier than that, because the synthetic is super slick and the engine would never "Wear In" properly and would always "use" oil. He also said that synthetic would stick to parts better, lubricate better, and flow better with a cold engine.

    My Generac Generator owners manual said to use synthetic oil after the break in period. Ridgeline owners manual said synthetic is Okay as long as it meets specifications. So I'm going to put it in the Ridgeline at 12K or so.

    I will probably change it according to the Maintenance Monitor because my understanding is that synthetic doesn't build acid like dino does. Right now the RL is at 3400+ miles and the MM says I still have 60% oil life left . So my type of driving would likely go to 7K+ before the MM gets too excited. Because I have been changing it every 6 months which is around 3K miles, I will likely be changing it only half as much using the MM and synthetic oil.

    In my case the cost per year for oil would likely be a wash as I will be changing oil only half as often, but it cost nearly twice as much. Will save a little bit on only buying one filter yearly.

    And yes, it would seem that a slicker oil would allow the engine parts to move more freely and possibly reflect that in better mileage.

    One last thing. I have always thought that Gas is Gas. But when I switched from our local "Flash Foods" and "QT" brands to Shell 87 octane, I saw an increase of 8%-12% across the board with the Pilot. Shell is usually $.05- $.10 per gallon more costly. That equates to 2%-4% more per gallon to get 8%-!2% better mileage. It may also contain better engine cleaners, I won't even pretend to understand how the Shell gets better mileage, but it sure does in both our vehicles. And that is a good thing ! :)

  • kingfans1kingfans1 Posts: 137
    after reading a few articles, I found out o to 60... they even have test sheets in pdf format..

    09 honda pilot 4wd. 1/4 mile. 16.1 @ 86 mph , o to 60 7.7 seconds
    10 acura mdx. 1/4 mile. 15.1 @ 93 mph. 0 to 60 6.6 seconds..

    I don't know what articles you have been read, getting 8.6 to 9.1... wow. honda pilot is as good as mdx... I also think Ridgeline 1/4 mile will be very similar to pilot..
  • kingfans1kingfans1 Posts: 137
    hi my 2010 pilot is about to service for the first oil changed.. I am thinking about using 5w20 castrol gtx. I am not going for synthetic..

    I know most honda dealer use honda oil ( mobil 1 )..

    I really like castrol brand.. I used it in my camry.

    so I like to know what u guys using on their honda.. and tell how they perform.

  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaPosts: 1,173
    edited July 2010
    Okay, I know I haven't been around for awhile, but I'll post my mileage update. The vehicle for this is "The Beast" my 2006 Honda Pilot EX (with added off-road suspension and Goodyear Wrangler Silent Armor 235/75 R16's)

    My current mileage on the odometer is reading just shy of 57k and this is a combination of both highway, city and off-road driving (and when I say off-road I mean fire trails, driving through streams, 3 wheel angled turns, mud, sand and rocks, etc etc etc.) I have kept a small notebook listing every fill-up and my mileage. The lowest I have ever had during a one tank trip was 11.5 (lots of off-roading and idling) and the highest I've had on one tank is 27.4 (all highway with big rig traffic). On average I'm getting 20.3 MPG. Would I like better mileage? Sure I would. Am I happy with what I'm getting now? Yeah, considering what I put "The Beast" through.

    I'm lookinging forward to a nice drive from Hershey, PA out to Chicago, IL and back coming up at the end of Sept. which will be mostly 90% highway driving.

    That is all for now.

  • tldtld Posts: 37
    We have taken three trips from Missouri to Florida in our 07 AWD Pilot. The first two trips were an average of 22.0 then 21.0. This year we ran the same route as before with 2300 miles and an average of 21.3. Pretty consistent. We usually drive 3-5 over the limit and had two adults and 2 kids with on board.

  • kingfans1kingfans1 Posts: 137
    that is pretty good for a 2007. do you use cruise control?

    my 2010 pilot ex-l 4wd average 20.2. my best was 21.3. I always warm up my car in winter time, and drive in snow. I am happy with mpg on the pilot.
  • tldtld Posts: 37
    Yep, we use cruise control and make sure we have a stack of books on CD to listen to :) We've gone down with a 2008 Odyssey and they can get 26 and 27 on this trip following us.
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