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Honda Pilot Real World MPG



  • i'm kinda confused at your recommendations -- because you are getting a low 19.5 mpg, i'm disappointed with my 2012 that it still seems to get around 20, even when it's supposed to go to 4 cylinder.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Our 09 Ridgeline is geared a bit different and lower than the Pilot. The torque converter slips a bit more and it likes higher RPM before upshifting than our Pilot did. It has aggressive tire treads, and doesn't go to 4 cylinder on the road. It is 4wd. Weighs about the same as the Pilot as it has a sub frame in addition to the Pilots floor pan. Also heavier duty differential.
    It has a hood wind deflector and awnings over all 4 windows.

    At 60 mph it averages 25-27 mpg on the road. at 70mph it averages 20-21 mpg. at 75 it drops to 18ish.

    Towing our 2600+/- lb Casita camper at 57 mph it averages 15-18 mpg depending on head winds and terrain. At 70 the mpg drops to 11-13 mpg with the same considerations.

    Our 03 Pilot with 4wd returned an average of just shy of 28 mpg on a round trip from Atlanta to Greenwood Indiana and back (1100 miles). Most of the speed was 60 mph. Generally drove the posted speed limit, but did not exceed 65 mph. Did that several times on 700+ round trips to Myrtle Beach from our home.

    These numbers are calculated at the pump. Generally starting and ending at the same pump in the same position, running the nozzle on the slowest setting and stopping when the nozzle clicks off. 87 octane. Top tier gas when possible.

    Local driving yields 17-19 mpg with Ridgeline and about the same with the Pilot.

    The dash MPG meter generally is within .5-1.0 mpg one way or the other.

    EPA rating on the window sticker was 15 city-20 highway.

    The Ridgeline MPG really sucked for the first few thousand miles and decided to get better around 10K. The Pilot got good mileage beginning with the 2nd tank.

    Speed kills mileage. :cry:

  • whattodo2whattodo2 Posts: 18
    Thanks, Odie. This was news to me! I did an internet search on the ethanol issue, and tried the two recommended brands for a richer mix ("low" or "no" ethanol stations are far far away).

    In short, one brand (that I pass when I go to a part of the city I usually only pass a couple times a month, unfortunately) seems to increase my "town" mileage from 15 to about 18 mpg - back to where I was pre-Fall 2010 with "any" gas! I haven't used it on a longer trip but am hopeful I could at least get back to 22 ?!?!

    The other highly recommended brand (conveniently located) I tried first on a longer trip and only got 19, and am still in the process of testing it for an honest to goodness town average.

    But now I'm wondering if you or anyone has knowledge of station-to-station differences??? If I stick to one brand, does it follow that any of their stations should have the same ethanol mix of gas? Or does it also vary station to station?

    Again, thank you so much - I have hope for the first time, lol!
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    But now I'm wondering if you or anyone has knowledge of station-to-station differences??? If I stick to one brand, does it follow that any of their stations should have the same ethanol mix of gas? Or does it also vary station to station?

    Most stations - no matter the brand - are typically independently owned. Station owners order gasoline from whichever distributor they want and the delivering truck adds the specific additives for that brand. The gas that comes out of the pipeline is the same no matter the brand.

    To give you an idea, below is a map of one transporter in New England. The locations are the distributors. All the brands get their gasoline from these distribution points no matter the brand.

  • ggonz2800ggonz2800 Posts: 1
    Test drove today-68 miles of highway and city driving (mostly highway, nothing crazy). Bottom line was 14.25 MPH. I filled the demo with gas and returned it to the dealer.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited June 2012
    Some people get the EPA mileage from the start, but it took several thousand miles for my last new car to settle in and start getting the expected mileage consistently. And it kept going up (by tiny little increments) over the next 100,000+ miles.

    I wouldn't read much into the first three or four (or more) tanks of gas on a new car. Better to rely on owner's reports over several months, and realize that your driving habits and local road conditions may be a lot different.
  • whattodo2whattodo2 Posts: 18
    Thanks! This is most informative.. and explains my predicament well. I've figured out one station that gives me 18+ around town... like in the "old days"... too bad its several miles away from my home ;) I guess I'll continue to test a couple more stations nearby and stick with the winner. At least now I believe the ethanol IS the culprit and not the Pilot having some 100k breakdown. Thanks for all of your help!
  • swedishhammerswedishhammer Posts: 2
    edited September 2012
    I have put 3300 miles on the Pilot with mixed city and highway driving around Dallas. Including putting it through the warmest months of the year the MPG average to date is 19.6 MPG.

    I am pretty happy with it. I guessed I would have around 20. Considering the amount of city driving in Dallas, I think it's very good and at the top of the range among competitors.

    If Honda could release a Pilot Hybrid it would be even better.
  • justaveragejoejustaveragejoe Posts: 267
    edited September 2012
    This thread doesn't get the attention it used to.

    I just got the best mileage since I've owned my 2007 EX (no VCM). I got over 24 mpg on the same trip that I took almost 5 years ago when I got over 23 mpg (see Msg#683). Those are my only two trips I have gotten better than 22 mpg.

    The majority of this trip was in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and was above 5000' elevation. Most of the roads were 55 mph speed limit with many turns 35-45 mph and a few straights that I hit 60. Also drove some USFS roads (some dirt) for over an hour.

    I don't think that the elevation had much to do with good mileage, but the low speeds definitely did.
  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaPosts: 1,173
    thats because ever since Edmunds got rid of Carspace attendence has seriously dropped. I do have a FB account, but I don't sign in with it even though edmunds is constantly ramming it down my throat.

    Anyway... I'm hoping my MPG starts to go up a bit. I need to get new shoes for "The Beast" and hopefully they will help out.

  • ever since Edmunds got rid of Carspace attendence has seriously dropped

    Yep, Carspace was nice. All of my stuff is gone. :cry:
  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaPosts: 1,173
    yeah, too bad they can't bring it back and have all our stuff still there in a stored database.

  • brian125brian125 New york / S.C. myrtle beachPosts: 5,181
    I have a 2003 pilot exl bought new great truck. Had trany problems at 100k replaced trans . Gas mileage is not good maybe 18 city 23 hwy . Overall still very happy. the new pilot is ok but there are alot better choice for 2013. if gas mpg is your main concern the pilot is not your answer

    2016 BMW X-5 35i, 2013 Genesis 5.0 R-spec, 2012 MB ML350

  • My 2011 Honda Pilot does not get anywhere what your pilot's are getting. My dash says I average 17.9 on the hwy/city but when I took it in to be tested by Honda, it came back with 16mpg average. Don't trust your dash....go to the same station, fill up to one click and drive...when you fill up again, go to same pump and stop at one click and do the math....My pilot's best mileage was 22 on a rainy day that I drove and 185 miles of 65mph hwy. driving....the worst is got is an average of 5mpg. Something should be done but Honda says that they can't do anything because it is not a defect, it's just false advertising...of course they didn't say that last part, I did.

    Dose anyone know of any lawsuits going with Pilots that are as bad as mine?? My window sticker said my car would get 18-24...
  • I have a 2003 Pilot EX with only 50K miles that used to get between 17-23 MPG. However, lately only averages 12-15. Not sure the reason - maintained per recommended schedule, though have not had timing belt replaced, but doubt that is the cause for drop in MPG. Doubt there are any lawsuits.
  • After searching for the answer for almost two years, I found it to be the ethanol mix (suggested by someone on this board - very helpful post and worth a search here!) When I stick with two particular stations of two particular brands (can I mention names??? Shell and BP) I get the 17+ in-town mileage always, 20+ short trips (haven't taken long trips recently). BUT I have to go to these particular stations - same brands at other stations don't work as well (16-18 top). It took some trial and a lot of manual tracking but well worth it. (Someone said you can ask the owner/operator about their particular mix - I didn't do this since the options were limited - just stuck with one station for a few tanks, switched to another for a few tanks - and voila!)
  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaPosts: 1,173
    Yeah, the ethanol mix is really a pain in the rump. All the stations around me have either switched (or are starting to) over to the 15% ethenol / 85% gas mix. Now this is not the E85 (85% ethenol / 15% gas mix) since I know the Pilots wouldn't like that. What makes it even worse, the 2 stations that sold Ethenol Free have both been closed - 1 due to fire, the other due to re-zoning.

  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    edited December 2012
    I agree with whattodo2 .

    Gas brands can make a difference. And for some "unknown" to me reason even certain stations seem to yield better mileage.

    There are also other culprits that can sneak up on us over time.
    Here are just a few.

    1, Dirty fuel injectors and other fuel delivery components. Once they have gotten dirty, sometimes the only thing that will clean them up is whatever they do at the Honda Dealer. That can cost near $100. So trying a bottle or 2 of a fuel injector cleaner that you add to your fuel tank might be a worthwhile option. Also using a "Top Tier" fuel can help clean them, as well as to keep them clean. This link will yell you all about "Top Tier" as well as where to find it.

    2. Driving habits, such as "Foot weight" etc can change as we become more lax concerning fuel mileage. But also even slight changes in commute distances, heavier traffic, any additional traffic lights? Cold weather, especially combined with short distances are real MPG killers.

    3. "ILP" : Several years ago our 03 Pilot suddenly dropped 3-4 mpg across the board for no apparent reason. Seems it had less than 10K miles on the clock.
    Tried several things to no avail. Then someone suggested doing the "ILP" (Idle learn Procedure). I did it and the mileage returned.

    The ILP is part of the dealers "Get Ready" procedure and may or may not actually get done. Within that procedure, it says to do it when ever the battery has gone dead, or been replaced, or certain fuses have been pulled. In my case the battery had been disconnected while doing some wiring stuff, just prior to the mileage drop. FWIW the idle never seemed to be affected, but the fuel mileage was. kipk, "Honda Pilot Real World MPG" #201, 30 Dec 2006 4:02 am Some folks think it is BS and others got results. Only takes a short time to do CORRECTLY, and worked for us.

    4. Stale gas. A gov report I read said that Ethanol blends tend to deteriorate quicker than the pure Dino fuels did. They suggested buying gas from "Busy station" where the gas doesn't have time to sit in their storage tanks and go bad.

    Also to run the pump on it's lowest setting. This helps prevent sucking up sediment from the storage tank.

    When the pump clicks "OFF" the first time, stop! Topping off to where you can see gas in the filler tube can damage some parts of the Ennissions.

  • Guys, I agree with most of the suggestions but am surprised no one is mentioned top tier gas. Honda even puts this suggestion in their manual now.

    Google it ... I don't burn anything else. Not just for the mileage, but more so to ensure my injectors and engine stay clean.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    edited January 2013

    I spoke of Top Tier Fuel in the post just above yours. (Post #1169) :)

    Supposedly TOP TIER gas IS SUPPOSED TO simply HELP KEEP THE FUEL SYSTEM CLEANER. I totally agree with you, in that TT gas seems to deliver better mileage for us, from tank to tank. Especially on the road.

    We traded our 03 Pilot for an 09 Ridgeline. And although the RL doesn't get the MPG of the Pilot, it does OK. On a recent trip to Indiana, from South of Atlanta, we got 23.9 mpg going up and 24.9 on the return, driving the posted speed limits. Approximately 550 miles each way with Cruise control operating most of the time, and AC about half the time.

    We can better that by 1-2 mpg, when driving 62 mph, but there were too many trucks, and it made more "safety" sense to drive the higher speeds.

    My neighbor has an 07 Ridgeline and is a conservative driver. Driving the posted speed limits, he averages 20-22mpg on the road. He saves 3-5 cents per gallon using "CHEAP" gas.

    I keep a list of the Top Tier Brands in my cars, and look for them when on the Road.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited January 2013
    I'm one of those who isn't convinced.

    Top Tier Gas

    (you got better mpg going to Atlanta because it was downhill all the way. :shades: )
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    edited January 2013

    My neighbor isn't convinced either.

    He seems to feel he is better qualified than BMW, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen and Audi. Of course his mileage is 7%-10% worse than mine. But he saves 1%-4% on fuel prices. :sick:

    For me personally I will stick with Top Tier. Real world, it is the same price as BP and other Top Brands that are not Top Tier.

    You may be more right than wrong about the downhill thingie. :)

    We always get 1-2 better mpg driving "downhill" to Myrtle Beach, than the return "Uphill" to Home. Provided all other conditions are the same.

    Of course the prevailing winds from West to East likely play most of that.

  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    The second of these 2 videos is funny.

    Don't know how anyone could call that gal a "Super Model". But it must be true! Cause you can't put anything on the internet that isn't true! Right? :confuse:

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited January 2013
    He seems to feel he is better qualified than BMW, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen and Audi.

    Which begs the question of why Ford and Chrysler and the others didn't sign on. It's even more interesting that Top Tier is trademarked by GM, the same people that gave us Dex-Cool and Dexos.

    Funny thing is that my local "off-brand" station that I usually use paid the fee and is Top Tier.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Well...! They are "Ford and Chrysler and the others". I don't purchase their products any longer, so I don't try to understand their logic.

    Maybe they need to rethink this thing. Ford is experiencing more than it's share of problems.
    Don't know who owns Chrysler this week. Is it still Fiat? Others are others, also rans!

    Doesn't matter whose name the "TradeMark" is in. But, could be, it is because GM thought of it first, and the other manufacturers thought it to be worthwhile. One of those mfg being HONDA! Another being Toyota. Of which we own one of each. So I pay attention when they recommend something that they don't sell.

    BTW, how do you know there is any kind of fee involved to be a Top Tier Supplier? How much is it and to whom is it paid?

    GM does have a good idea.... occationally! Top Tier may have been one of them. Are they still the largest auto/truck mfg in the world?. Or have they been overtaken by Toyota or other.

    I buy from "QT" Stations eveny chance I get, and they are generally less expensive than most others in our neck of the woods. They were an off brand at one time! But now one of the most sucessful in the area.

    The day of the "service station" as I grew up with are pretty much gone. Now they are mostly Fuel stations/Convience stores. So I applaude QT for selling their fuel at less $$ than the competitions. Of course that brings in more customers to their inside store. ;)

  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    edited January 2013
    "... BTW, how do you know there is any kind of fee involved to be a Top Tier Supplier? How much is it and to whom is it paid? ..."

    It is not a fee per se, but the gas is more expensive from the Top Tier refiners, and the stations pass that cost along.

    One thing I find interesting is (I've read) that the station owner does not have a lot of choice on price; the same brand may be more expensive at a different station because that is how the refiner sells it. I don't know exactly how they determine the pricing. Maybe location?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited January 2013
    GM does have a "fuel engineer" (or maybe many of them?). And I assume the other makes have similar positions, but it seems to me that the people cracking the crude have the most tribologists and petroleum and lubrication engineers and that the car companies should work with them. And probably they do.

    Wikipedia says "Gas brands can participate and get Top Tier listing if they meet certain standards, which includes performance tests for intake valve and combustion chamber deposits, fuel injector fouling, and intake valve sticking. Additive manufacturers pay for the testing, which costs an estimated $25,000 to $30,000, while gasoline companies pay an annual fee based on the number of stations it operates to participate in the program."

    Hm, additive manufactures pay for the testing - gee, and I bet they then try to sell detergent packs to the gas companies. :shades:

    Rats, and I just resolved to try to be less cynical in the New Year too. Don't mind me, just go out and enjoy your Pilot.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Good stuff Steve!

    Appreciate your investigating and providing info that it is more than paying a fee to belong to the TOP TIER group!

    And that it is more than adding. or claiming to add, some detergent. They have to actually meet the standards and prove that their "stuff" works to clean up the system and help keep it that way.

    Wikipedia says the fuel companies pay an annual fee depending on the number of locations they operate. That may have to do with "Surprise" visits to various locations by the "Top Tier" folks. To keep the gas companies honest.

    Can't enjoy the Pilot any longer as we got "Top Tier" money for it back in '09 when we got the New Ridgeline! :)

  • So what role do you see Octane playing in all of this?

    I tested 93 a bit from our "best" station (which happens to be Top Tier, I guess, although the other "best" isn't but still gives me superior mpg...) I found mpg went up directly in proportion to price. So I pay significantly more for a little more mpg, but after the calculations it is just about a wash (maybe a wee bit more $).

    Any thoughts? Is it worth it in a 2006 Pilot?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited January 2013
    This post is old but I think it's still valid.

    To quote Mr Shiftright, premium gas isn't a doggie treat for your car. :)

    Since you're experimenting, check out and see if you can find some ethanol free gas in your area. The price difference may still make it a wash but most people report better mpg with the "100% gas" stuff.
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