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Honda Pilot Real World MPG



  • slamtazslamtaz Posts: 55
    right on the dot! calm driving is the way... :shades:

    we did a 358.7 mile trip to san diego from vegas with the same load as i have posted before (i.e. 6 pax aboutt 850 lbs plus baggages). this time the parameters are:

    1. barely any wind factor
    2. entire trip strictly set to cruise control at 70mph, whenever possible
    3. a/c on druing entire trip at 2 clicks before max temp and both blowers set to middle setting.

    refilled with 14.214 glns upon arrival. result is an amazing 25.23 mpg

    same route taken going back but with more stop-overs stretching to 368.5. when we arrived in vegas, refilled with 15.028 glns. result was an equally amazing 24.52 mpg.

    downside: my daughter said that probably thousands of vehicles zipped passed us :sick: and that we're able to overtake only a handful of vehicles, especially those trailer trucks. but it sure was a relaxing, calm driving and almost therapeutic drive :)
  • spacedogspacedog Posts: 8
    Tess and Joe,
    I drove a 2004 pilot EX-L for 4 years and never experienced any shifting issues. When our 2004 leased ended, we decided to lease another pilot EX-L in January 2008. The driving experience between the two is like night and day.
    1. A light acceleration from a stop yields gear shifts at 3500+ RPMs... great for gas mileage, right? 2nd to third is not much better. Don't even tell me I need to lighten up on the foot.
    2. Driving in the range of 40-50 MPH, with minimal grade changes, the vehicle downshifts, upshifts, tach fluctuates between 1600 to 2500 RPMs. Conveter unlocks/locks. It's driving me crazy. Never had this in the 04
    3. Average of 14.6 MPG combined city/highway driving

    Took the vehicle back to the dealer three times. Each of the technicians said that this was normal. Control systems are not supposed to work this way. I spoke with the Service Manager and he put me in touch with the regional Honda Rep. It turns out that he Honda Rep was experiencing the same low end shifting issues and the gear searching between 40-50MPH in his own 08 pilot, but wrote it off as..."I guess I just have to live with it"

    I asked him how these types of issues get resolved, because clearly this is an engineering/software problem. He stated that there needs to be a sufficient number of complaints to warrant an investigation from Honda Engineering. The only way these complaints are heard is through the regional reps and/or the Honda Tech Line. Once a critical mass of complaints are received, they will start looking at the problem.

    In order to have your complaints heard, insist that your dealer service tech & manager contact the Honda Tech Line to record the complaint. This is crucial to getting these issues fixed

    The door is not shut... Just today, I took the pilot into the dealer and he hooked up the diagnostic PC and we went for a 30 minute drive, recording 1 minute intervals of data. He is sending the data out to Honda Tech Line. Perhaps we will al benefit from this. Will keep you posted
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Hopefully enough complaints will prompt Honda to do some research into this issue.

    My neighbor has an 07 Ridgeline, and we drive about the same style. He averages about the same mileage (maybe a little better) in local driving as our 03 Pilot.

    I asked him about the shift points (RPM) with a warm engine, and he said he didn't know, but would check it out. He got back with me and said, that when the engine is cold and a very light foot, it shifts around 2800 RPM. With a warm engine, on level ground and light foot, it shifts at 1800-2000 RPM. Same with our Pilot on both counts.

    One of our sons recently traded his Mustang GT for an 07 Ridgeline. He says he is getting 17-19 local driving, but hasn't paid attention to shifting points.

    Several people have posted on this forum, excellent mileage with newer Pilots.

    This indicates that the large mileage differences are not a "Gearing" thing. But something else!

    With those Pilots that shift at higher RPM, is it possible that something in the "logic" is not "Understanding" that the engine is warm? If that is the case, the engine could also be continuously running richer, as though it not warmed up to operating temps yet. This may not even show up as an error in the computer.

    Below is a copy of neighbors spread sheet. A couple of items to NOTE:

    1. He normally sets his cruise on 75mph. The fillup on 10/28/07 was the result of setting the cruise on 65 mph for that one 256 mile trip, "just to see what it would do", according to him. Again, it resulted in about the same mileage as our Pilot at that speed.

    2. The last fillup on 03/16/08 was the result of 273 miles. 155 miles of that was towing a 3200# Trail Manor (collapsible) camper and the rest was local.

    Date Odometer $/gal Gallons Cost Mileage Avg
    8/3/2007 30
    8/13/2007 299 $2.579 14.93 $38.51 18.01 18.01
    8/22/2007 424 $2.649 7.74 $20.50 16.15 17.38
    8/22/2007 562 $2.619 6.61 $17.30 20.89 18.17
    8/22/2007 742 $2.529 8.90 $22.50 20.23 18.65
    8/23/2007 961 $2.649 10.76 $28.50 20.36 19.03
    9/3/2007 1196 $2.549 12.79 $32.60 18.37 18.89
    9/24/2007 1507 $2.629 17.50 $46.00 17.77 18.64
    9/30/2007 1619 $2.629 6.09 $16.01 18.39 18.63
    10/12/2007 1775 $2.549 7.45 $19.00 20.93 18.81
    10/12/2007 1871 $2.599 4.58 $11.91 20.95 18.91
    10/16/2007 1971 $2.519 4.45 $11.20 22.49 19.07
    10/18/2007 2075 $2.699 4.63 $12.49 22.47 19.22
    10/18/2007 2372 $2.599 12.50 $32.50 23.75 19.69
    10/26/2007 2582 $2.589 9.35 $24.20 22.47 19.90
    10/28/2007 2838 $2.719 9.64 $26.21 26.56 20.36
    11/2/2007 3136 $2.589 13.75 $35.60 21.67 20.48
    11/2/2007 3406 $2.589 11.59 $30.00 23.30 20.68
    11/15/2007 3673 $2.839 13.70 $38.90 19.49 20.59
    11/23/2007 3743 $2.839 4.93 $14.00 14.20 20.41
    12/2/2007 3829 $2.879 4.52 $13.00 19.05 20.38
    12/5/2007 3878 $2.869 2.37 $6.80 20.67 20.38
    12/11/2007 3969 $2.819 4.82 $13.60 18.86 20.35
    12/27/2007 4289 $2.789 16.13 $45.00 19.83 20.31
    1/9/2008 4436 $2.959 8.28 $24.50 17.75 20.21
    1/20/2008 4557 $2.919 7.78 $22.70 15.56 20.05
    2/12/2008 4783 $2.869 13.50 $38.73 16.74 19.86
    3/16/2008 5056 $3.099 17.59 $54.50 15.52 19.57

  • Spacedog,

    That is exactly what I have been saying. Our 2004 Odyssey shifts at a much, much lower rpm for a given speed and throttle pressure. I have notified the dealer but since I don't put many miles on the 2007 Pilot (only one oil change in 16 months, 11,000 miles currently) I don't get to talk to them much. I WILL mention it again at my next service, though!


    I don't believe that the transmission shift points are effecting my HIGHWAY mileage at all. I know that the TC stays locked so that should not be an issue, however since the gear ratios are different between the 2004 and 2007, there must be an overall effect (however that may be minimal).

    What some of us have been saying is that OUR Pilots are not delivering the fuel economy that YOURS is. Tess and Slamtaz, This has nothing to do with my foot or driving style. It doesn't matter if you set the cruise control on my Pilot or if I set it, the vehicle will be moving at a constant speed (and on flat ground) and it will not get the gas mileage that your Pilot gets. That has been my point for quite a while, my Pilot is not delivering as expected nor as good as some other Pilots. Please don't take this response the wrong way, I appreciate all of your input and comments but please consider the fact that some Pilots just don't get good gas mileage.

    I have stated before that with so many components that must work together in a vehicle, a few can combine to effect performance or efficiency. I just wish I could figure out what and/or why I don't get better gas mileage. :confuse:

    That Buick Enclave is rated for 22 mpg on the highway, but they were able to get 27 mpg with the cruise control set with that six-speed transmission. I have always been able to exceed the rated mpg in all my vehicles and yet I can barely get the rated mpg in my Pilot

  • I haven't had a chance to take our Pilot into the shop but am going to this weekend. The dealer offered to let me test drive another model while mine was being checked out to see if I notice a difference. Although I appreciate the gesture, it just sounds like they want to keep me busy instead of actually checking the engine for me. I'll let everyone know how the other model handles, if any differently.

    We actually just took it on our first long road trip of roughly 400 miles. I don't have an exact measurement of our mpg, but hope to get one finished soon. I tried to keep it in cruise as much as possible right around 72 or 73. I also don't feel the need to speed as much as I used to because the ride is more comfortable, quite, safer feeling, smoother, etc... I'm "one of the big guys" on the road now :D I used to drive a little Toyota Corolla.

    I didn't notice the gear switching issue from 4th to 5th though. It did seem to rev high when it changed over right around 65 mph, but otherwise it seemed fine. I'll take this other Pilot out on the interstate and really open it up this weekend. Hope to have something good for everyone. Thanks.
  • davidd3davidd3 Posts: 582
    please consider the fact that some Pilots just don't get good gas mileage.


    Exactly, because not all model year Pilots are created equal. Also true that not all drivers are created equal. Pilot owners have different driving styles. City/highway mix is another factor. Etc. But the basic starting point is that not all Pilots are created

  • spacedogspacedog Posts: 8
    David, et al,
    You are exactly right, but here is my beef... I had an 04 EX-L 4WD and drove it for 4 years. Loved everything about it. Lease ended and decided to get the same vehicle 08 EX-L 4WD in Jan. I believe the 04 and 08 should be similar but not exactly the same. On the 5th model year, you would think the engineers would have it tuned to perfection,....not my experience by a long shot. Gas mileage appears to be much worse in my 08 (so far) I can only surmise that many new pilot owners take all of this high rev shifting, poor gas mileage as normal. I probably would too if I had not driven a pilot for 4 years. Maybe they changed the software in the 08 that does not fit my driving style anymore? If this is the case can somebody please tell me how I must change my driving style in the 08 to get the same gas mileage and performance as the 04?
  • FYI.

    Below are the specifications for the model years that show the differences such as gear ratios. Driving for 2 hours with the cruise control on should eliminate any variances in driving styles. Although there are differences in gearing and Hp, some folks can still get great gas mileage with the 2007 and 2008 AWDs. I am just not one of them. I am still poking around trying to find out why not. :confuse:


    (2008 is exactly the same as 2007 except for the new EPA mileage estimate




  • davidd3davidd3 Posts: 582
    On the 5th model year, you would think the engineers would have it tuned to perfection,....not my experience by a long shot. Gas mileage appears to be much worse in my 08

    Everyone who comes to realize this finds it surprising. Maybe Honda engineers have, in this instance, improved performance at the cost of fuel efficiency.

    I can only surmise that many new pilot owners take all of this high rev shifting, poor gas mileage as normal. I probably would too if I had not driven a pilot for 4 years.

    I have a 2007 EXL 4WD. Same as the 2008 in this respect. I've considered the high revving to be normal, since many other people have reported it in this forum. But I am interested to see where this discussion is going, in particular some forum contributors taking up this issue with Honda as possibly being a defect.
  • 03 Pilot with 60k on it. A lot of factors contribute to the mpg of your vehicle. Type of tires you have, Tire pressure, Winter bend fuel vs summer bend for cold climates. How often the vehicle is using 4 wheel drive, Mechanical condition. One other thing to consider is what type of gas you purchase. From my own tests in my opinion it seems to make a difference. Discount gas or top tier gas. Better fuel, better mileage.

    I average 17 in town and 22 on the hwy. In the winter I get a mile or two less when it's very cold and in the summer a mile or two more.
  • carabelcarabel Posts: 43
    You don't mean top tier being premium gas ? Or do you mean discount gas being non Shell/Mobil/BP, etc name brands ? Because premium gas will not make a difference unless you are towing heavy loads. Otherwise, on regular driving, use regular gas - 87 octane and money spent on premium is a total waste.
  • slamtazslamtaz Posts: 55
    I'm no guru when it comes to figuring out how, why or what specifically affects mileage and up to what extent, although i'm quite aware of the following to affect mileage in a certain way:

    1. up to about 260 lbs curb weight difference from the base model 2WD VP to the 4WD EXL/SE models.
    2. regular load on the vehicle (i.e. passengers, baggages, running/step boards, extras, etc.)
    3. tire pressure & over-all vehicle maintenance
    4. how the vehicle was broken-in by the owner and to include the time it's sitting on the dealer's lot(i.e. this is also why i prefer to get fresh-off-the-truck vehicles, as i don't know how those vehicles sitting on the lot were test driven by other customers, if i may say, there are those who trash vehicles during test drives and even push it to the limits).
    5. driving style
    6. driving environment including terrain type, wind factor, weather temp, road quality, etc.

    i also tend to agree that the sum of the individual parts (i.e. which may vary in individual quality) may perform a bit differently together and could explain the apparent difference in mileage or performance or even having a :lemon: .

    i used to have a 1988 pathfinder (yes 1988, not a typo) which i was surprised that the dealer offer to take as a trade-in when i got our pilot. mileage on the 3.0 Ltr 4WD V6 pathfinder was a measly 13.5 to 14.0 mpg city and 15 to 16.5 mpg hiway :sick: . that's why before purchasing the 3.5 Ltr pilot, even just getting a few notches +/- the EPA mpg of 16/22 city/hiway was good enough for me. :)

    just my .02
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    >"I don't believe that the transmission shift points are effecting my HIGHWAY mileage at all......I have stated before that with so many components that must work together in a vehicle, a few can combine to effect performance or efficiency. I just wish I could figure out what and/or why I don't get better gas mileage...."


    I don't think the shift points are affecting the HIGHWAY mileage either. I do believe the 3000 RPM minimum shifts points may be an indicator of another problem that could be affecting your mileage.

    I believe most will agree that a cold engine requires more fuel to operate.
    Both our CR-V and Pilot have higher shift points when the engine is cold.
    So we have 2 things in common with a cold engine.

    1. Higher shift points, the driver can see and feel.
    2. A richer fuel mixture, the driver can not see or feel, But knows it must be happening.

    With either of my cars, I understand from 5 years of driving them, that they shift at about 3000 when cold. Once warm they shift much lower.

    There are sensors, smoke and mirrors, and probably some "Voo-Doo" that send information to the computer when the engine reaches operating temperature. Shift points become lower and the fuel mixture leans out.

    If for any reason the computer does not "Know" the engine is "Warm", it could continue to keep the shifts points high and fuel rich. There could be no errors recorded, because all sensors think they are still looking at a cold engine.
    I believe that to be a very real possibility.

    Joe, I agree that some vehicles simply refuse to co-operate. But sometimes the problem can be simple and hidden in plain view.

    I don't believe the slight difference in gear ratios of the older and newer Pilots have that much affect. Many folks have reported "Good" mileage with their newer Pilots. My neighbor and son are getting good mileage with their "Lower geared" 07 Ridgelines.

    \PS.. FWIW: the ILP was done on both those Ridgelines.
  • carabelcarabel Posts: 43
    E10 Factor - has anyone considered the mpg and performance impact of these blended gasolines ? The state of FL just mandated all gas pumps to have E10's. While reports say little or no impact, I've read them with uncertainty. Any comments will be appreciated.
  • davidd3davidd3 Posts: 582
    Got 19.5mpg from my 2007 EXL 4WD for a 400+ mile trip this weekend. Almost all highway. Used cruise control a lot, set at 70mph. 5 people + overnight bags. Actually I could not make it all the way there and back on the same tank of gas. I had to stop for gas after 380 miles. It took 19.5 gallons. Oh well. Maybe next time. Oh, and by the way, the fill up cost $67! Ouch.
  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    As far as ethanol (E10) goes it has very little affect if any. MInnesota has required 10% ethanol for years, Wisconsin hasn't. I see no differrence with my Subaru Outback (28mpg) or our Tahoe (19mpg). For my Outback temperature is the biggiest issue. Below 35F the mpg starts dropping. I have noticed about 1 mpg difference between brands of gas. So far E10 gas at Shell has been the best and I sometimes get just short of 30mpg highway with it. My AWD Subaru was rated for 27mpg highway in 2001 and now has a 25mpg rating.

    Now if you go upto E85, then you will see a difference. I haven't tried it yet in our Tahoe, but it can burn it.
  • davidd3davidd3 Posts: 582
    2007 EXL. Got 21.72mpg for a trip of 290 miles. Almost all highway @ approx 70mph. This is our best ever mpg in any fill-up with our Pilot. :blush:

    My family made this trip in 2 vehicles, with one following the other. The other vehicle, a 6 cylinder sport sedan (and the lead car) got 33.1mpg (about 50% better) for the same trip. Now I don't feel so good about my new mpg record for my Pilot. :(
  • Spacedog & other fellow '08 Honda Pilot Owners,
    EXACT same situation experienced with my brand new (less than one week old) Pilot--except for gas milage--I get 13 mpg !!!!! The shifting thing is freaking me out and sadly for me a very familiar feel. It's the reason why I had to buy a new car to begin with. My 2000 Ford Windstar minivan started having shifting problems (would not fully shift into higher gears) and the transmission went out complete with engine damage (caused from the transmission shifting problem). To tell you the truth, I wanted to return this bad boy altogether and head back to the mazda dealership, but.....I'm the proud owner of a new Honda Pilot like it or not.

    I've got to see the dealer end of this week to have a wind deflector installed, so I intend to have them drive it with me to check out this "problem". I think we all know they'll tell me, "that's just the way it drives, nothing to worry about, just get used to it--you haven't had a new car in a while, dear".....blah, blah, blah.

    I'm not a techie, so give me the heads up on exactly what to point out to them. IF this is indeed a problem for the new '08's, I'd like to help with identifying it.

    having buyer's remorse.....
  • Took my 2007 Pilot AWD in for service. They changed the oil and differential gear oil. They also checked the transmission shifts and the fuel trim. No error codes for the transmission problems or the engine/fuel efficiency. The service writer did say he has driven the new Pilots and they seem "weird" to him, too, but he can't fix a problem that does not show-up on diagnostic. I need to call Honda and report the situation.

    I am still getting around 19 mpg on my regular suburban/rural commute.

  • spacedogspacedog Posts: 8
    On March my March 24th post, explained how I took my 08 EX-L 4WD pilot into the dealer and he hooked up the diagnostic PC and we went for a 30 minute drive, recording 1 minute intervals of data. He sent the data out to Honda Tech Line.

    The regional Honda Rep and my dealership’s service director called me today to discuss the results. The word back from Honda Tech Line is that the data shows that my pilot is just like every other 08 and everything is "normal". While the Rep agrees that there IS something wrong with the shifting in his pilot and mine, Honda will not do anything unless more complaints are received. I asked the Rep “How many complaints will it take?”. He did not know… but indicated that unless the problem is a safety issue, a major defect resulting parts breaking prematurely, or impacting sales, Honda would probably not spend the resources to fix it. The 09’s are rolling off the trucks in mid-May, so there won’t be as many 08’s on the street for owners to complain about.

    Bottom line – we’re stuck with these POS’s. I am going to talk with the GM of the dealership and see what I can do to get out my lease or change to something else. Never thought I’d say it, but I’d even consider a mini-van over this pilot. Now I have 2500 miles, still getting less than 15MPG, and the shifting feels like Mr Toad’s Wild Ride. I have do deal with this for another 33 months? No thank you!!! I feel sorry for those of you that purchased.

    For those of you who are having these same problems, make sure that Honda Tech Line hears your complaints. Don't let the dealer blow you off. Then, maybe in a year or two, Honda will address it… or not. I’ll go crazy before then. Good luck to all of you!!!!

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