$10,439 - $14,423

2011 Honda Pilot Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2011 Honda Pilot was new.


Interior: 7.3

Reviewers like the Pilot’s large cabin, which features an adult-size third row and decent room for cargo with all seats in use. However, complaints still persist about the somewhat complicated center stack controls and the low-quality plastic materials.

  • "Fit and finish are generally up to class standards, though Pilot's interior is awash in cheap-looking hard-plastic trim. LX and EX's cloth upholstery looks nice and feels sturdy. EX-L and Touring's leather interior feels only slightly more upscale." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Where the new Pilot falls down is the materials and assembly of the dashboard. The plastics are hard and the textures look cheaper than those in a Honda Fit. Perhaps worst of all is the fit and placement of some the seams." -- Autoblog
  • "It seems quieter inside than the Highlander, and its thick-rimmed steering wheel and supportive seats make the Toyota's cockpit feel cheap by comparison." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The…Honda Pilot's interior layout is rugged-looking, in keeping with the boxy exterior. However, as in the Accord, the Pilot's center stack is littered with small buttons that take awhile to get used to. Materials quality isn't that great either -- in contrast to the Veracruz's almost Lexus-like dash, for example, the Pilot's consists of roughly grained hard plastic." -- Edmunds

First- and Second-Row Seats

The Pilot’s first and second rows are spacious enough for most reviewers. However, a few of them complain that the padding in the seats is too firm. A major advantage is that the Pilot comes with LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) in all three second-row seating positions. Most other SUVs offer two LATCH positions only.

Power adjustment for the driver seat is standard on EX models and up, while power adjustment for the passenger seat comes only on EX-L and Touring models. EX-L and Touring models also get leather-trimmed upholstery and heated front seats.

  • "The Pilot's front bucket seats have moderately firm cushioning that proved comfortable during the four-plus hours I spent driving and riding in the SUV." -- Cars.com
  • "Although the leather front seats have adequate support, the padding is extremely firm, which may prove uncomfortable for some passengers." -- Velocity Journal
  • “Both the second and third rows are let down by low cushions, though, forcing even moderately long-legged passengers to adopt a knees-up riding position." -- Edmunds

Third-Row Seats

With its standard third-row seat, the Pilot seats eight. This gives it an advantage since many competitors seat only seven. Even better, the Pilot’s third-row seat is spacious and large enough for adults. However, you can get an even more spacious third-row seat in the Ford Flex, which starts at about $1,000 more than the Honda Pilot. Just remember that it seats seven rather than eight.

  • "As far as third rows go, it's a good one, but people much over six feet still won't want to do much time back there." -- Car and Driver
  • "As a full-size adult, I could climb back into the third row with little hassle and fit comfortably there." -- Detroit News
  • "Despite the bump in third-row legroom, it's still on the small side for adults. Fortunately, young kids are most likely to prowl this part of the Pilot, and for them it should provide adequate room." -- Cars.com
  • "Out back, the Pilot boasts a third-row seat that's actually inhabitable by adults -- no small feat in this midsize segment that's full of third-row penalty boxes." -- Edmunds
  • "Unless the three in the third row are pre-schoolers, they're going to call it the penalty box. (Honda says the third row has the knee room of the average America. It failed to account for the fact that the average American's knees are connected to thunder thighs and an ample derriere.)" -- AutoMedia.com

Interior Features

The base LX model comes standard with cruise control, front and rear air conditioning with an air-filtration system, a tilt and telescoping steering column, steering wheel-mounted cruise controls, an MP3/auxiliary input jack and a seven-speaker CD stereo.

A big downside is that no options are available for the base model. In fact, the Pilot offers very few options at all, and most of them are only available for the top-of-the-line EX-L and Touring models. If you’re interested in some of the more high-level features, you should just upgrade to the EX-L or Touring. Just remember that the EX-L starts at nearly $34,000. For 2011, Honda’s Satellite-Linked Navigation System is newly optional for the EX-L model (it was previously available on the Touring model only). The DVD Rear Entertainment System is also newly standard on the Touring model.

  • "On the bright side, the navigation system is one of the best in the business once you figure out how to use it, and thoughtful storage areas and cubbies abound." -- Edmunds
  • "The Pilot is available with many of the features you would expect to find in a family-oriented crossover SUV, like a backseat entertainment system, but rather than being optional equipment that you can add to any trim level, many popular features are limited to more expensive trims." -- Cars.com
  • "Inside, the design is busy -- bordering on schizophrenic, with different shapes, colors and textures going in every direction and way too many buttons and knobs on the center stack." -- MSN
  • "The center stack, when the navigation system is included, becomes a confusing mess of buttons, switches and knobs. There are 52 buttons to press, adjust or select -- not including the 15 on the steering wheel. Space missions use fewer commands." -- Detroit News
  • "But jumping into the cabin, we get a thoroughly different perspective, a heavy dose of Acura with the profusion of buttons on the steering wheel and stack, and most noticeably with the big joystick/knob used for controlling navigation and audio functions on the LCD. Unfortunately, this interface hasn't been particularly refined during its jump from Acura to Honda, so it keeps some of the flaws, such as the two sets of buttons for two different voice command systems." -- CNET


The 2011 Honda Pilot provides 18 cubic feet of cargo volume with all three rows of seats in use. Space increases to 47.7 and 87 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded down, respectively. Once folded, they create a flat load floor, which isn’t always the case in this class. The amount of space is excellent for the Pilot’s class.

Small storage places are plentiful. The Pilot boasts 12 beverage holders (two in the first row, six in the second and four in the third), a hidden storage space in the cargo area, four cargo-area tie-down anchors, and five cargo-area bag hooks. The glass section of the tailgate can open independently. A power tailgate is standard on Touring models.

  • "Fold down the second- and third-row seats, and a 4-by-8-foot sheet of plywood will lie flat on the floor -- unusual in this market segment." -- Orlando Sentinel
  • "My only real gripe: Honda shrank the glove compartment, allowing only enough room for insurance papers." -- MSN
  • "Prepped for cargo, the Pilot can take on 87 cubic feet of stuff -- technically less than most rivals, but its boxy shape makes it seem bigger." -- Edmunds

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