$12,815 - $17,822

2012 Honda Pilot Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2012 Honda Pilot was new.


Interior: 7.3

Reviewers like the 2012 Honda Pilot’s large cabin, which features an adult-size third row and decent room for cargo. However, complaints still persist about the plain-Jane interior and 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
  • "The interior seems quieter than many large SUVs we've tested, but that's not a scientific finding, only a sense we get from test driving so many of the Honda Pilot's competitors.” -- Kelley Blue Book


The 2012 Honda Pilot comes standard with seating for eight, cloth upholstery, a flat-folding, sliding and reclining second-row bench seat and a flat-folding third-row bench seat. Upgrading to the EX adds a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support. EX-L and Touring models add a four-way power-adjustable passenger’s seat, leather upholstery and heated front seats. The Pilot doesn’t offer ventilated seats, even in the top-of-the-line Touring trim, which is unusual for such an expensive vehicle. Reviewers don’t say much about the Honda Pilot’s front seats, but they’re quick to point out that the second- and third-row accommodations are roomier than one usually finds in this class. Though adults won’t be comfortable in the third row seats for long trips, they’ll be OK for short rides. One test driver mentions that access to the way-back can be tricky, thanks to the Pilot’s high step-in height and the need to climb past the second row.

  • "Legroom is more than adequate in all three rows, an unusual and welcome attribute in this class.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "You won't feel short-changed by the Pilot's third-row seats. In a segment where third rows are meant for child-size passengers only, the Honda Pilot is one of the few that can accommodate adults in relative comfort. Unfortunately the seat cushions for the second and third rows are too low, forcing longer-legged passengers into a squatting, knees-up position.” -- Edmunds
  • "Better-than-average 2nd-row space, with good room and comfort for adults. Tall step-in is a demerit for 2nd-row entry and exit. Third-row access is tricky for adults, though it is helped by 2nd-row seats that slide far forward. Three-abreast seating in the 3rd row is for kids only, though two average-sized adults will be comfortable on short trips.” -- Consumer Guide

Interior Features

The 2012 Honda Pilot is equipped to a level that’s average for its class. It comes standard with features like front and rear climate controls, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, a seven-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with auxiliary input jack and speed-sensitive volume control. Opting for the EX trim will add a 2-gigabyte music hard drive, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and tri-zone climate control, while EX-L models also include a rearview camera. Top-of-the-line Touring models can be expensive, but they come standard with a premium 10-speaker audio system, a satellite-linked navigation system and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. That’s unusual for the class, since most automakers leave a DVD system as a stand-alone option.

For 2012, Honda revised the Pilot’s center stack, which is a move that reviewers appreciate. While last year’s controls were button-heavy and confusing to use, auto writers say that the new version is more intuitive and ergonomically sound. Test drivers note that even when fully-equipped, the Honda Pilot isn’t an especially luxurious or high-tech place to be. For a more upscale feel, try the Ford Flex Titanium. It costs less than the Honda Pilot Touring, and comes with most of the same features.

  • "Revisions for 2012 give the current Honda Pilot a center stack that's less button-heavy than that of its predecessor. The buttons and knobs are also more logically clustered, which makes this Pilot's controls more user-friendly than those seen in last year's model.” -- Edmunds
  • "In keeping with Honda's simple but functional design philosophy, the 2012 Pilot SUV's interior is a study in efficiency. The dash and instruments are easy to operate and logically placed. There are no fancy light shows here, no radical designs that look neat but don't work well in the real world, just the basics. Of course, the Honda Pilot's interior is by no means stark, and in EX-L trim it is downright plush.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Most controls are easy to use, but the center stack contains numerous buttons that require familiarization. The navigation system absorbs no audio or climate functions, which is a plus. However, its control knob and flanking button interface is more complicated to use than the touchscreens on most of Pilot's rivals.” -- Consumer Guide
  • “Its interior is pleasant but not overly fussy and is filled with lots of useful storage bins.” -- Automobile Magazine


The 2012 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. Once folded, they create a flat load floor, which isn’t always the case in this class. Though reviewers mention the space behind the third row is about average and not very useful, with the third row folded down, the amount of space is excellent for the Pilot’s class. Small storage places are plentiful. The Pilot boasts 12 beverage holders, an under-floor 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 EX-L and Touring models.

  • "Nails the most important aspect of any family vehicle: Lots of space.” -- Car and Driver
  • "This is one of Pilot's strong points. Load volume becomes ample once you begin to fold down the seat backs. Both rear rows drop easily to form a flat deck; 3rd-row latches are positioned rearward and are easily reached from the back of the vehicle. Opening liftgate glass adds versatility.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "With the second and third row seats stowed, the 2012 Honda Pilot can hold up to 87 cubic feet of cargo. It's a respectable figure, and the Pilot's boxy shape works to its advantage, allowing it to accept bulkier items with ease. For smaller items, there are plenty of thoughtful storage bins and pockets throughout the cabin.” -- Edmunds
  • "Rear cargo space with the third-row seat in place, however, is not so abundant. Luckily, there is a large cargo bin below the floor for storing items, as well as ample roof space for a carrier rack.” -- Kelley Blue Book

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