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Author Topic:   Honda Pilot tow vehicle
delasource posted 09-12-2005 08:32 AM ET (US)   Profile for delasource   Send Email to delasource  
Has anyone had any experience with a Honda Pilot as a tow vehicle? It's rated at 4500 pounds with the optional tow package which definitely will tow my '05 Montauk.

I was more concerned with handling, at the ramp performance, gas mileage issues, etc.

Thanks, Steve

Marlin posted 09-12-2005 09:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for Marlin  Send Email to Marlin     
Steve, my sister has a Honda Pilot that she's very happy with. She tows her daysailer, a Capri 16.5 that weighs maybe 1000 pounds with boat, trailer, and gear. Her only disappointment is with her gas mileage, which seems a little less than the rating (which isn't great for a car-based SUV, but is better than most truck-based SUVs).

The funny thing about the Pilot, and one of the things that made me look elsewhere, is the caveat to the highly-touted 4500 pound towing limit. From the Honda website:

Towing requires installation of power steering fluid and automatic tranmission fluid-cooler, both available exclusively from your Honda dealer. Premuim unleaded fuel is recommended when towing above 3500 lbs. Capacity of 4500 lbs. is for boat trailers and 3500 lbs. for all other trailers. Refer to the owner's manual for additional towing information.

Why is the tow limit 4500 for boats and 3500 for everything else? I could believe that boats have less aerodynamic drag than, say, travel trailers, but my personal conclusion is that this says "you're good for 3500, 4500 is pushing it". Certainly an honest 3500 is plenty for towing your Montauk anyway, but if you're thinking about "growth capability", I'm not sure there's as much there as one might think.


Buckda posted 09-12-2005 09:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Check for a previous discussion about this tow vehicle.

It has more HP than the Ford Explorer (V-6), which is what I use for my 18' Outrage, but I believe it is pretty maxed out.

The IMPORTANT message about towing with a mid-sized SUV or with a car is to take it easy - braking and weight of the vehicle are very important - going slow helps make up for a lot of ground on both fronts. There is a very noticeable difference between 55 and 65 MPH, and again to 70 MPH. I'd rather tow at 55 MPH, but get blown off the road. I typically try to keep it between 60 and 65 MPH but find myself creeping past 70 from time to time. Braking hard from that speed is "interesting."

Ramp performance should not be a problem. I've seen several towing aluminum fishing boats at my local ramp. Rear tires in the water, and just a slight slip on retrieval before the front wheels lock and up they go.

I test drove one earlier this summer and was very impressed overall with handling, drives more "like a car" than my Explorer.

Economy figures are kind of inflated on all vehicles - that's for 55 MPH with one person in the vehicle.

Normal circumstances, expect 1-2 MPG economy loss, and towing...well, I drop from 18-19 MPH Highway to about 11-13 MPG with an 18' Outrage on a tandem axle trailer.

As Marlin states, if you think you might suffer from two foot itis, you're okay to go to an 18 (or perhaps a 190 Outrage), but any bigger and you'll need a new vehicle.

BTW - I recommend those coolers...they're not very expensive (I don't think - for the Ford, the tranny cooler is $150) but well worth it.


Binkie posted 09-12-2005 11:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for Binkie  Send Email to Binkie     
Why not buy a late model Lincoln Town Car. they`re rear wheel drive, V8 power, and will tow 3500lbs with ease. You can ride in comfort with the long wheelbase, and when not towing will get 26mpg highway and 18 mpg around town. The only way to fly.
diveorfish posted 09-12-2005 11:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for diveorfish  Send Email to diveorfish     
I can comment on this. I owned a Pilot for over year and it just wasn’t my cup of tea. We got rid of it in favor of a Chevy Tahoe but we really liked the Toyota Sequoia but deemed it too expensive just so you know where we were coming from.

We love Honda products but my wife just couldn’t get excited about a minivan (we were looking at the Odyssey) and then we saw the Pilot and bought it. We liked the layout of the vehicle and the way it drove initially but we had a three of problems that we couldn’t overcome.

1. Due to the way the windows were designed and the natural body flex (which most SUVs have) there was a constant squeaking chirping noise that was really annoying. The dealership tried but they were never able to fix it after multiple visits. It may have been only with our car, but I know other owners complained of that as well.

2. The drive train was rather noisy. I don’t know if it was because there wasn’t enough insulation, or what, but during driving it always had a low pitched hiss. Also during braking, it sounded like the pads were in the cabin instead of out.

3. On long trips I found it to be uncomfortable. Big guys won’t enjoy it but my 5 ft. tall wife seemed to like it.

They may have fixed these things in subsequent model years.

As a tow vehicle I just don’t think you could tow 4500 lbs with confidence.

It might just boil down to me finding that the larger SUVs are just more comfortable and more substantial. (if you are thinking tow vehicle)

Larry posted 09-12-2005 12:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Larry  Send Email to Larry     
It's a small detail, but I find a rear opening window in the hatch a blessing at the ramp. Most other SUVs have one.
frontier posted 09-12-2005 07:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for frontier  Send Email to frontier     
It's interesting someone mentioned Honda gas mileage being less than expected. In the new (Oct. 05) issue of Consumer Reports, chart "City driving - Claimed MPG is way off".
Jeep Liberty diesel tops the list EPA-22 MPG , actual, 11 MPG. Second is the Honda Civic Hybrid EPA-46 MPG, actual 26 MPG.
sinjun posted 09-12-2005 07:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for sinjun  Send Email to sinjun     
i assure u that the diesel liberty gets better gas milage than 11. i have a gas liberty and it gets 17 in the city have'nt had a chance to get it on the highway yet.
bsmotril posted 09-12-2005 10:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
I've got a liberty Diesel. And with barely 1000 miles on it, I've gotten 28 mpg across 150 miles over several TX counties via state highways and backroads, not interstate. Speeds ranged from 45-70, and drove through several small towns with stops. In town driving, 22-24 is the norm. I have not towed with it yet, but would expect around 13-15 mpg towing based on what I see with my Dodge Diesel PU. BillS
highanddry posted 09-13-2005 04:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
Tacoma DC, OR, TRD, loaded (new type) 4.0 gas V6, VVTi, so far, about 18 city, up to 24 highway at about 65 MPH and one short tow I got 18. This tow was all highways with the 'tucket and may not be accurate because it was only about 50 miles. The vehicle is still brand new, towing the Nantucket it is effortless and smooth, hardly know it is back there. Handling and breaking are awesome while towing as is acceleration. And the vehicle itself is so stiff it is as if it were built from a single piece of steel. Oh what a feeling!

Our old Explorer, early model towed better and had more useable power and better fuel economy than our current Jeep Liberty. Ford excursion---> big gas hog, Jeep Liberty---->little gas hog! Oink, Oink, Oink, it is a fuel pig.

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