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2013 Honda Pilot review: Pilot vs. Odyssey

2013 March 21
by Emily Hill

When we decided to get a new (well, new to us) car, I thought for sure I’d move from our 2000 Honda Odyssey (the one that didn’t have sliding doors) to a much cooler SUV—a Honda Pilot perhaps. But after test driving a 2013 Honda Pilot for Ken Garff Honda of Orem,

I’m glad we decided to stick with an Odyssey. Even with all its bells and whistles—and it has lots of gorgeous, shiny bells and whistles—it’s just not as practical for a family with four kids, multiple carpools and two carts’ worth of Costco goodies.

Don’t get me wrong. I adore the 2013 Honda Pilot with its sleek, square design, secret USB port, triple-view backup camera, Bluetooth cell phone capabilities, hard drive for storing music and too many other nifty bells to name. I’m kind of hoping it will be Nathan’s next car because I’m adamant (whenever possible) about our second car fitting the entire family just in case the Odyssey breaks down.

Who am I kidding? Hondas never break down.

Because someone out there might be trying to decide between the Honda Pilot and the Honda Odyssey, my review focused on the difference between the two.

The verdict? The Honda Pilot is ideal for families with one to three children whereas the Honda Odyssey is the perfect car for families with three or more.

Trust me.

Better yet, see for yourself.


Of course, you might be looking for a more professional video review of the 2013 Honda Pilot. If you are, check out Nathan’s thoughts during one of his only test drives (because I’m not that great at sharing).

And yes, he does look rather handsome with his sunglasses and 6 o’clock shadow. If you listen closely you’ll catch a half second of me singing along with the radio.


During the test drive for Ken Garff Honda of Orem, I kept a travelogue of sorts via Instagram. Here are a few of my favorite photos:


Instagram 2013 Honda Pilot 1

Instagram 2013 Honda Pilot 3

Instagram 2013 Honda Pilot 5

Instagram 2013 Honda Pilot 11

If you want to check out a review of the 2103 Honda Odyssey by a die-hard SUV lover, check out “Maybe we are a minivan people” by my friend Lindsey from the r house. She kind of fell in love with the Odyssey and I can’t blame her.

And yes, that really is a cooler tucked below the console. A COOLER, PEOPLE.

Just imagine the Diet Coke possibilities.

Extra stuff:

  • For a detailed listing of all those bells and whistles, including the magical 4WD, HDD and automatic tailgate, check out the official Honda Odyssey site.
  • If you live in Salt Lake or Utah counties and want to take the 2013 Honda Pilot for a test drive, visit Ken Garff Honda of Orem.
  • You can also find Ken Garff Honda of Orem on Facebook and Twitter.


Disclosure: Ken Garff Honda of Orem provided me with a 2013 Honda Pilot to test drive for one week. All thoughts, opinions, Goldfish crackers and spilled Diet Coke in the cupholders are my own.


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21 Responses Post a comment
  1. March 21, 2013

    Loved this review on the Pilot you guys, fun and informative! I especially love the exchanges between you and Nathan, I swear you two need a “he said, she said” weekly internet show.

    Can’t wait for my hubby to come home tonight so I can break out the “DELTA” reference and shock him! LOL!

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    That was so funny! He says crazy things like that all the time. ;)
    Emily Hill´s deep thought ~ Enchilada-style burritosMy Profile

    [Reply]

  2. March 21, 2013

    HA!! You are fabulous. And you look so hot in your videos!

    OBSESSED with Ken Garff AND his Honda Odyssey!
    Lindsey from therhouse.com´s deep thought ~ The Gift | An Adoption Story VideoMy Profile

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    When (not if) you get your new Odyssey, do you promise to cruise State Street with me?

    [Reply]

  3. Julie Weiss permalink
    March 21, 2013

    Hi there, a couple of years ago I witnessed a horrible roll-over accident. I was outside our church building, standing on the lawn with a group of cub scouts (I was their leader). I remember thinking, “I just witnessed someone being killed in a car accident”. Seriously, it looked like something from a movie & was very scary. But, the people in that car got out with only bruises & small cuts! When I found out that their injuries were minor, I went to see what kind of car they were in–it was a Honda Pilot. Now I want one for my next car. It was amazing that family walked away from the accident.

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    Wow, Julie. That is such a scary yet amazing story. I’m so glad no one was seriously injured in the accident, and what a rave review for the safety of driving a Honda Pilot. If we didn’t have so many kids I’m sure it would be my car of choice.
    Emily Hill´s deep thought ~ Chocolate peanut butter pudding cookiesMy Profile

    [Reply]

    Julie Weiss Reply:

    I forgot to mention that the speed limit on that 2-lane road is 40 miles an hour, so the impact was huge.

    [Reply]

    Julie Weiss Reply:

    …and both drivers weren’t paying attention–we never heard a screech of brakes, just an ear-splitting crash. It was really nerve-wracking.

    [Reply]

  4. March 22, 2013

    I love the video of your husband!! :) I really want a minivan, and this just made me want one more.
    Von´s deep thought ~ this boy is 3.My Profile

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    Just think of how many boxes of Girl Scout cookies you could fit in the back of that thing?
    Emily Hill´s deep thought ~ Mexican lasagnaMy Profile

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  5. Adrian permalink
    March 24, 2013

    I wish I had taken a week long test drive with my Highlander Hybrid. I wanted the third row of seats since I was giving up my beloved mini van, but I neglected to discover that you can only use the third row if you have two midgets or double-amputees! And ones without luggage to boot because you lose all your trunk space with the third seat up. Even though we only have 2 kids at home, I frequently haul a bunch of scouts around and I can barely manage even the littlest guys in this thing. And gas mileage – ugh! For a hybrid, I am totally NOT impressed. Next time, I think I’ll try a Honda. And a looong test drive!

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    A long test drive is definitely helpful, though I will say the Pilot doesn’t have a ton of storage when the back seat is up–enough for a regular grocery trip but not Costco!
    Emily Hill´s deep thought ~ Pi Day: Dutch apple or key lime?My Profile

    [Reply]

  6. Linda permalink
    September 20, 2013

    Hi Emily,

    I am a former Odyssey owner who now drives an Accord. I recently bought a vacation home that is a cool 14 hour car ride away and although my Accord can easily handle my family of 4 it cannot accommodate the kids friends, my mother or the dog! So here I am in the market for a bigger vehicle. I wondered which is better? The Odyssey or the Pilot? Both are 8 seaters. I stumbled across your review and had to chuckle for many reasons. I loved your eloquent, “oh crap” and “… me gently smacking him upside the head”. LOL! Your kids are great sports! The best part was that I too pine for the days when I was able to put my purse in between the front seats! It is far and away the thing I miss most about my Odyssey. My old Odyssey was a 2000 and I am so glad to hear that if I buy a 2013 I can still put my purse in between the seats! Hooray! I will go look at both the Odyssey and Pilot but to my family’s utter dismay and horror I will probably choose the minivan. I’m sure it would be more comfortable and have more cargo space for our very long road trips. Thanks for taking the time for helping others with this decision! Oh, I also have enough Goldfish crumbs around to feed a small army indefinitely!

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    Hi, Linda! I’m so glad you took the time to stop by and leave a comment. It made my day! And yes, the minivan is truly the way to go for family road trips. I’d go crazy without out it when traveling to California. We love packing scooters and other fun things to do while visiting Grandma and Grandpa. :)

    [Reply]

  7. melissa permalink
    November 18, 2013

    Hi there!! I’m a mom of 3 kids 7,4,3….we have an 07 odyssey but are starting to think we want to switch to the new pilot bc its seems so great….do you think it would be to snug for us?!? THANK YOU!

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    The Pilot really is a great car. The only thing I’d be concerned about is if you’ll be doing any carpooling. It can get pretty cozy for carpools and a bit trickier for kids to get in and out. Plus if you take a lot of road trips (or Costco trips) with all three kids, you won’t have quite as much storage. I say test drive it with all the kids in tow and see what you think. Hope that helps!

    [Reply]

    melissa Reply:

    Great, thnks!! Ill def try the test drive!

    [Reply]

  8. Alexandru permalink
    March 25, 2014

    Hi,
    I was watching many times your review about Pilot. I’m a Honda Accord 2000 driver with a family with 2 kids (1-2 years old). Now we a stuck with a decision to switch to a bigger car, but which? Pilot or Odyssey? We have about 2 trips per month outside of city. But almost every day I’m driving home-daycare-work-daycare-home and some shopping on weekends. Twice a month we try to go somewhere outside to visit different places and activities. So… not so many trips, but a lot of driving in the city. About 200 miles every week.
    I’m more concerned about fuel consumption. Did you try to measure the difference in fuel consumption between Pilot and Odyssey? Did you try to compare maintenance costs like changing oil, air filters, tires and other parts? I presume Odyssey is still cheap on this side, but which is the delta =) between them both?
    Thank you.

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    I wish I could tell you the difference in cost as far as gas mileage, maintenance, etc. I’m sure maintenance is similar but gas mileage may be better on the Pilot. I bet you can find some articles/posts comparing the two if you search on Google. Wish I could be more help!

    [Reply]

  9. sara permalink
    October 15, 2014

    So my husband is really pushing for an odyssey, but I’ve always hated minivans.he just sent me a link to your review, and the odyssey does look pretty cool :) we have a 3 yr old and twins on the way.. doespecially your family still like the odyssey? I’m assuming it’s alot easier for everyone to get into the 3rd row than it was in the pilot?

    [Reply]

    Emily Hill Reply:

    We still love it and my kids are now 7, 9, 14 and 17. It is definitely easier for them to get into the third row, which is one reason I love the Odyssey so much. I think with three kids under the age of 4 (plus all the gear and groceries and strollers), you may want to go with the Odyssey. :)
    Emily Hill´s deep thought ~ Soft & chewy pumpkin chocolate chip cookiesMy Profile

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