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The Honda Pilot is a sturdy and spacious mid-size crossover SUV. If you’re considering buying a Honda Pilot and would like to know how much it costs to insure, read on to learn more about this popular vehicle before entering your zip code to compare insurance rates. We’ll look at some of the Pilot’s features, its safety record, average insurance costs and other considerations that will help you make the best decision for your particular situation.
Expanding the Crossover Genre
When Honda released the Pilot for the model year 2003, they became the first auto company to offer a crossover SUV with third-row seats. In doing so, Honda responded to a growing desire on the part of consumers for the seating capacity of a minivan or truck-based SUV combined with the nicer ride of a car-based crossover SUV or station wagon. The Honda Pilot defined a new market segment: the mid-size crossover SUV with seating capacity for seven to eight people.
The Crossover Balancing Act
If you have the impression that the word ‘crossover’ is applied by auto makers to a wide variety of different vehicles, you are correct. The Wall Street Journal offered their own layman’s definition of this wide-ranging genre in 2008: “wagons that look like SUVs but ride like cars.” In other words, the crossover concept is essentially a balancing act that tries to incorporate the best elements of the family transportation genre while leaving behind the discomfort of truck-based suspension as well as the suburban stigma some consumers feel regarding minivans and station wagons.
While some crossovers emphasize sportiness and others are essentially wagons, the Pilot has the boxy look of a full-size SUV but with a shorter wheel base. Its powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine comes with four-wheel drive from 2003 to the present year, as well as front-wheel drive beginning in 2006. It features unibody construction and independent suspension for a car-like ride. However, with the addition of integrated perimeter frame rails to absorb stress, it also offers light towing and off-road capability.
Facing the Competition
The Honda Pilot was unique in 2003, however, the competition soon caught on. The affordable mid-size SUV category now offers some excellent choices from foreign and domestic makers such as Mazda, Toyota, Ford, Dodge, Nissan, Jeep and Chevrolet. The Pilot retail price, starting around $28,000, as well as its fuel economy and performance, are all generally average when compared to the competition. Edmunds.com concedes that Honda’s strong reputation as a brand will nonetheless assure sales. Consumers who wish to purchase in this category are not necessarily looking for extreme fuel efficiency or performance; rather, as we noted, this particular type of crossover is about a set of ideal compromises and a reassuring familiarity.
Safety Features and Ratings
The most recent generation of Pilot, from 2009 to the present, is a true eight-seater with LATCH positions for three car seats in the second row and one in the third row. This is a parent-friendly selling point the Pilot shares with Honda’s Odyssey minivan. The Pilot is generously laden with other safety features consumers have come to expect from Honda: Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control, ABS brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution, Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure, front row active head restraints, front, side and side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, tire pressure monitoring, and Unit-Body Construction, which is the addition of reinforcement to the unibody as discussed above.
Since first introduced, the Pilot has received top safety ratings. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the 2009 through 2011 generation its top rating in all categories tested. For earlier Pilots, the results are mostly the highest score with a slightly lower rating for a few elements. Pilots from 2003 through 2010 also earned the top score of five stars under the old rating system of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in effect until 2010. The NHTSA has come out with a new, stricter system beginning in 2011 in an effort to motivate auto makers to push the safety envelope. Under this system, the 2011 Honda Pilot has earned four out of five stars overall, with five for side impact.
Because the NHTSA’s new test criteria are stricter, many vehicles classed at five stars in the old system have been re-assigned to four stars, so the Pilot is not alone. This does not imply any deterioration in the Pilot’s safety performance after 2010; rather, it reflects a stricter grading system. Consumers who wish to know more about the new safety ratings and view crash test results as they are made available can check out the NHTSA website www.safercar.gov.
Insurance Costs for the Honda Pilot
With the statistical tendency for family vehicle drivers to drive safely, as well as the Pilot’s safety features and its excellent performance in independent crash testing, insurance costs for the Honda Pilot are reasonable and average for its class. The national average for the base model LX is just over $1200, with premiums rising by model all the way to $1533 for the EX-L with Navigation.
These average premiums reflect a starting point for your investigation. Factors such as the state in which the Pilot is garaged, driver age and driving record, annual mileage, credit history, multi-policy discounts and vehicle purpose, whether commuting or pleasure driving, all influence the specific price you will be quoted. For example, a front-wheel drive LX will cost on average less than $800 to insure in Maine. In Louisiana, the same model will carry an average premium in excess of $2000.
With such a wide range of prices for insurance premiums, it’s more important than ever to compare quotes from a variety of auto insurance companies. To find the best insurance quotes available in your area, enter your zip code in the box and begin shopping for auto insurance.