Honda Pilot off road testing


New member
Follow up from last year when we replaced our dead Durango.
Spent five days at our favorite spot, Cape Lookout NC.

Short answer is that it did everything I asked it too without any complaints.

Concerns were tranny temps, traction control intrusion, lack of a low range, and ground clearance.

The awd system is lockable in D1 and D2 up to a certain speed. When locked there are no slipping clutches from my understanding. It acted like a typical locked high range with equal tire rotation.

Airing the tires down resulted in the TPS warnings going off and resulted in the inability to turn of the traction control.
Any significant wheelspin results in power being cut.

Less low end power was expected and noted but didn’t seem an issue.

Underbody clearance seemed impressive compared to the old Dodge. The only place I used to drag was the rear diff anyways. With IFS/IRS the minimum clearance seemed better. There was the occasional thunk or ping from sticks or shells but nothing hung up or was damaged.

For any potential Pilot owners.
Mine is a 2014, 2nd gen AWD ex-l
It was big enough for the seven of us and all our gear for four nights. Hitch basket and roof rack included.
We traveled with the 20% section of the 3rd row down with our larger cooler in that place. Our kids are still small, only two car seats.

Driving on the more firm interior tracks was in D2 with 4wd locked with tires at 25psi
Driving at 20mph was fine and as fast as needed with no wheel slipping or power problems.

Soft deep beachside sugar sand was in D1 4wd locked, also at 25psi
Driving was fine up to around 15mph. Any faster and the power overwhelmed the tires and wheelspin occurs. I could feel about 2-3 seconds of spin before the TC cut power.
So we ran on the deep stuff at 15mph. Again, it’s fast enough.

I was aired down to 25psi, little bulge was seen, street pressure is 40psi.
I like room to let out another 10psi if necessary.
The 25 worked so I never let any more out.

Running Yokohama G015 in the stock size.



Overlanding Road Tripper
Sounds pretty good, especially for 7-people capacity. I now drive a 2016 Grand Cherokee but my car before this one was a 2001 CR-V that I took overland exploring too. I took that thing everywhere, and places where most don’t take their SUVs, but of course limited by no lo-transfer and no 4WD system. I bought that new in 2001 and had it until I bought my Jeep.

I think you’d be okay airing down to 15. That’s what I did, and still do.

Here’s a pic of my wife from Feb 2006, mid-way down the Baja peninsula. Those cardón cactuses are big. I’m the shadowed guy taking the picture.4C60E95C-FAC9-4A46-9DE6-0A1F432702DD.jpeg


New member
That’s cool. Mexico is on our list.
15 would’ve been fine I agree. If I had had problems I would have aired down more.

90% of trips is on roads. For most people an awd crossover is all they need.


Pilot 4wd system is pretty good really. IIRC, unlike most of the systems which use one set of clutches or coupler in front of the rear diff, the pilots use 2 sets of clutches, one on each output of the rear diff. So when you hit the button, both clutches engage effectively giving you a locked center AND rear diff. Great for the driving you're doing, only thing lacking is the low range. The Ridgeline setup is very similar, great for 98% of people.


Nice ! The Honda Pilot is a good vehicle and the vtm 4wd system is good. Readylift makes a. Spacer lift kit wh Vh should give you a couple of inches clearance.will also let you get taller all terrains.


New member
Is the Pilot AWD system the same as the SH AWD in the Acura MDX? If so, how do you lock the 4WD? Thanks!