Should You Take the 2005 Honda Pilot Off-Road?

The 2005 Honda Pilot is up for some light off-road adventuring, but isn’t a great choice for serious trailblazing. Read more here!
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
The 2005 Honda Pilot has the ability to do some low-level off-roading but is more suited to a busy family life and extended road trips than off-the-beaten-path adventuring. 
SUVs and crossovers are all the rage nowadays, but just because a vehicle looks like it can go off-road at first glance, doesn’t always mean it has what it takes when it comes to getting down and dirty. 
Here you give you the nitty-gritty on your 2005 Honda Pilot’s off-road ability is
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Can the 2005 Honda Pilot go off-road?

Yes, but only under casual circumstances. If you are looking for a serious off-road vehicle, then this isn’t the one. But if you want a reliable and versatile way to get up to eight people to an out-of-the-way campground, then it will serve you well. 
The 2005 Honda Pilot started at $27,550 when it was new, and a used one today will run you in the $8,00–$9,000 range. It has plenty of cargo space, prioritizes comfort, and is highly rated by
. The Honda Pilot is a great choice for a large family (or a small one with the need to haul a lot of stuff) and comes with Honda’s superior reputation for reliability. 
Let’s take a closer look at the key specs of what makes a good off-road vehicle and see how the 2005 Honda Pilot stacks up. 

Ground clearance

A vehicle’s ground clearance is the distance between the lowest part of its chassis and the ground. This is an important number to pay attention to, as it means the difference between an unscathed undercarriage and a damaged one. 
Most off-road experts recommend that you have a ground clearance of between 8.8 and 10.8 inches to make sure you’re able to get over uneven terrain. The 2005 Honda Pilot has a ground clearance of 8 inches, which means that while it’s certainly better equipped to get you to a rural trailhead than a family sedan, it’s not quite ready to truly leave the beaten path. 


A good off-road vehicle will have a healthy dose of low-end torque. That means that the engine will be able to supply more power at a lower rpm—and when you’re off-road, power matters more than speed. 
The 2005 Honda Pilot has a 3.5-liter V6 engine that can generate 250 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. While that’s a decent amount of power for an urban family SUV, it’s not quite up to a major off-road expedition. 


If you want to take a vehicle off-road, tires are another key area to be aware of. The 2005 Honda Pilot takes size P235/70 R 16 tires. If that number means nothing to you, don’t sweat it. What you do need to know is that a serious off-road vehicle needs to have
all-terrain tires
at the very least, and possibly mudding or true off-road tires, depending on the terrain. 
These kinds of tires don’t last as long as the all-season ones that are designed for broader use, but their aggressive tread patterns will mean you have the traction you need in an off-road scenario. 


All-wheel drive (AWD) is a must-have for off-roading, but just because a vehicle has AWD doesn’t automatically mean it’s up to the task. The 2005 Honda Pilot has AWD standard, which means you’ll be able to have increased stability and control in a variety of situations. 
The Pilot’s AWD means you will have increased control in poor driving conditions in general and better traction on dirt or gravel roads—but in and of itself, AWD doesn’t mean that it’s up to hardcore off-road driving. 


Now let’s talk about geometry—don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz. When you’re attempting to drive over obstacles and up or down inclines, your vehicle’s approach and departure angles will be a make or break factor—sometimes literally. Here’s what we mean by that:
  • Approach angle: The maximum angle at which a vehicle can climb without interference 
  • Departure angle: The maximum angle at which a vehicle can descend without interference
The 2005 Honda Pilot has approach and departure angles of 28.5 and 23 degrees, respectively. This means that while your Pilot can take some light rises and dips, it’s not won’t be able to handle serious rock crawling or climbing action. 

Off-road rating: Rough and Ready

Time for the verdict! We’ve rated the 2005 Honda Pilot using
super-technical DIRT rating system, broken down in the table below:
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
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The 2005 Honda Pilot gets a rating of Rough and Ready. It’s good for dirt roads and some low-level adventuring, and more than suited to the rigors of the urban jungle. But if you want a vehicle that’s all about going where the roads don’t, then the 2005 Honda Pilot is not the one for you. 

The best off-road alternatives to the 2005 Honda Pilot

There are plenty of ways that you can modify a 2005 Honda Pilot to make it more off-road ready, and no shortage of aftermarket kits and accessories. But if you’re looking for other options altogether, here are a few to consider:
Best new Pilot
2022 Pilot Trailsport
If you like the Pilot but want more off-road ability, check out the new Trailsport trim.
Best eco-friendly alternative
Ford Explorer Hybrid
This version of the classic Explorer is not only friendlier to the planet, but it’s also fully off-road capable.
Best alternative for serious off-roading
Toyota 4 Runner
The 4 Runner’s powerful V6 engine makes it an off-roading standout in the category of midsize SUVs.
MORE: Cheap off-road trucks
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How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

Owning an off-road vehicle often means more fun, but it can also mean a higher insurance bill as well. Taking a vehicle off-road generally means a higher risk for damage, and an insurer will charge more for coverage as a result.
But if you shop for your car insurance with
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