The 2009 Honda Pilots were built a lot like the other model years and in fact, shared a lot of the same data when it came to overall towing capacity, overall power and just about everything else.
You were able to achieve a maximum trailer weight rating of up to 4,500 pounds, if you had the right model, with the correct options, but it is also important to note that in certain circumstances you had no capacity whatsoever, so you need to know what these factors were that contributed to such a wide range in the numbers.
Always read through your owner's manual to familiarize yourself with your vehicle and to make sure you adhere to Honda's recommendations when it comes to towing or anything else regarding your vehicle.
2009 Pilot Overview
Overall Towing Capacity: The towing capacity for the 2009 Honda Pilots had quite the range, going from 0-4,500 lbs. and depended on how many occupants you had in the vehicle and whether you had a two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive model. If you had too many occupants in the vehicle, then you did not have any capacity whatsoever, because of the extra weight of all the occupants in the vehicle.
Engine Options: There were no engine options available, in fact there was only one option that these SUVs came equipped with and that was a 3.5 L (V6) engine. This made the charts very simple and easy to read, which is a bonus for most of us out there.
Trim Levels: Four different trim levels were offered for these model year SUVs, but the trim level did not affect the maximum trailer weight ratings at all, other factors determined these weight ratings.
Assumed Weight: The charts did list a weight capacity for each occupant and this was the assumed weight, which was 150 pounds per occupant plus an additional 15 pounds of luggage per occupant, giving you a grand total of 165 pounds per occupant. If your occupants weighed more or less than that specified weight, then you would have to figure the difference.
The chart for the 2009 Honda Pilots were divided up into two different charts, like most other model years and these were dividing the models up by 2-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive configurations.
Comparing the two different charts, we can see that the four-wheel drive models had a higher overall capacity rating that was listed at 4,500 lbs., compared to the two-wheel drive models that only had a maximum trailer weight rating capacity listed at 3,500 lbs.
You can also see that Honda listed the number of occupants on the left-hand side of the chart and the more occupants you had in the vehicle, the less trailer weight you were able to pull behind you, which makes sense and it makes figuring out your maximum load calculations a lot easier.
On the right-hand side of the charts, we can see that there is also the maximum tongue load weight ratings listed, which also corresponds to the number of occupants in the vehicle.
Tongue Weight Rating:
I mentioned earlier that the charts had the maximum tongue load weight rating listed, but I was also able to find another note that talks about the percentage of the total trailer's weight and how that directly corresponds to the tongue load weight rating on your vehicle.
If you look at the screenshot below, you can see that Honda specifies that 5-10% of the trailer's total weight should be on the hitch of your vehicle if you are pulling a boat trailer behind you and that percentage is increased to 8-15% for all other types of trailers.
I was also able to find a note in the owner's manual that talks about trailer brakes and it is listed as the same specification for all model year Pilots, which Honda requires that your trailer have brakes if it weighs more than 1,000 pounds.
These brakes must be independent of your vehicle's braking system and you will want to check with your local laws to see if Honda's requirements meet your local law enforcement requirements when it comes to trailer brakes.
There were four different trim levels available for these 2009 SUVs, which were listed in the brochure (that I linked to at the bottom of this article) and these were listed as the: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring models.
It did not matter what trim level you had equipped on your vehicle, as far as the maximum trailer weight ratings were concerned, as the trim level had no effect whatsoever on the figures.
GVWR, GAWRs and GCWR:
Like nearly all of the other model year Honda Pilots that I have researched, they also included the gross vehicle weight rating, gross axle weight rating and gross combined weight rating figures in the owner's manual, which makes find any information a whole lot easier if you have to make more complex load calculations.
GVWR: The Gross vehicle weight rating was listed for the two separate models, which were also divided up into four wheel drive and two wheel drive models and were listed at a maximum weight of 6,096 lbs. for four-wheel drive models and 5,952 lbs. for two-wheel drive models.
GAWRs: The gross axle weight ratings were also listed by four-wheel drive in two-wheel drive models and for the two-wheel drive models the front axle had a limit of 2,921 pounds, while the rear axle had a higher 3,196 lb. limit. If we look at the four-wheel drive models, we can see that the front axle weight rating was listed at 2,921 lbs. and the rear axle ranged between 3,251-3,362 lbs., depending on the trim level of the vehicle.
GCWR: The gross combined weight rating was listed at a maximum of 9,579 lbs. For four-wheel drive models, while the two wheel drive models had a substantially lower 8,466 lb. rating.
I do want to point out that there was a note that stated that for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain, you must reduce the gross combined weight rating by 2%.
For example, if you were traveling to an area that was 5,000 feet in elevation, then you would have to deduct 10% of your overall gross combined weight rating to meet the criteria.
Other Notes I Found:
There were a couple of other notes I found in the owner's manual that I thought were worthy of mentioning and the first one talks a little bit about pulling your trailer off road and if you are planning on doing so, then you will have to substantially reduce the maximum trailer weight ratings down to 1,000 lbs., among other things.
The second tidbit of information talks a little bit about how using a weight distributing hitch is not recommended for the 2009 Pilots, which is pretty standard for most model years, although I know they can be used on some model year Pilots.
The main resource I used to gather information for this article came from the owners manual, which I link two below and this is where I found a lot of the information, including a lot of the images and screenshots I have posted in this article.
I was also able to find some information from the 2009 brochure there was available online, and I went ahead and link to that as well.