We drove a $49,000 Honda Pilot, one of the best family SUVs money can buy. Here are its coolest features.

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We drove a $49,000 Honda Pilot, one of the best family SUVs money can buy. Here are its coolest features.

Honda Pilot

In the midsize-SUV segment, one of the most competitive in the US auto market, the Honda Pilot has long been one of the most popular offerings, but its sales have lagged behind those of the Toyota Highlander and the Ford Explorer.

The third-generation Pilot has been around since 2016. However, Honda decided to give the family hauler, built in Lincoln, Alabama, a midlife refresh for the 2019 model year.

“The Honda Pilot is the epitome of excellence in this genre of automobile,” we said. “The third-generation Pilot was always a strong competitor in the segment. But the updates for the 2019 model year have corrected some of most glaring faults and bolstered its position as one of the finest family SUVs money can buy.”

The base 2019 Honda Pilot LX with front-wheel drive starts at $31,450. Our top-of-the-line all-wheel-drive Elite-trim test car starts at $48,020, and a $995 destination-and-handling fee pushed the as-tested price to $49,015.

Here’s a closer look at its coolest features.

1. Awesome engine: All Pilots are powered by a 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter, naturally aspirated VTEC V6 engine, which is velvety smooth and delivers a solid punch off the line. Honda said our Pilot Elite should be able to deliver 22 mpg of fuel economy in mixed driving. We struggled to get above 17 mpg, but the cold weather might have been to blame.

Honda Pilot

2. Retuned transmission: One of the updates for the 2019 model year is a retuned nine-speed automatic. It worked, delivering quick shifts that were virtually imperceptible. Lower trim levels get a six-speed automatic, while the Touring and Elite trims get the nine-speed.

Honda Pilot

3. New infotainment system: Most Pilots have an 8-inch touchscreen running Honda’s newest infotainment system, while the base LX trim gets a 5-inch screen.

Honda Pilot

The new system is a marked improvement over the previous unit. It’s clearly organized and crisply rendered. Though we were happy to see the return of a volume knob in place of the touch panel, we would have also liked to see a tuner knob.

Honda Pilot

4. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

Honda Pilot

5. A digital instrument display: I wasn’t a huge fan of its looks, but it was easy to use and presented all the information the driver needs.

Honda Pilot

6. Quiet cabin: The Pilot’s interior was remarkably quiet thanks to its active noise-cancellation system, which uses microphones to detect noise from the engine and the exhaust, then uses the vehicle’s stereo speakers to send signals to cancel it out.

Honda Pilot

7. Honda Sensing: All Pilot trim levels come standard with the Honda Sensing driver-assistance tech package, with adaptive cruise control, collision-mitigating braking, forward-collision warning, road-departure mitigation, and lane-keep assist.

Honda Pilot

8. A multi-angle rearview camera.

Honda Pilot

9. 4G LTE WiFi hotspot capability.

Honda Pilot

10. CabinTalk: The system, from the Honda Odyssey minivan, allows the driver and the rear passengers to communicate using microphones in the car’s interior. That way, folks in the front won’t have to yell at people in the back, and vice versa. It’s also a handy way for parents to listen in on what their kids are doing in the back.

Honda Pilot

11. Panoramic mirror: Now the driver can see everything happening in the back.

Honda Pilot

12. A rear-cabin entertainment system …

Honda Pilot

… with a 10.2-inch high-definition screen. It comes standard on the Touring and Elite trims.

Honda Pilot

It’s controlled with this remote or the infotainment screen on the front dash.

Honda Pilot

You can plug in wired headphones or use the wireless pair that comes with the car.

Honda Pilot

There’s a Blu-ray player built into the dash, or you can stream video using a host of apps through the Pilot’s onboard 4G LTE WiFi hotspot.

Honda Pilot

13. Wireless charging.

Honda Pilot

14. Automatic tailgate: The Pilot has a hands-free tailgate that will lift automatically if the driver swings their foot under the rear bumper.

Honda Pilot

15. Ample cargo space: Behind the third row is 16 cubic feet of cargo room.

Honda Pilot

With the rearmost seats folded, cargo volume expands to 46 cubic feet. With the second row folded, that figure expands to 82 cubic feet.

Honda Pilot

16. Glass roof: The large two-piece glass sunroof bathes the cabin in natural light, even on a cloudy day.

Honda Pilot

17. Roomy cabin: The Pilot can seat up to eight. However, our Elite-trim tester came optioned with the second-row captain’s chairs, dropping the occupancy count to seven.

Honda Pilot

18. Updated styling: The 2019 Pilot’s styling updates include a refreshed front end with new LED headlights and a redesigned bumper and chrome grille …

Honda Pilot

… while the rear gets new tail lights, a new bumper, and chrome accents.

Honda Pilot

The Best Cars, Trucks, SUVs, and More for 2016: Editors’ Choice Awards 2016 Honda Pilot

Source : Car and Driver 2016 Editor’s Choice – February 22, 2016

2016 Honda Pilot

If a stylish, useful, and trouble-free ride is what you’re after, well—ladies and gentlemen, this is your Pilot speaking. The 280-hp 3.5-liter V-6 powers the front or all four wheels through a six-speed automatic; top-level Touring and Elite trims get a nine-speed. The all-wheel-drive system offers torque vectoring for better handling and modes for snow, sand, and mud. The Pilot’s three rows provide plenty of room for all and a host of active-safety tech is available to keep everyone safe.

2016 Honda Pilot

Instrumented Test

2016 Honda Pilot

The family-value story

The new Honda Pilot rolls into the 2016 model year with a pricing spectrum that spans five trim levels and $16,425 from one end to the other, each step up tempting the prospective buyer with more goodies, right up to the fully loaded Elite model.

The big Honda clearly is aimed at folks whose motoring agendas include lots of hauling. It can tow—up to 5000 pounds with all-wheel drive, 3500 with front-drive. But more often than not, the payloads entail kids. We probably don’t really need to add that even though minivans are superior in almost all aspects of family hauling, Pilot prospects would rather donate their kids to science than be seen in something with those telltale sliding side doors.

2016 Honda Pilot

There’s irony in this vehicular phobia, since the Pilot is a close cousin of Honda’s Odyssey minivan, structurally speaking. But image rules in this realm, and image is rarely rooted in rationality. Speaking of image, there are some within our walls who prefer the blockier looks of the previous generation to the slicker styling of the new. But slick is where the entire crossover segment is headed.

Our first test of the generation-three Pilot involved an Elite model, which includes everything in the vehicle’s extensive inventory of features. This time, we’re looking at one of the less expensive versions. If you draw your budgetary line at a Pilot EX, what do you get? What do you forego? Is there a performance sacrifice? And what do you save?

Quicker Sprints

Let’s start with performance. All Pilots are propelled by the same engine, a 3.5-liter V-6 rated for 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. That displacement is familiar—the previous Pilot powerplant also was a 3.5 V-6—but the new engine essentially is the same as that used by the Acura MDX, and direct fuel injection gives it a 30-hp edge over its predecessor. This in a vehicle that’s substantially lighter, by as much as nearly 300 pounds, according to Honda. It’s also substantially quicker off the line.

What you don’t get with the lower trim levels—LX, EX, and EX-L—is the slick new nine-speed automatic transmission that comes with the Touring and Elite models. The LX, EX, and EX-L are equipped with a six-speed automatic. That’s one cog more than the previous Pilot, but the nine-speed does a better job of keeping the engine in the sweet spot of its power band. And it includes shift paddles, which aren’t part of the deal with the six-speed.

2016 Honda Pilot

At the track, this front-drive EX model clocked a zero-to-60-mph time of 6.2 seconds, a whisker behind the all-wheel-drive Elite, even though the EX weighed 254 pounds less. (Blame the powerful V-6’s eagerness to spin the front tires during aggressive launches.) But all things being equal under the hood, the EX’s advantage in power-to-weight shows up as the drag race continues: It was a second quicker to 100 mph. Not that many owners are likely to push their Pilot to triple-digit speeds. But for those so inclined, we can report that the Pilot inspires confidence as speeds climb, right up to the governor-limited 112-mph top speed.

There’s confidence around bends, too. The new chassis is stiffer than its predecessor, spring rates are higher, and shock-absorber damping is firmer than that of the previous generation. This doesn’t make the Pilot a sports car; pushing hard in a set of switchbacks will still provoke moderate rock and roll, as well as abundant understeer. But as with exploring the Pilot’s top speed, the likelihood of owners testing its limits of adhesion is slight, particularly with kids onboard. And doubly so for those with kids prone to motion sickness.

Athough the steering could be quicker (3.2 turns lock-to-lock) and more informative at around-town speeds, the Pilot’s responses in emergency maneuvers are respectable by the standards for this class. Those maneuvers might not be quite as prompt in the lesser trim levels, a distinction we attribute to tires. Touring and Elite Pilots wear 245/50 tires on 20-inch wheels, whereas our EX test example was equipped with 245/60-18 tires. The setup produced a softer ride, at the expense of grip (0.75 g versus the Elite’s 0.80). Braking distances were almost identical for both vehicles and about average among three-row crossovers. This is not to say good. Let’s call it adequate.
More Dimension, More Room

As noted in our test of the Elite model, the new Pilot is bigger than its predecessor, dimensional increases that translate directly to the interior. There’s even enough room in the third row for a couple of adults to perch without too much whining, although getting three people of any size to ride back there for more than a few miles is likely to provoke civil war. (In the Elite trim level, second-row seating is a pair of captain’s chairs, reducing the potential passenger count to seven.) Nonetheless, this is a distinctly more comfortable Pilot generation, its increased roominess augmented by more soft-touch surfaces and a much more attractive dashboard layout.

2016 Honda Pilot

Although the cabin’s appearance has been improved, we can’t say the same for its function, owing to Honda’s relentless commitment to a touch screen for all secondary controls, great and small. Adjusting audio volume or changing stations in a moving Pilot, for example, is a hunt-and-peck challenge, no matter how smooth the ride quality. At least the Pilot is exceptionally quiet at all speeds—parental units won’t have to raise their voices much to yell at their kids. EPA ratings for the front-wheel-drive Pilot are 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, up 1 mpg in the city and 2 mpg on the highway from the previous model. (Ratings are 1 mpg higher in the city with the nine-speed and 1 mpg lower all around with AWD.) We managed to beat the EX’s city rating, logging 20 mpg overall.

As noted, there are essentially five trim levels. But typical of Honda, the five are subdivided according to particular items of equipment. Thus, there are four different versions of the EX: 2WD and 4WD, with or without Honda Sensing (a package of collision-avoidance tech). There are no options or option packages. Each sub-category is treated as a separate model. At $34,330, our two-wheel-drive EX with Sensing was four rungs above the bottom of the Pilot pricing ladder, which begins with the two-wheel-drive LX at $30,895.

Honda Sensing includes automatic emergency braking, which will track the Pilot’s closing rate on traffic ahead (via camera and radar), decide whether the driver is paying attention, flash a warning, and apply the brakes if/when the driver fails to respond. It also includes adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and road-departure mitigation. The last two include system intervention to nudge the vehicle back to the middle of the road when it even thinks the Pilot is approaching an edge line. Its warning is a steering-wheel shudder that feels as though something might be coming undone in the front suspension—and is particularly annoying on two-lane back roads. The whole Sensing package adds a grand to the bottom line.

All-wheel drive, which is standard with the Elite, adds $1800. It’s available on all trim levels. Other fancy Elite standard features that are absent in the EX trim level: LED headlights, a panoramic power sunroof, an 8.0-inch touch screen with navigation and voice recognition, heated and ventilated leather power seats, a 540-watt 10-speaker premium audio system, a second-row DVD entertainment system, second-row heated leather captain’s chairs, and a power rear liftgate.

The EX isn’t exactly stark, with a standard features inventory that includes the 8.0-inch touch screen (minus navigation), seven-speaker audio with HondaLink infotainment, Pandora interface, fog lights, Honda’s passenger-side Lane Watch camera, remote engine start, and, in this test unit, the Honda Sensing package. So as always, it gets to be a question of what a prospective buyer considers essential in a family vehicle. Can you and your family be happy without a giant sunroof or navigation? Obviously, that one’s your call.

Honda piles more into Pilot

Honda has given its Pilot new direction for 2009, including a brand new top-of-the-line Touring edition. The second generation of the SUV has more power and greater economy, along with a bag full of new technology and greater standard content. Better yet, the MSRP hasn’t changed despite the new features.

Built on a new platform, the eight-passenger vehicle is longer, wider and taller than the 2008 model and rides on a wheelbase extended by 75 mm.

The exterior has a somewhat softer look, even though it’s bigger than the 2008 version and it has a stronger stance to match the refined capabilities inherent in what the company calls an “intelligent adventure vehicle.”

A test vehicle from Honda Canada comes in the new Touring configuration. There are no options, and there isn’t much you can add to the fully-featured package.

My first reaction on climbing into the Pilot’s pilot seat was simply “Wow, what a change.” Inside, the Pilot is noticeably larger, but still carries a rugged feel. And the open shelf is still on the lower part of the passenger side of the dash.

The centre console is huge, with the forward section hidden under a sliding tray just in front of a large covered box that houses, among other things, power connections and input points for phones, Ipods, computers – just about anything that will plug in.

The steering wheel, which now has a tilt/telescoping feature, holds switches for audio, cruise and a driver information centre. Switches are easy to reach and the standard navigation with voice recognition is easy to get to know. A dash-mounted shift lever falls readily to hand.

Visibility around the vehicle is excellent, and a backup camera uses the nav screen to provide a clear view of what’s behind you as you back up.

Leather-trimmed seats are comfortable for everybody, and the front seat riders get the advantage of seat heaters that seem slightly warmer than in the previous generation. But my butt tells me it could use more BTUs.

The 60/40 split bench second row seat has more fore/aft travel which simplifies access to the 60/40 slit third-row bench, but it’s still a bit of a chore to get there. However, once you get there, you will ride comfortably, even if you’re on the taller end of the size scale. Incidentally, the number of LATCH child seat anchors has been doubled from two to four – so go ahead and plan for that bigger brood. There’s room.

Second- and third-row seats fold flat to provide a massive cargo floor (total volume is 4,941 litres, up 116 from 2008) reached through the power liftgate. If you want to load smaller items, the rear glass flips up for easy access.

Under the hood is enough power to move all of you pretty much anywhere you want to go. The new 3.5L i-VTEC V6 with variable cylinder management turns out 250 hp and 253 lb.-ft. of torque. In the Touring edition it’s hooked to a five-speed automatic transmission and Variable Torque Management all-wheel drive system.

Transport Canada estimates fuel mileage at 13.1 L/100 km city, 9.1 highway, which would be a combined figure of 11.1. During more than 900 km of driving, I averaged 12.1 L/100 km combined in the real world – not bad at all for a vehicle this large.

There’s a small “ECO” light on the dash which indicates when VCM is operating in either four- or three-cylinder mode. On the highway, that light is illuminated for a great deal of the time.

Like most Honda engines, the Pilot’s propulsion system provides plenty of off-the-line grunt and lots of passing power. The five-speed automatic transmission goes about its business without undue drama.

I expected the ride to be a bit on the stiff and jouncy side given the SUV configuration. Wrong! Pilot is perfectly at home on smooth highways and rough backroads, handling both smoothly and effortlessly.

Road noise is minimal, enabling you to enjoy the sounds emanating from the audio system while the kids enjoy the standard (on Touring) entertainment system.

Safety gear includes electronic stability control (Honda calls it vehicle stability assist), side curtain airbags and front side airbags with passenger side occupant position detection.

You get an integrated trailer hitch to take advantage of the Pilot’s 4,500 lb. tow capacity.

I put the Pilot to good use during its time here and never got tired of driving it. My wife, who doesn’t normally like SUVs all that much, thought it would be one she could easily live with long-term.

High praise indeed.

Editors Rating:

  • Fuel consumption:This is a roomy, brawny, frugal ute.
  • Value for price: Lots of stuff in there for your buck.
  • Styling: Boxy exterior (what else?), tough interior.
  • Comfort: Nicely padded seats and soft leather upholstery, and good leg and headroom.
  • Performance: Excellent handling and ride.
  • Overall: Lots of space, good economy, plenty of techie stuff.

Article Information

  • Source:
  • Author: Harry Pegg
  • Date Posted: November 18, 2008

Honda Pilot Receives “Family Car of the Year” Award From

TORRANCE, Calif., Jan. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced that the 2012 Honda Pilot has received the “Family Car of the Year,” award. The Pilot SUV received a wide range of upgrades for 2012, including a sleeker front-end design, enhanced interior features and improved fuel economy. The 2012 Pilot had already earned the top spot in the “USA Today, MotorWeek and $37k and Under SUV Shootout,” with the editor-in-chief touting the Pilot as “the perfect SUV for buyers who want to comfortably haul the entire family and all of their gear.”

“We’re delighted to see the eight-passenger Pilot’s versatility and family-friendly attributes recognized with this prestigious award,” said Vicki Poponi, assistant vice president of product planning, American Honda Motor Co. “The newly refined and more fuel-efficient Pilot provides real value and surprising sophistication for anyone shopping in the segment.”

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Family Car of the Year award, which was presented last year to the Honda Odyssey. Launched in June 1998, is an online destination for car shoppers that offers information from consumers and experts to help buyers formulate opinions on what to buy, where to buy and how much to pay for a car. For more information on the Best of the Year Awards, visit

Article Information

  • Source: Automotive Digest
  • Date Posted: January 19, 2012

Honda’s Receive 2013 Top Safety Pick Award


Top Safety Pick recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in moderate overlap frontal, side, rollover and rear crashes. Honda Accord, Fit, Civic, CR-V, Crosstour, Odyssey, Ridgeline and Pilot all received the 2013 Top Safety Pick Award!

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Article Information

  • Date Posted: January 15, 2013