Honda Pilot Test Drive

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I drove the Trailsport version of the new Honda Pilot a few months ago and was curious about driving a less off-road-oriented version. The model I got from Honda was a loaded Elite model priced at $ 52,500.

I think the new Pilot looks much better than the previous generation which looked like a cross between a Minivan and an SUV. The new Pilot also doesn’t look too big. It does have a friendly design, which is a bit more rounded and softer than the new Honda CR-V. Except for the huge unnecessary and tacky grille up front.

The interior isn’t that original, but at least, it’s not a copy of most other Honda interiors like the Civic, Accord, and CR-V that all look the same. Everything is very well put together and feels very solid and the overall atmosphere is quite luxurious.

And the new Bose stereo system sounds great.

I am glad to see the electronic shifter Honda started to introduce a few years ago is still there in the new Pilot. As the newer Accord doesn’t have it. It is very easy to use and intuitive.

The seats look great although they are quite firm. But the cooling feature is much more quiet than in other Honda models like the Accord.

The Pilot is very roomy everywhere, and the cargo area behind the second-row seat is pretty huge. There is still plenty of room with the 3rd row up. But the loading cargo floor is pretty high.

One of the best attributes of the Honda Pilot is its super refined, smooth, and ultra-quiet V6 engine. There is always plenty of power and it is just always a pleasure to experience.

The suspension is also very comfortable and the ride is generally quite soft, although some very rough roads could still be felt inside the cabin.

The steering is light but not terrible at all, and the whole thing feels pretty luxurious to drive around. The Pilot is rated at 18/23 MPG. Getting 18 around town is impossible, no matter how slow you drive. My average was around 14/15MPG. But my freeway mileage averaged a much better 27MPG.

The Honda Pilot is a great family SUV. It is very refined and has plenty of power all the time. The interior of the Elite model is quite luxurious but doesn’t offer that much over the already very well-equipped Touring version, which is priced at $5500 less. The Touring model strikes me as the one to get, as it already includes the excellent Bose system and the panoramic sunroof.

At this price, the Honda Pilot is an even more compelling choice against the competition. Compared to the new Toyota Grand Highlander, the Honda Pilot is about 1000% better looking IMO. It also has a wonderful creamy V6. Although the Toyota does offer a hybrid powertrain rated at 37/34MPG. I mean, if you’re really getting 37MPG around town, that would cost you half in gas compared to the Pilot…

The Honda Pilot is not the most modern vehicle out there and could seem a bit old-fashioned next to the sea of current and upcoming Hybrid, PHEV, and EV models. But, except for an EV, there’s nothing currently like the luxurious feel of a refined V6. (Since affordable V8s are gone). Toyota and GM are quickly replacing them with smaller 4-cylinder Turbo engines.

While nothing futuristic, the Honda Pilot is a safe and very solid choice.

Conversation 1 comment

  1. Vince, has the Honda rep you deal with said anything about why Honda hasn’t decided to either 1) mate their wonderful V6’s (either the 3.5L or the 3.0t from the TLX-S) or 2) pursue a 2.0t I-4 with a hybrid drive for its larger offerings? Maybe not for the TLX or Trailsport truck trims, but it seems like it would be perfect for the Odyssey and Pilot (soccer-Mom trims), or even a mid-trim Passport/Ridgeline. Ford and Toyota seem to be doing well with these approaches.

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