2013 Pilot New Car Test Drive
The Honda Pilot is a sturdy, reliable SUV with ample space, convenient features and the ability to handle whatever weather Mother Nature might have in store.
New for the 2012 Honda Pilot is a refreshed exterior including an updated front fascia, grille and headlights. Inside, the 2012 Pilot gets a redesigned center stack and instrument cluster, updated navigation system and better interior materials. Added sound proofing makes for better noise insulation, and several features that were previously options now come standard on the 2012 Pilot.
Also notable is a slight improvement in fuel economy for the 2012 Honda Pilot. Aerodynamic and powertrain adjustments to the 2012 Pilot eek out an extra 1 mile per gallon in the city and 2 mpg in both freeway and combined driving.
The Honda Pilot seats eight, and it can easily handle four adults and four children. It offers cupholders and storage cubbies galore for front, middle and rear-seat passengers. When hauling cargo, the Pilot has enough space to carry a 4x8-foot sheet of building material flat inside.
Pilot is available with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The all-wheel drive version offers a 4,500-pound towing capacity and the ability to handle inclement weather, but the car-like crossover construction of the Pilot makes it better suited to on-road activities than slogging though mud or tackling rocky terrain.
Compared to others in its class, the 2012 Honda Pilot is a decent midsize crossover sport-utility. It keeps pace in terms of storage space and fuel economy, but offers humdrum performance, most notably in its somewhat sluggish acceleration and unimpressive stopping distances. Those who prefer a sportier, more responsive crossover should consider the Mazda CX-9. Other alternatives include the Ford Explorer and Dodge Durango. If you don't need towing capacity, the Ford Flex offers similar space with much more panache.
The 2012 Honda Pilot comes in four trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. Each is offered with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (4WD). Every trim level comes with the same powertrain: A 3.5-liter, 24-valve, single overhead cam V6 engine that makes 250 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque, paired to a 5-speed automatic transmission. All other mechanical and safety components and systems are identical across the range.
Pilot LX ($28,470) comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, a trailer hitch, keyless entry, rear privacy glass, automatic headlights, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, front and rear air-conditioning, 60/40-split second- and third-row seats and a seven-speaker audio system with CD/MP3 player and auxiliary jack.
Pilot EX ($31,320) bumps the wheels up to 18-inch alloys and adds painted body molding, foglights, heated exterior mirrors on AWD versions, an eight-way power driver seat, tri-zone automatic climate control, steering-wheel audio controls, Bluetooth connectivity and a 2GB hard drive for digital music storage.
Pilot EX-L ($34,570) includes everything on the EX model plus power liftgate, rearview camera, sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power passenger seat, comprehensive vehicle information display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, satellite radio and an iPod/USB connector. Optional features include a voice-activated navigation system with 15GB hard drive for digital music and multi-angle rearview camera, as well as a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with wireless headsets.
Pilot Touring ($39,220) includes all features found on the EX-L plus parking sensors, roof rails, driver memory functions and an upgraded, 10-speaker sound system.
Safety equipment on all Pilots includes front and front side airbags, three-row side-curtain airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist (electronic stability control), four child-seat LATCH positions, active front head rests, and eight adjustable headrests and shoulder belts.