2019 Pilot New Car Test Drive
The Honda Pilot is a hit among full-size crossovers. With seating for eight, it's Honda's most versatile vehicle. It works for some as a family vehicle for buyers priced out of Volvos. It's got rounded edges like a Ford Explorer (rounded first generation, boxy second, back to rounded).
The 2018 Pilot is in the third year of its third generation. There are no significant changes for 2018.
The ride is compliant and plush, the steering relaxed. It feels luxurious and mature, like its upscale sibling the Acura MDX. It weighs about 4200 pounds, depending on equipment, while some rivals hit 5000 pounds. It pulls strongly with its 3.5-liter, 280-horsepower V6, and uses either a 6-speed or 9-speed automatic transmission.
Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive available. On top of that, there's an optional traction management system for more traction in snow or mud. It can tow up to 5000 pounds.
In crash testing, the 2017 Pilot earned a Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS, but it received only an Acceptable rating for headlamps. It got five stars overall from the NHTSA, with four stars from frontal crash results.
Safety equipment includes a wide-angle rearview camera, and as the models increase in price, more equipment is added, including blind-spot monitors, a LaneWatch camera with a wide view down the right side of the car, a multi-rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, active lane control, road-departure warning, and forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking. Also, it won't go into gear if the driver's seat belt is unlatched or the door is open.
With front-wheel drive and the 6-speed automatic, the Honda Pilot is rated by the EPA at 19 miles per gallon City, 27 Highway, and 22 Combined. One less mpg with all-wheel drive. The 9-speed transmission improves that by about one mile per gallon.
The 2018 Honda Pilot comes in LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, and Elite models. Pilot LX ($29,995) comes standard with cloth upholstery, air conditioning, cruise control, seven-speaker 200-watt sound system with 5.0-inch color touchscreen, USB port, 17-inch wheels, Bluetooth with audio streaming, and CarPlay and Android Auto. As with most models Pilot LX is available with all-wheel drive ($31,795).
Pilot EX ($32,430) upgrades with three-zone climate control; a power driver seat; a LaneWatch right-side camera; satellite radio; remote start; two more USB ports; and Pandora audio streaming and texting capability. EX and EX-L trims get a larger 8.0-inch display and the Android-based Display Audio interface, with its big tiles and icons and generally friendly operation.
Pilot EX-L ($35,905) sports leather; a power tailgate; a power moonroof; heated front seats; and the one-touch second-row seat.
Pilot Touring ($41,020) and Pilot Elite AWD ($46,420) come with a 10-speaker, 540-watt premium audio system. Pilot Touring models adopt Honda Sensing safety system, Blu-ray DVD entertainment; a navigation system; 20-inch wheels; memory seats; parking sensors; two more USB ports, for a total of five; ambient lighting; Stop/Start; and a 115-volt outlet.
Pilot Elite upgrades with LED headlights; a second panoramic roof panel over the rear seats; rear heated seats; front ventilated seats; a heated steering wheel; automatic high beams; HD radio; and second-row captain's chairs. (All prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.).