Five model variations of the Japanese automaker’s large people carrier make it more accessible to people who favor Eastern products. Not only does the Honda Pilot have a very good 280 hp 3.5-liter V6 under the hood of every model, it can be had with an optional 9-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive system too. A major selling point is that it can comfortably seat a posse of eight, but does the quality fare up to the Germans?
|LX||3.5-liter V6 Gas||6-Speed Automatic||Front wheel drive, All wheel drive||$28,118||$30,745|
|EX||3.5-liter V6 Gas||6-Speed Automatic||Front wheel drive, All wheel drive||$30,339||$33,180|
|EX-L||3.5-liter V6 Gas||6-Speed Automatic||Front wheel drive, All wheel drive||$33,462||$36,605|
|Touring||3.5-liter V6 Gas||9-Speed Automatic||Front wheel drive, All wheel drive||$38,219||$41,820|
|Elite||3.5-liter V6 Gas||9-Speed Automatic||All wheel drive||$43,144||$47,220|
by Chris Wall
The Honda Pilot is a crossover SUV that was built to make the job of transporting a lot of people a hassle free and comfortable experience. The overall quality of the Japanese cars has been getting better year on year, to the point that they can often rival the German competitors. It’s common to find cars of this size lacking in power with the lower-end options, but the Honda Pilot features a very good 3.5-liter V6 in every model. That alone is a major selling point, but there’s the good safety, good looks too and optional all-wheel drive.
With so much space in a hauler of this size, you need to fill it with nice things, and Honda has done just that. The seating is in a better material then the predecessor, as you’d expect, things softer and more comfortable. In fact hard plastics seem to have all but disappeared with more soft touch material found around the cabin.
The driving position is good and affords great visibility with an available powered 10-way adjustable seat, and the new dash and gauge layout is as good, the ergonomics work great. The infotainment system is also good, but takes a few tries before it gets intuitive and easy to navigate. Seating is for eight, unless you go top spec, then available second row Captain chairs drops that number by one. For non-humans there’s 83.9 cubic feet to use when the seats are arranged for cargo.
When you hear that an SUV can seat up to eight people, you’d be forgiven for thinking it would be slow and cumbersome, but thanks to lightweight materials in key places, that’s not the case with the Honda Pilot. The base Pilot wears 18-inch tires that have a softer ride, but the other models wear 20s that offer better grip and roadholding, and combined with the reworked and stiffer suspension and available all-wheel drive, we see almost sedan-like driving characteristics.
The V6 motor is responsive and likes to be revved into the red, not that this would happen with a full load on board, but spirited driving is very possible. Honda’s 6-speed automatic transmission is a smooth and seamless operator that also doesn’t disappoint. Top level gets the 9-speed auto, which is just as good.
Honda has made it easier for customers wanting a Pilot. With no small capacity, asthmatic lump appointed for the lowest spec model, customers don’t have to feel like they’re settling for less. All models use Honda’s powerful and efficient 3.5-liter V6 that produces a nice and healthy 280 hp with torque up at 262 lb-ft that’s just right for lugging the big body around without feeling like there’s not enough on tap.
Three models have the 6-speed automatic transmission, which is known for it’s smooth and subtle operation, while the Touring and Elite models see fitment of the new 9-speed automatic, another smooth operator we’ll see more of in upcoming models.
Having the Pilot’s main task focused on people carrying, it makes sense than that it has to be safe for the precious cargo that will be on board. Top crash rating see the Pilot named at a top pick for 2017 by IIHS, scoring great in every category. <br> <br> Active safety systems include thing like Vehicle Stability Assist, Collision Mitigation Braking System and an array of airbags, some of which have rollover activation. On the infotainment side there’s an available 8-inch display for radio, controls and navigation that can be fully integrated into a connected lifestyle.
The Honda Pilot is a great choice for a large commuter capable of transporting a crowd. You’re looking at good styling, good features inside and out as well as a powerful motor across the range. Transmissions are smooth, fuel economy is good and performance is surprising. With a base price of just £30,745, you till get a good deal for your money.