IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:
Pilot boasts an impressive selection of available comfort and safety features, a nicely finished cabin with outstanding passenger/cargo capacity, and excellent driving manners and fuel efficiency for a vehicle its size.
The touchscreen controls can be finicky, and the third-row seat can be a bit tricky to access.
Pilot is one of the few vehicles in its class to offer 8-passenger seating capacity—all Pilots seat eight except for the line-topping Elite model, which has captain’s chairs in the second row for 7-passenger capacity.
WHAT IS IT?
The Pilot is Honda’s popular three-row midsize SUV, and it’s redesigned for 2016. The lone engine is a 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, which is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission in LX, EX, and EX-L models and a 9-speed automatic in the high-end Touring and Elite models. The 9-speed models utilize a unique electronic pushbutton shifter—it requires a bit of acclimation to use, but frees up console space. All trims levels are available with front- or all-wheel drive except the line-topping Elite model, which is AWD only. A “Honda Sensing” option group of safety technology features includes adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, Collision Mitigation Braking System, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, and Road Departure Mitigation. Other available features include Honda’s LaneWatch right-side camera, remote engine start, heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, power tailgate, power sliding second-row seats, and a panoramic glass roof with individual front and rear sliding sun shades.
The redesigned 2016 Pilot is almost 2 inches longer in wheelbase and 3.5 inches longer overall than the model it replaces. Despite its size increase, the new Pilot is around 300 pounds lighter than before. Exterior styling is more swept-back and “swoopy.”
When equipped with the 6-speed automatic transmission, the Pilot is EPA-rated at 19 mpg city/27 highway with the front-wheel drive and 18/26 with all-wheel drive. Nine-speed models are rated at 20/27 with FWD and 19/26 with AWD. In Consumer Guide® testing, all-wheel-drive Elite averaged 19.3 mpg in about 90-percent city driving.
VALUE IN CLASS
The 2016 Honda Pilot’s wonderfully executed redesign puts it back at the head of the midsize crossover SUV class. It builds on the previous Pilot’s strengths—most notably the spacious interior and excellent road manners—by adding a host of up-to-the-minute safety and technology features. Despite its focus on function over flash, the interior has a very high quality feel. If you need to move a lot of people and stuff and aren’t interested in a minivan, the Pilot is one of the best family haulers around.