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 third-row seat can be a bit tricky to access.
All Pilots seat eight except for the top-line models; the Elite and Black Edition have captain’s chairs in the second row for 7-passenger capacity, and the Touring offers them as an option.
WHAT IS IT?
The Pilot is Honda’s popular three-row midsize SUV. 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, Elite, and new-for-2020 Black Edition models. The 9-speed models utilize an unconventional 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 and Black Edition models, which are AWD only. Standard Honda Sensing safety technology features consist of adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, Collision Mitigation Braking System, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, and Road Departure Mitigation. Available features include Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, hands-free power tailgate, power sliding second-row seats, 4G-LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability, wireless smartphone charging, CabinTalk audio-system intercom feature, and a panoramic glass roof with individual front and rear sliding sun shades.
The Pilot underwent a substantial freshening for 2019 that netted it an exterior design facelift and a host of new features. For 2020, the model roster gains a line-topping Black Edition trim level that includes Crystal Black Pearl paint, blacked-out body trim, red accent stitching on the interior, red accent interior lighting, and Black Edition emblems inside and out.
When equipped with the 6-speed automatic transmission, the Pilot is EPA-rated at 19 mpg city/27 highway with 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, an all-wheel-drive Elite averaged 18.2 mpg in about 55-percent city driving.
VALUE IN CLASS
The Honda Pilot is one of the larger midsize SUVs on the market, and it’s also one of the most space-efficient. In addition to its capacious interior, the Pilot boasts excellent road manners for a plus-sized SUV and a fine selection of safety and technology features. Despite its focus on function over flash, the Pilot’s cabin 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.