SEATTLE — It’s been rather interesting to see how the Honda Pilot has evolved over the past several years to what it has become. There’s absolutely no doubt that the 2019 model is the best Pilot to date and has a great deal to offer in its segment. Americans in particular have doubled down on their love affair with SUVs and crossovers – to the point where Honda now builds the Pilot in the USA.
While the styling has undergone several iterations over the past decade or more, its current design language combines a modern look that’s sophisticated. I believe that Honda has done a brilliant job of making the Pilot Elite to be one of the best-looking “pavement princesses’ out there. I say that in light of knowing that it is all-wheel-drive and consequently will handle most adverse weather conditions with ease (assuming you have the right tires on it at the time), however, it’s not being sold as an off-road capable SUV.
Under the hood:
Honda’s potent 3.5 liter V6 powers the Pilot Elite and is good for 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. However, it’s Honda’s quickshifting 9-speed automatic transmission that does a sublime of dishing out the power to all four wheels. Acceleration can be brisk and passing other vehicles at freeway speeds was no problem. The EPA provides an estimated fuel economy rating of 19 miles per gallon while on city streets and up to 26 miles per gallon on the freeway. A part of the reason it ratchets up to 26 is because of the overdrive gear at those speeds.
Upgrades on the inside:
The reason the Pilot is as successful as it has become is because it’s a 3-row SUV that offers Honda’s reliability, isn’t a mini-van and has enough comfort for seven people. Additionally it sports nearly 84 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats folded down. Meaning it actually has a lot of room for both passengers and cargo.
The biggest improvement over last year’s model, inside the cabin area, is the vehicles infotainment center which now includes a volume knob (versus a silly slider on past years), an easy-to-navigate menu system and excellent sound quality. Standard features include support for AM/FM/XM Satellite, CD, Mp3 and Bluetooth audio. Additionally, there’s a cabin communication system that lets you talk to rear passengers through their headphones, so they can hear you when you need them to.
Seating with room for all:
You’ll love the plush leather seating all around as well as the front seats being able to either heat or cool at the press of a button. For those who have a cell phone that charges wirelessly, there’s also a cubby with a charging pad for those kinds of phones. The inclusion of remote start will also cater to those who like being able to get the car warmed up from the comfort of staying inside the house.
The Elite model features four captain’s chairs, a rear climate control system and a flip-down monitor for in-car entertainment and wireless headphones. One of the best parts is that even the third row is rather adult-friendly with easy to get in and out of seating locations that are also rather comfortable.
Drivers will also enjoy the standard adaptive cruise control, active frontal collision warning and braking system, blind-spot monitoring, automatic high-beam headlights and the lane keeping assist system that actively monitors the lane you’re in and helps keep the car centered.
On the road and wrap-up:
On the road, the Pilot really handles itself more like a minivan with quite a bit of body roll so hammering through corners won’t be its highlight. However, it does ride very smooth, in fact it’s one of the best-riding crossovers we’ve tested in a while. You’ll rarely feel bumps in the road, thanks to its software suspension.
No doubt, that the powertrain sure helps for those jack-rabbit take-offs from the line and overall, it’s a solid daily driver that’s great for those treks to the ocean, mountains, dessert or just about anywhere that doesn’t involve extreme off-roading.
Honda has mostly knocked this one out of the park and offers a very compelling reason to consider test driving a Pilot Elite, should you be in the market for a spacious, comfortable crossover with all the latest amenities.
For more info, check out: www.honda.com