Honda’s new subcompact HR-V crossover might be capturing attention, but the company’s biggest model stands ready to grab a growing chunk of the midsize SUV market. Fully redesigned from the ground up for its third generation, the three-row Pilot gains power, space, features and fuel-efficiency, along with improved aerodynamics and a new top-of-the-line trim.
What's New for 2016
Now producing 280 horsepower (up 30), the 3.5-liter V6 engine mates with either a six-speed or nine-speed automatic transmission. Upper trim levels have lost almost 300 pounds, while third-row and cargo space have grown.
Choosing Your Honda Pilot
Honda-first features on the new Elite model include 20-inch tires, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, heated steering wheel, and a panoramic glass roof. Built on a carlike unibody platform, Pilot seats up to eight with a second-row bench seat, or seven with the available captain’s chairs. Honda Sensing, a group of safety and driver-assist technologies including Forward Collision warnings, Lane Keeping Assist, and Road Departure Mitigation, is available or standard on upper models.
Front-drive and all-wheel drive Pilots hold a direct-injected i-VTEC 3.5-liter V6 engine, rated 280 horsepower, teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission (nine-speed on upper models).
Expect to get about 22 mpg in combined driving with the six-speed, or 1 mpg more with a nine-speed. All-wheel drive reduces each mileage estimate by about 1 mpg. Fuel economy in highway driving is about the same with either engine.
The Pilot comes in LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, and new Elite trims. All versions come with front-drive or all-wheel drive ($1,800 additional), except Elite, which is AWD-only.
EX and Touring promise the best balance of price and features. Touring boosts the MSRP past $40,000, but brings the more modern nine-speed automatic as well as a host of safety/assist features.