The Honda Pilot is a vehicle that will appeal to active families. It has a versatile layout, a capable powertrain, and a track record of reliability. Many of the Pilot’s features will make Honda owners feel right at home: it’s based on the Odyssey, so it drives in much the same fashion. The 3.5-liter V-6 is good for 250 hp and 253 lb-ft of torque, as well as a 4500-pound tow rating with the optional four-wheel drive. It is also one of the best-driving crossovers in its segment. The steering is nicely weighted, engineers have dialed in the suspension so that there’s little body roll, and the ride quality is neither too soft nor too stiff. The Pilot’s interior has always been functional, but it gets even better for the 2012 model year with a simplified center stack and a more logical control layout for the infotainment system, which combines music, phone, and navigation (when equipped) into one package that is surprisingly easy to use. The Pilot has three rows of seats and can carry eight passengers, although it’s still not as roomy as a minivan. There are other vehicles in this segment — such as the Mazda CX-9 — that are more attractively styled and are more powerful, but the Pilot manages to outsell the CX-9 more than four to one. The Pilot capitalizes on its reputation for reliability, on the cachet of the Honda name, and, most important, on the fact that it is a very usable vehicle that makes sense for lots of consumers.
Drive: Front-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim Levels: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring
Body style: SUV/crossover, 8-passenger
Engine: 3.5L V-6, 250 hp, 253 lb-ft
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 152.7-153.7 cu ft
Capacities: Towing 2000-4500 lb; cargo (behind third/middle/front seats) 18.0/47.7/87.0 cu ft
All Pilots receive a new front fascia, grille, and headlights, which increases the overall length slightly. Mocha metallic paint has been replaced with dark amber metallic. Acoustic windshield glass is now standard, and fuel economy has been boosted slightly.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags are standard, as are antilock brakes, traction and stability control, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
All: 17-18 mpg city/24-25 mpg highway
- Simple, efficient interior
- Rides and handles well
- Three rows of seating
- Boxy styling
- Can be expensive
Jack of all trades.
- Ford Explorer
- Mazda CX-9
- Nissan Pathfinder
- Toyota 4Runner