At first, the 2012 Honda Pilot looks about the same as the 2011 model, but a few tweaks underhood help it return improved fuel economy.
Those who didn’t care for the old Pilot’s somewhat cartoonish grille may be happy with the 2012 Pilot’s cosmetic revisions. A new grille, patterned after the Accord’s three-bar chrome insert, rests front and center. A new front bumper fascia smoothly flows into the front fenders, and sports a redesigned air intake and fog lamp surrounds. Out back, a new rear diffuser cleanly wraps around the dual exhaust tips, and also includes a beauty cover for the trailer hitch.
Underhood, Honda’s 250-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 remains coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission, but a few tweaks promise to reduce fuel consumption. Internal modifications allegedly reduce friction and optimize efficiency, but the biggest aid in cutting the Pilot’s fuel thirst is the new Variable Cylinder Management system. As a result, the engine can deactivate two or three cylinders when cruising under light load, and can bolster combined economy figures by 2 mpg.
Inside, Pilots soldier on with the same interior design, although controls for the audio and infotainment system are a little more organized. EX-L models without navigation receive Honda’s new Multi-Information Display (like that used in the 2012 Civic). Much like the actual navigation system itself, the MID screen can display Bluetooth connectivity menus, images from the rear-view camera, and other infotainment options.
The 2012 Pilot is officially on sale as of today, with base prices ranging from $29,280 for the base front-wheel-drive LX, to $41,630 for a loaded four-wheel-drive Pilot Touring, complete with both navigation and a rear-seat entertainment system.