Honda usually impresses me with its interiors, but this Honda Pilot test vehicle's cabin doesn't look or feel like a $30,000-plus SUV. All of the dashboard plastics are hard, and their shapes, grains, and colors don't look particularly well-thought-out. The clear gauges and center stack material are unique, if unimpressive, and the black LCD mpg display inside the gauge cluster is impossibly difficult to read. I also have problems reading the black radio display, which is located where the navigation system would be on more expensive models.
I do like the Pilot's driving position and feel particularly comfortable gripping the dashboard-mounted gear selector (very ergonomic). There is also plenty of space in the storage bin between the front bucket seats (you can actually lay a magazine flat across the entire space). Climate controls are simple and clearly labeled.
Honda's 250-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 sounds and feels solid when pushed, but I wouldn't mind another 20 or 30 hp. The 275-hp, 3.6-liter engine in our Four Seasons GMC Acadia (or the direct-injection 3.6-liter engine in the new Chevy Traverse) is the right amount of power for a mid-size SUV or crossover (although the Acadia and Traverse are a couple hundred pounds heavier than the Pilot). Driving dynamics are great for this SUV-awesome body control and very little understeer.
I would like to know why Honda/Acura cannot get the shapes of its grilles right these days!
David Yochum, Assistant Editor