2009 Honda Pilot

Rusty Blackwell Jean Jennings David Yochum
2009 Honda Pilot

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

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