I had the opportunity to drive the Pilot only briefly, but I came away impressed.
First off, the Pilot's new front-end styling looks about ten times better on the street than it did back in January under the harsh lights of the 2008 Detroit auto show. Somehow, the whole "Tonka truck writ large" theme works for me better in natural sunlight, with the Pilot sitting in my driveway.
Second, I was blown away by the size and execution of the Pilot's cabin. It takes all the clever design, conveniences, and pleasing shapes of the Ridgeline pickup truck to the next level. There's no need for me to describe the myriad storage cubbyholes in the Pilot, since Jean Jennings has already done so. Let me just say that the biggest problem with the Pilot's interior is that there are so many places to stash things, you might find yourself misplacing small items like a credit card, or a receipt, or your sunglasses, simply because there are about twenty places that you might have stowed them.
Third, the Pilot goes down the road with authority, and the chassis feels very solid. The fuel economy isn't great, but if you drive conservatively you can manage to eke out more than 20 mpg on the highway, which isn't bad if you're carrying seven people and their gear. As with any big SUV, we predict that the Pilot's fuel economy will drop precipitously at speeds above 70 mph, when the laws of aerodynamics take over.
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor