We drove a $49,000 Honda Pilot, which is one of the best family SUVs money can buy. Here are its coolest features.
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
- The Honda Pilot SUV has been updated for 2019 with fresh styling, a more refined drivetrain, and new tech.
- Recently, Business Insider had a chance to spend a week with a 2019 Honda Pilot AWD Elite.
- In the marketplace, the Pilot competes with SUVs such as the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, Subaru Ascent, Nissan Pathfinder, and Volkswagen Atlas.
- The base 2019 Honda Pilot LX with front-wheel drive starts at $31,450. Our top-of-the-line all-wheel-drive Elite trim test car starts at $48,020. A $995 destination and handling fee pushed the as-tested price to $49,015.
The mid-size SUV segment is one of the most competitive in the US auto market. The Honda Pilot has long been one of the most popular offerings in the segment. However, it has lagged in sales behind the Toyota Highlander and the Ford Explorer.The current third-generation Pilot has been around since 2016. However, Honda decided to give the Lincoln, Alabama-built family hauler a mid-life refresh for the 2019 model year.Advertisement
Recently, Business Insider had the chance to spend a week with a 2019 Honda Pilot AWD Elite to see how the updated crossover stacks up to the competition.In our review, we praised the Pilot for its more refined powertrain, updated infotainment system, comfortable ride, and standard suite of safety tech.
Here's a closer look at its coolest features.
1. Awesome engine: all Pilots are powered by a 280 horsepower 3.5-liter, naturally aspirated VTEC V6 engine. The engine is velvety smooth and delivers solid punch off the line. According to Honda, our Pilot Elite should be able to deliver 22 MPG of fuel economy in mixed driving. However, we struggled to get above 17 MPG. But, the Arctic cold weather may be may be to blame.
2. Retuned transmission: One of the updates made for the 2019 model year is a retuned nine-speed automatic. It worked. The nine-speed delivered quick shifts that were virtually in perceptible. Lower trim levels get a six-speed automatic while the Touring and Elite trims get the nine-speed.Advertisement
3. New infotainment system: All Pilots except the base LX trim are equipped with an eight-inch touchscreen running Honda's newest infotainment system. The Pilot LX gets a five-inch screen.
The new system is a marked improvement over the previous unit. It's clearly organized and crisply rendered. Although we are happy to see the return of a volume knob in place of the touch panel, we would have also liked to see a tuner knob as well.Advertisement
4. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
5. Digital instrument display: In front of the driver is a digital instrument display. I wasn't a huge fan its looks, but it was easy to use and presented all of the pertinent information the driver needs.Advertisement
6. Quiet cabin: The Pilot's interior proved to be remarkably quiet thanks to its active noise cancellation system. The ANC system uses microphones to detect noise from the engine and the exhaust. The system then uses the vehicle's stereo speakers to send out signals to cancel out the noise.
7. Honda Sensing: All Pilot trim levels come standard with the Honda Sensing driver's assistance tech package. This includes adaptive cruise control, collision mitigating braking, forward collision warning, road departure mitigation, lane keep assist.Advertisement
8. A multi-angle rear view camera.
9. 4G LTE wifi hotspot capability.Advertisement
10. Cabin Talk: The system comes from the Honda Odyssey minivan and allows the driver and the rear cabin passengers to communicate using a series of microphones placed within the interior. That way, folks in the front won't have to yell at people sitting in the back and vice versa. It's also a handy way for parents to listen in on what their kids are doing in the back.
11. Panoramic mirror: Now the driver can see everything happening in the back.Advertisement
12. A rear cabin entertainment system.
The system includes a 10.2-inch high definition rear seat entertainment system that comes standard on the Touring and Elite trims.Advertisement
It's controlled using this remote or through the infotainment screen on the front dash.
You can plug in wired headphones or you can use the pair of wireless units that come with the car.Advertisement
There's a Blu Ray player built into the dash or you can stream video using a host of apps through the Pilot's onboard 4G LTE wifi hotspot.
13. Wireless charging.Advertisement
14. Automatic tailgate: The Pilot is equipped with a hands-free tailgate that will lift up automatically if the driver swings his or her foot under the rear bumper.
15. Ample cargo space: Behind the third row, there is 16 cubic feet of cargo room.Advertisement
With the rearmost seats folded down, cargo volume expands to 46 cubic feet. With the second row folded, that figure expands to 82 cubic feet.
16. Glass roof: The large two-piece glass sunroof bathes the cabin in natural light even on a cloudy day.Advertisement
17. Roomy cabin: The Pilot can seat up to eight. However, our Elite trim tester came optioned with the second-row captain's chairs which dropped the occupancy count down to seven.
18. Updated styling: The 2019 Pilot's styling updates include a refreshed front end with new LED headlights along with a redesigned bumper and chrome grille.Advertisement
The rear of the Pilot gets new taillights, bumper, and chrome accents.
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