This week we are reviewing the 2019 Honda Pilot with the Touring trim. Our vehicle was assembled at the Honda Manufacturing plant in Lincoln Alabama and has an MSRP of $54,920.00 CAD
Fun Factor: 5
Can it Family: 9
Karaoke Friendly: 6
City Cruising: 5
After reviewing the Honda Passport, we also got the chance to try the Pilot and see what differences these 2 vehicles have. Yes, the 2 cars do not only have exterior differences; they also have slightly different driving dynamics. The Pilot we drove with the Touring trim has the same engine layout as the Passport: a 3.5L V6 engine with 280hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, in our real-life test from 0-100km/h it took us 6.95 seconds. These results were achieved while driving with 6 passengers (including the driver). This replicates a real-life scenario where a vehicle is loaded with passengers and how it would react. We do not have any official numbers when it comes to the official 0-100km/h from Honda. The Pilot isn't the SUV that's going to make you rave about it's driving experience. It has less body roll than the Passport that we recently tested, giving it more assurance while taking corners. What it does have going for it is that it's quite comfortable and provides a relaxing ride. The Pilot is great for long road trips with the family while being reassured with Honda's long term quality.
The Pilot offers 2 different variants when it comes to seating: 7 or 8-seater. It can be an 8 passengers in the following configuration; 2 passengers in front, 3 in the middle and 3 in the back. The version we drove had a total of 7 seats, replacing the bench with 2 captains chairs, which the whole family will love, also making it easier for people to gain access to the rear seats if child seats are installed. Our children appreciated having more personal space and being able to have their backpack close without being squeezed. The Touring trim is well thought of for the family; kids will also enjoy the 10.2-inch screen to watch their movies thanks to the Blu-ray player. What was interesting is that it came preloaded with cartoons. You can choose to have them enjoy a surround sound experience using the speakers of the car or use the Bluetooth headphones, and you may listen to your music while driving peacefully. In the 7-passenger version, 4 adults will be very comfortable in the 1st and 2nd row, as for the 3rd row, it should only be used by kids as adults will not have enough space. Accessing those rear seats can be done quite simply for children: the seat moves forward with the touch of a button. The front seats are heated, but the temperature is mild and may not sufficient even at the highest setting to keep you warm; the heated steering wheel isn't too strong either. Otherwise, the seats offer good support and a nice range of adjustments for shorter drivers.
We observed a fuel economy of 12.9L per 100km in the city, 10.5L per 100km HWY and an average 11.8L per 100km over a distance of 375km. Our test was made while the outside temperatures oscillated between +5 and +12°C. The results we received while on the HWY included heavy traffic; hence, lower results could be achieved. Honda announces 12.3L per 100km in the city 9.3L per 100km and 11L per 100km combined.
The Pilot offers a smooth ride while driving away on the HWY. You can also rest assured that you'll have a safe trip thanks to Honda Sensing suite of safety being standard on all Pilots. The blind-spot monitoring is available on all models except the base LX version. The additional rear cross-traffic monitoring, in conjunction with the blind-spot monitoring, is available on all models above touring. The LKAS system activates automatically without needing to activate cruise control; this system assists & helps to stay within your lane and will also turn. Twisty roads will still require the input of the driver. The visibility while driving in the Pilot was good during the day; it helps that you're sitting high. At night the LED headlights shine fairly bright; however, we found that they could illuminate a wider angle to provide even better visibility.
Now going to the sound system, since we were testing the Touring trim, we had the biggest audio system the Passport has to offer. The vehicle flaunts a 600 watt sound system with 11 speakers, which sounded decently tuned and will provide enough oomph to jam to your favourite songs. In all other trims, you get a 7-speaker audio system with 264 watts. The infotainment is reasonably simple to use and is quite responsive. One thing we did wish for would be that the screen be a little less pixelated and that it also would be less prone to glare when exposed to direct sunlight, making it sometimes challenging to make out the information displayed on it. The integration of both android auto and Apple CarPlay is done in a friendly fashion and works like a charm, for most commands you may have to take your eyes away from the steering wheel, it will be safer to have the co-pilot operate the system. The Touring trim also offers wireless charging and will fit even the largest smartphones.
Now how is it for child seat installation? With the presence of the captain chairs, it provides ease of access into the vehicle and also gives you enough space to get in the car with the car seat, so you don't have to worry about freezing in the winter when the need arises to switch car seats from one car to another. As for the latches, they are somewhat hidden underneath the leather, making it finicky to attach a car seat while in a rush. We find that car seat installation was more accessible with the Honda Passport. The Pilot in a 7 passenger configuration gives you the possibility to install a car seat to both captain's chairs, and it also offers one LATCH to do so in the 3rd row something that most of the competition doesn't offer and would be practical if you have 3 kiddos under 5. In the 8 passengers configuration, you have one more seat where a child seat can be installed. As for children accessing the vehicle on their own, they will require help opening the doors, and they will also need assistance to gain access to the interior. The positive experience we have with captains chairs and children is that even if car seats are installed, kids can slide their way to the 3rd row by accessing through the middle of those seats without moving the chairs around.
As a city vehicle, the Pilot does have a prominent stance; parking in smaller spots will require some agility, especially since the Pilot doesn't have a 360-degree camera, and it doesn't have a traditional gear lever either. To actually change gears, you need to press the button for the gear desired; it requires some getting used to if you've never driven this type of gear shifter. In our city test, fuel consumption in the city was reasonable for its size and the start/stop feature helped reduce fuel consumption. Urban driving is relaxed in the Passport as it's suspension absorbs nicely any imperfections on the road, all and all we had a pleasant driving experience. We also found that we needed to allow a longer braking distance than with cars of similar proportions we have tried before, this was inconvenient in dense traffic in the city, but we got used to it.
Why would we buy the Honda Passport and what we liked about it: Available in 7 or 8 passengers configuration and in the 7 passenger version, you can seat 4 adults with generous legroom. The roomy interior of the 7 passenger configuration and the screen. We try to limit screen time for our kids, but we did appreciate driving quietly. Honda sensing suite is standard on all models.
Why we wouldn't buy the Honda Passport and what we didn't like about it: Extended braking distance wasn't practical during rush hour. There's no hybrid version.
Honda has lent us this vehicle for one week as a press vehicle, we have no affiliation with Honda Canada, and the above is a recollection of our personal opinion of the vehicle referred to above.