This generously sized hauler is a good pick for people who want a solid-feeling SUV with convenient features, plenty of space, and good all-weather capability. Although not the liveliest driving SUV in its class, Pilot more than offsets that with a number of virtues that make it worth considering.
Pilot is well suited to families who often need to carry big groups of people and tote bulky items. Although Pilot’s carlike construction limits its ability to handle heavy trailer towing or do serious off-roading, it’s nonetheless well-built and sturdy for normal street use. Families will appreciate Pilot’s standard three-row seating for eight, which offers plenty of room for four adults and four children. For homeowners and do-it-yourself types, Pilot’s interior can haul 4’x8’ sheets of building materials flat with the seats folded. Pilot also makes a good alternative to minivans; it has similar cargo and passenger room but tops most minivans by offering the added capability of available all-wheel drive.
In addition to all-wheel-drive versions, Pilot is also offered with front-wheel drive. Either way, all Pilots are powered by a 250-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 with a 5-speed automatic transmission, a combination rated at up to 25 MPG on the highway, using recommended regular-grade fuel.
Buyers can choose from four trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring. For 2013, the LX gets a number of features that were previously only available on higher trim levels. Included among these are Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, Bluetooth Audio, automatic climate controls, and a rearview camera. As before, the LX includes a seven-speaker audio system with subwoofer, an 8-inch information display screen, and a trip computer. The EX model adds to this a power driver’s seat, satellite radio, alloy wheels, and a tri-zone automatic climate control system that includes humidity control.
The EX-L brings luxury features, including leather seats, heated front seats, power front passenger seat, moonroof, power tailgate, and optionally available navigation system or DVD rear-entertainment system. The Touring model is the top Pilot version. It includes a navigation system, ten-speaker audio system, DVD rear-entertainment system, corner and backup sensors, and 2-position memory seats. Aside from the LX model’s newly-added extras, Pilot is essentially unchanged for 2013.
Recommended for: Midsize-SUV shoppers seeking all-around utility at a reasonable price.
This is the base-model Honda Pilot, but it’s far from ‘basic.’ The Pilot LX has a wide array of comfort and convenience features, including: air conditioning, automatic climate control, tilt and telescope steering column, cruise control, power door and tailgate locks, and power windows. Complementing these is a strong set of tech equipment, including a seven-speaker audio system with subwoofer, an 8-inch information display screen, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, Bluetooth Audio, USB connection, trip computer, and a rearview camera.
Recommended for: Buyers who want a little more comfort and style without breaking the bank.
The Pilot EX expands on the LX model, adding niceties such as a power driver’s seat and a tri-zone automatic climate control system with humidity control. Also included are satellite radio, a 2 GB CD library, alloy wheels, and body-colored door handles and side mirrors.
Recommended for: People who want luxury features but don’t need the ultimate Pilot.
The EX-L model adds luxury touches to Pilot while still economizing on a few top-level features. Included are leather seats, heated front seats, power front passenger’s seat, power moonroof, power tailgate, and an automatic-dimming rearview mirror. EX-Ls also make available additional tech features, offering as options either a navigation system or a DVD rear entertainment system.
Recommended for: Buyers who want all the style, convenience, and luxury possible in a Pilot.
The Touring model is the top Pilot version, adding to the EX-L’s features a navigation system, a 10-speaker audio system, DVD rear entertainment system, corner and backup sensors, and 2-position memory seats.
Generous cargo space but bulky to park.
Offers impressive high-tech options but some of them are frustrating to operate.
Sporty to drive but stiff suspension doesn’t absorb bumps well.
Soft riding and quiet but has a numb driving feel.
Overall, Pilot is a solid choice for buyers seeking a sturdy SUV that can carry plenty of people or cargo. Available all-wheel drive provides confidence-inspiring security in rain or snow, while luxury models smooth off some of Pilot’s utilitarian edge. Competitive prices, a healthy roster of standard features, and Honda’s history of strong resale value add further luster, making Pilot well worth considering.