Heels on Wheels: 2013 Honda Pilot Review
HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel
INTRO TO THE PILOT VEHICLE
The mid-size Honda Pilot SUV hasn’t budged much in overall design and instead distributes efforts in a calculated manner, like offering a third row that can actually accommodate adults comfortably and a V6 engine capable of delivering a combined fuel economy of 20 miles-per-gallon with all-wheel drive.
I drove a 2013 Honda Pilot with the standard and singular 250-horsepower i-VTEC V6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management paired to a five-speed automatic transmission with Grade Logic Control and four-wheel drive. My top-of-the-line Pilot Touring trim came with the following standard feature highlights: ten-way power driver’s seat; leather-trimmed upholstery; heated front seats; XM Radio; Bluetooth; Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System; rearview camera; rear DVD entertainment system; trailer harness; fog lights; power tailgate with lift-up hatch; and moonroof. Total vehicle cost came to $41,270.
I’ve been studying the Honda Pilot consecutively over the past four years, and with each passing model the vehicle makes seemingly minor adjustments that actually equate into large successes for the utility segment and thus consumers. The most accurate competitors are your more rugged mid-size models like the Toyota 4Runner and Chevrolet Tahoe but also more formidable types like the Nissan Armada and GMC Yukon.
HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA
Stylish But Comfortable Results: The Pilot did take on a new three-slate front grille design, restyled headlights and new wheels last year along with a new center stack design to support connectivity technology. Honda does remain on top of basic styling and convenience issues although this SUV doesn’t possess as much on an off-road presence as the 4Runner or conjure up a history like the Chevy Tahoe. But what matters most is its comfortable and roomy inside with excellent visibility for all eight passengers. This is a tough attribute to offer, with the Ford Flex deserving some recognition in the mix for offering a better third row ease-of-access than all competitors mentioned. Also, a rearview camera is a standard feature at the base level – a nice power play on Honda’s part.
Reliability & Safety Factor: The Honda Pilot is recognized by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) as a Top Safety Pick and The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives in an overall score of 4-Stars. Standard safety equipment includes vehicle stability assist with traction control, hill start assist, an advanced airbag system, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution.
Cost Issues: A two-wheel base Honda Pilot starts at $29,520 with standouts including modern technology features like a rearview camera, Bluetooth, eight-inch audio display, a USB interface and steering-wheel mounted controls. A Tahoe starts at $39,830 and a Toyota 4Runner at $31,340, which makes the Pilot a very value-oriented choice.
Activity & Performance Ability: My love for the Pilot’s performance increases with each test drive, lead by the SUV’s excellent visibility and comfortable seat dimensions turning just about any driving situation for a busy mom – from navigating tricky incline driveways to off-the-line acceleration at onramps– into experiences greeted with great confidence. Every time you’re backed by dependable grip, a generous turning radius, and minimal cabin noise.
The Green Concern: One of the best attributes of this three-row utility vehicle is a combined fuel economy of 20 miles-per-gallon with four-wheel drive (that’s 17-city and 24-highway). Fuel economy estimates are 18 miles-per-gallon city and 25 highway with two-wheel drive.
FINAL PARTING WORDS
The 2013 Honda Pilot keeps utility rugged, comfortable and affordable with an adjusted fuel economy of 20 miles-per-gallon combined and a starting price lower than most competitors. This underdog SUV also delivers just the right amount of technology and other interior upgrade in a way that causes low fret when up to eight passengers start tromping about your ride.
©2013 Katrina Ramser