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Heels on Wheels: 2010 Honda Pilot Review


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2011 Honda Pilot

SEE ALSO: Honda Buyers Guide


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HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

INTRO TO THE 2010 HONDA PILOT VEHICLE

The Pilot is one of the few remaining true SUVs, featuring a full-figured look with no signs of slimming down into more of a crossover shape.

I drove a 2010 Honda Pilot 4WD in the top-of-the-line Touring trim with the new eco-tuned 250-horsepower 3.5-liter SOCH 24-valve i-VTEC V6 engine with 253 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm. Honda's popular i-VTEC technology, which you can find in their mid-to-bigger vehicles like the Element, reduces emissions and increases fuel efficiency. The Touring comes with 10-way driver's power seating, integrated turn indicators to the heated side mirrors and a trailer harness. Add the Navi and Rear Entertainment package and total price come to $40,955.

Honda carefully wields its engineering scalpel with the Pilot to make precise changes. One of the best improvements is the added 2.9-inches of wheelbase to create a third row that is actually functional with easy access and tri-zone climate control. New bonuses with the 2010 model include a tailgate with a lift-up glass hatch.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: The Touring trim increase the level of creature comforts, but it just doesn't convey that top-of-the-line excellence found in similar competitors. Honda needs to design a more refined instrument panel and dash for a better cabin experience. However, the second and third rows fold flat into the floor for 87 cubic feet of storage space. With that third row still up, you get just a smidge over 20 cubic feet behind, which is about as much as a compact sedan. The one-touch closure button embedded in liftgate, which seems to foreign to so many SUVs and crossovers, is an appreciated function.

Reliability & Safety Factor: Just like last year's model, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) granted the Pilot five out of five stars on frontal crash and side crash and four out of five on rollover. Safety standards include: Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA); front and driver plus three-row side curtain airbags; Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); Anti-lock Braking System (ABS); Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD); Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control; Daytime Running Lights; Tire Pressure Monitoring System; and LATCH.

Cost Issues: The Pilot has a vast pricing margin; a base LX trim costs $27,895 and reaches as high as $40k when it comes to the Touring trim. The Navi and Rear Entertainment package, that adds a 6.5-inch motorized display and a voice-activated CD player plus digital audio card reader, is one option that sends the price higher.

Activity & Performance Ability: The ride and space of the Pilot has always made my passengers happy. Reports from the third row have always been positive. Versatile drivability is what makes a seemingly large vehicle like the Pilot a stress-free experience. This means a woman would feel comfortable in a larger SUV like the Pilot in tighter, high-speed situations or when riding in pot-holed, non-paved roads. The 4WD is easy to activate and keeps the driver from worrying about whatever terrain they come across. Never did I feel like I was driving around in an oversized boat, a common feeling inside many traditional SUVs.

The Green Concern: I don’t know about the eco-tuned engine, though: Depending on your driving style, you can lose that 1-2-mpg fuel improvement. So an average of 18-mpg can easily roll back to the Pilot's original 17-or-16-mpg.

FINAL PARTING WORDS

The Honda Pilot can fit up to all eight passengers very comfortably with thumbs up from the third row. While Honda interiors aren’t exactly out the dazzle, this model is in its prime for families wanting a more traditional and highly-reliable SUV for towing purposes.

©2010 Katrina Ramser