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2016 Honda Pilot AWD Elite Review by John Heilig +VIDEO

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2016 Honda Pilot

By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

JH Says: The 2016 Honda Pilot is one of the few vehicles that really knocked my socks off.



MODEL: 2016 Honda Pilot AWD Elite
ENGINE: 3.5-liter SOHC V6
TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 280 hp @ 6,000 rpm/262 lb.-ft. @ 4,700 rpm
WHEELBASE: 111.0 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 194.5 x 78.6 x 69.8 in.
TIRES: P245/50R20
CARGO: 16.0/46.0/82.1 cu. ft. (3rd row seats up/down/2nd row seats down.
ECONOMY: 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/24.5 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 19.5 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 4,317 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Ford Flex, Chevrolet Equinox, Kia Sorento
STICKER: $47,300 (includes $890 delivery)

BOTTOM LINE: There isn’t anything wrong with the new Honda Pilot. The redesign is stunning, power and handling are very good, and there is enough space for just about anything you’d want to carry.

As we loaded up the Honda Pilot for a Thanksgiving trip “over the hills,” we were continually amazed by the efficient use of space. First, the cargo area is no slouch, especially with the third row seats down. There is also a useful cargo area under the floor.

What I think may have impressed me the most were the doors. There is the standard door pull with a bottom that’s great for keys. Below that is a tray ideal for sunglasses and a small square cubby that holds a water bottle. Below that is a “normal” door cubby. The door is packed with innovative solutions to storage.

Other interior storage includes a cubby at the base of the center stack and a huge center console. Arm rests aren’t needed because the front seats have them attached. The center stack cubby has a 12-volt outlet and a pair of USB connections. There’s an additional 12-vot plug in the center console, as well as another USB outlet.

There is very good power (280 horsepower) from the 3.5-liter V6. Even though the Pilot tops two tons, we were able to move along smartly. The 9-speed automatic transmission with paddles insured a smooth ride. Honda’s unique shifter takes some getting used to. There is a pushbutton park, lever reverse and pushbutton neutral and D/S (for drive/shift). You can’t do “automatic” non-thinking shifts with this shifter, but you should think a bit when shifting.

We drove the Pilot on Interstates and local roads and thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Overall ride quality is a bit stiff, but there are no aches and pains after a long ride.

The heated and cooled front seats are comfortable with fairly decent side support. As mentioned earlier, there are armrests on the inside of the seats and door arm rests on the outside.

Rear seat legroom is very good. There is a console between the captain’s chairs. Manual shades offer second row passengers some privacy if they need it. There are two USB connections at the rear of the center console, with rear seat heat and air controls.

Surprisingly, third row legroom is decent. Two cupholders on each side of the bench seat complement the two cupholders in the rear doors. A sunroof that extends to the second and third rows provides an element of airiness.

The driver faces a clear instrument panel with a central digital speedometer, a small tachometer on the left and water and fuel level gauges on the right. There is a configurable information panel as well.

The excellent audio system has the usual suite of choices. Also, the HVAC system kept us comfortable in a wide range of outside temperatures.

Just in case you are carrying little ones, there is a “spy mirror” where the sunglass holder is usually located. You don’t even have to refer to it; just let the children know it’s there and they will behave better.

Overall, the new Honda Pilot is a super package. I admit I tend to be somewhat jaded in my evaluations of vehicles, but the Pilot is one of the few that really knocked my socks off.

2015 The Auto Page Syndicate

The Most In-Depth Honda Vehicle Shopper's Research - Anywhere!