Honda Pilot offers Safe Flight for Growing Families
The 2018 Honda Pilot Touring may look like a large SUV but it doesn’t drive like it while offering plenty of room for seven.
THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: The Honda Pilot gives you confidence in any type of traffic or weather.
- What’s Worst: It will take you a while to get use to, and trust, the button system for selecting drive, reverse and park.
- What’s Interesting: The sound system in the Touring Pilot is better than that offered by many home surround systems.
When my family was younger, a lot younger, the five of us got around in a van.
It was what families drove 20 years ago.
It was our home on wheels. It got us to soccer, hockey, basketball and everything in between.
Families have more choices now with many preferring an SUV to a minivan.
It makes sense. The functionality of a car with the interior space of a van, an SUV is a great compromise for families debating between a larger car or a minivan.
The Honda Pilot fits nicely in that space for families caught in that debate.
The Honda Pilot SUV will take everything your family can throw at it and them some while offering a smooth ride.
The Pilot comes in five trims: the LX, EX, EX-L NAVI, EX-L RES and the Touring. My tester for the week was the top of the line Touring which has ample room for seven and still delivers enough power on the road to keep up with highway traffic.
That power is courtesy of a 3.5 litre V6 engine which is usually matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. But the Touring features a nine-speed automatic transmission making for smoother shifts between gears. The Touring also sports 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels, instead of 18-inch alloy wheels on all other trims, giving the Touring a bolder stance.
The engine delivers 280 hp with 262 lb/ft of torque which gets you moving quickly on the highway and helps you stay on the road, no matter what the weather.
My colleague Jim Robinson recently wrote about a drive to Detroit in the Touring and how the SUV hugged the road through the sleet and snow.
I never had those conditions during my week but I never once felt like the Touring, which features all-wheel drive, was out of control.
The one thing the Touring offered that I never got use to was the gear selector which is simply a set of buttons where the gear selector would have been.
It allows for a more aesthetic look to the interior of the SUV but I was never certain I had hit the right button for park or drive and I never really got comfortable using the buttons.
As I mentioned earlier, the Pilot has lots of room for seven people and getting onto the third row of seats is a breeze.
Push a button on either of the two seats in the middle row and the seat moves forward and flat so the passenger can climb easily into the third row.
And if those passengers are younger they will be kept entertained on long drives by a rear entertainment system that features a nine-inch display with wireless headsets and personal surround sound.
The Touring Pilot, with 10 speakers and 5.1 Surround sound, sounded better than some stereos I have owned. And happily, the Pilot has a CD player which seems to be going the way of movie rental stores.
The Pilot offers a long list of safety features starting with forward collision warning, lane departure alert, and my new favourite, adaptive cruise control.
While those, and more safety features than I can list, will make you feel safe when you get behind the wheel, so will the feel of the Pilot. This is a solidly built vehicle that will give you confidence on the road in any type of road or weather conditions.
The argument between a van and SUV will go on as long as families need four wheels to get around.
The Honda Pilot may just persuade some families that an SUV is the right vehicle for them.
2018 Honda Pilot Touring
BODY STYLE: Three-row SUV
DRIVE METHOD: All-wheel-drive, nine-speed automatic transmission
ENGINE: 3.5-litre, V6 (280 hp, 262 lb/ft).
FUEL ECONOMY: 12.4/9.3/11.0L/100 km city/highway/combined
CARGO: 3,072 litres behind first row; 1,557 litres behind second row; 510 litres behind third row
TOW RATING: 1,588 kg when properly equipped
Follow Wheels.ca on