The three-row Honda Pilot has earned its reputation as a roomy, versatile and utilitarian family hauler with everything it takes to make road trips easier on everyone. Available in five trim levels for 2017, buyers have plenty of choices.
The base LX trim starts at $30,595; the EX starts at $33,030; the EX-L is $36,455; the Touring starts at $41,670; and the top-end Elite trim starts at $47,070. All are available in either seven- or eight-passenger configurations, depending on the choice of second-row seating.
The new Pilot was completely redone last year and is distinctly different from previous versions. The third-generation Pilot is sleeker and sexier but boasts just as much function and utility. The Pilot also gets a couple of important additions for 2017: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Families will love the Pilot’s roomy interior. Head room is a whopping 40.1 inches in the front seats and slightly better in the second row at 40.2 inches. Even back in row three, head room is nearly 39 inches. I climbed back there, and my 6-foot-1 frame didn’t come close to the headliner.
I really liked the interior of the test Pilot, which had durable black leather seating, including captain’s chairs in row two. Soft-touch materials were in all the right places, making the Pilot a comfortable road machine. Lots of storage and cubbies make it easy to get organized.
Infotainment and connectivity features are a highlight, with clear and crisp graphics. Plenty of USB, 12-volt and auxiliary ports are available in convenient locations. Audio volume and channel selection are controlled via the touch screen, meaning you have to tap the screen to adjust volume or change the channels. There are redundant controls on the steering wheel, but that doesn’t help the passenger; knobs would be better for those functions.
On the road, the 2017 Pilot is confident and sure-footed with plenty of power under the hood. It offers only one engine choice, but it’s a good one.
The 2017 Pilot is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that delivers 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is either a six-speed automatic or a new nine-speed automatic, depending on the trim you select. These powertrain combos deliver class-leading fuel economy ratings up to 20 mpg in city driving and 27 mpg on the highway. AWD is available (rated at one mpg less).
The 2017 Pilot has a range of advanced safety features, and one we particularly like is Honda Sensing, a suite of technologies designed to help mitigate or even prevent crashes. Available for $1,000 on all but the base trim, the system bundles safety technologies like LaneWatch display, a blind spot information system, forward collision warning, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, road departure mitigation and rear cross-traffic alert.
The 2017 Pilot earns five overall safety stars from the government and is a Top Safety Pick-Plus from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The IIHS gave the 2017 Pilot the top score of “good” in every category and a “superior” rating for front crash prevention.