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Auto Corner Review: 2017 Honda Pilot - Future of the SUV?

04 March 2017   John Kehlenbeck

Is Honda ready to conquer the competition with the Pilot?

2017 Honda Pilot

Personality: An updated SUV meets mind-blowing reliability

Best Gizmo: The facelift (completely new style last year)

Most Annoying Feature: The transmission

MPG (as tested): 19 in the city, 26 on the highway (combined 22)

Performance: Better than expected

Cars we smoked at stoplights: A minivan and a GMC Yukon

0-60: 7.1 seconds as tested

How Fast Is That? About average for this segment of the market

How Much? Base price is $29,995

What option should I splurge on? Blind spot monitoring and the rear seat DVD player

Serious Contenders? Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, GMC Acadia, and the list goes on…

The Sport Utility Vehicle. The popularity and convenience of a modern SUV is unparalleled in todays suburban utopia of soccer practices, grocery runs, and Starbucks drive-thrus. Honda has reset the bar with a refresh of the amazingly popular Pilot. With smoothed lines, a refined interior, and under the hood refinements, the new Pilot falls in line with the future of the SUV market.

Let me be clear, Honda has a reputation… the reliability and resale value are virtually unparalleled, giving potential buyers of this 7 seater the confidence their money will be well spent. One honest statement can be followed by another… the Pilot desperately needed the 2016 refresh. The boxy design with roots from it’s introduction almost 15 years ago have come and gone in popularity, and Honda apparently was dragging its feet to go back to the drawing board. Well, patience was rewarded with a merging of Acura style cues and upper class refinement to propel the Pilot into the later part of the decade.

Lets start with the outside. With smooth lines borrowed from the Honda sedan makeovers of recent years, this 7 seater boasts a simple grill, curved headlights with LED running lights, a streamlined side profile, and distinct tail lamps. All together more refined, less utilitarian, and ready for the future, the 2017 Pilot commands respect and attention.

Under the hood you will find a 280 horsepower V-6 engine attached to a 6 speed transmission. The power is adequate and towing capacity is on par with the competition. That being said, this transmission leaves no doubt that it is trying to squeeze out every bit of efficiency, promoting a descent mpg but punishing any sporty ride in the process.

Layout of instruments and infotainment are easy on the eyes and fingers. My only complaint seems to be an overly complicated steering wheel. Just how many buttons can we fit on this three spoke circle? Now before you come to their defense, I do understand the logic. The more the driver keeps their eyes on the road, the better. Agreed, but boy oh boy there is a learning curve with this one. 

As with any vehicle in the modern day, the long list of trim and style options can make one want to crawl back into bed and yearn for the days of horse and buggy… maybe. With 5 different trim levels, the Honda Pilot is no different. Starting with the base LX and then EX, EX-L Touring and Elite the models range from a base price of $29,995 up to around $50,000 with options on the Elite version. 

Honda leaves little doubt they are ready to conquer the competition and stake their claim on the reliable SUV market for years to come. With a refined drive, luxury appearance, and reasonable price, this one probably has competitors cringing. 



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