2016 Honda Pilot: Brief First Impressions and Something That Goes "Bing!"
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on November 16, 2015
Our 2016 Honda Pilot had arrived just a few days ago. The needle was barely down from the "F" mark on its second tank of fuel as I emerged into the sunlight from our underground parking garage. I wasn't going anywhere special, though. This first drive would be a simple overnight commute.
On the drive home the accommodations proved to be, well, accommodating, and the Pilot generally rolled down the road with composure. Its V6 powertrain seemed to generate a decent amount of power, and I never noticed the odd 1-2 shift that Ed thought he might have felt once or twice the night before. When I got home, my daughter commented how much she liked the rear seat and the amount of space.
It was a brief first impression, and numerous details will get filled in over the miles and months ahead. Still, everyone agreed this would be a good candidate for our upcoming Oregon holiday trip.
But it wasn't all rosy.
I had trouble with the USB-to-iPod connection as well as the audio system mode selector switch on the steering wheel, both of which didn't seem to work as expected. The manual's described procedure for switching off adaptive cruise in order to revert to regular cruise didn't work for me work for me either...until I tried it while stopped with the transmission in Park.
In the fullness of time, that stuff may or may not prove to be operator error. I'm filing them all under "Too Soon to Tell."
But then there was the thing that annoyingly went "bing!" like an airline seatbelt warning.
I couldn't tell what was triggering the seemingly-random chime that issued from the front stereo speakers after dimming the audio program. It happened on city streets, arterial roads and freeways alike, about once every 90 seconds or so.
I quickly eliminated the lane keeping and blind spot monitoring systems. Nothing untoward was evident as I scanned the cabin, but the search was like trying to determine which of my four home smoke detectors was issuing a low battery warning, but with a soothing tone.
My wife surfed the web and found the question (and answer) quickly in a Pilot forum. It was the traffic system issuing traffic alerts.
Odd. I didn't have the map displayed and navigation routing was not active. But I switched away from the audio screen and changed over to map view and saw that it was true. Each unwanted "bing!" corresponded to the appearance of traffic alert messages on the map along the lines of "two-minute delay ahead."
Strange. The car had no way of knowing my ultimate destination or immediate plans. How could it compute a delay time if it didn't know where I was going? The fact that the map screen wasn't even displayed should have been the car's second clue I wasn't interested.
I dug a couple of levels into the setup screen and found a place to turn off traffic information, which put an end to it. But I'll have to turn it back on when I am interested in traffic warnings and navigation for real. We may be in for a lot of back-and-forth toggling if there's not another setting hiding in the manual that I haven't yet discovered.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 427 miles