2016 Honda Pilot: How Does It Handle Five Passengers and 1,000 Miles
by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on November 25, 2015
I wasted no time asking Edmunds car-czar Mike Schmidt for the keys to our newest long-term vehicle, the 2016 Honda Pilot. Before it had been in our garage for a week, I requested the six-passenger crossover for a 1,000-mile road trip. Once Mike forked over the keys, I packed my running gear, picked up four of my friends and headed north towards Sacramento.
Designed as a mini-vacation of sorts, the road trip would take us from Los Angeles to the state capitol, Sacramento. The five of us signed up for a 10K run called Beat the Blerch so we brought lots of running gear, extra shoes and plenty of snacks. All that plus normal road-trip luggage meant we had to pack very strategically.
The Pilot's cargo bay has a false floor, which provides a few inches of additional depth when removed, but the front-to-back dimensions behind the third-row seatbacks are still pretty shallow. The split-folding 60/40 seats made up the difference, allowing for the bigger bags to lay flat and giving the third-row passenger something to lean up against and sleep on. A sixth passenger would've been pushing it here and a seventh passenger with their bags would've been a practical impossibility.
On our way up to Sacramento, there weren't many complaints but limited legroom in the third row was one noted shortcoming. There's plenty of headroom and space to spread out when you're the only person back there, but if you're an adult over 5-foot 4-inches and you're sitting upright, your knees will likely be pretty close to your chest.
Awesome light-painting photo courtesy of my buddy, Matt Dunn.
There was heavy rain on the return trip and more than one instance of stop-and-go traffic, so I wasn't too surprised when the math revealed an average of 20.8 mpg on the trip and a best-fill of just 24.2 mpg. The Pilot's EPA estimate is 26 highway mpg with all-wheel drive and the nine-speed transmission, so we aren't too far off the rating, but it might take some work to get there.
Aside from the lack of third-row space, the Pilot was a really comfortable ride. It smoothed out bumps, was quiet enough to accommodate sleeping passengers, and charged four USB-powered devices at once. And regardless of the early mpg results, I look forward to driving the Pilot again sometime soon.
So far, it's an easy car to drive with lots to love.
Travis Langness, Social Media Editor @ 2,110 miles