2016 Honda Pilot: Quick, But Not Always
by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on June 30, 2016
A reasonable person cannot consider our long-term 2016 Honda Pilot to be slow. In our testing it had a sub-7-second 0-60 time and traversed the quarter-mile in fewer than 15 seconds. This is plenty rapid for a three-row SUV.
In day-to-day driving the Pilot feels more ponderous than I've come to expect of the brand. This is a byproduct of the Pilot's size, mass, somewhat numb-feeling steering, and, yes, its powertrain.
"But wait," you protest. "Didn't you just finish saying that the Pilot is rapid? And blathered on about reasonable people, which you clearly are not?" Hear me out. The Pilot's around-town demeanor has little to do with its full-throttle urge. Sure, whack the throttle to the floor and it will ultimately do good stopwatch-y things. But in the innumerable part-throttle excursions when in city driving or when in any kind of traffic, the Pilot is somewhat dull-witted in its responses.
Probably the biggest contributor to the Pilot's blunt-seeming character is down to its ZF-sourced nine-speed transmission, which I've previously derided. Don't get me started again on this gearbox, which I hope soon becomes an automotive mulligan.
Beyond its bumbling transmission, the Pilot's throttle action is too heavily damped. So much so that it noticeably affects throttle response. Give it a big throttle input and a bunch of nothing happens while the throttle and transmission confer amongst themselves. Maybe this is intentional, so as not to upset the softly sprung chassis. Beats me. All I know is this is not the alert, sharp Honda I've come to know.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 13,355 miles