2016 Honda Pilot: Touchscreen Interface Isn't So Great
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on January 19, 2016
Dan specifically mentioned Honda's choice of virtual buttons instead of buttons or knobs. As you can tell from the photo, there isn't a volume knob. It's just a touch-sensitive controller.
Does it look neat? Yes. Does it work well? No.
It's just too distracting trying to tap or slide your finger to adjust the volume while on the move, especially if you want to make a quick and big change. There's no tuning knob, either.
Then there are small virtual buttons for "source" and "map" (top right of the touchscreen) that Dan mentioned. These appear when you've got the audio display up. I agree with Dan that they are just too small to consistently touch correctly.
I've noticed a couple other problems as well. The first one is a slow response time. Sometimes the Pilot's touchscreen responds quickly to my touch. Other times there's a delay (about a second or so) before anything happens. When this happens, I'm left to wonder: did I touch the button right? Do I have to push it again?
The second issue is just aesthetical. The glossy black trim surrounding the touchscreen looks classy and matches trim used elsewhere in the cabin. But it's very prone to showing fingerprints.
I will note it's not all bad for the Pilot. The 8-inch display's map graphics look sharp. And while the music interface suffers from some small virtual button problems of its own, it's easy to operate because it feels similar to a smartphone.
The 2016 Honda Pilot also has some buttons on its steering wheel that can be used instead of the touchscreen in certain instances. The audio "source" button brings up selections in the gauge cluster display that you can choose using the left-right buttons (thereby being a redundant option instead of the touchscreen's virtual button).
There's also an upper button that cycles through navigation/phone/music and a lower button that can be used to pick shuffle and repeat options for music. You also have full voice command functionality, including audio control.
Overall though, this touchscreen interface is often irksome to use and I've noticed it's a common complaint in our 2016 Pilot consumer reviews.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor