2017 Honda Pilot

2017 Honda Pilot
2017 Honda Pilot

Pros

  • A versatile, roomy interior with spacious rear seats
  • Ride is smooth and compliant in most conditions
  • Better fuel economy than rivals
  • Multiple clever storage compartments

Cons

  • Nine-speed automatic transmission lacks refinement
  • Collision warning and adaptive cruise control are overly sensitive
  • Third-row access is narrow
  • Touchscreen interface isn't very intuitive


Which Pilot does Edmunds recommend?

Our recommendation for the Pilot is the EX-L trim level. It's a good balance of feature availability and price, but more importantly, it has the standard six-speed automatic transmission, which we prefer to the optional nine-speed transmission. The EX-L comes with plenty of features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a sunroof, a power tailgate, heated front seats and one-touch sliding second-row seats. And, if you're so inclined, you can add the available Honda Sensing package that includes features such as adaptive cruise control and forward collision mitigation.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

4.0 / 5

With lots of space, a versatile interior and even a bit of off-road capability, the 2017 Honda Pilot is appealing for all sorts of reasons. Capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds and comfortably carrying eight passengers, the Pilot is utilitarian by almost all standards. Getting the kids in and out is relatively easy, and options such as a Blu-ray rear entertainment system turn road trips into a breeze. And for daily commutes, the quiet cabin and smooth ride make the Pilot extremely livable.

Despite all its virtues, the Pilot isn't perfect. Our top complaints include oversensitive safety systems such as the adaptive cruise control, the finicky (but optional) nine-speed automatic transmission, and a not-so-user-friendly infotainment interface. They're small issues, however, and they're not enough to dampen our enthusiasm for this big Honda SUV. If you're in the market for a three-row crossover, we definitely recommend checking out the 2017 Honda Pilot.

Notably, we picked the 2018 Honda Pilot as one of Edmunds' Best Family SUVs for this year.

2017 Honda Pilot configurations

The Pilot is a three-row crossover SUV that poses as a good alternative for a minivan. It is offered in LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and the Elite trim levels. All seat eight people, with the exception of the Elite, which has second-row captain's chairs that reduce capacity to seven.

For basic family transportation, the standard LX Pilot makes a lot of sense. It may be the base trim, but it definitely isn't bare-bones. Standard features include a 3.5-liter V6 engine (280 horsepower, 262 pound-feet of torque), a six-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a 60/40-split folding third-row seat. Electronic features include a 5-inch central display screen, a seven-speaker sound system, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB port.

If you're looking for a few more tech and safety features, then you should probably step up to the EX. It adds automatic headlights, foglights, LED running lights, heated mirrors, remote engine start, the Honda LaneWatch blind-spot camera, dynamic guidelines for the rearview camera, three-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with two-way power lumbar adjustment), the 8-inch touchscreen interface, HondaLink smartphone-enabled features, and an upgraded seven-speaker sound system with two additional higher-powered USB ports, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and Pandora internet radio control. Also included is the Intelligent Traction Management system that adds a Snow mode for the front-wheel-drive version and Snow/Sand/Mud modes with AWD.

Although much of its equipment is the same as in the EX, the EX-L gets several creature comforts that make it worth a closer look. It adds a sunroof, a power tailgate, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather upholstery, one-touch sliding second-row seats, a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, heated front seats and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. It also keeps the six-speed transmission, which is a big part of why we recommend this trim level.

For some added safety, the EX and EX-L trim levels both offer the Honda Sensing package. It adds adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation with automatic braking, a road departure intervention system, a forward collision warning system, and lane departure warning and intervention systems. The EX-L can also be equipped with a navigation system or a rear entertainment system that includes a Blu-ray player with a single overhead screen, HDMI and RCA ports, two additional USB ports for the second row, second-row sunshades and a 115-volt power outlet. Note that these EX-L options cannot be had in combination with each other.

Almost right at the top of the Pilot lineup is the Touring model, which has all of the EX-L's standard and optional equipment plus roof rails, 20-inch wheels, a nine-speed automatic transmission, automatic engine stop-start, additional noise-reducing acoustic glass for the windows, front and rear parking sensors, driver-seat memory settings, ambient interior lighting and a 10-speaker sound system. The Touring is appealing, sure, and much of the equipment is useful, but the nine-speed transmission isn't as easy to live with as the six-speed.

Swinging for the fences, the top-of-the-line Elite model adds LED headlights, automatic high-beam headlight control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert (replaces LaneWatch), automatic windshield wipers, a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row captain's chairs (reduces maximum seating to seven people), a heated steering wheel and HD radio.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Honda Pilot 2WD Touring w/Navigation and Rear Entertainment System (3.5L V6; 9-speed automatic).

Driving

3.0
With ample power and respectable handling, the Pilot is among the athletes in the three-row SUV segment. It's a winner on mountain roads, easily gets up to speed, and can manage light towing and slippery surfaces with the optional all-wheel drive.

Acceleration

4.5
The Pilot has plenty of power, but you have to dig deep into the pedal to make it move quickly. At full throttle it shifts decisively, and you can also manually control shifts with the nine-speed transmission. It hit 60 mph in 6.9 seconds, which is a solid number of a vehicle of its size.

Braking

3.0
In daily use, the Pilot's brakes solid braking power and an easy-to-modulate pedal. In our testing, simulated-emergency stopping distances from 60 mph ranged from 117 to 120 feet, which is shorter than average.

Steering

3.5
Though there's relatively good precision from the Pilot's steering wheel, there's little road feel. On winding mountain roads, it's steady and predictable. What partially hurts the score in this category is its lane-keeping feature, which can be very intrusive in long, sweeping corners.

Handling

4.0
No three-row SUV is light on its feet, but the Pilot feels lighter than most. It swaps lanes confidently, and its stability control remains at bay during moderately aggressive driving. Overall, handling is above average for the segment.

Drivability

3.0
Some low-speed indecision and rough shifts from the nine-speed transmission are very noticeable to the point of intrusion. The problem is largely at low speed and low load, however. Nail the gas and the Pilot moves out — sometimes spinning its tires from a standing start.

Off-road

4.0
Two-wheel-drive Pilots can handle little more than dirt-road duty. All-wheel-drive models, however, offer active center and rear differentials that redistribute power to the wheels that need it most, which makes the Pilot surprisingly capable in snow, sand and mud.

Comfort

4.5
Given its above-average ride quality and seat comfort plus ample space in first and second rows, the Pilot is a very comfortable SUV. Ease of use is very high, too, which makes the Pilot a convenient and easy SUV to live with.

Seat comfort

4.5
Wide seats with compliant but supportive backs and bottoms provide hours of comfort. Adjustable inner armrests are a bonus, as is power operation and lumbar support. The Touring model we tested came with heated seats up front and a second row that slides and reclines.

Ride comfort

5.0
Body motions are well controlled but not at the sacrifice of ride comfort. Big bumps affecting all four wheels can surprise the Pilot, but smaller obstacles don't seem to disturb things as much. It's a segment leader in this category.

Noise & vibration

4.0
Tire and wind noise is low, especially for a Honda product. Door sealing is very good, and during our tests we didn't observe any unusual rattles or squeaks. Passengers remain compartmentalized from the outside elements, even over significant surface changes.

Interior

4.0
The Pilot exhibits typical Honda efficiency and build quality. Use of space is very good with lots of storage. Practical features such as the easy-entry third row and flat load floor with the second and third rows lowered make a difference when hauling cargo and people.

Ease of use

3.0
The infotainment controls are improved over an older, multifunction knob design, and there's an attractive high-resolution touchscreen. The lack of physical knobs for some features is disappointing. Also, the push-button shifter for the nine-speed automatic transmission takes some getting used to.

Getting in/getting out

3.5
Large doors and modest seat heights make the Pilot an easy vehicle to enter and exit. Third-row access is enhanced with a single-button release for the tilt-and-slide second row, but the pass-through space into the rear is small.

Driving position

4.0
The Pilot's highly adjustable front seats and tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel make it easy to find a good driving position. The driver's seat is mounted a bit high for shorter drivers, but otherwise it's a comfortable setup for most.

Roominess

5.0
Both the first and second rows are very roomy with good elbow room, leg- and headroom for all but the biggest occupants. Third-row seating is close-coupled with a low seat bottom and a high floor, but there's still enough room for adults on short trips, which some competitors can't manage.

Visibility

4.0
For such a large vehicle, there's average front- and rear-quarter visibility. Upright seating gives a better view than you'll get in the Honda Odyssey. The multiview backup camera is handy, while optional front and rear parking sensors reveal hidden obstacles.

Quality

3.5
The quality of materials and assembly is high for a three-row SUV in this segment but not substantially better than what you'll find in competitors. Soft-touch plastics on the dash combined with high-gloss trim and matte-finish secondary controls look and feel good.

Utility

4.0
Though it can't tow as much as truck-based SUVs such as the Chevy Suburban, the Pilot is still an extremely utilitarian vehicle. Its large, well-thought-out interior proves extremely useful when you stuff it full of passengers or their gear.

Small-item storage

5.0
Everywhere inside the cabin you'll find numerous storage compartments for small items. Up front, a cavernous center console sits between the front seats, and big cupholders are everywhere. Bring all your small items — the Pilot has space for them.

Cargo space

5.0
It may not measure up against a few cavernous minivans, but the Pilot is still near the top of the three-row SUV segment in terms of total cargo space. The fold-flat second and third row are extremely useful for big items, and there is generous storage under the rear load floor for extra luggage.

Towing

2.5
At 3,500 pounds, the 2WD Pilot we tested has a towing capacity lower than that of most V6-powered three-row SUVs. All-wheel drive does bump the Pilot's towing capacity up to 5,000 pounds, which is more in line with the capabilities of its competitors.

Technology

Though some controls in the Pilot are reasonably intelligent and intuitive, the active safety features err on the side of caution and can be intrusive. Also, the lack of a volume knob is a frustrating omission that you have to deal with on a daily basis.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2017 Honda Pilot.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

An all-star utility player
Simon,01/29/2017
We looked at the Tahoe, Armada and Highlander and the pilot won us over on its winning combination of performance, economy, advanced AWD system and value. We travel to Vermont often on narrow, private roads that are not always plowed well. Honda's i-VTM is really the Acura SH-AWD with torque vectoring. On dry roads it helps some, but it is also a winner in the deep snow, shifting power left to right as well as front to back as needed. Really great system. The cargo space in this rig is HUGE, especially with part or all of the 3rd row down. The cargo area is equivalent is size to the Tahoe and more usable as the load floor is lower. The acceleration is decent and I like the intake noise as the VTEC kicks in at higher revs. Without flogging it, I've seen high 20s for MPG on the highway. Overall, over the first 1500 miles, we've gotten 23 MPG combined. The 9 speed feels a bit weird around 4th or 5th gear but it isn't a big deal. The push button shifter took some getting use to, but after a day we were used to it and it wasn't a big deal. I really liked the looks of the Tahoe, but for the money (and even not considering the money), the Pilot is an unbeatable combo of utility, economy and performance.
Nice Ride!
Beth Kuzmich,08/18/2017
I LOVE my new Pilot! It is comfortable, quiet, and a nice ride. There is plenty of interior room, and head/leg room, even in the 2nd and 3rd rows. Good storage between two front seats. With the 60/40 3rd row split you can put different size cargo in and only give up minimal seating. The rear 'trunk' space is very limited, so I would suggest installing roof rack bars and investing in a sturdy storage container. The climate control and entertainment options keep all rows of travelers happy too. Plenty of cupholders too. One of the issues I have experienced is a seriously over-sensitive front impact safety sense. It 'screams' BRAKE at you and shakes the steering wheel even when there is no chance for front impact (this is especially true when vehicle is taking a corner to the right and there is a car coming around the same curve on the opposite side). Can be very unnerving.
Less than 1000 miles
Mike Martin,08/12/2017
This is the first new car that I have purchased that I am thinking of trading after less than 1000 miles driven. I bought the Pilot AWD Touring package because Honda forces you into that package to get some of the options. I knew when I bought this SUV that I would hate the push button transmission and I do. It has too many gears and at times, especially at lower speeds, it seems to get confused as to what gear it should be in. I can really feel it when I turn down into my subdivision and kind of coast. It seems to hunt for the right gear when you don't need to put your foot on the gas. The default setting for Honda's gas rating is to turn the engine off at stops. What a pain this is and I wonder what this will do in the long term to the starter and battery. You can defeat this, but you have to remember to push another button every time you push the drive button. Would be a great SUV if I could get over the transmission. Buyer's remorse, wish I had gone with the Highlander or bought the EX-L without all the options that I thought that I wanted. You don't really need all those options.
Overall good vehicle, but some annoying items
DD,02/13/2017
Overall, I am happy with the Honda Pilot, and would recommend. However, because of some of the items noted below, I am not able to give a rating higher than 3 stars. I really wanted to purchase the EX-L trim with V6. But ending up purchasing the Touring trim. With respect to the EX-L trim. Why is Honda forcing the consumer to select between one of: Honda Sense, navigation, or rear entertainment? These three options can not be combined on the EX-L. A Honda salesman tried to convince me that built-in navigation is no longer necessary with addition of Andriod Auto and Apple CarPlay. If you have ever traveled to rural areas without cellphone data coverage, you'll understand the need for built-in navigation. The 'Honda Lane Watch'. If this is such a great feature, why doesn't the Elite have two cameras (both driver and passenger sides)? Instead, the Elite adds real 'Blind Spot' detection feature. I would much rather have the blind spot detection with large illuminated icon on the side mirrors, instead of the 'Honda Lane Watch'. If the majority of your turns are in the right lane, you will quickly understand the annoyance (don't need to see grass or sidewalk). An illuminated icon on the side mirror is quick for the driver to process. Whereas, the "Honda Lane Watch" requires the driver to remove their eyes from the road, and look at the in dash monitor to determine if there is a car in the lane. The main point of safety features is to help the driver focus on the road. Which "Honda Lane Watch" doesn't, because you have to watch live video feed and make decision. The Touring and Elite has 'Engine Stop' feature. The Honda Pilot isn't a hybrid like Toyota Prius, so not sure why Honda engineers felt this feature was necessary. Really annoying in stop-and-go city traffic. When you come to a complete stop, the engine shuts down. There is capability to disable 'Engine Stop', but must be disabled each time you start the car. In 2017, a lot of manufactures offer the motion activated rear lift gate. This should be included at the Touring and Elite trims. If you don't care about connectivity (Andriod Auto or Apple CarPlay), go with model year 2016. It is the exact same as 2017, without connectivity. I can confirm what has been said in other reviews: the active safety features are overly sensitive, and shifting is rough at low speeds.
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2017 Honda Pilot video

MARK TAKAHASHI: I'm editor Mark Takahashi. And here's an Edmunds Expert Rundown of the 2017 Honda Pilot. The Honda Pilot exceeds expectations. Besides handling the typical space and comfort needs, it can also still more than [INAUDIBLE] and can handle some light off-road trails too. We're not fans of the unrefined optional nine-speed transmission, however. Thanks to the boxy shape, you can get a lot of gear in the back of the Pilot. And there's also a handy compartment underneath the floor. Passenger space is also generous in the second row. And unlike some rivals, the third row is even adequate for occasional adult use. The rest of the cabin features good materials with a pleasant modern design. We think Honda may have tried a little too hard with the push button gear selector though. And the lack of some physical buttons and a volume knob can be frustrating. The bottom line is the Honda Pilot strengths far outweigh its drawbacks. For these reasons, we think it's one of the better choices in a class that includes the Toyota Highlander, Ford Flex, and Hyundai Santa Fe.

2017 Honda Pilot Expert Rundown

Looking for a great SUV with lots of space, a versatile interior and even a bit of off-road capability? The 2017 Honda Pilot might be a good match. Here's a quick rundown of what we like, what we don't and the bottom line from the Edmunds editors.

Features & Specs

MSRP
$38,255
MPG
18 city / 26 hwy
Seats 8
6-speed automatic
Gas
280 hp @ 6000 rpm
MSRP
$36,455
MPG
19 city / 27 hwy
Seats 8
6-speed automatic
Gas
280 hp @ 6000 rpm
MSRP
$47,070
MPG
19 city / 26 hwy
Seats 7
9-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
280 hp @ 6000 rpm
MSRP
$43,470
MPG
19 city / 26 hwy
Seats 8
9-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
280 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all 2017 Honda Pilot features & specs

Safety

Our experts’ favorite Pilot safety features:

Honda LaneWatch
Standard on all Pilots, this blind-spot camera on the passenger side helps with parking and merging maneuvers.
Honda Sensing Package
Optional on EX and EX-L trim levels, it includes items such as forward collision mitigation w/auto braking and road departure intervention.
Front and Rear Parking Sensors
Available only on the Touring and Elite trim levels, these sensors can be very helpful when parking such a big vehicle.

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover17.5%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Good
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

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More about the 2017 Honda Pilot

The 2017 Honda Pilot is a fully competitive large three-row crossover with many strengths and few weaknesses. Entering its second year of production for 2017, the current-generation Pilot has vaulted to a strong position among segment leaders, shedding the previous generation's also-ran status. Front- or all-wheel drive can be specified, with assertive V6 power standard across the lineup. If you're shopping for a three-row crossover in this class, the Honda Pilot is a must-drive.

The 2017 Pilot's cabin is an obvious strong point, highlighted by a sleek, modern dashboard and plenty of places to stash your stuff. An 8-inch touchscreen interface on all but the entry-level LX trim helps create a high-tech feel, although we're not huge fans of its functionality. There's plenty of room for passengers, too, whether you're in the spacious front row, the airy second row or the respectably accommodating third row, which can house adults better than most rivals.

Unprecedented luxury is offered in the Elite trim level, a new offering for this generation that takes the Pilot close to Acura levels of niceness. Highlights include a panoramic sunroof and second-row captain's chairs that are both heated and cooled. Happily, every Pilot except the LX is eligible for a suite of advanced safety features such as forward collision mitigation with automatic braking — another way in which the current Pilot stands out from earlier versions.

No matter which trim level you choose, you'll enjoy newfound isolation on the road because Honda has taken measures to suppress road and wind noise in the 2017 Pilot. We're not high on the available nine-speed automatic transmission, but if you stick with the base six-speed automatic, you'll be able to enjoy the strong 3.5-liter V6 engine without hiccups. That engine gets 30 additional horsepower for this generation, putting the Pilot among the segment leaders in terms of thrust. Handling is confidence-inspiring despite the Pilot's prodigious size, thanks to responsive steering and a palpable sense of stability at higher speeds.

The 2017 Honda Pilot's fuel economy depends on the model you choose, with the base LX achieving an EPA-rated 22 mpg combined (19 city/27 highway). All the trims range from 21 to 23 mpg combined.

Up and down the lineup, the 2017 Honda Pilot offers an impressive blend of features and value. Although the LX is quite basic, the EX leaps forward with a variety of desirable features. You can pile on more accoutrements by stepping up to the EX-L, Touring and Elite trims. Let Edmunds help find the perfect 2017 Honda Pilot for you.

2017 Honda Pilot Overview

The 2017 Honda Pilot is offered in the following submodels: Pilot SUV. Available styles include EX-L 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), EX-L 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Elite w/Navigation and Rear Entertainment System 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 9A), Touring w/Navigation and Rear Entertainment System 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 9A), EX-L w/Navigation 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), EX 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Touring w/Navigation and Rear Entertainment System 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 9A), EX-L w/Rear Entertainment System 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), EX-L w/Honda Sensing 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), EX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), EX w/Honda Sensing 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), EX-L w/Navigation 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), LX 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), LX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), EX-L w/Rear Entertainment System 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), EX w/Honda Sensing 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), and EX-L w/Honda Sensing 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A).

What do people think of the 2017 Honda Pilot?

Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2017 Honda Pilot and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2017 Pilot 4 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2017 Pilot.

Edmunds Expert Reviews

Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2017 Honda Pilot and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2017 Pilot featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

Our Review Process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

Which 2017 Honda Pilots are available in my area?

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Should I lease or buy a 2017 Honda Pilot?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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