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.
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.
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.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.