Elite w/Navigation and Rear Entertainment System 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 9A)
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.
Touring w/Navigation and Rear Entertainment System 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 9A)
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.
What Honda does well is create vehicles that are solid and dependable, but not necessarily fun to drive, with certain exceptions. I have a 2017 Pilot EX-L and it has a very nice interior that has many features and comforts which add to a smooth driving experience. It is very spacious, both for passengers and cargo and has a lot of safety measures and technology that are on par with anything in its class. On the highway, this car is as smooth as can be. My only two complaints are the following: It isn't terribly engaging to drive. I just lost a 2006 Jeep Commander that drove like a car and hugged the road. The Pilot feels "safe" and almost boring to drive. I felt that the Toyota Highlander handled better, but I went with the Pilot because of other things that beat out Toyota. It handles more like a van than an SUV and I feel that the driving "experience" is less than exciting. It's fine and it drives nicely, but I want a little more engagement. The second complaint is that the touchscreen is not terribly intuitive, which is not only annoying, but is distracting to use while driving. Yes, some of the controls are also on the steering wheel, which helps, but even for the passenger, the screen isn't the easiest (although I hear it is an improvement over the last model). There is no volume button or dial and therefore you have to locate the touch volume and tap it repeatedly to change the volume. There is no need for that, as a dial is far easier to use while driving. Technology should make things simpler, not more difficult. I have a 2010 Audi A4 with outdated technology, but it is much easier to use. Those two things aside, the car is very comfortable and grows on me the more I drive it. The traction in snow is excellent, as is braking and it is a very well made vehicle. If Honda could add a little more excitement to the car, it would really increase the overall excitement. No regrets, thus far.
We took a 2017 Pilot XLE for a test drive today as part of a segment comparison with the Highlander and the CX-9. We purposefully stayed away from the higher trims for the Pilot since their 9-speed transmission is getting such bad reviews. Well, I came out unimpressed. The interior is definitely the least refined of the three (probably because of the lower trim level, but that's all we had to compare). The same can be said for the exterior, which is pretty bland compared to the Highlander and CX-9. Some would even feel stronger about it, but that's a matter of taste. At least we can say its uninspired, the CR-V has way more character. To be fair, there was nothing wrong when driving it or with the entertainment system. I tried plugging my Android phone to test Android Auto, and while it did work, it wasn't the screen mirroring from my phone onto the head unit like I expected, merely some old-looking Android apps that were somehow synchronized with my phone, for example Google Maps. Not as good as I thought. I wish I brought a lightning cable for my wife's iphone to test Apple CarPlay. But most of all, there are several design mistakes that make me flat out pass on this car. First, the camera-based LaneWatch feature, that manages to be even more dangerous than just turning your head. Another reviewer already mentionned how pointless this system is, and unfortunately the proper BSI system is only available on the higher trims, so you're stuck with it. Also, the 2nd-row folding seats, while providing a one-touch sliding feature, won't slide without folding first! This means no child seats on the second row if you also need access to the third row. I double and triple checked since this was so huge. I can't believe they call it a family car, unless they're targeting families with grown children only. This might be different with the captain's chairs, as I only tried with the 2nd row bench. Anyway, at least it makes my decision between the Highlander and the Pilot easier.
Touring w/Navigation and Rear Entertainment System 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 9A)
Everytime i place a call with either my Iphone 7plus / Iphone 6 Plus / Samsung Galaxy Note 5 / Google Pixel the phone connects to bluetooth and immediately switches to private mode unless you force it manually back to bluetooth. on some of the phones it never even connects. I went to 2 separate dealers and no help. They tried telling me it's a issue with my phone / phones and or my carrier. This issue is on all EX-L and above models. None of these phones have a issue with my 2016 Honda Civic touring or any other car. This issue is known to 2016 Pilots and the new pickup truck which is based on a pilot chasis. I called Honda link and no help other then telling me that i should call once every 6 months to see if there is a update.