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.
trim levels & features
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.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
edmunds expert 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.