2018 Honda Pilot

2018 Honda Pilot Review

The 2018 Honda Pilot is a three-row SUV that boasts excellent interior room and comfort.
8.0 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
by Peter Gareffa
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The 2018 Honda Pilot SUV has a lot to offer shoppers in the market for a family hauler. It has almost as much interior room as a minivan but provides a lot more capability. Available in front-wheel or all-wheel-drive configurations, the Pilot comes standard with a strong V6 engine that helps it tow up to 5,000 pounds and is built tough enough for some light off-roading. At the same time, its comfortable and feature-packed cabin provides a near-luxury experience for as many as eight passengers. And, unlike some competitors, there's enough room behind the third-row seat for their luggage and other belongings.

Although the Pilot remains a top choice in this class, there are a few minor issues that potential buyers should consider. Some of the active safety features, such as adaptive cruise control, are set up to err on the side of caution, making them seem oversensitive. We're not particularly fond of the way the optional nine-speed transmission shifts either. But despite these quibbles, we highly recommend a test drive in a Honda Pilot if you're looking for a roomy, comfortable, reliable three-row family vehicle.

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

What's new for 2018

The Honda Pilot is unchanged for 2018.

We recommend

The 2018 Honda Pilot is available in five well-equipped trim levels designed to suit a wide variety of buyers. We recommend the EX-L model for its combination of practicality, comfort and features. Standard equipment on this trim includes a leather-trimmed interior, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a sunroof, a power tailgate, heated front seats and one-touch sliding second-row seats. It also has the standard six-speed automatic transmission, which we much prefer to the finicky nine-speed gearbox that comes on higher trim levels.

Trim levels & features

The 2018 Honda Pilot is a three-row crossover SUV that provides a good alternative to 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 base LX Pilot makes a lot of sense. It might be the entry-level 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, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a 60/40-split folding third-row seat. Technology features include a 5-inch central display screen, a seven-speaker sound system, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, 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 and a power-adjustable driver seat.

Also included with the EX is an Intelligent Traction Management system (adds a Snow mode for the front-wheel-drive version and Snow/Sand/Mud modes with AWD), an 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.

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 noise-reducing windshield, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather upholstery, one-touch sliding second-row seats, a 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 optional Honda Sensing package. It adds adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and mitigation (with automatic braking), road departure intervention, and lane departure warning and intervention. 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 combined with each other.

Near 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, a full blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert (which replaces LaneWatch), automatic windshield wipers, a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row captain's chairs (which reduce 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 Touring w/Navigation and Rear Entertainment System (3.5L V6 | 9-speed automatic | FWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the Honda Pilot received some minor revisions, such as the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility in 2017. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's 2018 Honda Pilot, however.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall8.0 / 10


7.0 / 10

Acceleration8.5 / 10
Braking6.5 / 10
Steering7.5 / 10
Handling8.0 / 10
Drivability6.5 / 10


8.5 / 10

Seat comfort8.5 / 10
Ride comfort9.0 / 10
Noise & vibration8.0 / 10


8.0 / 10

Ease of use6.5 / 10
Getting in/getting out7.5 / 10
Roominess9.0 / 10
Visibility8.0 / 10
Quality8.5 / 10


8.0 / 10

Audio & navigation9.0 / 10
Smartphone integration7.5 / 10
Driver aids5.5 / 10
Voice control7.0 / 10


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.


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 for a vehicle of its size.


In daily use, the Pilot's brakes provide 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.


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.


No three-row SUV is light on its feet, but the Pilot feels more nimble 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.


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


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, making the Pilot surprisingly capable on snow, sand and mud.


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

Seat comfort8.5

The wide seats with compliant but supportive backs and bottoms provide hours of comfort. The 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 comfort9.0

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 the ride as much. It's a segment leader in this category.

Noise & vibration8.0

Levels of tire and wind noise are low, especially for a Honda product. The 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.


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 use6.5

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 out7.5

The 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

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.


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.


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


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.


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

Small-item storage

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

It might 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.


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.


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.

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.