2019 Honda Pilot AWD Elite

The 2019 Honda Pilot is a comfortable and capable three-row crossover. Yes, other rivals offer better performance and more luxurious cabins. But the Pilot is one of the few in the class that boasts decent room for passengers—even adults—in all three rows of seating. For growing families, that’s an important consideration.

 

The Pilot was redesigned for the 2016 model year and gets several updates for 2019. The Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance technologies is now standard on all trims. And Honda added a volume knob so you no longer have to go through the infotainment system to adjust the audio volume—yay! Thanks, Honda… this was one of my pet peeves with the previous system.

 

The 2019 Honda Pilot is available in several trims: LX, EX, EX-L, EX-L with Navigation and Rear Entertainment System, Touring, Touring with Rear Captain’s Chairs, and Elite. Starting prices range from $31,450 to $48,020 and are slightly above average for the class. Front-wheel-drive is standard and all-wheel-drive is available on all trims, except for the top-of-the-line Elite which has standard AWD.

 

The Honda Pilot has room for seven or eight passengers, depending on whether you choose captain’s chairs for the second row.

 

All Pilots are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 with variable cylinder management that makes 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. The LX, EX and EX-L trims have a six-speed automatic transmission while the Touring and Elite models get a nine-speed automatic.

 

The Pilot is designed to be a comfortable cruiser and family hauler and it does its job well. It’s also very easy to maneuver despite its large size. While it’s not the most spirited performer in the class, it offers a smooth, composed ride. There’s enough power for most driving situations, although you may wish for more when the Pilot is fully loaded with the family and gear and you’re headed up a mountain pass. The Pilot tackles rough roads with ease; only the big bumps and potholes are noticeable. Some wind and road noise is noticeable in the cabin. Visibility is good all the way around.

 

Fuel efficiency is average for the segment. EPA ratings for my tester are 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway with a combined rating of 22. I got 23 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.

 

The interior is pleasant and cavernous. Adults in the first two rows have a ton of leg-and headroom. And the third row is even roomy enough for adults to sit comfortably—that’s definitely not the norm for a midsize crossover with three rows of seating. For the most part, materials are nice but some rivals do offer more modern and posh surroundings.

 

Standard features include push-button start, rearview camera, infotainment system with a five-inch display screen, Bluetooth, two USB ports, seven-speaker audio system, and automatic high beams.

 

Available features include remote start, tri-zone automatic climate control, moonroof, 115-volt power outlet, wireless phone charging, rear entertainment system, the HondaLink infotainment system with an eight-inch touch screen, navigation, 10-speaker audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HDMI port, an additional USB port and 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability.

 

As mentioned above, The Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance systems is now standard for 2019 including forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control. Available driver assistance features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors.

 

The Pilot has 16.5 cubic feet of space with all three rows of seating in place, 46.8 cubes with the third row folded and 83.9 cubes with the second and third rows folded. The EX-L trim comes standard with a power liftgate, and the Touring and Elite trims come standard with a hands-free power liftgate. There also an under-floor storage area as well as numerous cubbies throughout the cabin and a large bin in the center console.

 

The good:

Comfortable, smooth ride

Easy to drive

Several driver assistance systems are now standard

Adults are comfortable in all three rows of seating

More cargo space than most rivals

There’s now a volume knob!

 

The not-so-good:

Not the most athletic performer in the class

Interior not as upscale as some competitors

 

Pricing info:

My tester starts at $48,020. Delivery fee is $995 bringing the grand total to $49,015.

 

Bottom line:

The good news for shoppers is that there are several excellent vehicles in the three-row midsize SUV/crossover segment. The 2019 Honda Pilot is comfortable, roomy, easy to drive, and has many standard safety features. This makes it an appealing offering in a competitive class.