The Pilot is an extremely functional and pleasant vehicle as long as you don't expect excitement. It performs the family-hauling duties of a minivan with some added machismo, and without being a poster child for a "Mom-mobile."
In that respect, the Pilot does a commendable minivan impression with its flexible seating for eight; a roomy, versatile, and feature-filled interior; and easy access to all three seating rows. It also provides a comfortable ride and benefits from a quiet cabin.
When it comes to handling, this SUV has no connection with the nimble Hondas of the past. The Pilot's cumbersome cornering makes it feel reluctant to turn, and the vague steering chips away at drivers' confidence. Nobody expects sports car handling from an SUV, but the Pilot falls short compared to more agile competitors. Plus, the Pilot's mediocre braking on wet pavement trails most peers as well.
The flip side to the Pilot's ungainly handling is a comfortable ride. This SUV's suspension smooths out bumps with composure. Some road imperfections will rock the Pilot from side to side, but overall a trip in the Pilot is uneventful. Honda loaded up on the sound-deadening materials, too, resulting in a quiet cabin.
The 3.5-liter V6 is a gem, smoothly and promptly delivering power throughout its rev range. Drivers are never left feeling in a dead zone of acceleration, with the standard six-speed automatic smoothly swapping gears. Our all-wheel-drive Pilot averaged 20 mpg overall in tests -- on par with other vehicles in the segment. Front-drive Pilots are likely to do 1 or 2 mpg better.
But shoppers should stick with the six-speed. The upmarket Touring and Elite trim levels are saddled with a nine-speed gearbox that's not particularity responsive, and it uses an infuriating and unintuitive push-button gear selector. At least it has comprehensive safeguards against unintentional rollaway, should you accidentally fail to put the car in Park.
Interior materials and details are par for the class. All sizes of drivers found plenty of room, and storage bins abound. Windows are big and roof pillars are thin, giving a commanding all-around view from the helm.
Though the front seats are well-padded and supportive, the lumbar adjusts only for pressure, not height. And some drivers felt that the front of the seat cushion didn't lower enough.
The second row is roomy, and the seats can slide fore/aft to give space to third-row occupants. The rearmost seats are best left for kids. Controls aren't ideal, however. The touch-screen infotainment system suffers from small text, multiple steps are requires for common tasks and it's a far reach. Thankfully, a volume knob was added for 2019.
Forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking are standard across the lineup. All trims, except the base get standard blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning.