My wife and I had a wedding to attend in the beautiful Austin area. Upon learning that our ride there would be the all-new Honda Pilot AWD Elite I was pretty excited. I know you’ve seen some of Honda’s previous generations on the road; you may have one sitting in your garage. To sum it up – and save you some time – there’s a lot to like in the newest Pilot, and we liked it a lot.
If asked to name a complaint, I’d start off with price – and that’s pretty much my only complaint. It’s truly not even a complaint, knowing there’s a certain demographic that will gladly pay for that vehicle and some that won’t. For those that will, they don’t seem to have any issues with Honda’s price point for their line-up. One thing to keep in mind, for any purchase of anything, is resale value, and Honda products typically command a high return on your initial investment, even when that initial investment can be well above the market.
With that, here’s a little of what I liked. The interior, at least in our AWD Elite, had a premium look and feel. Beyond leather seats that spiked the comfort needle, the elephant in the room was a CUV that literally had room for the elephant. On our road trip to Austin with a toddler we needed an SUV for us – and an SUV for our kiddo; the kid comes with a pack-n-play, and he won’t leave home without it. One great feature of the 2nd row seat was the one-touch folding feature – just one button will gently fold the seat down for easy access the 3rd row. And the Elite model featured the 3rd- row seat that was also easily foldable, allowing both easy access and additional storage space.
Beyond space, the interior of the Elite exudes plenty of luxury; of course, in its $46K price bracket we expected it. The infotainment system was easy to use and easy to pair to the phone – nothing seemed too complicated about it. The center console was very unique and a great upgrade from what was used previously, with plenty of storage space contained in an area that – for the first time – seemed attractive to the eye.
Outside, the new Honda Pilot has undeniable curb appeal. Touring and Elite trim levels sit on 20-inch alloy wheels, while the other models ride on 18’s. The new sheetmetal signals a major change for the Pilot, one deemed necessary for the brand. As a manufacturer, an ability to adjust to the trends of today is always tricky. The Pilot’s length and height seemed appropriate and on point. Curves heighten he luxury appeal, while we received plenty of compliments on the color, a unique Black Forest Pearl.
Under the hood was Honda’s 280hp 3.5L DOHC V6 paired with a 9-speed automatic, which made for a smooth – yet responsive – drive. The 9- speed comes in Touring and Elite models. The combo delivered roughly 19MPG in the city, and we enjoyed 27-28 MPG on the roundtrip.
With plenty of power, comfortable seating for up to 6/7 passengers and its luxury interior, an AWD Elite will ring up right at $47,300. If you can overlook the high sticker price you will love the all-new Honda Pilot. And if you don’t have almost $50K in your automotive budget, know that you can spend less on either a lower trim level or pre-owned example. You pay your money – you take your choice. But on a Honda showroom, they are all choice.