There are many things that we have liked about the Honda Pilot. In a class full of strong rivals, the Pilot stands out thanks to its spacious interior, smart storage solutions, efficient and powerful V6 engine. Significant complaints only relate to unrefined gear shifts coming from a nine-speed transmission and unintuitive touchscreen infotainment system. But this year, we don’t even have those to complain about.
Honda has retuned the nine-speed transmission, eliminating a lot of low-speed stuttering and the sadness it usually displays. It’s still not as smooth as the standard six-speed transmission fount on the lower trim level, but it’s much better than last year. The infotainment system interface has also been updated. It’s more intuitive to use and has a physical volume knob that replaces the previous touch-sensitive volume slider. Complementing its changes, the 2019 Honda Pilot get the latest standard safety features and styling enhancements.
Given that the Honda Pilot is one of the best in the class before this update, we are sure that it will be more pleasant now. In a highly desirable segment that includes the Volkswagen Atlas, Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-9, it can be the best when it comes to family friendly. The 2019 Honda Pilot should be on your short list.
For 2019, the Honda Pilot gets a minor styling update and revised nine-speed transmission and infotainment touchscreen. The Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety features is now standard for all trims.
Trim levels and features
The 2019 Honda Pilot is an eight-passenger, midsize SUV that is offered in five trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and Elite.
Standard equipment for the base LX includes 18-inch alloy wheels, active noise cancellation, automatic LED headlights, air conditioning, a multi-angle rearview camera, 60/40-split folding third-row seats, a 5-inch touchscreen and seven-speaker audio system with USB/auxiliary inputs. Advanced safety features include adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam assist, lane keeping assist and frontal collision warning with automatic braking, road departure mitigation.
The Pilot EX adds LED foglights, a terrain management system, a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, heated mirrors, keyless entry, remote ignition, tri-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, one-touch slide-and-fold second-row seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an 8-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, HondaLink and CabinControl smartphone integration.
The Pilot EX-L adds a universal garage door opener, a power liftgate, a sunroof, rear-seat window sunshades, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, driver-seat memory functions, and second-row USB charging ports. There’s also an EX-L subtrim that adds intercom system through the rear headsets, a navigation system, a 110-volt power outlet and a rear entertainment system with a 10.2-inch screen, Blu-ray player, HDMI input and streaming apps.
The Touring includes all above features along with 20-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors, roof rails, hands-free liftgate, heated rear seats, a 10-speaker premium audio system, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and multi-zone audio. Heated second-row captain’s chairs are available as an option and reduce capacity to seven. The Elite trim includes the captain’s chairs as standard, plus a panoramic sunroof, automatic wipers, power-folding mirrors, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and a wireless charging pad.
Every 2019 Honda Pilot is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard on the LX, EX and EX-L models, while the Touring and Elite have a nine-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel shift paddles. The Touring and Elite models also feature with engine start/stop system that cut the engine power at the spotlight in order to save fuel. If you don’t like the engine restarting, it can be deactivated with a push of a button.
Front-wheel drive is standard. The optional all-wheel-drive system not only sends power front and back, but also between the right and left wheels to improved handling. On EX trims levels and above there is also Snow, Mud and Sand mode that maximize the effectiveness of various vehicle systems in low-traction scenarios.
In performance testing, the 2019 Honda Pilot Elite AWD accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, which is much quicker than last year. Properly equipped, FWD Pilot can tow up to 3,500 pounds, while AWD models can pull up to 5,000 pounds.
The EPA estimates fuel economy for the 2019 Honda Pilot at 22 mpg combined (19 city/27 highway) with the six-speed and front-wheel drive. With front-drive and the nine-speed the numbers increases to 23 combined (20 city/27 highway). All-wheel drive and six-speed rated at 21 mpg combined (18 city/26 highway) and (22/19/26) with nine-speed.
The 2019 Honda Pilot has the most versatile interior along with minivan. There are many useful storage places and twice as many cupholders. Maximum cargo capacity of 83.9 cubic feet is very competitive with most competitors in the class. Most importantly, the space behind the third row who benefits from removable floor panels to provide a useful amount of storage space when all seats are used.
The quality of interior materials is very good in this generation. The soft touch surfaces replaced the hard plastic on the door and dash panels, giving the 2019 Honda Pilot an upscale atmosphere. The control interface is also updated and simplified. Most trim now has touchscreens that handle navigation, communication and entertainment functions. This is not the best interface, but the new update makes it more intuitive and easier to use than last year’s. The climate control is separate and very easy to use.
One of the best feature from the 2019 Honda Pilot is a second row seat that is tilted and sliding forward with just a push of a button. This is very useful because it reduces the effort needed to move the seat, but the pass through area is still on the small side. Many competitors make it easy to get into the third row, but once seated there, those in the 2019 Honda Pilot will find more space than most.
Release Date and Price
The official price for the 2019 Honda Pilot LX model starts at $32,445 (include $995 destination charge). The EX trim costs $35,325 and the middle EX-L trim from $38,755. The Pilot Touring begins at $43,515 and the top of line Pilot Elite start at $49,015. All-wheel drive is available for $1,900.