- Mitch McCullough
The Pilot is very well finished, with a neatly organized cabin surrounded by lots of glass, from tall side windows to an available huge panoramic roof that floods the cabin in natural light.
We see design elements borrowed from the Accord sedan, as well as some utility touches from the CR-V. All the lines and materials are subdued, save for the big touchscreen on upper trim levels. Soft-touch surfaces give it enough luxury to compare well to crossovers like the Buick Enclave.
The front space and comfort is excellent. The seats are well bolstered, with good definition, on the EX-L models and higher. A high driving position gives a commanding view out of the vehicle even for short drivers.
The controls and storage in front are usefully placed and arranged. The steering wheel has round controls to operate the driver’s smartphone and the car’s audio system, needed because there’s no volume control on the touchscreen; the passenger is out of luck. A shallow bin in front of the deep cupholders holds a smartphone right next to a high-power USB port. There is no shift lever with the 9-speed transmission, giving space. A sliding lid covers the deep center console.
Second-row seating is a split-folding bench or a pair of captain’s chairs on upper trims; between those buckets is a floor-mounted tray with cupholders. On EX-L and above, a power button folds forward the second-row seats and slides them forward. The floor is low and there’s room to climb back to the third row. At least for kids; it’s a bit tight for adults.
But once they’re back there, there’s an amazing amount of space. Head and leg room are as good as we’ve ever seen, although the seat cushion sits on the floor.
Behind the third row there’s a huge 18.5 cubic feet, as much as the trunk in a full-size sedan, and there’s a reversible cargo panel for messy or muddy things. Behind the second row, there’s 55.9 cubic feet, as much as many SUVs have behind the first row; and behind the first row, there’s a vast 109 cubic feet. It holds nearly as much as a Honda Odyssey minivan. All it lacks are sliding side doors.
On the EX-L trim level, an acoustic windshield absorbs some noise. Touring and Elite models get acoustic glass on the front doors, so passengers can talk with ease.
Honda’s audio and infotainment systems aren’t the best, but the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto interfaces are easier than before.
The SiriusXM audio system has time-shifting capability. You can create a custom channel that blends several stations into one, while it buffers songs so that repeat playback is possible. The system can also drop in alerts on the display for scores and weather.
Apple’s Siri Eyes Free is also included in the Pilot’s Display Audio system: just hold down the steering-wheel “talk” button and you’ll be able to ask Apple devices for all sorts of information.
The Pilot’s navigation system is Garmin-based, and includes live traffic reports, 3-D map views, and on-the-go rerouting.