Think of the 2014 Honda Pilot as the “steady Eddy” of SUVs. The Pilot may not grab your attention immediately with its styling, but it’s still one of the most reliable, safe, eight-passenger SUVs on the market today. This week we’re test-driving a 2014 Honda Pilot with 4WD for the week. Pilot offers a third row and has ample space inside for a large family’s needs. And this 4WD tester will handle the Polar vortex with ease. So if you want a reliable, spacious all-purpose SUV, the Pilot deserves your consideration.
What’s new for 2014?
For 2014, the Honda Pilot remains unchanged. That’s both good news and bad news. The good news is, Pilot still features enough room inside for a large family. And the third row can handle adults, which not all SUVs can tout. And if you lay the seats flat, there’s plenty of cargo room to transport those home remodeling items from Home Depot. We needed to get a full piece of drywall transported due to rain damage in our house, and this Pilot was able to handle it without an issue.
The 2014 Honda Pilot is a bit boxy looking on the outside and may not be the most stylish SUV on the planet, but that’s a good thing if you are looking for spacious room on the inside. That’s the biggest appeal of the Pilot. The overall utility of the Pilot will make mom happy when she’s loading kids, the dog and cargo into this SUV. The rear hatch has a lower loading point making it easy to load the soccer gear and groceries.
Offers room for more large and bulky items
Inside, the Pilot has attractive and quality materials that flank the inside of the cabin. We aren’t sure why Honda needs so many buttons, but there are 45 total that include those for climate control, audio, 4WD and navigation. But if you are looking for storage, there is enough to store everything you need to hide away.
The front seats offer good support and the built-in heaters get toasty quickly. With the tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a driver of any height can find the perfect driving position. Visibility is good out the sides and the driver has a commanding view of the road.
Pilots second row features 60/40 folding adjustable seats. On a road trip we took two adults in the back and they liked the big cupholders and storage pockets in the doors. We didn’t have them try out the third row, but it offers easy access and adequate space for its class. But from the looks, only children or small adults would be truly comfortable. Third-row passengers get extendable headrests, which significantly reduce driver visibility out the back window but can be stowed in the back cushions when not being used.
The 2014 Honda Pilot offers 18 cubic-feet of space with all seats in place, which is plenty for your average size families groceries for the week. With second-and third-row seats stowed flat, the SUV has a respectable 87 cubic feet of cargo carrying ability. Honda’s boxy shape allows for more large and bulky items to be carried over some other competitors. There is also more storage below the cargo floor.
On the road
This Pilot tester came with all-wheel drive that offers a 4,500-pound towing capacity and the ability to handle inclement weather. It’s AWD is suited for on-road adventures with its car-like crossover construction, and handled the wet and snowy roads we encountered this week well. The ride is more soft and compliant than other SUVs and that is good if you keep the Pilot in the city as most buyers will.
The Pilot falls a bit short when it comes to performance. It feels big and slow off the line but its rated at 17 mpg City and 24 mpg Highway by the EPA which is good for the class. The Pilot is quiet and comfortable, and drives big. It has quit a bit of body lean in the corners but it feels like it floats over bumps and handles rough city roads with ease. The Pilots suspension is tuned for comfort and not performance. So for the family looking for a softer car-like ride, Pilot doesn’t disappoint.
Pilot is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that performs adequately for most driving situations. We took it up I-70 at altitude with four adults and it felt like it needed more power to pull the hills. But for city driving, it will be enough for most people’s needs. Inside the cabin, the Pilot is quiet and you can barley hear the engines growl when pushed hard. An ECO light on the dash shows when you are getting best economy, as the SUV uses Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) to switch off two or three of its six cylinders to save fuel.
For the family looking for a reliable hauler with lots of utility, this Pilot holds a lot of appeal. It may not be the sportiest looking SUV on the road, but it’s still one of the most reliable, safe, eight-passenger SUVs on the market today. It comes with ample passenger and cargo space, convenient features and the ability to handle just about any inclement weather you will encounter.