To me, Honda seems in a dilemma when it comes to the Pilot. While they sell CR-Vs as fast as they can churn them out, sales for the Pilot (not a bad ride by any stretch) seem to be lacking. For example, last month in August, Honda moved 34,610 CR-Vs versus 15,332 Pilots. I’m sure the marketing guys in the office are tearing out their hair over this, but, really, I don’t know why.
The Pilot is a pretty good “truck” and it’s loaded with every modern safety, comfort, convenience, and tech feature you’d expect. It starts out a little over $32,000 for the LX 2WD, topping out around $49,000 for the Pilot Elite with all-wheel drive.
In other words, right at the high end of minivan territory – just perfect for those who will only consider buying a minivan at bayonet point. Even with the entry-level Pilot LX, you get lots of bang for your buck.
First, the Pilot has a new set of duds to wear. The front gets a new fascia with standard LED headlights, while the rear has new taillights and chrome accents. The new front bumper even has larger fog lights for a more aggressive look. The grille is redesigned with a new “skid” garnish on the lower front bumper. I don’t really need to point out that putting the word skid in quotes and using the word garnish means that this styling flourish is just that; taking this thing on King of The Hammers probably won’t work.
The fog lights are LED as are the headlights on the Pilot Elite trim. The rear has new taillights with LED backup lights, plus there’s a chrome strip on the rockers and rear bumper. Wheels are also more ruggedly styled, with 18-inchers on LX, EX, and EX-L, with a new 20-inch design for Touring and Elite trims.
Safety & Security
Safety and driver assistance tech? C’mon dude, this is a new Honda. For 2019, all Pilot models come standard with the Honda Sensing suite of safety features. Honda Sensing includes Collision Mitigation Braking with Forward Collision Warning, Road Departure Mitigation, Lane Keeping Assist, and Adaptive Cruise Control. Honda’s Blind Spot Information System is now standard on EX, EX-L, and Touring trims as is the Rear Cross Traffic Monitor.
Technology & Infotainment
Now, the tech goodies, or “infotainment” to use the parlance of our time is also extensive. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, of course, along with an all-new Display Audio system. Honda says it’s easier to use because of customizable shortcuts and simplified menus.
Back-seaters get an updated Rear Entertainment System with a larger screen, and the Pilot is now available with a 4G LTE-based Wi-Fi hotspot. An audio system, gesture-controlled by an eight-inch touchscreen, cranks out 218 watts through six speakers and a subwoofer. Touring and Elite models are even better, with a 10-speaker system, a subwoofer, and 590 watts of power.
That tech goodness extends to the profligate use of HondaLink, CabinControl, and CabinTalk. HondaLink connects customers to a variety of cloud-based services. CabinControl, a new deal, is a downloadable app for smartphones. With it, you can control features like the audio system, Rear Entertainment System, and rear climate control among others.
CabinTalk allows those in front to “easily communicate to those in the second and third rows using the rear speakers or wireless headphones.” In other words, CabinTalk allows you to say “Knock that off or I’ll turn this car around right now!!” without having to yell.
Are We There Yet?
And speaking of dealing with insolent little brats, say hello to the 4G LTE Wi-Fi and Rear Entertainment System. The Wi-Fi network can support seven devices and enables video streaming to the Rear Entertainment System. This Rear Entertainment System features a ceiling-mounted, 10.2-inch swing down display.
There’s an HDMI port, a 115-volt power outlet, and a pair of USB ports. Two additional headphone jacks are also provided.
The Rear Entertainment System includes a “fun, kid-friendly” puppet-themed “How Much Farther?” app that functions as a “flight tracker.” A colorful, on-screen animated marionette counts down time and distance to the destination. “Okay, I mean it. You either quiet down back there, or you’ll end up watching ‘fun, kid friendly’ puppet-themed stuff! Believe you me!!”
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. His forthcoming new book The Future In Front of Me, The Past Behind Me will be available soon. Follow his work on Twitter:@TonyBorroz