The SUV segment has always been extremely competitive and, in some ways, threatens the very existence of the minivan. After all, why cart your herd around in a vehicle synonymous with soccer moms and binkies when you can have the style and capability of an SUV?
The new 2018 Honda Pilot is a spacious SUV capable of hauling all your relatives in comfort and style. And while SUVs across the board seem to be getting larger and larger, the safety features of the new Honda Pilot actively work to diminish those associated risks.
All 2018 Honda Pilots come with a 3.5L i-VTEC V6, capable of 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. Available in 2WD and AWD, the Pilot can tow between 3,500-5,000 pounds respectively. Models are mated to either a six-speed or nine-speed automatic.
Honda Pilots are available in the following models:
Starting at $30,900, this base model comes with a six-speed automatic. Equipped with a rearview camera with guidelines, push button start, a 4.2-inch display, and an available AWD system, this is the only model in the lineup lacking remote start. All models in the lineup include a tilt and telescopic steering column and illuminated steering wheel-mounted controls.
Complete with a traction management system, Smart Entry, LED daytime running lights, and an eight-inch audio touchscreen, the EX model is also paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. Honda also unlocks the Honda Sensing Feature Suite in this model, as well as SiriusXM capabilities. The EX is priced at $33,330.
In the middle of the pack at $36,760, the EX-L model surrounds buyers with a leather interior, heated front seats, and One-Touch second-row seats. A Rear Entertainment System is available, as well as navigation. A power tailgate rounds out this model.
The Honda Sensing Feature Suite and navigation system come standard on this model, along with a Blu-ray/DVD player. Second-row occupants enjoy sunshades and this model is equipped with a nine-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Idle Stop is another option available on this model, as well as 20-inch wheels and a 540-watt audio system with 10 speakers. The Touring will run you $41,970.
At the top of the spectrum lies the Elite model, featuring heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row captain’s chairs, and a heated steering wheel. The Elite is priced at $47,470. With a panoramic roof and LED headlights, the top-level features on this model also include the Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Monitor, Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4), and an AWD system. This is the only model offered exclusively in AWD.
All 2018 Honda Pilots are available in steel sapphire metallic, obsidian blue pearl, black forest pearl, crystal black pearl, modern steel metallic, lunar silver metallic, white diamond pearl, and deep scarlet pearl. Customers can choose between 2WD and AWD, except in the case of the Elite model.
Honda boasts a respectable 19 city/27 highway EPA-estimated mpg rating for the 2WD models equipped with the six-speed automatic. For a vehicle weighing over 4,000 pounds, that’s pretty efficient. AWD versions come in at 18/26 EPA-estimated mpg when mated to a six-speed, and 19 city/26 highway mpg when paired with the nine-speed auto. For those models equipped with the nine-speed, 2WD features, the EPA estimates 20 city and 27 highway miles per gallon.
Entertainment and Safety Features
Obviously, the safety features on the 2018 Pilot vary by model. The Honda Sensing Feature Suite is offered on all models except for the base LX, and includes “a suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies designed to help by alerting you to things you might miss while driving.” These technologies include a Collision Mitigation Braking System, a Road Departure Mitigation System, Adaptive Cruise Control, and a Lane Keeping Assist System.
Granted a five-star overall rating from the NHTSA, the Pilot scored “Good” in all IIHS categories as well. J.D. Power and Associates rated it average. Scoring mostly in the two to four range in the J.D. Power and Associates tests due to quality, the Pilot did, however, do well in features and accessories-mechanical. “Plenty of brains with all that beauty,” claims Edmunds.
This three-row SUV features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as most models do these days. All Pilots feature Bluetooth capabilities.
How the 2018 Honda Pilot Compares
Competition in the SUV/crossover segment comes down to seating capacity, capabilities, and of course, price. Many models, like the Acura MDX and RDX, can only seat five or six people. Others in this class include the Volkswagen Tiguan and Touareg, Land Rover’s Discovery and Evoque, Lincoln’s MKX and Navigator, and Ford’s Explorer and Edge, to name a few.
Larger SUV models include the GMC Yukon and its twin, the Chevrolet Suburban, Toyota’s Highlander, and the Chevy Traverse/GMC Acadia pair. The all-new Volkswagen Atlas can seat up to seven people.
Really it comes down to what you’re looking for in an SUV and what you’re willing to pay. The Kia Sorento and Sportage, Mazda CX-5 and CX-9, Mitsubishi Outlander, the Volkswagen Tiguan and Touareg, and the Hyundai Santa Fe and Tucson twins are your practical options, offering SUV capabilities at an affordable price. If you’re looking for more quality for what you’re paying, the Honda tops that list, coming in ahead of the Toyota Highlander, the Ford Edge and Explorer, and any two-row Jeep out there. GMC and Chevrolet offer a variety of options with tons of features and capabilities.
From there, it’s all about styling. Audi’s Q5 and Q7 pair set the standard for interior quality. BMW offers the X3 and X5, with their German counterparts at Mercedes-Benz stocking a slew of options, including the G, GLS, GLC, GLA, and GLE Classes. Jaguar has its F-Pace, Porsche has its Macan and Cayenne, and Land Rover has the Discovery and Evoque. Needless to say, there are a lot of options in this competitive segment.
Reviewers of the 2018 Honda Pilot at Consumer Reports compliment the comfortable ride but dislike the handling. Believing the nine-speed automatic paddle-shifted transmission to be “unintuitive,” Consumer Reports recommends the EX-L version for its value and features.
Kelley Blue Book raves about the generous cargo space and third-row seating. With the option to have either a bench seat or captain’s chairs in the second row, the 2018 Pilot is very versatile. The center console and door pockets offer tons of storage space as well. “Out on the road,” notes Kelley Blue Book, “the Pilot offers the kind of quiet refinement and comfortable ride we normally associate with luxury brands.”
- Fuel efficiency
- Standard capabilities
- Seating capacity
- Non-user-friendly infotainment system
- Simplistic styling
- Limited engine options
The Honda Pilot has long been the industry leader in the SUV/crossover segment. A practical option for those looking for a bit of luxury, the capable Pilot is versatile in towing kids and big-kid toys. Soccer moms and stay-at-home dads will love this kid-friendly, highly-capable SUV — and so will their monthly budgets.