Honda Pilot
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Overall

Getting you and the gang out and about in good and bad weather and road conditions is the Pilot’s stock in trade. This is essentially a no-change year for this wagon as Honda readies a replacement for the 2015 model year.

Drivetrain

Honda’s rock-steady 250-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 runs the show in concert with a five-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel-drive is optional.

If you aren’t quite up for something as big as a Chevy Suburban or a Ford Expedition, you’ll likely be content behind the wheel of a Honda Pilot. With eight-passenger capacity and, more importantly, reasonable fuel economy, this blocky wagon is certainly worth scoping out. The Pilot features the whole stubby-nose, upright-roof-pillars and wheel-openings-pushed-outward-in-true-off-roader-tradition kind of thing. Short front and rear body overhang allows Pilot pilots to traverse deeper ruts and gullies when heading into the back woods. The upscale interior provides reasonable leg and knee room for second- and third-row riders, although those at the far end lose some precious head, shoulder and hip space. The Pilot’s eight-place seating is impressive in this class of vehicle and out-accommodates the Toyota Highlander, Hyundai Santa Fe and Mazda CX-9, plus other competitors, by one spot. When not needed, the rear seats can be folded flat without removing the headrests, while the liftgate features a convenient glass-hatch opening. The standard 3.5-liter V6 makes 250 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque, but the engine also features the Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system that imperceptibly switches between three, four and six cylinders, depending on whether the motor is accelerating or cruising at a steady rate. The two-wheel-drive models are rated at 18 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway. The Pilot is available in either front- and four-wheel-drive, with the latter functioning when tire slip is detected and when accelerating from a stop. The system can also be “locked” in place at speeds below 18 mph, which is handy when stuck or operating in poor-traction conditions. Hill Start Assist prevents the Pilot from rolling backward on an incline of 10 degrees or greater when the driver’s right foot shifts from the brake pedal to the accelerator. Among the Pilot’s wealth of standard equipment are front and rear air conditioning, tilt/telescopic steering column, trailer hitch and a seven-speaker audio system.

Base price (incl. destination): $30,500
Type: Four-door sport utility vehicle
Engine (hp): 3.5-liter SOHC V6 (250)
Layout: Front-engine, front- /all-wheel-drive
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
MPG (city/hwy): 18/25 (FWD)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control.
Weight (lb.): 4,300