Currently in its third generation, the Honda Pilot was and still is one of the most popular midsize SUVs. The 2016 Honda Pilot got a full makeover with a brand-new exterior design, better materials, and an overall more refined fit and finish. It got rid of the dated boxy looks in favor of a more modern design and a much lighter chassis. The 2017 Honda Pilot adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility to all models equipped with the 8-inch touchscreen, starting with the EX trim. Elsewhere it’s pretty much your standard 2016 Pilot we’ve come to know and love.
TRIMS AND OPTIONS
The 2017 Honda Pilot offers five different trim levels, ranging from the base LX to the top of the line Touring. The standard Pilot LX trim may sound somewhat basic on paper, but it does get most amenities such as A/C, alloy wheels, cruise control, 60/40 rear split, and AUX audio jack, bluetooth and USB port. It’s not the most luxurious trim level ever created, but for most people it’s got all the features you’re ever going to need.
The EX upgrades further upon the LX with automatic headlights, LED DRLs, heated mirrors and Honda’s excellent LaneWatch system. The biggest difference is that it also gets the Intelligent Traction Management system. In front-wheel drive Pilot variants there’s only one mode apart from normal, and it’s Snow. AWD cars get Snow, Sand and Mud options for more off-roading adjustability and capabilities. The EX-L is basically a more luxurious EX, as its name might suggest. As such, it offers a sunroof, a power tailgate, leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather upholstery, heated front seats and one-touch sliding second-row seats. The EX-L Navi version comes with Honda’s state-of-the-art navigation system, while the EX-L RES gets a Honda DVD Rear Entertainment System with a large 9-inch display and an integrated remote control.
The 2017 Honda Pilot Touring model is essentially the flagship trim level, equipped with just about everything Honda was able to cram into the Pilot. Large 20-inch aluminum wheels, a Blind Spot Information System, Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation and bilingual Voice Recognition. Self-switching LED headlights are standard as well.
Honda promised a new and completely restyled Pilot, and they more than delivered on all fronts. The dated boxy shapes of Pilots of old are gone, and in their place we find new and modern lines which appeal to both young and old. The Pilot’s design was mostly inspired by the CR-V, but some of the lines have been ironed out as to make it sportier and more luxurious. From older boxy, square shapes and utilitarian looks, we’ve progressed to this sleek and elegant exterior design. The new Pilot manages to look both aggressive and menacing, yet understated at the same time. It’s not a combination a lot of vehicles can pull off, but the 2017 Honda Pilot does it brilliantly.
An interior’s materials and features tell a lot about the luxury of a given automobile, and based on the 2017 Pilot’s cabin, Honda is a class leader! The first thing you notice when stepping inside is the similarities to the 2017 Honda CR-V. While the overall feel of its little sibling is there, the Pilot is just that much more refined. The materials used are superb, and there’s not a single cheap plastic or a questionable material in sight. The new digital instrument cluster looks a lot cleaner and the center stack has been reconfigured to offer more usability and ergonomics.
The latest 8-inch touchscreen is nested in the dashboard, powered by an Android-based operating system. It’s equipped with Honda’s Satellite-Linked navigation which itself boasts improved graphics and a ton more capabilities. The optional 9-inch rear entertainment system isn’t a necessity, but with DVD and Blu-Ray it’s definitely well worth the cost if you feel it’s needed.
All in all, the 2017 Pilot has one of the best cabins in its segment, thanks to superb quality materials, a high quality build and innovative features.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE
The Honda Pilot’s well-known and trusty 3.5L V6 engine makes an appearance once again. It now offers 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. The old five-speed transmission has been ditched in favor of a modern, sophisticated six-speed automatic unit or an upgraded nine speed automatic. Although power is sent to the front wheels only in standard guise, you can go for the all-wheel drive option and get an extremely capable SUV. The 2017 Honda Pilot engine is now outfitted with cylinder-deactivation technology and stop/start ignition.
Performance, as expected, is rather brisk with 280 horsepower on tap. The sprint to 60 mph takes just 6.9 seconds, an amazing achievement given the Pilot’s size. Most of the performance is located in the upper rev range, but there’s plenty of torque for day to day driving. The real surprise? It’s agile and nimble. The 2017 Pilot feels light on its feet, with precise steering offering great feedback. The chassis is great at reducing body roll making for a very relaxed and enjoyable ride.
While the 2017 Pilot seems quite large on the outside, its maneuverability is still quite easy. A great turning radius, backup camera and sensors all help to navigate the Pilot into the tightest of spaces.
The 2017 Honda Pilot remains at the top as far as options for anyone after a three-row SUV. It’s practical, spacious, fast, smooth, high quality and affordable starting at $40,090 . The Honda Sensing package also makes it one of the safest SUVs in its class. We most definitely recommend taking a 2017 Pilot for a test drive!