In our garage this week is the refreshed 2019 Honda Pilot in top-line Touring trim, and so far the consensus is positive.
The mid-cycle update adds a deeper new grille and front bumper design that’s more familial to other models in the lineup, such as the recently redesigned Accord, plus it also receives sharp looking new standard LED headlamps up front. Likewise, the rear end gets new LED taillight lenses and a revised rear bumper cap. Additional features that make Touring trim more appealing include full LED headlamps with Honda’s very upscale trademark design, some extra exterior chrome including the door handles, and new 20-inch machine-finished alloys with black painted pockets.
I think the various styling tweaks make the entire design look more attractive. The outgoing version was by no means ugly, but it didn’t really grab my attention the way the new one does. From front to back the new Pilot is handsome. It’s a big three-row crossover SUV that still looks light and nimble, never cumbersome, and such appearances transfer well into the driving experience.
I’ll tell you more about that in my upcoming road test review, and let you know how its upgraded auto start-stop system and refined nine-speed automatic perform.
The well-proven engine carries over from last year, so its output remains generous at 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. Honda also provides its Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4) AWD system, assisted by its Intelligent Traction Management System as standard equipment across the line, while I should mention here the entry-level transmission, found in the base LX, the EX, and the EX-L Navi, only sports six forward gears.
So equipped the Pilot is good for a claimed 13.0 L/100km in the city, 9.3 on the highway and 11.3 combined, whereas nine-speed models achieve 12.4 city, 9.3 highway and 11.0 combined.
Your choice of transmission does not affect the Pilot’s towing capacities, which are rated at 1,588 kilos (3,500 lbs) in its standard setup or 2,268 kg (5,000 lbs) with an optional towing package, while I should also note that cargo capacity is another good reason to consider a Pilot, its space behind the third row measuring a sizeable 524 litres (18.5 cubic feet), or about the size of a large car’s trunk behind the third row, or 510 litres (18.0 cubic feet) in Touring/Black Edition guise, and 1,583 litres (55.9 cubic feet) with the third row folded, while it ranges from 3,072 to 3,092 litres (108.5 to 109.2 cubic feet), depending on trim, when both rear rows are folded flat.
A few more Touring features worth noting include more advanced LED high beam-infused headlamps, power-folding auto-dimming side mirrors, blue ambient lighting, front window acoustic glass, rain-sensing wipers, an electronic gear selector, ventilated front seats, a premium 600-watt audio system with 11 speakers including a subwoofer plus 5.1 Surround Sound, wireless device charging, Honda’s handy new CabinTalk in-car PA system, HondaLink Subscription Services, AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot, the “How much Farther?” app, a rear entertainment system, HDMI input jack, a 115-volt rear power outlet, blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and more.
Included with my tester, Touring models can be upgraded to include a set of sliding and reclining captain’s chairs to either side of a slightly raised floor-mounted console with cupholders and a shallow bin, instead of the regular three-abreast bench seat. This reduces passenger volume from eight to seven, but the captain’s chairs are more comfortable thanks in part to seat heaters and flip-down armrests, plus this seven-passenger edition gets a panoramic sunroof overhead for a much more open and airy cabin.
Touring trim also includes items pulled up from lesser trims, such as the acoustic windshield, memory-linked side mirrors with reverse gear tilt-down, heatable steering wheel, four-way powered front passenger’s seat, navigation system, navi-based compass, satellite and HD radio, front and rear parking sensors, heated outboard second-row seats, one-touch third-row access buttons, second-row sunshades, powered tailgate and more found in the EX-L Navi, plus the LED fog lamps, LED turn signals in the side mirror caps, roof rails, illuminated vanity mirrors, Homelink garage door opener, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 10-way powered driver’s seat with memory, powered moonroof and more from the EX.
One of my favourite new features is the 7.0-inch TFT multi-information display (MID) found in the mostly digital gauge cluster. The MID features nice bright, high-resolution colour graphics and easy operation via steering wheel-mounted controls, a highly functional system that helps to modernize the look of the interior.
The Pilot’s big 8.0-inch tablet-style touchscreen infotainment system is excellent too, and along with wonderfully colourful tile-like graphics that were obviously inspired by Apple products, includes standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth smartphone connectivity with streaming audio, a multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, and much more.
Additional standard Pilot features that are pulled up into Touring trim include remote start, proximity-sensing access with pushbutton ignition, a windshield wiper de-icer, a conversation mirror within sunglasses holder, tri-zone auto climate control, three-way heatable front seats, a 264-watt audio system with seven speakers including a subwoofer, the HondaLink Assist Automatic Emergency Response System, and more.
Lastly, the 2019 Pilot receives the Honda Sensing suite of advanced driver assistance features as standard equipment, which adds auto high beams, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist System, and Road Departure Mitigation. This means that with the upgraded full LED cornering headlights from the Touring model the 2019 Pilot now earns a best-possible Top Safety Pick + rating from the IIHS (last year’s model didn’t achieve the + rating), while it also gets a 5 star safety rating from the NHTSA.
I’ll have more to tell you in my upcoming road test review, so stay tuned for all the details including some negatives. And if you’re curious about the price, including rebate information and dealer invoice pricing, check out CarCostCanada for everything you need to know…