The three-row Honda Pilot did not receive any new changes for the 2018 model year, but expect to see a refresh for the 2019 model year.
The Pilot is the largest and most expansive crossover in Honda's lineup, positioned above the compact CR-V and subcompact HR-V.
2018 Honda Pilot LX: The base LX trim comes standard with 18-inch wheels, eight-passenger seating, a 5.0-inch center screen, Bluetooth, two USB port, a 4.2-inch instrument panel driver's display, a 200-watt seven-speaker audio system, push-start ignition, hill-start assist, cruise control, rearview camera, and manually adjustable front seats.
2018 Honda Pilot EX: Moving up to the EX trim adds remote engine start, LED daytime running lights, Honda LaneWatch, an 8.0-inch center display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, SiriusXM satellite radio, 10-way power driver's seat (manual for passenger), heated and power side-view mirrors, a quick entry system, fog lights, tri-zone climate control, rear facing conversation mirror, and three USB ports.
2018 Honda Pilot EX-L: The well-equipped EX-L trim comes with a power moonroof, a power tailgate, four-way power passenger's seat, leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and one-touch folding second-row seats.
2018 Honda Pilot Touring: Building off the Pilot EX-L, the Touring trim adds a nine-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters (upgraded from the six-speed automatic), a navigation system, a rear seat entertainment system with a 9.0-inch top-mounted screen, a 540-watt 10-speaker audio system, a fifth USB port in the second-row, front and rear parking sensors, roof rails, automatic reverse-tilting side-view mirrors, blue ambient lighting, courtesy door lights, and Honda Sensing, which includes automatic emergency braking, lane centering assist, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure assist.
2018 Honda Pilot Elite: The Pilot's top Elite trim comes standard with all-wheel drive, LED headlights, automatic high beams, a panoramic moonroof, blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, rain-sensing windshield wipers, LED map lights, front and second-row illuminated cup holders, heated and ventilated front seats with perforated leather, heated second-row captain's chairs with perforated leather, front and rear parking sensors with indicators, and HD radio.
The Pilot's 3.5-liter V-6 produces 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque and delivers an EPA-rated 18/26 mpg city/highway with the six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive, or 19/27 mpg with front-wheel drive. With the nine-speed automatic, the Pilot is rated at 20/27 mpg with front-wheel drive and 19/26 mpg with all-wheel drive. In Motor Trend testing, a 2016 Honda Pilot AWD with the nine-speed automatic hit 60 mph in a quick 6.2 seconds and stopped from 60 mph in 119 feet.
The Honda Pilot received the highest five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. The Pilot is considered an IIHS 2018 Top Safety Pick for receiving the highest rating of Good in five crash tests, the second-highest rating of Acceptable for the headlights evaluation, and the highest rating of Superior for the front crash prevention test for avoiding a 12-mph collision and reducing the speed of a 25-mph collision by 12 mph thanks to the automatic emergency braking system found in the Honda Sensing package. Honda Sensing—available on the EX and standard on the Touring trim—also consists of adaptive cruise control, lane centering assist, and lane departure assist. Blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert and automatic high beams are standard on the Elite trim. Honda LaneWatch (standard on EX, EX-L, and Touring, but not available on LX or Elite) activates a camera viewing the lane to the right of the Pilot when the right blinker is activated. Front and rear parking sensors become standard on the Touring trim.
The 2018 Honda Pilot can carry up to 16.5 cubic feet of cargo behind the third-row, 46.8 with the third-row folded down, and 83.9 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded down. The Ford Explorer has more behind the third row with 21.0 cubic feet, but less behind the second row with 43.9 cubic feet and 81.7 behind the front seats. First, second, and third-row legroom in the Pilot is 40.9 inches, 38.4 inches, and 31.9 inches, respectively.
The Pilot LX's standard 5.0-inch center screen is upgraded to the 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and SiriusXM satellite radio in the EX trim. The Touring trim adds a navigation system, a rear seat entertainment system, a fifth USB port, and a 115-volt outlet to power your devices. The standard 200-watt audio system is upgraded to a 225-watt on in the EX trim and a 10-speaker, 540-watt system in the Touring trim. A 4.2-inch instrument panel driver's display is standard on all trims.
In a First Test review of the 2016 Honda Pilot Elite, we were very impressed with the crossover's quick acceleration and comfortable ride. The optional one-touch second-row seats make getting into the decently sized third row easy. The all-wheel-drive system provides good off-road traction but the nine-speed automatic transmission was "a bit clunky at times" on the road and we questioned why the Pilot still had a manual pedal parking brake instead of an electric one. We liked the available Honda Sensing package of driver assist safety features, the 8.0-inch center touchscreen on almost every trim, and the digital speedometer located at the top of the instrument cluster. We concluded our review by saying, "Although the 2016 Pilot is more attractive than the boxy previous generation crossovers, it reminded more than one driver of a minivan from inside—not a good connection for a minivan alternative. If you don't mind the low-speed behavior of the nine-speed auto on Touring and Elite models, however, the Honda merits a top spot on your shopping list."
After 15 months in our long-term 2016 Honda Pilot, we appreciated the three-row crossover's interior that took a beating after 38,528 miles but wished it had a volume knob (Honda is starting to bring back the volume knob to its lineup). Besides a transmission replacement that was covered under warranty, the Pilot suffered no additional mechanical defects and had average maintenance costs. One thing that really impressed us was the Pilot's traction in a bad mountain winter storm. The Honda traversed snow and ice-covered roads with confidence while on factory tires without chains.
Our biggest issue with the Pilot remained the nine-speed automatic found on the top two trims: "It's great for cruising on the highway, but the nine-speed lacks smoothness for stop-and-go in-town driving. It can be especially maddening in driving conditions when the throttle needs constant modulation, with jerkiness and hesitation between upshifts and downshifts."