- Mar 27, 2004
- Atlanta, GA
So I had a chance to get ~120 miles of seat time behind the wheel of my mom's '18 Honda Pilot EX-L AWD this weekend which consisted of ~115 miles on country roads with 60 MPH speed limits that passed through multiple small towns with speed limits that dropped from 60-30 then back up to 60, the remaining ~5 in slow city driving with a stop light here and there. Would like to preface this by saying my mom is not a fan of her 3rd generation, she had a 1st gen and 2nd gen and just blindly bought a 3rd gen based on how happy she was with the first 2. She said it drives much differently than her last two - her words were "it feels more like a truck", so I guess less carlike? Also she mentioned it has been exhibiting some electrical issues already with ~38k miles on the clock where all 4 windows will crack themselves ~1/4" overnight and the sunroof will vent about the same amount, she said they open the same exact amount every time it happens. Also her navigation headunit will freeze up entirely and require her to stop somewhere, shut the car down and start it back up for it to reboot itself. Powertrain: I have to say the 3.5 makes some nice noises, this one has the direct injected mill so it has that trademark Honda DI rattle. It is a bit soft down low in the powerband so you gotta get it revving, even in her sedate driving shift points are 3500-4000. Under my slightly more aggressive foot 5k was pretty typical. There was one nice uphill on ramp that let me lay heavy into the throttle to about 6.5k and there were no objectionable noises and it honestly had a nice growl to it. The VCM (Variable Cylinder Management) was not really noticeable, never felt it deactivate but there were a few times when it activated there was the most minor shudder that 95% of consumers would not notice. The 6 speed auto has the typical Honda firm upshifts. Ride and Drive: Very car like so I don't know where my moms "truck" comment came from, if the prior gens were better than this I honestly don't know what to say. The ride and handling on this was superb. Road noise was well muted, wind noise was a little more noticeable from around the pillars than I expected. Parking lot maneuvers are a breeze, this thing drives way smaller than it actually is and has very good visibility all around. Fuel Economy: Hits EPA targets no issue, she had ~680 miles on one of the trip computers when I hopped in and it was reading 24.6 MPG. I ended at 798 miles on the same trip computer (did not want to mess with it if she had some rhyme or reason to when she resets) and ended at 25.1 MPG, I imagine the 26 MPG HWY figure would be easy to achieve. Eco mode neuters the throttle drastically so I used it on long cruising stretches and shut it off when I needed acceleration (passing, accelerating out of the 30 MPH areas, etc) - when I talked to my mom after the trip she mentioned she used it for a full tank on one of their Texas to Minnesota runs and it made zero difference in the trip MPG so she just leaves it off all the time. Overall I would say I see why these things sell like hotcakes. Except for the electrical issues that she reports I honestly could not find anything to fault in her car. It is screwed together exceptionally well (zero squeaks or rattles), the powertrain is an absolute gem, it drives like a car, seats 8 or carries a crap ton of stuff, and gets pretty good fuel economy to boot. If I were in the market the Pilot would be a very strong contender. Anyways figure I would review the current gen Pilot for anyone looking.