Every generation of the Honda Pilot has always been a missed opportunity for the Japanese carmaker. While they aren’t particularly bad, these are somehow inferior compared to their peers. Styling is rather pedestrian, and off-road capability is somehow lacking. Thankfully, the fabled Honda reliability and good on-road driving somehow helped the model find its way to American homes.
But the Japanese automaker wants to change the way we see the Pilot. And so, in the United States, Honda unveils the latest, fourth-generation model and claims it to be the biggest and most capable SUV the manufacturer has ever made. So what exactly has changed?
The all-new Pilot is 86mm longer and 10mm taller, but 2.5mm narrower compared to the outgoing model. The wheelbase has also been stretched by 71mm, while the front and rear tracks are 28mm and 38mm wider for more interior room and better handling.
Up front, you’ll find Honda’s new corporate face. That means the SUV has the same huge hexagonal grille as the CR-V. Unlike the last generation, the new Pilot also has a tougher, more squared-off design. There are 20- and 18-inch rim options, depending on the variant. The rear end features huge taillamps and a prominent tailgate garnish. A Honda Performance Development package is available for even more rugged styling.
Step inside and you’ll somehow see styling touches found in recently launched Hondas. There’s a tablet-like seven- or nine-inch infotainment screen that’s Android Auto- and Apple CarPlay-capable (the bigger screen and wireless capability are available for higher variants). Behind the chunky tiller is either a seven- or 10.2-inch digital instrument display.
The new Pilot seats up to eight people and is offered in three configurations. This features new seats for the second row for improved legroom and a bigger recline angle for better riding comfort. Additionally, this can be removed and stowed under the rear floor for better cargo-carrying capability.
Save for the entry-level Sport variant, higher grades receive wireless smartphone charging. Speaking of chargers, all three rows get multiple USB-A or USB-C charge points, cubbyholes, and cup or bottle holders. Certain models get a 12-speaker Bose audio system with Bose Centerpoint tech and SurroundStage DSP.
Doing duty under the hood is an all-new 3.5-liter V6 engine that does 285hp and 355Nm. Power is sent to either the front or all four wheels via a 10-speed slushbox. Speaking of the drivetrain, the new Pilot is equipped with the i-VTM4 all-wheel drive system. Seven drive modes are available, perfect for different road conditions. Stopping power is improved thanks to bigger front brake rotors and larger calipers.
The TrailSport’s modifications go beyond aesthetics. These get Trail torque logic that reduces wheelspin and directs driving force to the wheel with the most traction for better off-road performance. And should you dare take it to the trails, there are thick steel skid plates and recovery points that help protect vital components and easier recovery in case you get stuck.
Speaking of off-road performance, the TrailSport variant also comes with 18-inch rims with inset spokes to prevent damage when you choose to take the SUV off the tarmac. These are wrapped in chunkier 265/60 tires that are capable in varying conditions, yet still quiet and comfortable on the road.
In terms of safety, the all-new Pilot gets the latest iteration of the Honda Sensing suite of features. Here, a camera and new radars with a wider field of view are used. This enhances collision prevention while improving existing functionalities. Additionally, the eight standard airbags include a new passenger-side front airbag that helps minimize potential trauma during accidents.
The all-new Pilot will be built at Honda’s Lincoln, Alabama, plant. While the SUV is designed specifically for the North American market, we hope it could make its way to other territories like ours, just as the previous generations did.