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2022 Honda Pilot Review | Seven is enough

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This will almost certainly be the final model year for the current-generation Honda Pilot – its seventh since last redesigned. An all-new one, sharing the same platform as the new Acura MDX, is on its way. Truth be told, it can’t come soon enough, as time and the competition have not been kind to this three-row family crossover.


The 2022 Honda Pilot is just as functional as always, with exceptional cargo space and interior storage. It’s a fine family tool. Its resale value and reliability should be strong, too. However, its exterior and interior design are awfully dowdy in the face of newer competitors like the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade and Toyota Highlander. Its interior technology is also frustrating to use, paling in comparison to what you get in those same competitors and most others. Basically, while newer competitors have shown a family vehicle doesn’t have to be dull, the Honda Pilot still satisfies the stereotype. Perhaps its successor will change that.


Interior & Technology  |  Passenger & Cargo Space  |  Performance & Fuel Economy


What it’s like to drive  |  Pricing & Features  |  Crash ratings and safety features


What’s new for 2022?


The bottom rungs on the Pilot trim level ladder have been stripped for 2022 … initially. Honda has announced that “a new entry trim level (is) coming in the fall,” presumably replacing the old LX and EX. For now, things start off with the EX-L, raising the base price to a comparatively lofty $40,285. Keep that in mind when you notice that the Pilot might have more standard equipment than rivals.  


2019 Honda Pilot Elite2019 Honda Pilot Elite


What’s the Pilot interior and in-car technology like?


The Pilot cabin is awfully plain compared to what you’ll find in a Mazda CX-9, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride or Toyota Highlander. On the other hand, it’s also one of the highest-quality and functional cabins in the segment, largely intended with the goal of making parents’ lives easier.


As we discovered in our Pilot interior review, there are bins everywhere up front, including a giant center bin that’s big enough to hide a purse or other valuables. Better still, its flat rolling cover provides extra storage since it doesn’t need to serve double duty as an armrest (there are minivan-style rests attached to each front seat). There are also multiple tiers of bins on the doors and in the center stack.


Technology isn’t as well-executed. Yes, there are plenty of included features, but the touchscreen that controls them can frustrate. Mid-generation updates made it a bit better, but fundamental flaws remain: insufficient menu buttons, no tuning knob and/or direct tune function, and an excessive process for going between Honda and Apple/Android interfaces are just some of the annoyances. Some of these issues are addressed in the Accord, Odyssey and Civic, but the Pilot sticks with an imperfect old/new hybrid. If there’s a reason to ponder something other than the Pilot, this would certainly be it.



How big is the Pilot?


Honda did an exceptional job of getting the most interior space out of the Pilot as possible. While its exterior dimensions are some of the smallest in the segment, its interior is among the roomiest and most functional. Second-row space is typically generous, while the third row has enough leg- and headroom for full-size adults and teenagers. However, the seat is notably lower than those in the Palisade, Telluride and Chevrolet Traverse, so it’s ultimately not as comfortable. The roofline and rear-quarter windows are pretty boxy, though, so the chances of feeling claustrophobic are reduced.


Cargo capacity is excellent, even if it seems a bit below average on paper. Most notably, the Pilot can fit as many pieces of luggage behind its third row as the Palisade despite supposedly having less space. This is thanks to its clever floor, which can drop down several inches. It’s also double sided: one carpet, the other textured plastic for dirty items. 


Keep in mind that if you don’t need that much space for people, the Honda Passport is essentially a two-row, five-passenger Pilot.



What are the Pilot fuel economy and performance specs?


The 2022 Honda Pilot comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 good for 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is also standard on all trims but the Elite and Black Edition, which come standard with the advanced torque-vectoring i-VTM4 all-wheel-drive system that’s optional on all other trims. A nine-speed automatic is standard.


EPA-estimated fuel economy is 20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive slightly lowers those figures to 19/26/22.



What’s the Pilot like to drive?


The Pilot provides a comfortable and composed ride; the handling and steering are confidence inspiring; and the smooth engine has more than enough power. Its advanced torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system even improves road holding in addition to poor weather traction. It basically clears the bar for the segment.


That said, the Pilot is also pretty unmemorable behind the wheel. It’s almost more like a minivan in SUV clothing. Though it’s a bit more involving than a Subaru Ascent, it also isn’t the best choice for those hoping to maintain some driver engagement from their large family vehicle. The Mazda CX-9 would be a much better choice for that, while even the Toyota Highlander brings more responsiveness and communication to the driver. We wouldn’t say that the Kia Telluride or Hyundai Palisade are particularly memorable either, but there’s something about them (perhaps it’s just the styling) that manages to avoid the minivan vibe.


What other Honda Pilot reviews can I read?


Honda Pilot Luggage Test


We discover that the Pilot can hold far more behind its raised third row than its 16.5-cubic-foot number would suggest.



Honda Pilot Black Edition Interior Storage Driveway Test


We try out all the cubbies and cupholders … and since we tested a Pilot Black Edition, we made sure to dress the part. 



2019 Honda Pilot Elite Drivers’ Notes Review


Our editors evaluate the revised Pilot, including its ride and handling, revised technology and nine-speed automatic, and controversial black and orange graphics Honda made available for 2019.


2019 Honda Pilot Elite


 


2019 Honda Pilot First Drive Review


We get our first drive of the revised 2019 Honda Pilot. We tell you what’s new and updated, why Honda changed what they did, and how successful they are. We also provide more detail about the i-VTM4 all-wheel-drive system and the Pilot’s off-road capability.


2019 Honda Pilot


 


2020 Kia Telluride vs Honda Pilot and other three-row family crossovers


We compare dimensions and engine specs of the new 2020 Telluride to the Pilot and other competitors, including the 2020 Ford Explorer, 2020 Hyundai Palisade, Toyota Highlander and Subaru Ascent.


2020 Kia Telluride vs Other 3-Row Crossovers


 


How much is the 2021 Honda Pilot price, and what features are available?


This section is subject to change because Honda has announced that the LX and EX trim levels will eventually be replaced by a single new base model. What that will be, how much it will cost and what features it will include had not been announced at the time of this writing. All the latest pricing information can be found here on Autoblog.


For now, the EX-L trim level starts things off . Because it was previously a mid-to-upper trim level, it comes with far more standard equipment than a typical base trim level. That includes leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, and a sunroof on top of the more basic equipment you expect from this class. In fact, there’s so much equipment that the Touring, Elite and Black Edition really just polish things off with “would-be nice” items rather than anything resembling a “must-have.” The SE is pretty much an EX-L with 20-inch black wheels.


Note that all-wheel drive is a $2,000 option on all trim levels, with the exception of the Elite, which comes standard with it. All prices include the $1,225 destination charge.


EX-L: $40,285
SE: $40,885
Touring: $44,845
Touring w/ Rear Captain’s Chairs: $45,145
Elite: $50,345
Black Edition: $51,845



What are the Pilot safety ratings and driver assistance features?


The “Honda Sensing” suite of safety features is standard on all trim levels. Included features are forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane-departure warning and keeping. Blind-spot warning is included on all but the base trim. Unfortunately, these aren’t the best-executed accident avoidance tech features on the market. The lane-keeping assist and road departure mitigation are far too sensitive or prone to false alarms with loud warnings of BRAKE! in the instrument panel accompanied by beeping. This can occur when not crossing either lane line. The adaptive cruise control system is also one of the least sophisticated and potentially annoying examples on the market.


In government crash tests, the Pilot received a five-star overall rating. It got four stars for frontal crash protection, five stars for side protection and four stars for rollover protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Pilot the best possible rating of “Good” in all crash tests but the new small overlap front/passenger test, where it got an “Acceptable” rating. That’s one more downside of being seven years old. It also got headlight ratings of “Good” or “Acceptable” depending on trim, while the forward collision mitigation system received the best-possible rating of “Superior” for its effectiveness in preventing or mitigating a crash.


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