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#19

in Affordable Midsize SUVs

MSRP: $29,870 - $41,620
Invoice: $27,319 - $38,037
MPG: N/A
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Honda Pilot Performance

The 2015 Honda Pilot pleases automotive critics with its strong brakes, good fuel economy and comfortable ride. However, some reviewers say that the 2015 Pilot could use more power, and that it falls short with slow steering and cumbersome handling. As a result, a few test drivers say that many newer or more recently redesigned SUVs provide a better driving experience.

  • "On the road, the 2015 Honda Pilot is an average midsize SUV: reliable and family-oriented. It's good but not great." -- AutoTrader 
  • "… the Pilot has always been blocky and a bit trucklike to drive at a time when its competitors are increasingly sleeker and more carlike. The result is a vehicle that's a bit stale and not exactly in keeping with the rest of the Honda lineup." -- Edmunds 
  • "The Pilot's high center of gravity prevents it from carving up curves like a sports car, but one gets the feeling if it were lower to the ground, it might give some family sedans a run for their money." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "From a dynamic standpoint, as my colleagues already have explained, the Pilot is not nearly as satisfying as many other mid-size family crossover vehicles, such as the Mazda CX-9, the new Ford Flex, the Dodge Durango, and the General Motors troika of Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave." -- Automobile Magazine (2012)

Acceleration and Power

A 250-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine and a five-speed automatic transmission come standard in all 2015 Honda Pilot models. The EPA reports that the 2015 Pilot gets 18/25 mpg city/highway, which is good for a three-row SUV.

Some reviewers say that the Pilot’s engine is responsive, with enough power for most driving conditions. However, others report that the Pilot could use more power, and that it has trouble climbing steep hills on the highway. Some test drivers also dislike the Pilot's automatic transmission, which they say isn't always in the right gear.

  • "On paper, the Pilot's 250-hp V6 engine looks like enough motivation for this family SUV, but in the real world, it rarely feels like it. Highway grades are particularly troublesome. Much of this is attributable to the Pilot's heft and lack of power, but some of the performance deficit is attributable to the slow-shifting five-speed automatic transmission." -- Edmunds
  • "Admittedly not the strongest engine in the class, the 2015 Honda Pilot SUV's 3.5-liter V6 makes 250 horsepower and is a willing and responsive performer for any reasonable driving situation the Pilot is likely to encounter." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Pilot has one of the lowest horsepower ratings in the midsize-SUV class, but the engine is incredibly smooth. Its linear throttle makes this somewhat large, heavy vehicle seem faster than it probably is. In an era of 6- and even 8-speed automatic transmissions, Pilot's 5-speed unit feels dated by comparison. It generally works OK, but more than once it gets caught hunting for the right gear." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "The automatic is only a five-speed -- most competitors have one more gear to play with. Despite that handicap, Honda engineers are able to extract surprisingly good fuel economy out of the Pilot: EPA ratings of 18/25 mpg (FWD) and 17/24 mpg (AWD) are near the top of the class, although they can't approach the new Nissan Pathfinder, with its continuously variable transmission." -- Automobile Magazine (2013)

Handling and Braking

The 2015 Honda Pilot comes standard with front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is optional. Critics appreciate the 2015 Pilot’s strong brakes and comfortable, balanced ride. However, many report that the Pilot is not particularly nimble, and that a high center of gravity results in body lean when driven through turns. The Pilot is also criticized for its slow steering, which adds to its cumbersome driving dynamics.

  • "The ride quality is adequate, handling is responsive, braking is crisp, and the 4-wheel-drive system is capable. Few will be disappointed with the Pilot, but nothing about it truly stands out to separate it from the rest of the SUV herd." -- AutoTrader
  • "The interior stays quiet at highway speeds, too However, it perpetually feels like a heavy, cumbersome vehicle -- not just compared with the lithe Honda norm, but against other large crossovers as well. Around corners and in tight spaces, the Pilot feels ponderous due to its slow steering and boxy dimensions." -- Edmunds 
  • "A fully-independent suspension and tight unit-body construction deliver a smooth and controlled ride, while the rack-and-pinion steering creates a sense of stability and precise, predictable handling." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "The tires' tall sidewalls are a boon to ride quality, but handling does suffer a bit because they cause the steering to feel slightly lazy. Its tall, blocky styling and high center of gravity result in a fair amount of body lean when taking corners." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
Review Last Updated: 8/22/14

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