The Honda Pilot was one of the first three row crossovers when it arrived in 2002. Since then the segment has exploded with rivals from nearly every mainstream automaker, but even with the increased competition, the Pilot has held its own. Honda hasn’t even been able to keep up with the demand, which it hopes will be alleviated with some production changes at its US factories. To keep it on its game, Honda has given the 2019 Pilot a mild mid-cycle refresh that fixes a few issues and adds some new features.
On the outside, you probably won’t immediately notice the differences between the 2018 Pilot and 2019 Pilot, but at the front there is a new grille, new headlights and a new front bumper that combined, give the 2019 Honda Pilot a slightly more aggressive face. At the rear the taillights have been tweaked and there’s a new bumper. To complete the exterior changes, the 2019 Pilot rides on new 18- or 20-inch alloy wheels.
Inside the 2019 Pilot gets some enhancements that make it more comfortable and appealing to families. New trim has been added around the vents, there’s a new steering wheel and the front seats now have heat three settings, in addition to the cooled function. Second row captain’s chairs are now an option on both the Touring and Elite models, for those buyers that only need seven seats compared to the standard eight. A power tailgate has also been added to the options list.
Since families need all the latest tech features, the 2019 Honda Pilot has a new infotainment system that Honda says is easier to use and rear seat passengers will enjoy the rear entertainment system’s larger screen. A 4G LTE-Wi-Fi hotspot is also available and in the front you can charge your cell phone wirelessly. In front of the driver the instrument cluster has also been redesigned. One thing we wished Honda would have added was a head up display.
To keep everyone safe, the 2019 Pilot now comes standard with the Honda Sensing suite of driver-assistive technologies, which includes a collision mitigation braking system with forward collision warning, road departure mitigation, lane keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.
Under the hood, Honda also made a few updates. The 2019 Pilot is still powered by the same 3.5L V6 with 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft. of torque, but the available nine-speed automatic transmission has been reworked, which was one of the main gripes with the current Pilot, since it’s shifts were could have been smoother. The nine-speed automatic transmission now will automatically start from a stop in second gear, under light acceleration to smooth things out. The engine’s idle stop system has also been updated and if you need all-wheel drive, the Pilot is available with a capable torque vectoring all-wheel drive system.
The front-wheel drive Pilot with the base six-speed automatic transmission is rated at 20/27 mpg, while the all-wheel drive version is rated at 18/26 mpg. Pilot Touring and Elite trim levels get the updated nine-speed automatic transmission. With the nine-speed transmission and front-wheel drive, the 2019 Pilot is rated at 20/27 mpg, if you choose the all-wheel drive version it’s rated at 19/26 mpg.
On the road the 2019 Pilot is a comfortable family cruiser with a decent amount of power when you need it. The nine-speed automatic in the upper trim levels is a bit smoother, but it’s still a bit reluctant to downshift when extra power is needed. Luckily there are steering wheel mounted paddle shifters if you want more control over which gear you’re in. Speaking of selecting gears, the push button gear select system may save some space, but it’s still a bit awkward to use.
When the road gets a bit twisty, the 2019 Pilot does its best to keep up, but given the fact that the Pilot is a large crossover, it shouldn’t be a surprise that you’d hardly call the driving experience sporty. The suspension is quite soft and its steering is a bit disconnected, an obvious choice since comfort is more of a priority for families.
The three-row crossover segment is one of the hottest segments, but even with all the different models to choose from the Honda Pilot continues to be one of the top choices. If you want an eight-passenger, quiet and comfortable crossover for the family, the 2019 Pilot should be at the top of your test drive list.
Pricing for the 2019 Honda Pilot starts at $32,445.