Yesterday's groundbreaking technology is today's obsolescence, and car manufacturers are under more pressure than ever to keep their vehicles now, as cabin and security technology are two of the top priorities in the ownership experience.
As for the modern car buyers demand, the 2019 Honda Pilot SUV rises now for the reason. A healthy update for 2019 involves some visual updates, but focuses primarily on updated gadgetry, and that's really all it takes.
When the third-generation official came out in 2016, it was a star player in the three-row, medium-sized crossover segment. The 2019 model year's technology transfusion breathes new life into an SUV that, even last year, still felt well and close to the top of its class.
As soon as you sit inside the updated 2019 Honda Pilot, you can tell this SUV is about technology when it comes to technology. With the exception of the $ 31,450 Pilot LX offer, all the trims over it (EX, EX-L, Touring and our loaded $ 48,020 Pilot Elite test vehicle) come with a brand new 8-inch touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and – – a real volume button.
The pilot offered Apple CarPlay and Android Auto last year, but Honda has upgraded its infotainment interface to better reflect the functionality of smartphone-based systems. The result is a screen that is incredibly sharp and easy to use. This year, you can reorganize system icons to your liking, just as you can on your smartphone, and because Honda's operating system is Android based, the overall feeling is known.
Even more appropriate with time, Honda's new infotainment system can receive updates on the air, just like a Tesla – as long as you have one of the two two trims that comes with a built-in 4G LTE connection.
4G LTE is also new to Lincoln, Alabama-based Pilot. With data services provided by AT & T, the pilot can become a rolling Wi-Fi hotspot for up to seven devices. In addition, pilots equipped with an available back entertainment system can stream data directly from the SUV's built-in Wi-Fi connection.
The front driver is a new 7-inch TFT instrument display that replaces last year's 4.2-inch device. The new display integrates speed and RPM data by phone, music, trip or (on the top three trimmer) navigation information. All this is controlled by an updated steering wheel with a simplified set of buttons that I found easy to get used to.
Other new technology features on the 2019 Honda Pilot include CabinTalk – a feature already in the Honda Odyssey minivan. Available on the Pilot's three top trimmer, the CabinTalk SUV's Bluetooth microphone uses to enhance your voice through the cab's second and third row speakers so you do not lose your voice when you're unsolicited commands little Billy to stop relaxing the sister on his head.
The updated Pilot (again in the top three trims) also has Honda's "How much Farther" app, which is integrated into the rear entertainment system. In essence, does your kids keep asking the world's most annoying question: "Are we there yet?" In fact, the question is one of the few things that is more annoying than the lack of a volume button.
The rounding of the Pilot's new technology features is wireless smartphone charging, which is standard on the top Pilot Elite, but may be lower mounted on the lower trimmer, except for the LX base.
All these advances are wrapped in a package that has received some visual tweaks for 2019. The front end gets an updated fascia along with standard LED beams and more aggressive-looking fog lights. Outside, there is a new bumper and tail lights with integrated LED tail lights. All the aesthetic upgrades help to look up an already handsome (if any gentle) exterior design.
Inside, the more modern touch screen, as well as the TFT driver's display and updated steering wheel, a high-quality cabin, already well-built, comfortable and spacious, offers 150 plus cubic meters of space for up to eight passengers.
More safety and convenience, with a catch in the hatch
Even if you decide to go with a bare-pilot Pilot LX, you still have a pretty well-equipped crossover. Honda Sensing package with advanced driver assistance systems, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, departure limitation, airbag warning and airbag limiting, are standard across the board, but you need to upgrade to EX trims and to get standard blind spot monitoring .
The rear traffic monitoring, last year equipped with the two top trims, is now offered on all pilots except for the base model. All pilots now come with automatic high beam standard.
The pilot's two to trimmer comes with a hands free free kick, but it proved to be problematic. From the driver's seat, with the vehicle in the park either running or with the engine turned on and the ignition turned on, would not press the tailgate button open the lifting opening.
From the outside, if you try to pull the hatch open, the lightning engine will fight you instead of something that gives the same competitors' hatches. This can affect your ability to quickly load groceries or luggage into your car.
Honda says that 65 percent of Pilot's buyers will choose the three bottom trims, which means that a majority of owners will be saved frustrations like ours when we access this SUV's 80 plus cubic foot with maximum load capacity.
As far as things that make Pilot move are not much new, apart from some up-to-date software programming for the 9-speed automatic transmission (on the top two trimmer) and slightly faster auto-stop system.
Pre-refresh Pilot was emptied of the nine-speed tendency to hunt for gear. For 2019 it seems that it has been solved. For the most part, the updated nine-speed drops into the background. Only once the transmission seemed weak, and takes about a second to enable kickdown on the highway, but attempting to repeat the sluggish proved to be useless. For the rest of my test day, the transmission was always prepared to release a few gears, so that all the 3.5-liter V6 engine's 280 horsepower and 262-pound-torque torque could pave the way to all four wheels.
The stop-start system hiked on me once too. By going from a stop sign on a hill, the pilot took about a second to start after I lifted the foot off the brake and hit the accelerator pedal. During the second, the pilot rolled back for what felt like a foot before continuing. In this case, the stop-start function felt more like a stall-boot system, but, apart from that, one fails for the rest of the day with the Pilot, the layout performed in line with other such systems.
Apart from the one-off processes, the Pilot gave an impressive driving experience during the test. I'm unsure how Honda did it, but somehow it found a way to make a 4.319 pound SUV corner with minimum body roll. This level fluctuates well with the Pilot's optional torque driving direction, which can visually relay its power distribution in real time to the car's TFT instrument cluster … a nice touch.
The pilot could use a faster steering ratio with more sense through the wheel. As a result, it still feels like a heavy SUV, but it manages its weight well with decent brakes, incredibly complex yet comfortable suspension and chassis-tucking torque vector, all contributing to a safe driving experience.
It's appreciated when you drive the pilot in a hurry, but even when you take it easy, the pilot offers a level of cabin comfort, loneliness and refinement that is above average in a class populated with rivals like Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander.
Also according to EPA estimates, it will be easy to get anywhere between 21 and 23 miles per gallon, combined depending on trim, transmission and driving configuration.
A Better Best Buy
The third generation Honda Pilot has always been a home run in the three-row, medium-sized crossover class, and its updates for 2019 only reinforce that foot. The updated Pilot is great where you expect it to be, with plenty of space, comfort and technology, but it's also surprisingly polished where you least expect it to be, with its flat swinging behavior and sharp torque vector characteristics.
Family carriers can easily fall into the ground transport / device route, but with the pilot, Honda has built something that the whole band can be excited about. This SUV, which is for sale now, does pretty much all good: It looks good and in, it's going well – and when it's fast, it's even better to handle it. Overall, the updated 2019 Honda Pilot is very useful and small on irritations. It's just the right blend of sugar, spices and all that's nice that medium-sized crossover shoppers want.
Editor's Note: Roadshow accepts multi-day car loans from manufacturers to provide editorial reviews. All evaluated vehicle reviews are carried out on our turf and on our terms. But for this feature, the manufacturer covered travel expenses. This is common in the automotive industry, as it is far more economical to send journalists to cars than to send cars to journalists.
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