The Honda Pilot has lengthy been a can’t-go-wrong choice within the three-row crossover phase. The third-generation mannequin launched in 2016, and its mixture of a roomy, well-built inside, robust engine and competent dealing with chops made it interesting to households.

However that does not imply it was good. The Pilot’s nine-speed computerized transmission was liable to incessantly hunt for gears, and there have been some infotainment-related complaints to talk of. None of those issues have been complete deal breakers, thoughts you, however Honda nonetheless wanted to handle these points.

Enter the 2019 Pilot. It might not appear all that completely different at first blush, however with brisker styling, in addition to quite a few tech and powertrain revisions, Honda’s well-rounded Pilot is best suited to duke it out within the extremely aggressive three-row crossover class.

Massaged design

None of at the moment’s massive, household crossovers boast a design that’ll get your pulse racing, however the Pilot stays one of many better-looking specimens on the market. Gentle adjustments for 2019 encompass a brand new fascia with redone grille, a more healthy serving to of chrome trim and bigger fog lights. Out again, there is a new bumper, taillights and extra chrome as effectively.

Heading inside, eagle-eye Pilot specialists could pick the brand new vent trim and wider fold-down entrance armrests. The gauge cluster now incorporates a bigger, 7-inch (up from four.2-inch) TFT show, managed by revised steering wheel controls which might be tremendous simple to make use of.

The whole lot else concerning the cabin largely carries over unchanged. All rows of seats are comfy, with high quality supplies all through, and the way-back third row is definitely fairly simple to get out and in of. With regards to hauling stuff, there’s 16.5 cubic ft of house behind the third row, which grows to 46.Eight with it folded. Flip the second row captain’s seats down and you will have almost 84 cubic ft of actual property that ought to swallow absolutely anything.

Minus new bumpers, grille and lightweight therapies, the skin of the 2019 Pilot is not too completely different.

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Stronger tech

Except for the bottom LX mannequin, all Pilots now come customary with an Eight-inch Show Audio system. The brand new infotainment interface seems to be sharp, is extremely responsive and presents the flexibility to prepare system icons to your liking. Prime-end Touring and Elite trims may even obtain over-the-air updates. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a Wi-Fi hotspot for as much as seven gadgets are additionally included, however the perfect function of all is, with out query, the return of a bodily quantity knob. It is superb how easy issues like this may actually make an enormous distinction.

To assist the parental items in entrance keep order within the again, the CabinTalk function from the Honda Odyssey makes it approach into the Pilot. As a substitute of pop screaming on the prime of his lungs to inform the youngsters to cease giving one another moist willies, he can now be simply heard via the rear audio system by way of the Bluetooth microphone.

Energy ports to cost good gadgets should not be an issue, both, with the Elite sporting two USB retailers, two 12-volt retailers and a wi-fi charging pad up entrance. For second-row passengers, there are one other two USB ports, in addition to a family plug positioned on the again of the middle console.

The Elite’s new Eight-inch Show Audio system is responsive, seems to be good and has a bodily quantity knob!

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For security, each Pilot will get the Honda Sensing suite of options that provides ahead collision warning with computerized emergency braking, lane departure warning with lane preserve help and adaptive cruise management. The Elite additionally will get blind spot monitoring with rear cross visitors alert, which I at all times admire having in parking tons. The one large disappointment is 360-degree digital camera shouldn’t be obtainable. As a substitute, it solely has a multi-view rearview digital camera with picture high quality that is removed from stellar.

Smoother operator

The Pilot continues to be powered by a wonderful, three.5-liter V6 engine making a serviceable 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. The Elite’s nine-speed computerized gearbox can also be altered with new tuning to easy out off-the-line conduct and make extra decisive cog adjustments. There’s nonetheless some gear searching occasionally, however general there is a clear uptick in drivetrain refinement that is welcome. Including to that smoother conduct is a revised stop-start system, which is now ok that I do not instantly wish to flip it off.

With all-wheel drive, the EPA estimates the Pilot Elite will return 19 miles per gallon within the metropolis, 26 mpg on the freeway and 22 mpg mixed. Throughout every week of combined driving, I managed to watch a good 22.1 mpg with my heavy proper foot, which matches the EPA’s mixed ranking.

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Contemplating its four,319-pound curb weight, the Pilot is not too unhealthy of a nasty handler. Coming into a nook reveals grabby brakes, fairly responsive steering, brisk turn-in response, well-controlled physique roll and good grip from the 245/50R20 Continental Cross Contact LX Sport tires. It definitely feels extra composed and possesses higher reflexes than rivals such because the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer and Nissan Pathfinder.

There’s, nonetheless, a draw back to the larger tires. Journey high quality is not magic-carpet-ride easy, which means you may really feel impacts from most ruts and potholes you encounter. The suspension nonetheless softens blows sufficient so issues are removed from harsh, however these searching for extra journey consolation could wish to checkout the Pilot LX or EX that come on an 18-inch wheel-and-tire package deal.

How I might spec it

As engaging as getting a full-zoot Elite mannequin is, with niceties like a panoramic roof and heated and cooled entrance seats, my check automotive’s $49,015 price ticket, together with $995 for vacation spot, is fairly expensive. To make the dent in my checking account rather less extreme, my splendid Pilot can be a Touring mannequin with all-wheel drive and a Trendy Metal paint job, which begins at $45,415. Add within the $500 heated steering wheel for toasty paws within the winter then turns it right into a $45,915 car.

To avoid wasting a couple of dollars, I will take a Pilot Touring as an alternative of the Elite.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Able to tackle all comers

The updates to the 2019 Honda Pilot not solely make an already robust three-row crossover SUV higher, however come at a great time to fend off some newer opponents just like the Subaru Ascent and Volkswagen Atlas. With beauty each inside and outside, an improved expertise menu and smoother and refined drive traits, the Pilot is among the many most full and buttoned-up entries within the phase at the moment. It is now a fair higher can’t-go-wrong household hauler.

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