2016 Honda Pilot Driving Impressions

Honda Pilot has the most compliant ride and steering in its class. The Nissan Pathfinder is a bit too soft and its steering too relaxed, while the Explorer is a bit too firm and steering too hefty.

Pilot rides on an independent suspension. Its dual-path shocks dampen small bumps to a gentle thunk and round off the edges of potholes. The electric power steering is quick, and the turning circle is a fairly small 39.4 feet.

Pilot’s handling is beautifully composed, although it changes somewhat with wheels and tires on different models. We felt a difference between the 18-inch wheels and 20-inch wheels with all-season low-profile tires; the 18’s delivered tauter handling, despite the fact that it should have been the other way around. A Honda engineer suggested that might be from shock tuning on the pre-production model we drove.

The all-wheel-drive system is front-wheel-drive based, but can send up to 70 percent of the power to the rear wheels using hydraulic clutches. Stability in corners is enhanced by the car’s ability to apply the brakes to individual wheels, an impressive feat that no driver can perform.

The engine has a pure and lovely note when wound up toward redline. In Sport mode, it delivers energetic acceleration with either the 6-speed or the new 9-speed automatic transmission, although there’s some surging as it downshifts to a stop. We liked the 6-speed better, even though the 9-speed comes standard with paddle shifters and the 6-speed uses a lever. We felt the 9-speed hanging too long in gear, as the computer was trying to figure out what to do; and sometimes it chose a gear lower than we wanted.

Prices shown are manufacturer suggested retail prices only and do not include taxes, license, or doc fee. Manufacturer vehicle accessory costs, labor and installation vary. Please contact us with any questions.

**Based on 2014 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on driving conditions, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, battery-pack age/condition and other factors.

For 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid, 115 combined miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent (MPGe) electric rating; 47 city/46 highway/46 combined MPG gasoline only rating. 13 mile maximum EV mode driving range rating. 570 mile combined gas-electric driving range rating. Based on 2014 EPA mileage and driving range ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your MPGe/MPG and driving range will vary depending on driving conditions, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, lithium-ion battery age/condition, and other factors. For additional information about EPA ratings, visit

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