A few weeks ago, Honda brought out its eensy HR-V crossover and I kinda loved it. Now, it’s bringing out a redesigned model on the exact other end of the crossover scale, the seven-passenger Pilot.

Like many actual pilots I know, this one is handsome and refined and eminently likable. Its look is familiar, with the three-bar grille and beveled front fascia that we’ve seen on other Hondas for years now, but the crisp new body proves that Honda’s angular form vocabulary scales up pretty well. 

Same story inside. Nothing mind-blowing here, but everything looks snappy and works well. Honda’s typical mastery of ergonomics and versatility are on full display, save, perhaps, for Honda’s touch-screen infotainment system, which occasionally works my nerve. (Bring back buttons, please!) And as always, the third-row seat is large—you’ll use it more often than you think—yet vanishes when not needed.

In keeping with Honda’s Earth-friendly mantra, the Pilot has become even more eco-friendly than ever, having trimmed nearly 300 pounds of weight and received a more powerful and more efficient V-6. Particularly in higher trims, where the standard transmission becomes a smooth and efficient nine-speed (!) automatic, the result is not just a vehicle that’s more fuel-efficient, but is more responsive when you stop on it. After all, with cars as with people, less weight makes all things easier, from accelerating to stopping to changing directions. And for you trailer queens, this one can tug up to 5,000 pounds of your favorite weekend toys, whether they be for camping, off-roading, or, um, watersports.

The Pilot was designed in California and is built in Alabama, so in that new car smell is a whiff of patriotism, too. Prices start at $30,875, but I would suggest budgeting another 10 grand for bells and whistles. After all, Pilots (and pilots) are best when well-equipped.

 

2016 Honda Pilot

Base Price (incl. destination): $30,875

Power: 3.5-liter V-6 (280 hp, 262 lb-ft of torque)

Transmission: 6- or 9-speed automatic

Fuel Economy, city/hwy mpg (EPA est): 18–20/26­­–27

 

Or you could buy:

  • Ford Explorer
  • Nissan Pathfinder
  • Dodge Durango
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