If you need the spaciousness of a minivan but just can’t make that leap, Honda has designed the three-row Pilot crossover SUV just for you. The 2018 Honda Pilot is the company’s latest interpretation of a family-friendly crossover SUV, and is unchanged in most respects since the third generation’s launch in 2016. Honda describes the Pilot as “the modern family SUV.”
When Digital Trends’ tested the Pilot Elite model in this generation’s inaugural year, the reviewer gave it good marks for interior comfort, spaciousness, storage, and styling. He liked the Elite’s torque-vectoring all-wheel drive (AWD), which sends the available power to drive wheels as required for a stable ride. On the flip side, the review described the crossover’s driving experience as “forgettable.”
Engine and transmissions
Pilots are powered by a 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 direct injection engine with a maximum 262 pound-feet of torque. The LX, EX, and EX-L trims shift gears via a six-speed automatic transmission. The higher-level Touring and Elite trims use a nine-speed automatic. In all combinations, Environmental Protection Agency mileage estimates are 18 to 19 mpg for city driving, 26 to 27 mpg on the highway, and 21 to 23 mpg combined. Front-wheel drive models average about one mile per gallon better more than AWD versions.
All Pilots have multi-angle rearview cameras, traction control with vehicle stability assist,anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake distribution, brake assist, tire pressure monitoring, and daytime running lights. If you want more advanced safety tech, you’ll need to move up trim levels, possibly all the way to the top.
The EX, EX-L, and Touring trims, but not the LX or Elite, have Honda LaneWatch as standard equipment. When a driver signals a right turn, LaneWatch turns on a rear-facing camera located on the passenger side outside mirror. The resulting video plays on the center stack display screen. LaneWatch is similar to, but not the same as, blind spot monitoring, as there is no alert and it only works on one side.
Most Pilot shoppers with families will want the Honda Sensing bundle. Honda Sensing includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, collision mitigation warning, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and road departure mitigation.The Honda Sensing safety and driver assist suite is standard on the more expensive Touring and Elite trims, optional for mid-level EX and EX-L models, and unavailable for the base Pilot LX.
Blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alerts and auto high-beam headlights is standard on the most costly Elite trim but not available even as options on other trims. The bottom line: If you want the full complement of Pilot safety and assist features, you’ll have to pay almost $50K.
How to choose a 2018 Honda Pilot
2018 Honda Pilot LX, EX, EX-L
Five Pilot trims comprise the lineup, starting with the base model LX and moving up to the EX, EX-L, Touring, and Elite trims. The first four trims are available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive. The Elite trim is AWD only. Starting prices range from $30,900 for the Pilot LX with FWD to $47,470 for an AWD Pilot Elite.
Honda’s usual practice of bundling features as you move up the trim levels simplifies decision making. Choose your Pilot based on must-have features or price level and you’re done.
The 2018 Pilot LX, starting price $30,900 with two-wheel drive or $32,800 with AWD, is the base model. The LX has a six-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch wheels, rearview camera with static guidelines, power side mirrors, a 4.2-inch color LCD driver information display, single-zone air conditioning, push-button start, power windows, power door and tailgate locks, and cruise control. The LX’s infotainment system has a 5-inch color LCD screen, Bluetooth support for phone and music streaming, MP3 compatibility, and two 12V power outlets.
Moving up one step from the Pilot LX to EX makes a huge difference. The 2018 EX — starting price $33,330 with two-wheel drive, $35,230 with AWD — adds remote engine start, three-zone automatic climate control, dynamic guidelines with the rearview camera display, Honda LaneWatch, and optional Honda Sensing availability. EXs also include LED daytime running lights, automatic headlights, fog lights, HomeLink universal garage opener, illuminated front vanity mirrors, and a 10-way power adjustable driver seat with lumbar support.
Pilot luxury begins with the EX-L, starting price $36,760 with two-wheel drive and $38,660 with AWD. The EX-L adds leather-trimmed seats, one-touch folding second-row seats, heated front seats, a four-way power adjustable passenger seat, a power moonroof, power tailgate, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
|Trim||2018 Pilot LX||2018 Pilot EX||2018 Pilot EX-L|
|Base price 4×2||$30,900||$33,330||$36,760|
|Base price 4×4||$32,800||$35,230||$38,660|
|Base engine||3.5L V6||3.5L V6||3.5L V6|
|Base horsepower||280 hp @6,000 RPM||280 hp @6,000 RPM||280 hp @6,000 RPM|
|Base torque||262 lb-ft @4,700 RPM||262 lb-ft @4,700 RPM||262 lb-ft @4,700 RPM|
|Transmission||6-speed automatic||6-speed automatic||6-speed automatic|
|Fuel||Regular gas||Regular gas||Regular gas|
|Fuel capacity||19.5 gallons||19.5 gallons||19.5 gallons|
|Fuel economy 4×2||19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/22 mpg combined||19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/22 mpg combined||19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/22 mpg combined|
|Fuel economy 4×4||18 mpg city/26 mpg highway/21 mpg combined||18 mpg city/26 mpg highway/21 mpg combined||18 mpg city/26 mpg highway/21 mpg combined|
|Base wheels||18-inch alloy||18-inch alloy||18-inch alloy|
|Body style||4-door SUV||4-door SUV||4-door SUV|
|Storage behind 2nd-row seats||46.8 cu ft||46.8 cu ft||46.8 cu ft|
|Storage behind 1st-row seats||83.9 cu ft||83.8 cu ft||83.8 cu ft|
|Max Towing capacity 4×2||3,500 pounds||3,500 pounds||3,500 pounds|
|Max Towing capacity 4×4||5,000 pounds||5,000 pounds||5,000 pounds|
2018 Honda Pilot Touring, Elite
Moving up from the Pilot EX-L to the Pilot Touring trim, starting price $41,970 with two-wheel drive and $43,870 with AWD, adds quite a bit to the feature list. The Touring has a nine-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, auto start/stop, an integrated navigation system, 20-inch alloy wheels, and the Honda Sensing suite. The Touring trim also adds heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, roof rails, front and rear parking sensors, and illuminated beverage holders.
To get the full safety suite and all available options, choose the 2018 Honda Pilot Elite. The Elite starts at $47,470 with AWD only. The Elite has everything included with the Touring trim plus perforated heated second-row captain’s chairs, a panoramic sunroof, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alerts, automatic LED headlights, automatic windshield wipers, heated steering wheel, and perforated heated and ventilated front seats.
|Trim||2018 Pilot Touring||2018 Pilot Elite|
|Base price 4×2||$41,970||Not available|
|Base price 4×4||$43,870||$47,470|
|Base engine||3.5L V6||3.5L V6|
|Base horsepower||280 hp @6,000 RPM||280 hp @6,000 RPM|
|Base torque||262 lb-ft @4,700 RPM||262 lb-ft @4,700 RPM|
|Transmission||9-speed transmission||9-speed transmission|
|Fuel||Regular gas||Regular gas|
|Fuel capacity||19.5 gallons||19.5 gallons|
|Fuel economy 4×2||20 mpg city/27 mpg highway/23 mpg combined||Not applicable|
|Fuel economy 4×4||19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/22 mpg combined||19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/22 mpg combined|
|Base wheels||20-inch alloy||20-inch alloy|
|Body style||4-door SUV||4-door SUV|
|Storage behind 2nd-row seats||46.8 cu ft||46.0 cu ft|
|Storage behind 1st-row seats||83.8 cu ft||82.1 cu ft|
|Max Towing capacity 4×2||3,500 pounds||Not applicable|
|Max Towing capacity 4×4||5,000 pounds||5,000 pounds|
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