The Stunning Honda Pilot

Honda has updated the new Pilotto bring it up to date both in fit and finish and functionality. This should help after a few strong concerns about the old Pilot. Notably, the 9-speed automatic transmission and the entertainment center. The Pilot's lines have changed to more reflect the Odyssey's styling with a bit of aggressive feel to the nose and front and rear layouts. Inside, technology features that were somewhat old in last year's model have caught up to the times. Driver assist features are now available on every model of the new Pilot.


What is the entertainment center like now?

The [search label="infotainment system" items="best infotainment system|Car Stereos|In-Car Entertainment|Vehicle GPS tracking"]now features 4G Wi-Fi connectivity and wireless software updates. The expanded rear entertainment screens receive streaming video feeds for a wider selection of media on long trips. The central screen up front is larger, and a positive-response traditional volume knob replaces the touch-based slider volume control.


Has the Odyssey influence included adding CabinTalk?

Yes, [search label="CabinTalk" items="Honda CabinTalk|Car Stereo System|Best Infotainment System|Vehicle GPS"] is now on the Pilot as well, bringing the two vehicles which share a basic platform closer together in another way. CabinTalk allows the driver to broadcast to everyone including those wearing compatible wireless headphones, even pausing any video presentation in progress.


Is there a hands-free liftgate yet?

Yes, the liftgate can now be activated by foot motion under the bumper, simplifying access to the storage area for busy families and solo errand runners.


What has been added for driver assist and safety features?

Honda Sensing, the Honda package with a variety of driver assist features, is now standard on all pilot models. It helps drivers protect precious cargo in a number of ways, starting with forward-collision alert and lane-keeping assist. There is also automated emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.


Are there any addition tech updates?

A couple of notable inclusions which will make passengers happy are wireless phone charging and a kid-oriented "How Much Farther?" app which displays which provides updates to the destination similar to those on airliner seatbacks.


Is the 9-speed transmission in higher-end versions any better in 2019?

Honda has said that they have made "significant refinements" to the somewhat jerky, difficult to operate ZF transmission. This should make Touring and Elite vehicles with this transmission more enjoyable to drive.


What about the instrument cluster? Has it been updated?

Yes, both the steering wheel and instrument cluster have been updated. A larger high-resolution instrument screen has replaced the old digital speedo and analog tach combination. This better instrumentation, also from the [search label="Odyssey" items="Honda Odyssey|Honda SUV|Honda Pilot|Honda Dealership"], is more in keeping up with the increased use of graphics in modern displays.


What about the front grille and lights? Are they restyled?

Yes, like many aspects of the 2019 Pilot they are influenced by the [search label="Odyssey" items="Honda Odyssey|Honda SUV|Honda Pilot|Honda Dealership"]. The three-bar grille has more stylized geometry, slimmer turn signals, and other adjusted accent details, with an added silver piece mounted skid-plate style. The Elite model has a few changes including functional air vents with modified fog light positioning. It has jeweled headlights with a full complement of LEDs. Additional silver and chrome trim is added to the highest-end model.


What about the rear trim and lights?

In addition to trim changes, especially in the higher end models, the backup lights have moved from the bumper and are now incorporated in the tail lamps.


As they share more features, what's the big difference between the 2019 Pilot and the Odyssey?

The Pilot feels like the quality family transport vehicle that it is, but it has been designed to drive more responsively and look a bit more aggressive as well. With improvements in the transmission and a few modifications in appearance, it has a more SUV-style look and feel for the crossover market.


What are early test drives revealing?

As 2019 models become available for test drive, the improvements in the ZF transmission for Touring and Elite models are clear. Downshift is more responsive for acceleration and passing without so much lag. Second-gear start in most situations makes for a smoother takeoff, and the stop/start system is also more prompt in responding to changes in the driver's pedal positions. Overall, these changes make the Pilot feel a lot peppier and more responsive, putting its decent powertrain to work properly.

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