The 2019 Honda Pilot truly puts the utility in crossover sports utility vehicle. Honda’s 2019 refresh of its mid-to-full-size class leader offers so much to so many that it’s tough to say who this vehicle might not be a great fit for.
It’s sporty, stylish, spacious, powerful, seats up to eight and can be equipped with creature comforts that can make you forget you’re driving a Honda and not a luxury crossover SUV.
I picked one up from our pals at Rock Honda in the Los Angeles suburb of Fontana, California and went for a half-day test drive. Read more below or click play to listen to my podcast review of the Honda Pilot. One update since recording Honda officially added the Passport to its lineup of crossover SUVs. When I originally recorded this Honda had not yet confirmed the Passport.
Podcast Recorded October 29, 2018
Article updated February 28, 2019
The first thing that struck me about the Honda Pilot I picked up from Rock Honda is that it delivers big versatility without being big and bulky. It conveniently and comfortably drives smaller than it’s full-sized class designation – something everyone can appreciate for sure! (Especially my wife who tends to bump into pillars in parking garages. It’s crazy how those things always jump in her way. :-\)
A quick rundown Honda’s crossover SUV line-up, so you know your options throughout:
Honda refreshed the 2019 Pilot with some notable improvements from the already class-leading 2018 Honda Pilot. The Elite and Touring trim levels, which are the top two trim options now come with a super-smooth and powerful yet fuel efficient 9-speed automatic transmission.
There’s also a new infotainment system along with updated styling on the outside. That’s the typical refresh adjustments slightly altering the look of the Pilot in the front and rear of the vehicle. The observant eye will notice differences in the grill and around the headlights and taillights.
As for 2019 Honda Pilot pricing – here are your Manufacturer’s Suggested Retails Prices:
LX (Base) $31,450
Perhaps best of all at Rock Honda, the pressure-free and truly helpful culture will make it fun to buy a new Honda. Which it absolutely should be! Seriously! 🙂
Powertrain & Fuel Economy
My friends at Rock Honda hooked me up with the top of the line trim to test drive. And the Elite had everything. I love the color scheme. It’s perfect as is but I might dance it up a bit with a few Honda accessories like black running boards and roof rack. That just looks great on white – but that’s 100% my preference.
I love how Honda keeps optional variations pretty straightforward. For instance, the engine is the same across the board. So whether you go with the LX, EX, EX-L, Touring or all the way up to the Elite that I drove – you’re getting the same power.
“In all trim levels, Honda has the same V6 putting out 280-horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque.”
In all trim levels, Honda has the same V6 putting out 280-horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. Not only is that easy for me to report and you to remember but it also allows buyers to really focus on options and price. (Which again, my friends at Rock Honda are guaranteed to give you the best. I’m happy to introduce you personally.)
The one big factor impacting the fuel economy you’ll get with your 2019 Pilot is the transmission you go with. While all-wheel drive is available on all trim levels – it’s standard on the Elite that I drove. Regardless you’re looking at a very respectable range of 19-MPG in the city to 27-MPG highway.
“…you’re looking at a very respectable range of 19-MPG in the city to 27-MPG highway.”
As previously mentioned the Touring and Elite come with a new 9-speed automatic transmission, with paddle shifters BTW. And as for the LX, EX, and EX-L, you get a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Honda refers to its refreshed 2019 Pilot as rugged and refined and I’ll buy that for sure. I’ll also add sharp and capable – highly capable.
But this Pilot is versatile too. In that, it can suit so many different drivers needs. It’s definitely a family vehicle. It can easily rustle the kids around town by week and then rest with them beachside or in the mountains by the weekend.
“…rustle the kids around town by week and then rest with them beachside or in the mountains by the weekend. “
Then again the Pilot is, without doubt, a serious single person vehicle. Being here in La-La Land I have an actress friend who hauls a couple (big) make-up kits and various auditioning costumes around in her pilot all week long. Then she heads to Palm Springs to chill poolside on the weekends. (True story!)
And the 2019 Honda Pilot’s capability doesn’t end there. The Elite trim I drove with supple leather interior and all the features of a luxury SUV could easily haul professional clients and colleagues around all week long.
The ever-popular LED lights are on the refreshed 2019 Honda Pilot. LED taillights are on all trim levels and LED front lights come on the top two trims – Touring and Elite.
“…with supple leather interior and all the features of a luxury SUV could easily haul professional clients and colleagues around all week long.”
Again, I really love the look of the Pilot I drove with the Elite trim but I’d add a few more Honda brand accessories. Those would be the black die-cast aluminum running boards, the blacked-out front grill, and black low-profile roof rails. With the rails, you can add whatever suits your road trip.
2019 Honda Pilot Interior
With all my Honda reviews I have to state how much I appreciate the nooks and crannies to store stuff out of sight.
One of those places with the 2019 Honda Pilot is in an optional second-row center console. What’s significant to note here is that the three-row Pilot offers seating for up to 8-people total depending on how you configure yours.
“…the three-row Pilot offers seating for up to 8-people total depending on how you configure yours.”
Also with my Honda reviews, of this type of vehicle, I have to give a shout out to their brilliantly adjustable and not armrests armrests. That is such a key must-have feature for a high-occupancy vehicle to be truly road-trip ready.
And interior versatility is a big plus for the Honda Pilot too. You can easily and comfortably haul plenty of humans or you can scale back the people, easily fold seats down flat and have ample space to haul lots of stuff.
The interior of the Elite trimmed Pilot I drove had the supple pin-hole leather that I really missed when I ended my test drive. This is a feature that once you experience you really don’t want to be without ever again. And here again, is a level of luxury you might be surprised to find in a Honda rather than it’s upscale sibling the Acura.
“This is a feature that once you experience you really don’t want to be without ever again.”
And I can’t forget to include the optional huge double moonroof. It’s so big that it makes me want to drive to the middle of nowhere – away from all man-made light sources on a clear night and stargaze from the back seat.
2019 Honda Pilot Technology
Being a new Dad the first thing I have to point out is the 2019 Honda Pilot earned a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – big props there.
On that note, the Pilot, of course, includes Honda Sensing. What’s great is that it’s standard on all trims! Honda Sensing is a suite of safety and driver-assistive features that, I personally, never want to be without on the road. Honda Sensing includes:
Collision Mitigation Braking System
Road Departure Mitigation System
Adaptive Cruise Control
Lane Keeping Assist System
Blind Spot Monitoring – except LX
Rear-cross traffic alert – except LX
All Pilot trims, except the base LX, come with 8-inch display touch screen complete with Android Auto & Apple Carplay plus tri-zone climate control.
“…system also allows the driver to override all speakers in the vehicle and connected devices to address the passengers.”
Again, I drove the Elite with all the whistles and bells. So mine had front seats that were both heated and ventilated! Plus the Elite comes with wireless phone charging. Just drop your phone in a try in the center console and you’re in business.
New for the refreshed 2019 Honda Pilot is the optional infotainment system which was quite impressive. It serves two purposes really. The first is to provide entertainment for your passengers. Watch movies listen to your iDriveSoCal podcasts 🙂 etc. But this system also allows the driver to override all speakers in the vehicle and connected devices to address the passengers. Oh, the kids will hear me for sure!
And there’s one last technology feature that’s actually on the outside of the 2019 Honda Pilot. The air-karate-kick to open the rear liftgate. Ever so helpful when approaching with arms filled with family.
Accelerations from stop lights, getting on the highway and passing on the highway the Pilot delivered plenty of power when called upon. And even though I was 6 or 7 passengers short of a full vehicle I could tell the engine, transmission and torque would deliver when fully loaded as well.
“…the Pilot is big but doesn’t drive big. It’s nimble, easy to maneuver cornering in traffic and parking lots alike.”
And as I stated at the top of this article, the Pilot is big but doesn’t drive big. It’s nimble, easy to maneuver cornering in traffic and parking lots alike.
It’s also stable and holds its line powerfully whether whizzing by 18-wheelers or being whizzed by, by them.
Finally, it’s quiet inside and that’s a huge plus for me personally. When I’m driving an SUV I’m taking it really easy and a cabin that blocks out the craziness of the road and everyone on it is very appreciated.
Top-3 Favorites | 2019 Honda Pilot
Technology – Wireless charger, Honda Sensing and infotainment system.
The Drive – Another smooth as silk Honda vehicle. Simple and very, very versatile.
Styling – It’s sporty and sophisticated outside. It serves many purposes inside. This is truly a utility vehicle.
And that wraps up my 2019 Honda Pilot Test Drive & Review. As always, my thanks to our dear friends at Rock Honda. Visit them at Rock Honda.com or go say hi in person. Rock Honda is in the Los Angeles suburb of Fontana, California.
Literally right off the 210 Freeway. And be sure to check in with General Manager David Latif, his right-hand man, Hamid Javid, or Veronica Orozco.
Of course, their service department run by the mechanical guru Ruben Serna. Love all you guys and thanks for being great iDriveSoCal partners.