2019 Honda Pilot Elite AWD new car reviews

The Honda Pilot isn’t new for 2019, but this eight-passenger SUV gets some upgrades, notably a new nose that goes with the rest of the model line.

Some more updates inside: a real volume knob for the radio as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Oh, wait, more news: a hands-free power tailgate as well as “significant refinements” to the nine-speed transmission found in the Touring and Elite models.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

It sounds so trivial, but thanks, Honda, for again giving us a knob for the radio. My wife’s Civic Si has the old touch sensor (or whatever it is) for the radio. I don’t know why, but I dislike it–and it irks me whenever I drive the car.

Our long-term Civic Si has this new-fangled knob. Love it. And, I should add, it’s a solid-feeling knob with nice, tight detents. There’s a sense of quality there.

I have also become a big fan of CarPlay, something else found in our new Si. Navigation is great, especially for those of us with little sense of direction, but I prefer CarPlay. Why? No need to deal with the navi system’s integration. Most times I just get things rolling from my phone.

Heading to an event that’s listed on Facebook? Tap “get directions” and you’re rolling.

Plus CarPlay easily reads my texts. It even reads out the emojis: “Emoji heart, emoji fist, emoji heart.”

These two things sound minor, but on a daily basis make life a little easier.

Thanks, Honda.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard
Publisher Emeritus

If your job is to move five or more people in complete comfort and safety—no matter the conditions—then arguably the best tool for the job is still the All-Wheel-Drive Honda Pilot.

While you might not need the $49,000 Elite version we tested, which came loaded with every bell, whistle and safety nanny you could ever need or want, it was pretty damned nice and made us wonder how the Acura version of this vehicle could be any nicer. The Pilot starts at just north of $30,000, but doesn’t come with the Elite’s heated seats, killer stereo system and other niceties that start to justify the Elite’s rather lofty price.

We spent more than week in this fantastic SUV and just flat loved it. On the curvy roads of Northern California, we found the suspension was tuned for a bit better handling than our Honda Ridgeline, which presumably wears much of the same chassis. The Pilot, while no sports car, does not shy away from twisty roads. And at highway speeds it is as comfortable and capable as anything else in the marketplace.

We saw nearly 25 mpg (overall) in a mixture of this spirited back road and highway driving and as a big plus, the Pilot burns regular fuel.

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