The 2012 Honda Pilot derives its power from a 3.5L V6, which delivers 250 horsepower. It comes mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. The 2-wheel-drive Pilot provides 3,500 pounds of towing capability, while the 4-wheel-drive version can haul up to 4,500 lbs.
Honda contends the Pilot's frame has more high-grade steel than any other vehicle the automaker builds. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Pilot its "Top Safety Pick" and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Pilot its highest safety rating of five stars for both front and side impact collisions.
The entry-level LX style is only available with standard factory equipment. However, the standard equipment list is a lengthy one, and includes front and rear power disc brakes, remote entry, power windows and locks, hidden storage well in the cargo area and lift-up glass hatch on the tailgate, standard on the LX and the EX.
The mid-level EX adds available power front seats with heated leather trim. Also, drivers will enjoy the large power moonroof with a diffuser to minimize exterior noise while it is open. The EX also comes with an upgraded stereo, which for 2012 includes 7 speakers, Bluetooth and 2GB of music storage. To further appease rear passengers, the EX also provides a tri-zone climate control system with humidity control and air-filtration.
The top end Touring style adds front seat memory, as well as heated exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals. Most appealing, however, is the addition of the voice-activated Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with integrated rearview camera, which is standard on the Pilot Touring class and now optional on the EX-L. Rear passengers now get a standard rear seat entertainment system.
The EX-L and Touring models also get a powered liftgate that can be opened at the touch of a button.
Living up to its name, the 2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition is, well, black. Giving this three-row SUV its murdered-out appearance is special Crystal Black Pearl paint, black-finished 20-inch wheels and a blacked-out grille. There's black headlight and side trim, plus the door handles and fog-light accents are rendered in this pitch-dark hue. Black Edition badges are found on the grille and liftgate, plus the front bucket seats are embroidered with the same text, stitched with black thread through the black leather. You get the point; Honda has gone overboard with black. But even if you prefer more visually vibrant vehicles, there's still plenty to love about this Pilot.
It may not be the most exciting model in its class, but Honda's venerable family hauler is still handsome and cleanly designed. Its front end is friendly and approachable while the rear is a simple, no-nonsense affair. Too bad its wheelbase is toward the smaller-end of the three-row crossover SUV segment. In profile, this makes the Pilot look a bit awkward, like its front and rear overhangs are too long.
But what's inside is far more important and this three-row utility is starting to show its age. No, there's nothing inherently wrong with the Pilot's cabin -- well, aside from its awkward foot pedal-operated parking brake that looks like something pulled from a vehicle built in the 1970s. It's actually quite nice inside, spacious, well built, comfortable and loaded with technology. It's just other automakers are going above and beyond these days.
The Good ~ Decent comfort in all three rows ~ Supple ride quality ~ Crisp steering feel ~ Snarling VTEC V6
The Bad ~ Transmission could be more responsive ~ Interior starting to look dated ~ Homely instrument cluster
The Bottom Line The Honda Pilot remains an excellent large utility vehicle, though some of its newer competitors are a bit more premium.
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