Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Business

The Daily Drivers: Is Honda Pilot earning its wings?

RECOMMENDED READING


Pop quiz: Are you familiar with the Honda Pilot? Don't feel too bad if you're not. Honda's three-row SUV is overshadowed by its popular (and smaller) CR-V sibling as well as several newer and stylish competitors in its larger SUV class. So does this Pilot still have the right stuff?

Appearance: For 2012, the boxy Pilot gets a refreshed front fascia, some interior updates and 18-inch alloy wheels on some versions. The new three-bar grille is a big improvement over the thick, two-bar grille that contributed to the Pilot's dated look.

Performance: Peter drove his family to Tallahassee in the Pilot and found it to be a roomy and comfortable ride. Sporty? Hardly, but a more-than-capable people mover and minivan alternative. Lyra's experience was a bit different. She found the Pilot a bit top heavy — as you might expect from a boxy SUV — with too much body lean. She also felt the driving feel and acceleration mundane with the Pilot's 250-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6. The transmission is a five-speed automatic in an era where the standard is six speeds. The steering feel is good for the 4,600-pound vehicle. We both found the brakes lacking for that weight, however, with a mushy feel. Our tester was a four-wheel-drive, but it's definitely not for off-roading. Lyra liked that the Variable Torque Management automatically engages when you need more traction. There is also a manual VTM-4 lock for the rear differential to help you get out of any trouble. Lyra has used this feature in her Honda Ridgeline and found it helpful in situations where traction is limited and she is hauling her trailer. The Pilot also has Variable Cylinder Management that activates/deactivates cylinders for better fuel efficiency.

Interior: There have been criticisms recently that Honda, which has a reputation for quality interiors, has been skimping on materials. It's a charge that we've just seen minor evidence of in the cars we've driven, but it's noticeable in the Pilot, which has some cheap-feeling cabin plastics. But we liked the crisp, three-gauge instrument cluster (black-on-white faces) and, for the most part, the placement of the controls. But why are the controls for navigation and screen on the bottom of the center stack? It's a reach. The Pilot comes standard with three rows of seating for eight. The third row is comfortable enough for adults but only on short trips, and getting back there is challenging with its high stepup. With the second- and third-row seats folded flat, there is plenty of cargo space (87 cubic feet). We also liked that the tailgate has a convenient lift-up glass hatch, which is standard on some models.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Entertainment system: Rear DVD player with 9-inch screen that includes RCA inputs for a game console.

Suspension: It's soft and absorbs U.S. 19's bumps.

Center console: Spacious, with storage, power and iPod outlets.

Lyra Solochek

Rearview camera: Three views when backing up. Top view is especially useful for parking.

Storage: Ample cargo space, 12 cup holders, coin tray in dash.

VTM-4 Lock: Get out of slippery terrain easily.

The bottom line: The Honda Pilot has the seating capacity to be a minivan alternative but lacks the style, power and nimbleness of some of its SUV competition.









     
     
Comments
Across country, small retailers aim for emotional ties big chains may lack

Across country, small retailers aim for emotional ties big chains may lack

Associated PressSome smaller retailers will tug at shoppersí heartstrings during the holidays, trying to create an emotional experience or connection that a big national chain might not provide.Store owners are going well beyond the usual holiday dec...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Six years and counting: Allegiant Air reaches agreement with flight attendants

Six years and counting: Allegiant Air reaches agreement with flight attendants

ST. PETERSBURG ó After six years of negotiations, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air and its flight attendants union reached a tentative contract to improve worker pay and benefits and solidify airline policies."We feel like itís an agreement that is cert...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Workers at luxury St. Pete condo tower say they are owed thousands

Workers at luxury St. Pete condo tower say they are owed thousands

ST. PETERSBURG ó Nearly three dozen workers at ONE St. Petersburg, a luxury condo tower under construction in the heart of downtown, havenít been paid in weeks and are owed thousands of dollars.With the holidays nearing, some of the men say they are ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Some cities faced with all-or-nothing medical marijuana rules are playing it safe

Some cities faced with all-or-nothing medical marijuana rules are playing it safe

When it comes to weighing the options for regulating medical marijuana through the law passed this year, Dunedin city commissioners declared local governments face a "conundrum" and "a false dilemma."They said they would welcome a dispensary in the c...
Updated: 10 hours ago
More guns being detected at Tampa Bay area airports ó and everywhere else

More guns being detected at Tampa Bay area airports ó and everywhere else

TAMPA ó Hereís some travel math for this traditionally heavy day for long trips: More people carrying guns plus more people flying equals more guns going to the airport.The numbers bear this out. The federal Transportation Security Administration has...
Published: 11/22/17
A year after impasse, Pasco school contract talks run more smoothly

A year after impasse, Pasco school contract talks run more smoothly

LAND OíLAKES ó Representatives from the Pasco County school district and the United School Employees of Pasco sat together several times in the weeks leading to Thanksgiving break, trading contract proposals amid (mostly) amicable conversation.They c...
Published: 11/22/17

Florida Supreme Court suspends two Hillsborough lawyers

Times Staff WriterTwo Hillsborough County lawyers have been suspended from practice because of professional misconduct.The Florida Supreme Court ordered a 91-day suspension for Richard Luther Bradford of Brandon after he was found in contempt for fai...
Published: 11/22/17
Get all the Black Friday sales circulars today. Hereís how

Get all the Black Friday sales circulars today. Hereís how

The Tampa Bay Times Thanksgiving Early Bird edition, with all of the Black Friday ads and sales circulars, is available today.Thatís right. You donít have to wait until Thursday to check out the savings. Weighing nearly five pounds, the Early Bird Ed...
Published: 11/22/17
U.S. business leaders say Cuba is still open, at least to them, despite Trumpís new rules

U.S. business leaders say Cuba is still open, at least to them, despite Trumpís new rules

WASHINGTON ó When the Trump administration announced new Cuba regulations, it sparked a new round of hand-wringing in Washington over a return to a posture not seen since the Cold War. But now, the American business community is quietly spreading the...
Published: 11/22/17
Hereís when stores will open on Thanksgiving and Black Friday

Hereís when stores will open on Thanksgiving and Black Friday

Although the crowds might still be unruly and the lines long, Black Friday as "The Day" is slowly waning. Steve Kirn, a University of Florida professor and executive director for the David F. Miller Center for Retailing Education & Research, said the...
Updated: 9 hours ago