Saturday, February 24, 2018
Business

The Daily Drivers: Is Honda Pilot earning its wings?

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
Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

The head of the Pinellas and Hillsborough career centers under multiple investigations into the way they report job placement figures says he has no intention of stepping down.That’s unless he is paid five months severance.In a letter from his attorn...
Published: 02/23/18
Terminally ill Valrico man dies a month after marrying junior high sweetheart

Terminally ill Valrico man dies a month after marrying junior high sweetheart

VALRICO — During his final few days, 19-year-old Dustin Snyder moved to a hospice house, surrounded himself with belongings from home, swam in a pool and visited the beach in Ruskin.Wherever he went, the terminally ill Valrico man had family beside h...
Published: 02/23/18
Tampa Downtown Partnership gets initial city okay to expand north

Tampa Downtown Partnership gets initial city okay to expand north

TAMPA — The Downtowner may be heading to Tampa Heights — but not until Oct. 1.That’s because the nonprofit Tampa Downtown Partnership this week won initial City Council approval to expand into Tampa Heights."Tampa Heights is becoming an important gat...
Published: 02/23/18

Tampa lawyer gets 27 months in federal prison for insider trading

Tampa lawyer Walter "Chet’’ Little was sentenced this week to 27 months in federal prison for engaging in an insider trading scheme that reaped him and a friend profits totaling nearly $1 million.According to federal authorities, Little accessed comp...
Published: 02/23/18
More companies are cutting ties with gun lobby as #BoycottNRA movement gains steam

More companies are cutting ties with gun lobby as #BoycottNRA movement gains steam

Three major companies — Enterprise Holdings, First National Bank of Omaha, and the cybersecurity giant Symantec — have ended co-branding partnerships with the National Rifle Association as a #BoycottNRA social media movement picks up steam.Enterprise...
Published: 02/23/18
Citi to refund $330 Million to credit card customers it overcharged

Citi to refund $330 Million to credit card customers it overcharged

Citigroup is preparing to issue $330 million in refunds after the bank discovered it had overcharged nearly 2 million credit card customers on their annual interest rates, a spokeswoman said Friday.The bank, which has about 150 million credit card ac...
Published: 02/23/18
Girl Scouts camp sold to member of Tampa’s Lykes family

Girl Scouts camp sold to member of Tampa’s Lykes family

ODESSA — The 63-year-old lakeside summer camp had no air conditioning or electricity. Cabin floors were often covered in grime, and cobwebs clung to the windows.But under new ownership, the 18.6 acres of Florida woods known as Camp Scoutcrest to memb...
Published: 02/23/18
BB&T cites ‘technical issue’ in outage affecting customers

BB&T cites ‘technical issue’ in outage affecting customers

Millions of BB&T customers were unable to access their accounts after a service outage which the bank blames on an equipment malfunction. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based bank posted a statement on its Twitter page saying the problem persiste...
Published: 02/23/18
Realtors are ‘every 10 feet’ in Florida but more want in the business

Realtors are ‘every 10 feet’ in Florida but more want in the business

ST. PETERSBURG — Tired of working as a yacht captain, Pancho Jiminez decided to get into real estate even though he knows it’s a highly competitive field in Florida."Realtors are every 10 feet around here," he says.Nonetheless, Jiminez is among 30 st...
Published: 02/23/18
Winn-Dixie sells 8 stores after report says owner could close 200 locations

Winn-Dixie sells 8 stores after report says owner could close 200 locations

A week after Bloomberg reported that Southeastern Grocers — the Jacksonville retailer that owns Winn-Dixie and other chains — could be closing up to 200 stores, the company announced it was selling off eight of its Louisiana locations.Texas’ Brooksh...
Published: 02/23/18