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MSRP: $31,450 - 48,020

8.3

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.9
Performance: 8.2
Interior: 8.3
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2019 Honda Pilot Review

The 2019 Honda Pilot fares well in our class rankings. This well-rounded SUV offers tons of cargo and passenger space, a smooth, comfortable ride, an improved available transmission, and few obvious weaknesses.

Pros & Cons

  • Good cargo capacity
  • Adult-friendly third row
  • Smooth ride and easy to drive
  • Some competitors are more stylish and upscale inside
  • Below-average predicted reliability rating

New for 2019

  • Several new standard driver assistance features
  • Updated nine-speed automatic transmission
  • Now has a volume knob

Is the Honda Pilot a Good SUV?

Yes, the Honda Pilot is a good SUV. Its spacious cabin includes three rows of adult-sized seats (uncommon in the midsize SUV class) and a higher cargo capacity than many competitors. These attributes helped make it a finalist for our 2019 Best 3-Row SUV for Families award. There are also plenty of standard active safety features and an available infotainment system that's improved for 2019. On the road, the Pilot is capable and comfortable, making it easy to drive. However, many class rivals have better predicted reliability ratings.

Should I Buy the Honda Pilot?

Unless you want an ultra-athletic SUV, it's hard to dislike the Pilot. With a reasonable starting price, this Honda also provides solid value. Still, it never hurts to explore your options, so you may want to consider the Mazda CX-9 and Nissan Pathfinder.

Compare the Pilot, CX-9, and Pathfinder »

Should I Buy a New or Used Honda Pilot?

The 2019 Pilot is part of a generation that began with the 2016 model year. Several new features come standard for 2019, including forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control. Wireless phone charging is newly available. Otherwise, there have been few changes of note in this generation.

You can potentially save thousands by shopping for a used Pilot, but know that you may miss out on the 2019's updates. If you are interested in a used model, check out our reviews of the 2017 Honda Pilot and 2018 Honda Pilot.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Pilot »

We Did the Research for You: 43 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current Pilot generation, which runs from 2016 to 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years’ worth of auto industry experience combined. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside company manages our advertising.

How Much Does the Honda Pilot Cost?

The Pilot's base trim starts at around $31,500. That's a bit above average for the class, but it's still a reasonable starting price for a midsize SUV. There are several higher trims, with about a $3,000-$6,000 price jump between each. The top-of-the-line Elite trim starts at around $48,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Honda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Honda deals page.

Honda Pilot Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Honda Pilot or Mazda CX-9?

The Mazda CX-9 doesn't have the interior space that the Pilot does, but its cabin is arguably the nicest in the class. The CX-9 offers plenty of technology features, though the Pilot has more standard active safety features. The Mazda delivers better performance than the Pilot despite only having a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The CX-9 handles well and gets better gas mileage than its Honda rival. With a better predicted reliability rating, the CX-9 is a slightly better choice than the Pilot.

Which Is Better: Honda Pilot or Nissan Pathfinder?

The Nissan Pathfinder is a little more powerful and fuel-efficient than the Pilot, but the Honda provides a smoother ride. The Pathfinder has a higher predicted reliability rating than the Pilot, but the Honda has more passenger and cargo space. The Honda also comes standard with driver assistance features the Nissan doesn't even offer. This is an easy call – choose the Pilot.

Compare the Pilot, CX-9, and Pathfinder »

Pilot Interior

How Many People Does the Pilot Seat?

The Pilot seats up to eight people. All three rows of seats can accommodate adults, even the third row, which is unusual for a 3-row midsize SUV. The first two rows are particularly comfortable, and drivers enjoy excellent visibility.

Pilot and Car Seats

The Pilot provides four full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors. The LATCH system earns a rating of Acceptable (the second-highest rating) for its ease of use from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Pilot Interior Quality

Though it's spacious and comfortable, the Pilot's cabin doesn't quite have the same modern, upscale feel as some class rivals. Overall though, this is a nice cabin.

Pilot Cargo Space

You get more than 16 cubic feet of space behind the Pilot's rear seats. However, the usable total is only enough for about six to eight grocery bags. Cargo capacity is great with the second and third rows folded – nearly 84 cubic feet.

Pilot Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the Pilot include Bluetooth, two USB ports, a seven-speaker audio system, and a 5-inch display screen. Available features include a moonroof, wireless phone charging, a rear-seat entertainment system, and the HondaLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, a 10-speaker audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and an additional USB port. An HDMI port, mobile hot spot capability, and navigation are also available.

There are plenty of available tech features that you may want to add, starting with the touch-screen infotainment system. Some rival systems are more intuitive, but this one works well, and it includes a volume knob now (old models didn't, to the chagrin of everyone).

Read more about interior »

Pilot Performance

Pilot Engine: Spoiler Alert – You're Getting a V6

You only have one choice for a Pilot engine: a 280-horsepower V6. It delivers plenty of power for most driving situations, but it doesn't have as much verve as some competitors' engines. It's mated to either a six- or nine-speed automatic transmission depending on the trim.

Pilot Gas Mileage: About Average

The Pilot gets typical fuel economy ratings for the class, earning 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. There are more fuel-efficient competitors out there, however. Driving a Nissan Pathfinder (which has a V6) or Mazda CX-9 (which features a turbocharged four-cylinder) instead of a Pilot will save you about $100 and $200 per year, respectively.

Pilot Ride and Handling: A Composed Cruiser

The Pilot aims to deliver a comfortable, relaxed driving experience, and it does so splendidly. You won't aggressively tackle turns in this SUV, but you won't notice most road imperfections either. You'll also appreciate that the Pilot is relatively easy to maneuver, despite its size.

Pilot Towing Capacity

A properly equipped Pilot can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Read more about performance »

Pilot Reliability

Is the Honda Pilot Reliable?

The 2019 Pilot has a slightly below-average predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Honda Pilot Warranty

The Honda Pilot comes with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Pilot Safety

Pilot Crash Test Results

The 2019 Pilot earned a perfect five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Out of six Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, the Pilot earned five Good ratings (the highest rating possible) and one Acceptable rating (the second-highest). With a rating of Superior for its front crash prevention features and the highest score of Good for headlight performance, the Pilot was named a 2019 IIHS Top Safety Pick.

Pilot Safety Features

Standard active safety features include a rearview camera, automatic high beams, forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control. Some of these features are part of the HondaSensing suite of active safety technology.

Available driver assistance features include blind spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, and rear cross traffic alert.

Read more about safety »

Which Honda Pilot Model Is Right for Me?

You can choose from six Pilot trims. Every trim features a 280-horsepower V6 engine and an automatic transmission. You can add all-wheel drive to any trim (except the Elite, which comes with AWD already) for $1,900.

The EX trim makes a lot of sense for most buyers. In addition to the Pilot's already-ample standard features list, the EX adds comfort and connectivity upgrades that most drivers will appreciate, and it's only a few thousand dollars more than the base trim.

Honda Pilot LX

The Pilot LX sports a base price of $31,450. It comes with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Standard features include push-button start, Bluetooth, two USB ports, a seven-speaker audio system, and a 5-inch display screen.

Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, automatic high beams, forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control.

Honda Pilot EX

The Pilot EX carries a starting price of $34,330. In addition to the LX's features, the EX comes standard with heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat, one-touch second-row seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, remote start, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and the HondaLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

Honda Pilot EX-L

The Pilot EX-L has a starting price of $37,760. The EX-L comes with a power liftgate, a moonroof, leather upholstery, and a power-adjustable passenger seat.

The EX-L Navi/RES package costs an extra $2,000, and adds navigation, an HDMI port, a 115-volt power outlet, and a rear-seat entertainment system.

Honda Pilot Touring

The Pilot Touring has a starting price of $42,520. This trim has a nine-speed automatic transmission. In addition to the lower trims' features, the Touring comes standard with a hands-free power liftgate, front and rear parking sensors, a 10-speaker audio system, and mobile hot spot capability.

Honda Pilot Elite

The range-topping Pilot Elite starts at $48,020. The AWD Elite trim comes with heated second-row captain's chairs (dropping seating capacity to seven), ventilated front seats, and wireless phone charging.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Honda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Honda deals page.

See 2019 Honda Pilot specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Honda Pilot does well in our midsize SUV rankings. It doesn’t lead the class in every area, but it's above average in most. Few midsize SUVs deliver such a composed performance combined with a spacious, inviting interior.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "There are a lot of great choices available for a three-row midsize SUV, and we think it's wise to cross-shop the Pilot with its primary competition. … Overall, though, the improvements for 2019 make the Pilot even easier to recommend." -- Edmunds
  • "Roomy, comfortable and surprisingly adept, the Honda Pilot is among the most recommendable midsize SUVs. … For 2019, Honda has revised the Pilot and addressed its few sticking points, including a hesitant 9-speed transmission on higher trims and the lack of a volume knob. This new Pilot also gets a freshened exterior design, newly standard safety systems, and revised technology, making an already highly recommendable SUV something of a no-brainer for busy families." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "With the Pilot's 2019 redesign, Honda managed to turn an already appealing three-row SUV into an even more desirable family hauler thanks to new standard safety tech like Honda Sensing and convenience features like CabinTalk. Competitors like the all-new Subaru Ascent are starting to erode Honda's lead in the family SUV segment, but the 2019 Pilot is still one of the best minivan alternatives on the market today." -- Left Lane News

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: June 21, 2019

Declining Sales: After finishing near the top of the midsize SUV sales rankings in 2018, demand for the Pilot has begun to slow. Dealerships have sold 10.1% fewer Pilot models to date this year compared to the same period in 2018.

Research more buying advice »
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