$22,696 - $35,110

2016 Honda Pilot Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Honda Pilot was new.


Performance: 8.4

Reviewers agree that the redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot rides comfortably, and several appreciate that it is quiet and doesn't feel too big from behind the wheel. Some report that it has composed handling, but others remark that it suffers from body lean in turns. There is ample power from the standard V6 engine, test drivers add.

  • "The Pilot offers a nice blend of performance and economy, but our biggest takeaway was the SUV's outstanding comfort and noise isolation. Honda stripped more than 280 pounds from the Pilot's waistline, but you'd never guess that from the driver's seat. That not because the Pilot is heavy or ponderous to drive, it's not, but because it just feels so damn solid." -- Left Lane News
  • "We wouldn't go so far as to call a three-row crossover nimble, but for the segment, it's certainly one of the least cumbersome to drive, with a smooth, willing powertrain to boot." -- Edmunds
  • "It doesn't drive like a massive, eight-passenger SUV. It drives like the moderately sporty family sedan you gave up because you needed more space. That's just how it goes around a corner." -- Motor Trend
  • "The lighter, stiffer body helps improve the ride and dynamics, and from behind the wheel, the Pilot drives much like a minivan. You can feel that big cargo and passenger box behind you, and the vehicle is prone to lean in turns, which can be uncomfortable for some passengers. However, it's not cumbersome like a body-on-frame SUV. It's well-controlled, and the ride, even with the newly available 20-inch wheels, is forgiving, making it comfortable for everyday commutes." -- AutoTrader

Acceleration and Power

The Honda Pilot is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 280 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, and the top Touring and Elite trims have a nine-speed automatic. A base 2016 Pilot returns an EPA-estimated 19/27 mpg city/highway, which is on the high end among V6-powered rivals. With the nine-speed automatic, the Pilot returns up to 20/27 mpg.

Test drivers write that the 2016 Pilot has plenty of power for all situations. Some say that the six-speed automatic shifts more quickly than the nine-speed gearbox, but others comment that models with the nine-speed automatic have stronger acceleration.

  • "The engine feels strong and responsive, not overburdened like some of the competition. Acceleration from a stop and for passing is more than adequate. The lineup's real gem is the all-new nine-speed automatic transmission that comes on the top two trim levels. If you're willing to spend the money, go for it. The standard six-speed auto shifts just as nicely, but the nine-speed's wider gear ratio spread allows for more aggressive acceleration. …" -- Motor Trend
  • "Nail the throttle from a stop, and the Pilot jumps off the line. Power is ample, with the only glitch coming when the throttle is stabbed at speed. Downshifts are often long in coming with the 9-speed automatic found in Touring and Elite models, somewhat better with the 6-speed fitted to the others." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Also new for 2016 is a six-speed automatic transmission that is a smooth, capable partner for this engine that makes the Pilot feel an awful lot like the Highlander when accelerating - no bad thing at all. However, we got more time with the also-new nine-speed automatic found in the Touring and Elite trims. This is an impressive transmission that manages to not only pack in additional gears for better fuel economy and smoother acceleration, but somehow manages to be a whopping 66 pounds lighter than the six-speed." -- Edmunds
  • "Power is ample throughout the rev range. On top of that, the new electric throttle is sharp, responsive, and easy to modulate." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

The 2016 Honda Pilot comes standard with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is optional. According to reviewers, the Pilot rides comfortably and takes pavement imperfections in stride. Some comment that the Pilot has composed handling, but others report that there is significant body lean through fast corners. The steering is responsive and well weighted, reviewers add.

  • "A new suspension system makes use of that stiffer base, returning a ride that is soft and comfortable yet composed when the road turns twisty. The Dodge Durango is still a better drive, but we doubt the average Pilot buyer will find anything to complain about." -- Left Lane News
  • "Far more important to consumers is the way the Pilot rides. It's comfortable in the city and on the highway, even with our Elite model's 20-inch wheels. Small pavement imperfections are soaked up easily." -- Autoblog
  • The ride is also much more comfortable. It's smoother, with better bump isolation and solid overall composure. Handling is still not a Pilot strength. It floats too much at highway speeds, and body lean around corners is pronounced. The steering is nicely weighted and direct, however, contributing to a more controlled feeling overall than the previous model had." -- Cars.com
  • "It turns in sharply, smoothly transfers its weight, grips like a sedan, holds its line perfectly through a corner, and handles bumps as minor annoyances, not threats to stability. Topping it off is best-in-segment steering that not only feels nicely weighted, exhibiting no on-center dead spot and requiring no mid-corner corrections, but even returns a little road feel." -- Motor Trend
  • "The 2016 Pilot felt composed and far from harsh over cracked-up pavement, and its motion-adaptive electrically assisted power steering helps initiate inputs and exhibits a progressive and linear steering feel that rivals many near-luxury sport sedans -- not too tight or too light, but just right." -- Automobile Magazine

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