2019 Honda Pilot First Drive: Halfway There

Honda refreshed its Pilot three-row SUV for 2019, a nod to how competitive the three-row SUV segment has become. While a 2016 model won our Three-Row SUV Challenge that year, a Pilot could only muster a third-place finish in 2017 when facing newer competitors. Cars.com reviewer Brian Wong drove the 2019 Pilot with the goal of finding out whether Honda’s refresh addressed our complaints.

Related: 2019 Honda Pilot First Drive: Tweaked, Not Transformed

Our chief issues with the Pilot focused on three key areas: the nine-speed automatic transmission, the multimedia system and third-row comfort. When it comes to the transmission, we found it slow to respond when accelerating from a stop and when attempting to pass. The multimedia system’s lack of physical buttons and knobs, as well as a confusing layout, also drew complaints. Finally, our problems with the third row centered on an excessive floor height that forced occupants’ knees upward and created an uncomfortable seating position for longer trips.

While driving the Pilot, Wong also had the chance to try it out in two environments new to our experience with it: off-road and while towing. How capable is a glorified minivan like the Pilot when the pavement disappears? How does it handle towing heavy loads, like a Civic Si racecar?

You’ll find those answers — and whether Wong thinks Honda succeeded in addressing our gripes — in the video above.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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