Three-row SUVs have become a battleground class for automakers as the family-friendly utility vehicles are more popular than ever before. The Honda Pilot, which participated in two of our recent Three-Row SUV Challenges, went from winner to third place in just one year. The Pilot was fully redesigned in 2016 and won our test, but its reign was short lived: Fast forward to 2017, and the Pilot dropped all the way to third, lapped by the all-new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas and redesigned 2018 Chevrolet Traverse.
The Pilot had the same strengths and weaknesses in both tests: its interior quality, storage spaces and excellent visibility were big positives, but we didn’t like its nine-speed automatic transmission, multimedia system and third-row spaciousness.
For the 2019 Pilot, Honda directly addressed two of those qualms: The transmission receives hardware and programming updates, and the multimedia system is swapped with a brand-new unit. Are those changes enough to satisfy us? I spent a day in the 2019 Pilot driving around Southern California to find out. (Per our ethics policy, Cars.com pays for its own lodging and transportation at such automaker-sponsored events.)