Updates for 2019 Put Honda Pilot Back on Flight Path

2019_Honda_Pilot.jpg 2019 Honda Pilot | Manufacturer image

The 2019 Honda Pilot, Honda’s three-row, eight-seat mid-size SUV, receives a mild styling update and new standard safety tech, as well as an updated touchscreen system with a physical volume knob replacing the previous touch-only screen. The updates, at least on paper, address sore points we have with the current Pilot.

Related: 2019 Honda HR-V Gets Knobbier, Techier and More Competitive

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You know it’s time for a styling update when the minivan in your lineup debuts with bolder styling than your big SUV, but the Pilot’s new styling, thankfully, is a touch bolder than before. The update features a sharper front grille and chiseled front bumper that look more like the Odyssey minivan (as well as the CR-V compact SUV).Other updates include Honda’s continued rollout of Honda Sensing as standard equipment (also on the Accord) to reach its goal of all cars including the Sensing safety suite standard by 2022. On the Pilot, Honda Sensing includes safety features like forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist as standard equipment on all trims. It also includes automatic high beams for the headlights. Previously, Honda Sensing wasn’t available on the base LX, it was optional on the EX and EX-L, and it was standard on Touring and Elite trim levels. It should also be noted that all-wheel drive (AWD) is only standard on the Elite trim.

Another feature rolling out to more Hondas, and now the Pilot, is Honda’s new Display Audio multimedia system that features a physical volume knob instead of capacitive-only controls. The 2019 HR-V also benefits from this new strategy of reversing wonky controls that’s plagued many Hondas for the past few years. Other new multimedia and connectivity updates include standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a larger rear entertainment system with Blu-ray player and streaming capabilities, CabinTalk from the Odyssey, plus 4G LTE in-car Wi-Fi and over-the-air updates.

The Pilot’s changes for 2019 are looking pretty good given we’ve noted these shortcomings in our previous three-row SUV comparisons with the current Pilot. But wait, there’s more! The nine-speed automatic transmission available on higher-end Pilots has been tweaked for additional refinements — and significantly, according to Honda. The Honda Pilot’s nine-speed hasn’t been the most refined transmission in our testing of three-row SUVs, so we look forward to getting behind the wheel of the 2019 model. A Honda spokesperson said further details on what’s changed with the transmission won’t be available until closer to when the 2019 Honda Pilot goes on sale July 16.

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