With so many eight-passenger SUVs to choose from one of the best is the new 2014 Honda Pilot AWD Touring model. It combines bold sport utility looks with comfort, luxury, utility, four-wheel drive with the highest EPA-rated fuel economy of any eight-passenger SUV on the market. This mid-size 4X4 SUV is fun to drive and takes care of any chores that an active lifestyle family has in store.
Power comes from Pilot’s advanced 3.5 liter, SOHC, 24-valve, all-aluminum V6 engine with several friction-reducing technologies, ‘intelligent Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (i-VTEC) and Variable Cylinder Management (VCM). The unique VCM allows the V6 engine to operate in 6-cylinder mode for maximum power, (250hp at 5,700rpm and 253lb.ft. of torque at 4,800rpm), and either 4-cylinder or 3-cylinder mode for increased efficiency at slower speeds. The Pilots AWD EPA fuel economy rating is an excellent 17mpg/city and 24mpg/highway. This potent engine is mated to a standard five-speed automatic transmission featuring Grade Logic Control to help maintain the most appropriate gear when climbing or descending steep grades on road or off-road, thus helping minimizing gear ‘hunting’. The Variable Torque Management (VTM-4) system on Pilot 4WD models add fully automatic 4-wheel-drive capability, and features a ‘lock mode’ that can deliver the maximum-possible torque transfer to the rear wheels to aid extraction from extremely low traction or when stuck in snow, sand or mud. I took the Pilot out on the sand and found no problem getting around, up or down sandy hills.
With its rigid body structure and fully independent suspension the Pilot rides smoothly on paved roads and can easily transverse over tough off-road trails. Up front is a MacPherson strut setup with a 23mm stabilizer bar. The rear multi-link setup features a trailing arm, coil springs, gas-charged shocks and a 26.5mm stabilizer bar. When cornering the Pilot stays stable and well balanced. This front and rear setup gives the Pilot an outstanding ride for all 8-passengers. Guiding the Pilot with precision is the standard variable power-assisted hydraulic rack & pinion steering system. On center feel and feel for the road surface is excellent. This system also includes a HD power steering fluid cooler.
Quickly and safely slowing the Pilot down from speed are strong, power-assisted steel disc brakes at each corner. Up front are 13 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 13.1 inch solid discs clamped with large single-piston calipers in the rear. Standard ABS, BA, EBD and Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control all work together to keep me in control of the truck’s direction when braking hard, braking on slick and wet pavement and when off-road. Further adding to the Pilot’s great ride and handling are the big 18X6.5 inch 6-spoke with high-contrast machined alloy wheels that are wrapped with 235/60R18 inch all-season radial tires.
The exterior styling of the 2014 Honda Pilot AWD Touring is bold, dramatic, practical and sophisticated with a wide stance and a blend of function and style. The Pilot’s grille and front fascia feature a distinctive 3-bar horizontal design, while multi-reflector halogen headlights, integrated turn signals and foglamps on the lower bumper contribute to its premium look. The windshield A-pillars are swept back up to a flat roof with black roof rails. Large power-remote/heated sideview mirrors, pull-out door handles, flared fenders, a chrome strip running through the bottom of each door and lower side extensions give the Pilot a more aggressive side view. The rear features large wraparound lamp clusters, a step-up bumper a power liftgate that makes easy to load and unload the 18 cu.ft. of cargo space behind the third row that matches or exceeds the trunk space of a typical large sedan and underneath the bumper are dual, polished stainless steel exhaust tips. For maximum cargo space, the second and third rows fold flat to provide 87 cu.ft. of cargo space and sufficient width for carrying 4 foot wide items like sheets of plywood or drywall. The cargo area also has a hidden storage well that provides 2.8 cu.ft. of additional space.
The interior of the Pilot Touring is sophisticated using high-quality materials with advanced electronic features provides a comfortable and enjoyable driving experience for passengers in all three rows with low noise, vibration and harshness. The roomy accommodations include 16 different seating configurations for the 60/40 split-folding second and third row seats. My test Pilot came with leather-trimmed front bucket seats including my 10-way power-adjustable seat and my passenger’s 4-way power-adjustable seat. The sporty tilt/telescopic/leather-wrapped steering wheel feels perfect in my hands and features controls for the audio system, Bluetooth and cruise-control. The instrument cluster is white with black lettering for excellent viewing day or night. The Pilot comes standard with a high-resolution 8 inch intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) with rearview camera display, iPod album artwork display, 2GB CD Library, user-loadable wallpaper function, USB connection and tri-zone automatic climate controls. The center stack is beautifully designed with easy to reach buttons, dials and switches, all fully illuminated for safe nighttime travel. My Pilot Touring came equipped with Honda’s Satellite-Linked Navigation System that offers 60 GB of total system memory including 15 GB allocated for user media and voice recognition for three languages. Its hard drive can store thousands of minutes of music, which is accessible by simple voice commands using the Song By Voice feature and the free FM Traffic features provides continuous updates on traffic and incidents. Standard equipment in my Pilot Touring not mentioned above include power windows/door locks with front express up/down, 10-speaker AM-FM-CD-Sirius Satellite Radio with subwoofer, memory driver seat for 3-drivers, heated front seats, center console with dual cupholders, a large storage space with an accordion cover, a large storage bin with padded armrest, storage slots in each door with second/third row cupholders, trip computer with gauge cluster center readouts, second-row manual sunshades, cruise control, Homelink system, 12 and 115-volt plugs, floor mats, dual map lights, grab handles above each door, dual lighted vanity mirrors and a rear pull-down center armrest with dual cupholders and a self-dimming rearview mirror.
Standard safety features include driver/front passenger dual-stage airbags, driver/front passenger side-impact airbags, three-row side curtain airbags, active front head restraints, ACE body structure, 8-3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, engine immobilizer, tire pressure monitoring system, side impact door beams, daytime running lamps, LATCH system for child seats and child-proof rear door locks.
COPYRIGHT: 2014: HARVEY SCHWARTZ