If you are looking for a smart sport utility vehicle that can actually deliver the goods, both in the city running errands and in the snow or off-road then check out the Honda Pilot. Speed:Sport:Life ran a 2012 model Honda Pilot from the top of the United States at Niagara Falls down to the bottom of the Mississippi River. The Pilot was filled to the brim with family, luggage and even a soap box derby car. It turned out to be the perfect road trip vehicle.
Check out how this SUV handled the Racer Boy review categories.
What kind of girl will this car help me meet?
Probably a future soccer mom. Don’t let that seem like a bad thing. All soccer moms started out back in the day as younger sexy single ladies. It’s the sex that turns them into soccer moms in the first place. This is the type of vehicle that attracts a person who likes to go out and do stuff. It is a vehicle for someone who is going to load up the ice chest, throw a bunch of tailgate gear in the back and head to the game.
This vehicle will not attract someone like Paris Hilton. But the vehicle does have the ability to back over Paris and you can watch the whole thing live on the color back up camera. She will be easy to hit because everybody knows Ms. Hilton never ran from being in front of a camera.
What kind of burnout can I do with this car?
Hmmmm… no chance in hell. This isn’t a brawny muscle car. It wasn’t designed to destroy tires. It was engineered to move people and cargo around sensibly. It has no time for shenanigans like burnouts. Look at the styling of this vehicle. It is not being marketed to people who like to put excessive rear spoilers on a car (Honda has the Civic for that demographic). The vehicle has enough power to get you up to speed on a short freeway onramp without being rear-ended by a Freightliner, but Honda didn’t give it enough power to do donuts. This thing is more for going through the drive thru to pick up a box of donuts.
Can I fit a body in the trunk of this car?
Technically no, since it doesn’t have a trunk. However, as an SUV it has enormous body storage potential. The only problem here is because of the windows it would be easy for the police to see any bodies being transported, and that is not what we are looking for when we are transporting bodies. The seats are incredibly easy to fold down and both rear rows will fold flat. Or depending on the amount of bodies you are transporting, a combination of some of the rows (your choice) can be folded down with a 40/60 split option.
We actually jammed a full size soap box derby car in the back and still had room for four occupants and luggage in the Pilot.
Will this car get the attention of Johnny Law?
Not a chance. Well, let me qualify that. This thing has a pretty big face on it.
What I mean by mentioning the Pilot has a big face is that the bigger the vehicle the bigger the reflective ability of the front of the vehicle to bounce back radar signals. If you have this baby in the number one lane and you are trucking along at 85 miles an hour (and this thing is so smooth, you won’t realize you are doing it) you can become a victim of the radar gun. My suggestion, set the steering wheel activated cruise control to the speed limit and the po-po will never look at you twice driving a Honda Pilot. Haul all the bodies you want, just don’t haul ass at the same time.
Can I back up while talking on my cell phone and eating a cheeseburger?
All day and all night. Since this vehicle was built by Honda/Acura it has the best navigation/blue tooth/back up camera system I have ever used (similar to the system in the Acura TSX we tested). The back up camera has three different view options (normal, wide and directly down –which is cool for hooking up a trailer). The blue tooth integration with the stereo speakers and the steering wheel buttons for “call answer” are very easy to use. With the automatic transmission, this adds up to be the perfect vehicle to back up in while talking on the phone and eating a cheeseburger. And if you spill some ketchup, no worries, leather seats clean easy.
Is there enough room in the backseat to get a little something-something?
Back seat is leather, which is always a good thing, but forget the back seat. This thing is an SUV, lower those seats and you got yourself almost a full size bed back there. Plenty of room for action, in fact the extra room can probably lead to a few more interesting choices. If you do score the soccer mom, you are in luck, chances are she will have fresh orange wedges for refreshments when you guys are done. Goal!
But I will tell you, this back seat wasn’t designed for sex. It was designed or what happens after sex, and that is kids. We drove a couple thousand miles and I never heard a peep from the kids in the back seat because they were too busy enjoying the DVD player and wireless headphones.
With RedBox, we were set for the road trip since we could return movies anywhere. Every time we stopped for gas or a bathroom break, we gave back a RedBox movie and picked up another one. It was awesome. Most watched film on the road trip: No, it wasn’t a car movie like LeMans or Cannonball Run, sorry to say it was Puss & Boots.
How many clams is this bad boy going to set me back?
The four wheel drive Honda Pilot Touring edition, which comes with every option as standard, will kick you in the bank account nuts to the tune of $40,970. However, a two wheel drive version will only graze you at $28,620. Realistically, if all you are going to do is take Tommy and Molly to soccer practice in town, you really don’t need the 4WD and can save some bucks.
Aside from the initial cost, the 4WD Touring version of the Pilot gets fuel mileage of City 17 and Highway 24. During our test we mostly saw the higher version about 24 MPG as we drove from the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum in Indiana. Yes, the kids continued to watch Puss & Boots between the two iconic automotive museums.
Is there a motorsports event where this car could be competitive?
This vehicle wasn’t designed with motorsports in mind, but it made a great support vehicle for our trip to the All-American Soap Box Derby 75th annual World Championships at Derby Downs in Akron, OH. We loaded our soap box derby cars in the Pilot, and got the kids from the hotel to the track on time each morning for practice. The Honda even brought us some racing luck, with Gus Krider finishing on the podium, 3rd in the world, driving his sleek blue and yellow Masters car.
The trophy was absolutely massive. The good news, we knew we had storage space in the Pilot to get the big trophy home.
Randomness and Extras
One of my favorite things about the Pilot was the center console. It had USB plugs for charging and for music connection to the stereo. It also had 12-volt charging for a cell phone (which can hide in there during the whole drive since the blue tooth connects the phone so well). The console also had wall plug charging (car does have to be running for this unfortunately, yet understandably) which saved our bacon when our digital camera battery died.
Now let’s talk about the one thing regarding the Pilot that I loved and hated all at the same time. I loved the self-closing/opening tailgate/5th door. I felt like a pimp every time that thing rose as I was walking through a parking lot and hit the key fob in my pocket. It is super cool and works great opening and closing… except when it doesn’t –by design. During our road trip I had multiple situations where I had to valet park the Pilot which meant the vehicle was running in front of a hotel and the bell hops wanted to get my luggage out for me (and I wanted to let them carry my heavy bags). The key fob won’t raise the rear hatch with the vehicle running, the button on the driver’s door won’t work if the vehicle is in drive. The rear hatch and I couldn’t find a happy place to open while under pressure in front of a hotel. I understand five thousand reasons why this was implemented (so you don’t accidentally open the rear hatch while driving down the freeway at 70 miles per hour and spill out all of your luggage (or worse, your kids). However, this thing was designed to save the lives of the stupidest people on the planet, therefor frustrating the lives of the slightly more intelligent. Simply turning the car off fixed the problem and the rear hatch would rise for the bell hops got to grab my fine luggage (a garbage bag full of dirty clothes).
That one small detail aside the Pilot was great for our soap box derby road trip adventure. The smile tells it all.
If you’re interested in information other than if you can back up while talking on your cell phone and eating a cheeseburger or what kind of burnout the vehicle will do, you can get those nerdy sorts of stats at Honda’s Pilot page.
The 2012 Honda Pilot has been officially Racer Boy
thrashed on road tested.