Autoreview by Veeno Dewan

You have to hand it to Honda; they know what works when they introduce a vehicle. For example the midsize Honda Pilot SUV has been around a while and has proven to be very popular. It does not offer a V8 engine, but manages to seat eight people and is relatively fuel efficient with its V6 engine. It has never been a swoopy or Avant garde looking, yet its boxy looks however work well in providing plenty of interior room.

For 2012, the Honda Pilot has minor changes. The exterior styling is sleeker while the interior includes a revised instrument cluster, upgraded materials and a reworked centre stack. The audio and navigation systems are also upgraded.

Technically the 2012 Honda Pilot features the company’s tried 3.5L V6 engine developing 250 hp and 253 lb-ft of torque, it includes cylinder deactivation for saving fuel under light loads, a 5-speed automatic is the sole transmission. However All-Wheel Drive system is an option.

The Pilot lineup starts with the LX model including 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear air conditioning, automatic headlamps, 60/40 split-folding second- and third-row seats, heated mirrors, cruise control, power windows, rear cargo net, keyless entry, CD/MP3 stereo, variable intermittent wipers, intermittent rear wiper, tinted glass, roof rails, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, integrated trailer hitch, 18 inch alloy wheels and tire pressure monitoring system.

The EX adds tri-zone automatic climate control, security system, body-colour door handles and mirrors, fog lights, conversation mirror, exterior temperature gauge, six-CD stereo with steering wheel-mounted audio controls, eight-way power driver’s seat, and heated front seats.

The EX-L adds reverse camera with rearview mirror display, power sunroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror, XM Satellite Radio, leather-wrapped steering wheel, four-way power passenger seat, and leather upholstery. The EX-L RES adds a DVD-based rear-seat entertainment system.

Our tester was a Dark Cherry Touring model with following specification and equipment that builds on the EX-L model: Bluetooth connectivity, trailer connection wiring, front and rear parking sensors, power tailgate, 115-volt outlet, navigation system, rearview 5GB hard drive, subwoofer and 5.1 surround system theatre mode, USB connection, Honda Satellite Nav system with trilingual voice recognition, illuminated steering wheel controls, 18- inch chrome alloy wheels, chrome body, body coloreds side mirrors and parking sensors, side moldings and heated second-row outboard seats.

A major interior advantage of the 2012 Honda Pilot is that it can accommodate up to eight passengers despite being classed as a mid-size SUV. You can thank the high square cabin that also allows 589 litres of cargo space when all seats are occupied. Fold down both rows in the 2012 Honda Pilot and you get 2,464 litres of cargo volume. The Pilot cabin is roomy, well finished and of a high quality both ergonomically and in terms of materials. The high seating position and good all-around visibility make it an easy vehicle to navigate. Our Touring trim included a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with wireless headphones and extra output jacks which do wonders in long drives with kids and teenagers.

On the road the Honda Pilot’s V6 engine offer plenty of torque and does not seem stressed. Even with a full load the Pilot sings along quietly on the highway. It handles well and its tight turning
radius is a boon in crowded parking lots.

The all-wheel drive system in the 2012 Honda Pilot is front-wheel biased; when a loss of traction is detected, engine power is sent to the back wheels. Noteworthy is the fact the Pilot uses a 3.5-litre V6 engine that uses Variable Cylinder management (VCM) to run in six-, three- or four-cylinder mode, depending on the power application needed for increased fuel efficiency. Speaking of which- fuel consumption figures for the Front wheel drive model is City: 11.8 L/100 km and Hwy: 7.8 L/100 km.

For the All-Wheel Drive model it is City: 12.3 L/100 Hwy: 8.2 L/100 km. In summing up the 2012 Honda Pilot is a very competent mid-sized SUV that seats eight normal-sized adults in comforts. It remains a class leader for many reasons. Very highly recommended.

2012 Honda Pilot Touring. Price as tested at $48,520 plus taxes, freight and PDI