Honda has updated the Pilot for the 2019 model year. What’s new and what’s stayed the same? Here are the top five changes for the 2019 model that is on sale now?
2019 Honda Pilot : Styling
It will take a trained eye to notice the styling changes on the 2019 Pilot, but Honda meant to make their midsize SUV a little more aggressive and rugged. They changed the lights, the grille, and the bumper covers front and rear. There is lower trim in the front the rear that look like skid plates, but they are not metal and are there to complete a more off-road look.
Honda kept the engine and transmission options same as before, but the 9-speed automatic transmission tuning and the engine start/stop feature have been refined for a smoother experience, according to Honda. Under light throttle acceleration the transmission starts out in second gear (not first). The same happens while in Snow mode. However, as soon as you stomp on the throttle front a stop or in Sport & Sand modes – the 9-speed start in first to provide maximum power from the same 3.5-liter V6 that has been there before. The still produces 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. The auto start/stop feature works in conjunction with the new 9-speed transmission tuning. The A/C system capacity has been increased so it can run longer while the vehicle is stopped and the engine is not running.
All of these tricks aim to make the Pilot more fuel efficient, and the EPA ratings are as follows.
Pilot LX w/ 6-speed auto FWD: 19 mpg / 27 mpg / 22 mpg
Pilot LX w/ 6-speed auto AWD: 18 mpg / 26 mpg / 21 mpg
Pilot Touring w/ 9-speed auto FWD: 20 mpg / 27 mpg / 23 mpg
Pilot Touring w/ 9-speed auto AWD: 19 mpg / 26 mpg / 22 mpg
It appears that the 9-speed provides fuel efficiency gains for the EPA city driving cycle. The LX and EX trim levels continue to use the 6-speed automatic. The 9-speed is available in Touring and Elite trims.
Honda Sensing driver assistance technologies are now standard on all Honda Pilots for the 2019 model year. This includes Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) with forward collision warning, Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), and adaptive cruise control (ACC).
If you chose the EX trim level or above, Honda will also include what they call Blind Spot Information (BSI) system. This is blind spot monitoring system that is available on both driver and passenger sides. The passenger side Honda LaneWatch camera system is no longer offered.
Price / Value
The 2019 Pilot starts at $32,445, including the destination charges. The EX trim starts at $35,325, same as with the 2018 Pilot but with additional features: Blind Spot Information, Rear Cross Traffic Monitor, one-touch 2nd row seats (this allows easier entry to the third row), heated front seats, 8-way power driver’s seat, power windows with auto up/down for the front, and HD radio.
Honda’s iVTM4 all-wheel-drive system cost $1,900 extra and works the same as before. It’s able to send up to 70% of the power to the rear axle, and the active rear differential is able to allocate up to 100% of that rear torque from one side to the over (torque vectoring rear differential).
The Touring trim starts at $43,515 for FWD and $45,415 for AWD. Finally, the Elite AWD will ring the register at $49,015 with all features included.
Infotainment and high-tech features on the inside is perhaps the biggest story of the 2019 Honda Pilot. The driver’s instrument cluster houses a central reconfigurable 7-inch color display. The central infotainment system is now Honda’s Display Audio system with an 8-inch screen (also can be found in the new Honda Odyssey). The updated rear entertainment system uses a ceiling-mounted 10.2-inch display (also like the one in the Odyssey).
The Pilot now offers AT&T 4G LTE WiFi hotspot and plenty of smart device integration, including: HondaLink app, CabinControl app, and CabinTalk features. HondaLink app offers roadside assistance, vehicle health-check reports, service scheduling, and owner’s manual. CabinControl app enables passengers to wirelessly control several vehicle functions from the rear seats (if the driver allows). Passengers can change HVAC temperature and fan speed settings via the phone. They can send an address or a point of interest to the Navigation head unit, or send their favorite song from their phone to the PIlot’s stereo system. CabinTalk is a built-in vehicle feature that allows the drive to speak to the Pilot’s occupants via the stereo speakers or headphones.
The 2019 Pilot adds the hands-free power tailgate as an option. If you have the key on your person, you can come up to the rear hatch and swing your foot under the rear bumper to open or close it. It worked every time I tried it.
Stay tuned to TFLcar.com as we will publish our driving impressions of the 2019 Honda Pilot, including a trailer towing and off-road demonstration on August 20th, 2018 at 10pm MST.