- Smooth, responsive powertrain
- third row good enough for adults
- Spacious interior
- Lots of useful storage bins
- Too-chunky styling
- Ridiculous front grille
- Hard plastic surfaces
- Options drive up cost
If you can deal with its overwrought styling, the 2010 Honda Pilot is an excellent family vehicle, with the space and comfort of a minivan and good overall performance.
Honda gave the Pilot a complete redesign for 2009, but while most crossover vehicles have been evolving with smoother, less overt silhouettes, the new Pilot became bolder, chunkier and, well, more like a truck in the looks department. The huge, beveled grill is either a macho masterpiece or a little embarrassing (we go with the latter). Inside as well, Honda goes for a narrower appeal than the previous Pilot by opting for chunkier, clunkier styling cues and themes that some shoppers might find a little too gimmicky.
Propelling the 2010 Honda Pilot is a 250-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6; it’s not exceptionally fast with the smooth-shifting five-speed automatic, but it's responsive enough, as well as sweet-sounding. Even though it has a cylinder-deactivation system to cut fuel consumption while coasting or cruising, the Pilot is quite thirsty, with EPA ratings of just 16 mpg city, 22 highway with four-wheel drive. The Pilot handles well and rides quite smoothly, though some bumps can be jarring.
The 2010 Honda Pilot might have just enough trucklike ability, even though it has a carlike unibody design. Four-wheel-drive models can tow up to 4,500 pounds, though the optional four-wheel-drive system is more all-wheel drive, including a Lock mode good for getting through deep snow, mud, and the like at low speed. However, it's not for serious off-roading.
Inside, the Pilot is as roomy and functional as ever; it’s one of few vehicles this size to have a third row that’s spacious enough for adults (though headroom is tight in the far back). Front seats are generously sized and excellent for long road trips, while the second-row seats slide fore and aft for easy access to the third row or to get just the right balance of legroom between rows. The second and third rows split 60/40 and fold forward. From a practicality standpoint, the Pilot’s interior brims with cubbies, holders, and bins for accoutrements of all sorts. A couple of things are disappointing about the interior; the overstyled trim is executed in hard, unforgiving plastic, and the instrument panel controls feel cluttered and take some getting used to.
Those concerned with safety should include the 2010 Honda Pilot on their list. The Pilot achieves straight five-star ratings from the federal government, along with "good" ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and it's an IIHS Top Safety Pick. The only concern for some drivers would be the thick rear pillars that might obscure rearward visibility.
The Pilot is available in four different trim levels—LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring—each of which is offered in 2WD or 4WD. The EX-L and Touring get upgraded leather upholstery. Base 2010 Honda Pilot LX models come with rear air conditioning, keyless entry, cruise control, and a seven-speaker sound system, while the top-of-the-line Touring includes a host of tech features, such as a nav system, a rearview camera, a Bluetooth hands-free interface, a USB audio plug, backup sensors, and available rear DVD entertainment.