- Stong safety record
- Bins and cubbies galore
- Interior is spacious, versatile
- Powertrain is smooth and refined
- Can carry up to eight passengers
- Base model lacks Bluetooth
- Expensive option bundles
- Controls can seem cluttered
- Cabin is awash in hard plastics
Despite the 2014 Honda Pilot's truck-like exterior, it's one of more practical and family-friendly models on of the market today.
The 2014 Honda Pilot offers up great space, good handling, available all-wheel drive, and overall. Overall, it's a great multitasker for the family, and that's part of the reason it's been a best-seller for many years.
The current Pilot isn't quite our favorite three-row crossover. It still has a thoughtfully executed interior, an excellent drivetrain, and all-weather capability--but the trucklike look and cheaply finished interior are drawbacks to what used to be a leaner, more elegant package.
If you're a family who needs a minivan yet can't live with the idea of owning one, the the 2014 Pilot remains one of the best crossover choices available with a third row of seats. Its boxy design creates extra headroom and cargo space, yet its car-like driving dynamics–paired with a few SUV structural benefits–create a happy happy compromise that's good for most duties.
The Pilot has been rated as one of safest cars on the road for years now, and includes side-curtain airbags for all three rows, as well as the expected list of security features. A rearview camera is also standard, which is especially helpful in overcoming visibility issues in the tall, blocky crossover.
The Honda Pilot goes unchanged for 2014, and it's offered in four different trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring. All four are offered in 2WD or 4WD, but beyond that you need to ante up to one of the top two trims in order to get a lot of the more desirable options and convenience features.
We think the LX and EX models offer more bang for the buck, as the more expensive EX-L, Touring and Limited trims begin to overlap with some of the true luxury crossovers on the market. They include rear air conditioning, keyless entry, cruise control, and a seven-speaker sound system. Leather upholstery, a Bluetooth hands-free interface, USB/iPod connectivity, a power tailgate, and a navigation system all remain only available on the EX-L and Touring--a serious impediment to broader sales success.
A five-speed automatic transmission is paired with the familiar 250-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 in the Pilot, and it altogether keeps with Honda's smooth, responsive, and sweet-sounding reputation for these powertrains. EPA highway ratings are now up to 25 mpg, making it one of the most fuel-efficient three-row vehicles.
Once you get past the initial surprise of the tall driving position, you'll find handling to be reasonably crisp, with good maneuverability. Ride quality is on the firm side, but the optional four-wheel-drive (actually an all-wheel-drive) system has a Lock mode and is a champ in deep snow or mud. Four-wheel-drive models can tow up to 4,500 pounds.