Our time with the long-term 2016 Honda Pilot is nearing an end. The snow is falling and the Pilot's headed back down south toward warmer weather.
Over the past six months in the Midwest, the Pilot has endured kids, road trips, the Home Depot run, weekends at the cabin, a service stop, and more.
As the miles pile on the Pilot, the question burning in many people's minds is: What kind of fuel economy does it get in the real world?
What the EPA says
Our pretty White Diamond Pearl Pilot has a 280 horsepower naturally aspirated V-6 engine sent to all four wheels through a 9-speed automatic transmission. The EPA says this setup is good for 19 mpg city, 26 highway, 22 combined.
We didn't hit those numbers.
When we last checked in on the Pilot's fuel economy log, the weather was warm and we were averaging 19.3 mpg with two adults and two adults' worth of carry-on baggage. The issue: That's the city rating and that was mostly highway driving.
As we made our way up to the Midwest, we saw that increase to an average of 22.7 mpg over a 1,650-mile journey.
Through the summer months and fall we piled on the miles as we headed back and forth to a cabin for family weekends up in northern Minnesota.
For the most part, our calculated average was in the mid- to low-20 mpg range, but we saw some peaks. On one tank of gas we saw a calculated 28.4 mpg, while another tank managed 27 mpg, though these impressive results were hard to duplicate.
Overall, during the second six months of our stay with the Pilot we averaged a calculated 21.1 mpg over 8,902 miles. For those keeping track, that's just shy of the 22 mpg combined EPA rating, though over two-thirds of those miles were highway.
We always filled up the Pilot with regular unleaded, and the price per gallon ranged from as low as $1.87 in Minnesota to $3.01 in Tennessee over the course of our test.
While we still found that our Pilot's onboard trip computer would overstate fuel economy—at times alarmingly, to the tune of up to 20 or 30 percent—no similar complaints have been filed with the NHTSA. Honda said it would investigate the situation after numerous other outlets described similar findings, though nothing has come of it despite the automaker agreeing it was abnormal.
The final chapter for our Pilot
As winter arrived we found ourselves nearing the end of our time with the long-term Pilot. It's been with us over 16,000 miles and soon it will be time to say goodbye.
We'll take a look back over the last year and see what we've learned after living with The Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2016 in our final update.