2016 Honda Pilot: First Class Experience In Second Row

2016 Honda Pilot

Giving everyone in the SUV that luxury feel in the 2016 Honda Pilot.

2016 Honda Pilot

I’m so comfortable driving I might be in my living room. Credit: Sela Brown for AGirlsGuidetoCars

So often passengers in the back seat are marginalized, with inferior seating, fewer amenities and a bumpy ride.

Not so in the 2016 Honda Pilot AWD Elite. Someone at Honda must love kids (or other adults) who ride along in the back seat.  At least, in the second row. There is a 3rd row in this SUV and while it is comfy, it doesn’t offer the first class experience of the first two rows.

2016 Honda Pilot

Look at all that light: not one but 2 (!) sunroofs. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

The driver and passenger are coddled in captains chairs with both heat or ventilation.

There is a sunroof that allows light to pour in; it can also be opened or tilted to bring in fresh air.

The second row features the same bucket seats, a large console, a heated option and of course plenty of light an air from the sunroof. There are window screens so if it’s too sunny, the second row passengers can stay cool. Be careful, though, if you are traveling with a dog sleeping on the floor, or if your kids move around when getting into the car; my daughter was complaining about how hot it was, and I realized she or the dog had accidentally bumped the heated seat on.

And even the their row passengers aren’t truly marginalized. A second sunroof lets in light, though it can’t be opened for air. I mean, really – TWO sunroofs?

For a true 7 seater, the Pilot gets great gas mileage; 19 in the city, 26 on the highway. Adding further to the fuel economy is stop/start technology: the engine shuts off when the car is idle, at traffic lights, or on Sunday night on I-95 when the entire Eastern Seaboard decides to drive into New York City. The first time I experienced this, at a light, I thought the car had died, but it was just quietly conserving gas. You have to fully depress the gas pedal to get the engine to stop, so if you are a brake tapper, this won’t happen unless you consciously press down.

There is an eco assist button; when you drive in this mode, a green tree lights up. And a meter lights up green when you are driving efficiently.

Room for more

The Pilot comes in different trim models, including some with bench seating in the second row so you can fill the car with eight people. But the most luxurious model, the Elite, comes with just the second row captain’s seats. What is amazing is that within each model, there are no extras – everything is included, from premium audio and technology to that double sunroof.

Our top-of-the-line Elite even had an included Blu-ray player with nine inch screen, along with a heated steering wheel and all wheel drive.

Watch this video to see how easy it is to get into the third row of seats:

Fully redesigned

The 2016 Honda Pilot was completely redesigned, and is now built in Lincoln, AL. The third-gem Pilot is lighter yet faster, and the Elite model we drove comes with nine-speed automatic transmission.

Lots of console storage

The center console has a wide, flat surface where you can leave your purse, and it slides open for storage. There are two USB ports and one cigarette power port on the dashboard, plus inside storage area in console there is another cigarette lighter port and USB. And on the back of the console, reachable for second seat passengers, is yet another USB plug.

All that tech

The Pilot was loaded with almost every driver assist imaginable: blind spot alert, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and road departure mitigation.

Navigation and audio

The nav system gave good, constant information on traffic, with alternative routes offered quickly. The system was also quite responsive to finding addresses and providing routes. I loved the pink arrows showing where we were supposed to go on the map.

Which is why we were surprised at how slow the audio system is. If you are listening to Sirius XM and don’t like the song, it takes a maddeningly long time for the channel list to display and to be able to change stations. In reality, of course, it doesn’t take that long. But when you can get live traffic updates instantly, hearing a few extra bars of “Cold As Ice” set my teeth on edge.

What We Loved

  • Double sunroof
  • Second row seats are almost as great as first
  • All available tech
  • Rear Blu-ray disc players
  • Lots of charge ports
  • All wheel drive
  • Rain sensing wipers
  • Nav system with easy to see bright pink arrows
  • Double sunroof (loved this so much, I have to mention it again!)
  • No nickel and diming -all this is standard equipment, with no extra cost

What You Need To Know

  • MSRP: $46,420. And that’s it.
  • Fuel economy is 22 mpg overall; 19 in the city, 26 on the highway
  • Takes regular gas
  • Not yet rated for government safety

    2016 Honda Pilot

    Look – no extra charges! Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

Judy Antell, who is TravelingMom.com's Free in 50 States editor, lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and... More about Judy Antell