By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.8
For many buyers the 2014 Honda Pilot will be the perfect SUV. It's mid-size on the outside, with all the resultant benefits in maneuverability and parking ease, yet with the 8-passenger capacity of full-size models. Factor in proven Honda reliability and customer satisfaction, the pleasurable driving experience, good resale value, its comprehensive offering of features and that it's the most fuel-efficient 8-passenger SUV on the market, and it's very difficult not to like the 2014 Pilot. Its competitors include the Nissan Pathfinder, Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander, all having their own attributes and attractions, but seating only seven passengers and lacking the Pilot's appeal. The 2014 Pilot is a near-ideal choice for reliable and efficient transportation for families and their gear.
Need room for eight people? Don't want a minivan? Don't want to mess with something bigger? Concerned about fuel economy? Looking for the peace of mind of proven reliability and customer satisfaction? Check out the 2014 Honda Pilot.
Maybe you really do need something bigger, or you tow a larger trailer than the 4,500-pound capacity the Pilot will handle. You probably ought to shop for something with a V8.
KBB Expert Ratings
For 2014 the Honda Pilot continues without any significant changes.
Driving Impressions The 2014 Honda Pilot's driving characteristics are not what you might expect from its upright and somewhat squared-off look but, from behind the wheel, it feels very much like a...... good-handling sedan, and not a particularly big one, at that. It starts with unit construction, a fully independent suspension and responsive rack-and-pinion steering, and the result is a smooth and comfortable ride, excellent directional stability on the highway and precise, predictable handling in the curves. The 250-horsepower V6 is willing but certainly not the most powerful in the group, yet delivers more than ample performance for daily driving or merging with freeway traffic. The Pilot with 4-wheel drive (4WD) should be excellent on assorted slippery surfaces, including snow. This is probably not the vehicle for severe off-roading, but the "lock mode" of the VTM-4WD system delivers the maximum-possible transfer of torque to the rear wheels to help deal with extremely low-traction conditions.
AUTOMATIC 4-WHEEL DRIVE
The Pilot's available Variable Torque Management (VTM-4) system includes fully automatic 4-wheel-drive capability and a "lock mode" that can send the maximum-possible torque to the rear wheels to help with extremely low-traction situations, such as getting out of stuck conditions.
VERSATILE 2ND-ROW SEATING
The 2014 Honda Pilot's 60/40-split 2nd-row seats slide and recline to comfortably accommodate adult-sized passengers. In addition, each of the three seats incorporates the LATCH child-safety system.
The 2014 Honda Pilot's interior is a study in efficiency. All controls are logically placed and easy to operate; there's nothing eye-popping, just basic good design that works well. Still, the interior is not bare or bland, and in the EX-L trim level it is luxuriously plush. Each of the three rows of seats provides more-than-adequate legroom, welcome in the mid-size category. Cargo capacity behind the rear seat is roughly equivalent to the trunk of a large sedan, there's a generous storage bin below the rear floor and plenty of roof space for a carrier rack.Exterior
With a fairly long wheelbase, short overhangs and generous interior space, the exterior of the 2014 Honda Pilot is defined by function and thus tends to upright and somewhat boxy. But it's not unpleasant and will certainly not go out of style in the next model cycle. Details include turn signals integrated into the halogen headlights, 17-inch steel wheels on the LX trim, 5-spoke, 18-inch alloy wheels on the EX and EX-L trim levels, and 6-spoke alloys with machined surfaces on the Touring models. The rear glass flips up for access to the cargo area.
The 2014 Honda Pilot LX includes 3-zone climate control, an 8-inch multi-information display with a rearview camera and a 7-speaker audio system with Bluetooth. EX models add a 10-way-power driver's seat, fog lights and automatic on/off headlights, while EX-L trims include a moonroof, leather seating with heated front seats and a power liftgate. Top-level Touring models include memory for the front seats, rear sonar proximity sensors and a premium sound system. Safety items include comprehensive electronic stability controls and driving aids and a full complement of occupant-protection features.
Options for the 2014 Honda Pilot are mostly linked to the various trim levels. Among the available features are Variable Torque Management 4-wheel drive (VTM-4), a ceiling-mounted rear-seat DVD entertainment system and voice-activated navigation with integrated FM traffic data.
Admittedly not the strongest engine in the class, the 2014 Honda Pilot's 3.5-liter V6 makes 250 horsepower and is a willing and responsive performer for any reasonable driving situation the Pilot is likely to encounter. The 5-speed automatic transmission includes Grade Logic Control for maintaining the optimum gear selection when ascending or descending grades, thus minimizing annoying "hunting" between gears. With Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) the engine operates in 6-cylinder mode for maximum power or 4-cylinder or 3-cylinder mode for enhanced efficiency.
250 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
253 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg (front-wheel drive), 17/24 mpg (4WD)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the base model 2014 Honda Pilot LX trim level with front-wheel drive is right around $30,000. The well-equipped EX-L model, with leather and 4-wheel drive, is near $37,000, while a fully loaded Touring with 4WD, navigation and Rear Entertainment System is well over $41,000. Generally speaking, aside from Toyota's base 4-cylinder Highlander, most of the Pilot's likely competition will be priced starting in the low-$30,000 range. Before heading off to the dealership, check KBB.com for the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price and an indication of what the Pilot is actually selling for in your area. Resale is also a plus with the 2014 Honda Pilot, as it is expected to maintain residual values that are roughly competitive with those of the Toyota Highlander and Nissan Pathfinder and higher than those for the Chevrolet Traverse and Ford Explorer.