2017 Honda Pilot Expert Review

4.7 Overall Score
Performance 4.7 Comfort 4.6 Styling 4.4 Value 4.5

Editor's Overview

Honda’s 2017 Pilot SUV provides 3-row comfort and convenience in a vehicle noted for its reliability and strong resale. This 3rd-generation Pilot is slightly smaller than the last, but the design is sleeker and more upscale. The Pilot sacrifices some interior room to the design, making it smaller inside than the aging Chevrolet Traverse, but larger than Ford’s Explorer.

You'll Like The 2017 Honda Pilot If...

With its eye-appealing style, luxurious interior appointments and impressive driving characteristics, the 2017 Honda Pilot is the 8-passenger, 3-row family SUV by which to judge all others.

You May Not Like The 2017 Honda Pilot If...

If you need lots of cargo space behind the 3rd-row seat or need to tow serious loads, a full-size SUV like the Chevy Tahoe or Nissan Armada makes a better choice. Those looking for base-model pricing with advanced driver-assist features will need to look to the Toyota Highlander.

What's New

After a complete redo last year, the 2017 Honda Pilot SUV sees only minor changes. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are made standard on EX trims and higher, while the black interior option is now offered on all trims wearing White Diamond Pearl paint.

Interior Features

The 2017 Honda Pilot interior boasts soft-touch surfaces on the dash and doors, which combine with on-road quiet and comfortable seats for a sophisticated feel. The comfort combines with practicality with a generous cargo area, and a huge center console bin with plenty of storage space. Thankfully, Honda has upgraded its navigation system for one from Garmin, although not everyone will like the cartoonish colors. The 2nd-row seats are comfortable, and the one-touch folding mechanism borrowed from the Acura MDX eases 3rd-row access. We also like the multiple USB ports (up to five) and the available HD rear-entertainment system.

Exterior Features

The 2017 Honda Pilot shuns the first two generations’ boxy styling in favor of sleek lines that are clearly designed to evoke a family resemblance to the smaller CR-V and HR-V. While it no longer stands out in a parking lot, the current Pilot SUV looks better overall. We particularly like the LED accents in the headlights, and a taillight design that reflects the same pattern. However, some may find the cargo floor is a couple inches higher than need be, while other will lament the glass on the rear hatch no longer opens independently of the hatch itself.

Driving Impressions

It doesn’t take long behind the wheel of Honda’s 2017 Pilot SUV to determine this might just be the best-riding, best-handling 3-row family transport under $40,000. You can find more powerful competitors, even hybrid options, but for our tastes the 280-horsepower V6 is more than adequate. The smooth-shifting 9-speed automatic transmission performs without fuss, although its 1-mpg improvement over the standard 6-speed automatic can’t really justify the extra cost. We wouldn’t classify the Pilot’s performance as sporty, but rather overwhelmingly confident. On the road, the Pilot feels nimble and maneuverable, with a very tight turning radius that makes it easy to navigate in tight spots. The Pilot’s switchgear and instruments are all logically arranged and easy to access, and the low levels of wind and tire noise are commendable, as is the ability to hold a conversation over two rows even at highway speeds.

Pricing Notes

A base FWD 2017 Pilot LX carries a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just under $31,500 including the $900 destination charge. The much nicer EX and EX-L grades start a few thousand higher, at $33,900 and $37,400, respectively. Touring models start at about $42,500. Adding the Honda Sensing system to any model increases the cost by $1,000. Add $1,800 if you want AWD. The top-line 2017 Honda Pilot Elite model tops out at about $48,000. Overall, Honda’s Pilot SUV for 2017 is priced competitively against the Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder and Ford Explorer. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid, and be comfortable knowing that over the years your Honda Pilot will hold its value better than the Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder, Dodge Durango and Chevrolet Traverse.

Notable Equipment

The basic front-wheel-drive (FWD) 2017 Honda Pilot LX comes standard with a multi-angle rearview camera and a tire-pressure-monitoring system that flashes the lights when you've filled a tire to its proper pressure. Cruise control, audio and phone controls are all located on the steering wheel, and all Pilots come with Bluetooth, a 4.2-inch information screen between the gauges, push-button start, and an Eco mode to help fuel economy. Still, it's worth upgrading to at least the EX model, which adds Honda's Intelligent Traction Management system, an upgraded audio system that includes HondaLink, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Honda's clever LaneWatch right-side-view camera.

Notable Options

The new Honda Pilot breaks most of its options into different models. For example, if you want things like dynamic guidelines on your rearview camera, you'll have to step up to the EX model. If you want leather, you're in EX-L territory. The 9-speed automatic is standard once you get to Touring and Elite models. All-wheel drive (AWD) is optional on all models, except for Elite, where it's standard. Also available on all new Honda Pilot models (besides LX) is the Honda Sensing suite of collision and road-departure mitigation and warning, lane-departure warning, active cruise and lane-keeping assist.

Favorite Features

HONDA SENSING

Available on all but the base LX trim, Honda Sensing bundles lane-keeping assist with rear cross-path detection, adaptive cruise control and road-departure mitigation as well as the Pilot EX’s LaneWatch monitor in a safety suite designed to help the driver both see and avoid potential hazards.

UNDER-FLOOR STORAGE

You’ll like what Honda has done to improve storage without impinging on passenger comfort. The hidden cargo area behind the third seat adds about three cubic feet of storage and has a sturdy reversible cover carpeted on one side that conveniently stows away at the bottom of the cargo well.

Under the Hood

There's only one engine available for the 2017 Honda Pilot: a 3.5-liter V6 putting out 280 horsepower. This engine is offered with either a 6-speed automatic or, in Touring and Elite models, a 9-speed automatic. We were impressed by the 9-speed transmission’s operation, particularly because this ZF-supplied transmission has received mixed reviews in other manufacturers’ cars where it's used. All models offer AWD, and the sophisticated system is standard on Elite models. Interestingly, a traction-management system that optimizes the AWD and FWD function for snow, mud or other surfaces is standard on all but LX models. The engine offers an Eco mode that shuts off half the cylinders under light throttle to help improve fuel economy.

3.5-liter V6

280 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

262 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy (estimated): 19/27 mpg (6-speed automatic, FWD), 18/26 mpg (6-speed automatic, AWD), 20/27 mpg (9-speed automatic, FWD), 19/26 mpg (9-speed automatic, AWD) Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.

Editors' Notes

Honda’s venerable Pilot SUV for 2017 provides 3-row convenience in a vehicle noted for its reliability and strong resale. This 3rd-generation Pilot is slightly smaller than the last, but the design is sleeker and more upscale. The Pilot sacrifices some interior room to the design, making it smaller inside than the aging Chevrolet Traverse, but still slightly larger than the current Ford Explorer. The 2017 Pilot is also up to speed on the latest safety features, offering driver-assist systems like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and crash-detection and mitigation. On the road, the Pilot is every bit the equal of the Toyota Highlander and Nissan Pathfinder, although it can’t match the off-road prowess of a Ford Explorer or Land Rover Discovery.

Road Test Video Reviews

2017 Honda Pilot Owner Reviews

4.63
268 Reviews
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Best Car I've Ever Owned!

2017 Honda Pilot Touring

The Honda Pilot is the best car I've ever had. It is comfortable, roomy, and has just about any feature you could want. I like the adaptive cruise control a lot. The car will automatically slow down when needed. It took a little time to get used to but now that I've had my car for over 2 years, it is one of my favorite features. I have 2 kids and 2 dogs that travel with us most of the time and the Pilot has plenty of room for us and all of our stuff! It takes a little maneuvering with luggage for longer trips but for a small SUV, it's perfect. I also love the storage spot in the back. It's sort of like a hidden trunk that comes in handy when you need to hide things from view or need to carry more luggage, etc. The cover can be laid flat into the bottom of the area to contain groceries. No more sliding around and unbagging all of your things! The only complaints I have is that it is a little slow in accelerating when on the highway. And the rear A/C controls are low and if there is someone sitting in the middle seat of the middle row, it never fails that they kick the controls.

- Rachel B

2017 Honda Pilot Touring- Fits family of 5 comfortably and with extra space

2017 Honda Pilot Touring

I love my Honda Pilot! Our family is constantly on the road between dropping kids off at school, sports, and going to work, which is why we needed a vehicle big enough for our family. The leather seats and third row offers enough space for a family of five, and sometimes we can even invite friends. This vehicle has exceeded our expectations. One of the downsides is that if the third row is up, there's not enough cargo space. When we take long road trips, the kids ride comfortably in the rear seats and watch movies the whole time. I did notice that when it hit about 10,000 miles it started jerking a little when changing gears. I took it in to a dealership and they fixed it since it was still under warranty. By the way we also purchased the extended warranty and the oil and filter changes up to 30,000 and it has been worth it. Other than that, it has been a great investment and can't wait to take it on more road trips.

- Elizabeth G

Live Simply: High ceilings, digital speedometer, and spacious interior

2017 Honda Pilot LX

I love how spacious my Honda Pilot is. It is very durable, efficient, and easy to maneuver. It drives smoothly. One of the most unique features is that is has a digital number display to let me know how fast I am going. I love the camera when I turn on my blinker to go right. It is perfect for blind spots. I wish it had the same camera on the left. I love the backup camera. I wish it beeped to let me know if I'm too close. I have avoided many fender benders and accidents because of the warning system that goes off when I'm too close to a car and sometimes when the breaks will auto lock for me. I love the sun roof and the spacious third row seating that lays down so you can have more trunk space. I have been frustrated with the trunks rain drainage defect. It has dumped rain water inside my car. It happened twice after being fixed and the drainage holes that were sealed had to be drilled out.

- Kristina M

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