The chunky, cavernous Honda Pilot gets a mild refresh for 2012, with a new look and a bit more fuel economy.
From the outside the Pilot’s grille loses its squared-off ring and instead gains three chrome strips across the nose, which brings it in line with other Honda vehicles like the Accord and Odyssey. It retains its wide-eyed headlight stare, however. A new front bumper, five-spoke 18-inch wheels, and chrome strips along the door ding strips help convey a slicker appearance.
Inside, Honda has taken strides to rearrange some buttons and decrease interior noise. The Pilot gets a piano-black center console to minimize the brightwork of the outgoing silver look, which resembled a hi-fi boombox from the late 1990s. On EX-L and Touring models, the Pilot gets a voice-activated 60GB hard drive for storing MP3s, Bluetooth audio streaming, and Honda’s Satellite-Linked Navigation System that offers traffic updates as far as Alaska, in case the Pilot’s adventures take you that far.
Perhaps most notably, front wheel drive and all-wheel drive Pilots get fuel economy improvements: 1 mpg more in the city, and 2 mpg more on their highway and combined scores. Four-wheel drive Pilots get 17 city/24 highway/20 combined, while front-wheel drive Pilots now score 18 city/25 highway/21 combined, which Honda says puts it best among eight-passenger SUVs. Unfortunately, Honda is sticking with its five-speed automatic transmission, rather than upgrading the Pilot with its new six-speed that has appeared in some Acura products.
By the time you read this the 2012 Pilot will be in showrooms, and at the same price as before.