2016 Honda Pilot: our long-term road test begins

2016 Honda Pilot

Now that awards season is behind us, The Car Connection’s editors are ready for some in-depth seat time with one of our highest-rated vehicles from the 2016 model year.

Join us in welcoming the 2016 Honda Pilot Touring AWD to the TCC long-term test fleet.

The Pilot is a well-known quantity on these pages. We named it our Best Car To Buy 2016, and already have spent hundreds of miles behind the wheel on first drives and in video road tests.

Over the past nine months, we’ve already found the Pilot is an ideal all-around vehicle for a wide range of drivers. It nails the “utility” part of “sport-utility vehicle,” and makes for a fantastic automotive au pair, what with all of its space, safety and infotainment options.

It has to be great, with tough rivals like the Nissan Pathfinder, Ford Explorer, and Hyundai Santa Fe gunning for it.

Flying business class

Our White Diamond Pearl long-term vehicle arrived at a completely green 259 miles. After a few long-distance trips and lots of short-hop errands, we’re comfortably out of the break-in mileage zone.

Like all Pilot Touring SUVs with all-wheel drive, our family truckster comes standard with an impressive list of standard features. Starting with the standard 280-horsepower V-6, the Touring trim level adds a standard 9-speed automatic (an upgrade over the 6-speed found in lesser versions). EPA fuel economy is published at 19 mpg city, 26 highway, and 22 combined.

On the infotainment front, our Pilot has a touchscreen system with navigation, satellite radio, a Blu-Ray rear-seat entertainment system, and USB ports with high-output charging for iPads.

Safety gear includes a standard side-view camera and a multi-view rearview camera. A technology suite includes adaptive cruise control, a lane-departure warning system, lane-keeping assistance, and forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking.

Luxury touches include a power moonroof, 20-inch wheels, heated power front seats, a power tailgate, remote start, leather upholstery, and keyless ignition. Functional touches include second-row seats that lower at the touch of a button, three-zone automatic climate control, and a 115-volt power outlet.

All told, the Pilot Touring’s base price comes in at $43,700. According to Honda‘s information and pricing Web site for shoppers, there’s already been a $170 price increase.

Coming up: miles, miles, miles

How will the Honda Pilot hold up over time? Will we find more nits to pick, or will its high review scores seem like an understatement?

We’ll soon find out. Over the coming months, our Pilot is going to be put through the gamut of real-world driving exams. We’ll tell you if we’d order it differently, and point out the things we’d change as well as the things we’ll never live without again.

We’ll show you the ins and outs of the Honda infotainment and telematics services, and show you how the Pilot can text and talk to your phone while you’re driving.

Of course, we’ll put it through the family-style challenges in which every crossover SUV should excel. We’ll test its child-safety-seat access, see how many people of various sizes fit best in its seven seats, and will take it on a cross-country road trip worthy of National Lampoon’s Vacation.

While we’re at it, we’ll wedge in some gas-mileage runs, car-seat tests and other tasks to figure out if we’ve missed something in naming it our Best Car To Buy.

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