I jetted off to California for two days last week to test drive the new and improved 2019 Honda Pilot. Inside and out there have been an assortment of modifications and upgrades. On the outside the Honda Pilot was given a more rugged look to match it’s towing and off-road capability. Inside there are all kinds of technology upgrades from the addition of Cabin Talk and wireless charging to a more intelligent AWD. Not to mention it now comes with Honda Sensing on every trim level.
5 Trim Levels
The 2019 Honda Pilot comes in 5 trim levels, and for most customers the middle EX-L trim level will get them everything they want, including leather, Cabin Talk, rear entertainment center, and 2 extra USB ports.
If you feel like splurging, the top level is the Elite. It is the Elite model that I tested, so the photos, videos and my overall opinion is based on the Elite model. The Elite model fully loaded costs just under $50,000. This may seem too expensive, but it is less than many of the competitors. The Elite model has all the technology upgrades including the new Display, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, Honda exclusive CabinTalk and the CabinControl app. Keep in mind that the basic Pilot LX starts out at a much lower price of $32,445.
Exclusive Elite Features in the 2019 Honda Pilot
Being Elite means having it all. It’s this trim level that gives you wireless charging, AWD, multiple moon roofs, captain’s chairs in the second row, cooling and heating seats in the front, and rain sensing wipers. This is on top of all the other features available in the other trim levels.
What is Cabin Talk?
I’ve already mentioned Cabin Talk twice, and there’s a reason; it’s awesome. Near the driver is a microphone. The driver can use the microphone to talk through the Pilot’s back speakers to everyone in the car. How’s that for grabbing your kid’s attention? But what if they have on headphones? If they have on the headphones that come with the rear entertainment center, or if they are plugged into the jacks in the 3rd row, the microphone plays what you say into the headphones. How great is that?!
In addition to CabinTalk, they’ve added the CabinControl app to the new Pilot. This is an app that can be added to a mobile phone. Once added, the people seated in the second or third row can control various things throughout the car, like climate, radio and more. In the app you can create a playlist that everyone can contribute too. This sounds so awesome, but, knowing my kids, this could turn into a problem.
Notable Things about the 2019 Honda Pilot:
WiFi hot spot
Volume Knob has been added back
Towing capacity 5,000 lbs
The 3rd row is accessible with the touch of a button
I had the opportunity to run the Pilot through an off road course in California, and I was pleasantly surprised by the overall performance. The Pilot doesn’t have a skid plate underneath, so I figured the course would be conservative. It wasn’t too crazy, but it definitely wasn’t conservative. The course included moguls, hills, sand, rock crawls and more. I had the Pilot up on three wheels more than once, and at one point I was pretty sure that I was going to roll the SUV. However, it handled the course brilliantly and I didn’t wreck a single one of the cars! I do not necessarily think many families will be off-roading their Pilot, but they sure can if they want to.
The Honda Pilot Elite can also tow up to 5,000 pounds.
Honda Sensing is an assortment of safety features that will eventually be put into all Honda vehicles. I originally learned about Honda Sensing last year when I had the opportunity to experience the Honda Clarity. I am thrilled to see them adding it to more cars. Honda Sensing includes:
- Adaptive cruise control – You can set your cruise control, and the car will speed up and slow down based on the speed of the car in front of you.
- Lane Keeping Assist – The system tries to keep the car in the middle of the lane.
- Lane Watch Warning – Under the side mirrors are cameras watching your blind spots. The car will alert you when things are too close, like a bicyclist.
- Road Departure Mitigation System – The cameras on the car see the lanes and works to keep you in the lane.
- Collision Mitigation Braking System – This helps avoid collisions with vehicles or pedestrians in front of you.
- Forward Collision Warning
How does it compare to the competitors?
I happen to have experienced the Volkswagen Atlas this year, the Nissan Armada, and the Toyota Highlander, so I’ve broken down a comparison of the three large family sized SUV’s. I like each of them a lot and would be happy driving any of the four. My personal favorite is the Atlas because it’s feels a bit bigger, and I prefer the works of some of its features over that of the other vehicles. I enjoy driving a big SUV and liked how the Atlas front display worked a lot like my iPhone.
I know what your thinking. What kind of answer is that? Well, it’s an answer based purely upon my own taste. For that reason, I am breaking down some other factors I think are important. Some factors that are important to you when car shopping may not be on here, so if you have a question leave it in the comments, and I’ll do my very best to find you the answer.
2019 Honda Pilot Elite AWD
2018 Kia Sorento SXL AWD
7 or 8
6 or 7
7 or 8
5 or 7
|Driver’s Lumbar Support|
|Second Row Leg room|
|Third Row Leg room|
|Cargo Space with 3rd row up|
16.0 cu ft
20.6 cu ft
13.8 cu ft
11.3 cu ft
|Cargo Space with 3rd row down|
46.0 cu ft
55.5 cu ft
38.0 cu ft
CabinTalk the In-Car PA System, Hill Start Assist
The second row can be moved forward or backwards allowing more legroom for passengers sitting in the 3rd row and parking assist.
It’s a hybrid
|Cooling Front Seats|
|Captain seats optional in second row|
|Heated second row seats|
|What it lacks|
Cannot seat 8
Here’s a video overview of the Honda Pilot.
Shop for a 2019 Honda Pilot on Amazon or on Edmunds.
Now, I cannot wrap this up without sharing about the event locations. I got to stay at Westlake Village Inn and spend quite a bit of time at Epona Estate. Both were stunning properties.
Westlake Village Inn
Westlake Village Inn is absolutely charming. I was immediately in love with all the small details found almost everywhere you look. They have multiple restaurants, a wine bar, and more. The pool has waiter service and a full bar. I spent an afternoon at the wine bar with my friend Alice from Thrills and Wheels. We did a wine flight and sat out on the patio catching up. They have a selection of wines from around the world, including their own private label of wines. The Stonehaus Rose is definitely a must try.
My room was gorgeous, and I am pretty sure I was in the most basic room they had. I wish I had a room with a view, but instead I had the dreaded parking lot view from my patio. I had a lovely stone fireplace in my room, and, from what I’ve gathered, all rooms have a fireplace. I also had a jetted tub, but it didn’t work.
We had a divine welcome dinner at Epona Estate, a 40 acre estate in the famous Hidden Valley, and then returned here the next day to off-road on a custom course. The estate is a working ranch and an up and coming vineyard. The property has lots of trees, including California Oak, Sycamore and Eucalyptus trees. There’s a Koi pond, formal rose garden and a waterfall on the grounds as well.