The redesigned and refreshed 2019 Honda Pilot brings a long list of upgrades to Honda’s award-winning 8-seat SUV. The numerous changes include more aggressive exterior styling, an available new hands-free power tailgate, substantial powertrain refinements, major upgrades to available connected-car technology, an available new Display Audio touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ integration, and a volume knob. The 2019 Pilot also adopts the Honda Sensing® suite of advanced driver-assistive and safety technology as standard in all trims. The 2019 Pilot LX with standard front-wheel drive carries a starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $31,450 (excluding $995 destination and handling).
While all Pilot trim levels benefit from refreshed styling, technical upgrades and new features-including newly standard Honda Sensing®-the popular EX trim extends its value story even further as it gains several premium features while maintaining the same price point as the outgoing EX w/ Honda Sensing® trim.
Combined, the upgrades to Pilot reinforce its capabilities while emphasizing the state-of-the-art technology and family-friendly character that has made it one of the most popular midsize 3-row SUVs. Pilot also remains one of the few models in its segment to offer 8 seats (7-seats with the optional second-row Captain’s Chairs), with three-person capacity in both the second and third rows, and with third row access made simple and easy by the available One-Touch Walk-In feature.
In addition, the 2019 Honda Pilot’s 9-speed automatic transmission, available in Touring and Elite trims, gets new tuning for enhanced drivability and smoother shifts, while Pilot’s Idle Stop system now provides quicker restarts and more seamless operation.
The 2019 Honda Pilot’s updated exterior reflects its off-road capabilities without losing what makes Pilot a perennial favorite in the midsize SUV segment. The front sports an aggressive new front fascia with standard LED low-beam headlights, while the rear features new taillights, a new bumper, and chrome accents.
The new front bumper incorporates larger fog light housings, fully integrated into the bumper, giving the 2019 Pilot a more aggressive look. A redesigned grille features a bold interpretation of the Honda “flying wing” grille design, with its chrome band extending above the headlights. Further emphasizing the off-road aggressiveness is a new “skid” garnish on the lower portion of the front bumper.
Available fog lights are now LED, the turn signal is thinner, and Honda Pilot Elite models benefit from multi-element full LED headlights, including high beams. Additionally, Pilot Elite models receive power folding mirrors with automatic dimming.
The rear receives new taillights with amber turn signals and LED backup lights. A chrome strip on the rocker extends along the side of the vehicle, wrapping around the rear bumper and highlighting the lower bumper’s skid-type design. Wheels are also more ruggedly styled, with 18-inch designs on LX, EX and EX-L, and an aggressive new 20-inch design on Touring and Elite trims.
A hands-free power tailgate is available for the first time on Pilot on Touring and Elite grades. With the remote key fob in their pocket or handbag, the driver simply kicks their foot under a designated area of the rear bumper. The tailgate then opens without the owner needing to use their hands–very useful for occasions when their hands are full.
In addition to its numerous technology upgrades (described below), updates to Pilot’s interior include new trim around the vents, available 3-way heated front seats, and wider fold-down armrests for the driver and front passenger. Additionally, second-row captain’s chairs are now available on both Touring and Elite models (previously Elite only) and second-row retractable sunshades are available on EX-L, Touring and Elite grades.
For 2019, Pilot receives a number of refinements to the 9-speed automatic transmission (9AT), available in Touring and Elite models. When in Drive and under light-to-moderate throttle, the 9AT will now start in second gear for smoother launch and lower speed acceleration. The transmission also defaults to second-gear launches when the Intelligent Traction Management (ITM) switch is in Snow mode. At full throttle, with steep grades, in S mode, or with the ITM in Sand or Mud, the 9AT will start in first gear.
Pilot also has an upgraded Idle Stop system. Fully integrated with the new second-gear launch mode, it features new programming and a new brake pressure trigger for quicker restarts when accelerating immediately after engine stop, making the system less noticeable in heavy traffic and similar driving situations. The air conditioning has been reconfigured as well to reduce engine restarts. Additionally, when in idle stop, the engine remains off after shifting to Park for a more intuitive driving experience.
SAFETY AND DRIVER-ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGIES
For 2019, all Pilot models come standard with the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies. Honda Sensing® helps provide greater awareness of driving conditions around the vehicle, and in some cases helps drivers maintain lane position. Comprising the Honda Sensing® suite are Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™) with Forward Collision Warning; Road Departure Mitigation (RDM); Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS); and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).
Honda’s blind spot information system (BSI), previously available only on the Elite trim, is now standard on EX, EX-L and Touring trims as well. Additionally, Rear Cross Traffic Monitor has been expanded from the Touring and Elite trims to EX and EX-L.
In addition to the above, Pilot offers numerous other driver-assistive features, such as automatic high beams and a Multi-Angle Rearview Camera, both standard on all trims. The new Pilot was designed to provide a high level of active and passive safety protection and targets a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Already featuring Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ integration, the 2019 Pilot benefits from a variety of enhancements and upgrades to its audio/connectivity and driver convenience features: An all-new available Display Audio system is easier to use, with customizable shortcuts and simplified menus; A redesigned instrument cluster features a new, larger thin-film transistor (TFT) screen with a variety of user-selectable displays; Rear seat occupants benefit from an available updated Rear Entertainment System (RES) with a larger screen and new capabilities; Pilot is also now available with a 4G LTE-based Wi-Fi hotspot.
New Instrument Cluster
The Pilot’s new instrument cluster now uses a 7-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) with a wide range of information content. Not only does it display typical vehicle functions such as vehicle speed and RPM, the TFT includes a Multi-Information Display (MID) with driver-selectable customizable features, such as audio system information, a detailed trip computer, phone information, and turn-by-turn route guidance on Pilot models equipped with navigation. Drivers navigate the new TFT using a new steering wheel with enhanced controls, redesigned for more intuitive operation such as Bluetooth® phone buttons that are more easily distinguished by touch.
More Intuitive Display Audio
Leading the long list of technology upgrades is Pilot’s all-new Display Audio system. Standard in Pilot EX trims and above, its 8-inch touchscreen uses gestures common to smartphones and tablets, such as swipe, tap and pinch, to control the vehicle’s audio system, display settings and other advanced features, while also adding a volume knob. Intuitive and easy to use, with a simplified menu structure, it also offers customizable shortcuts for commonly used features and customizable app locations. Pilot LX, EX, and EX-L models get a 218-watt audio system with six speakers plus a subwoofer. Touring and Elite models get an updated 10-speaker system with, a subwoofer, and 590 watts of power.
The new Display Audio includes AM/FM, HD Radio™, SiriusXM®, Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ integration, and HondaLink® content in Touring and Elite trims. In addition, Pilot models with the new, larger Rear Entertainment System (RES) can play CDs in the same drive that plays DVDs and Blu-ray™ media. Pilot EX-L with Navigation/RES, Touring and Elite models include a fully integrated Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System developed in partnership with Garmin®. Additionally, the Nuance voice-recognition engine (VR) has been improved and now features a simplified one-button operation, with less back-and-forth and improved prompts shown on the screen.
Among the new Display Audio’s many functions are big icons resembling smartphone apps, making the capacitive touchscreen interface intuitive and easy to use. Like a smartphone, apps can be moved and rearranged on each page, or hidden on the touchscreen. Hidden apps are easily restored by accessing the “all apps” list and checking a box. Users also benefit from three customizable onscreen shortcut buttons, so owners can have access to their three favorite features.
The Honda-developed operating system is built on Android and is easily updatable and upgradeable either through a USB stick or over-the-air using the Pilot’s available 4G LTE data plan, the customer’s smartphone-powered hotspot, or any available Wi-Fi network.
HondaLink®, CabinControl™ and CabinTalk™
The available next-generation HondaLink® platform connects customers to online content both inside and outside the car for a variety of cloud-based services. Connected to the user’s smartphone by the Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® wireless interface, the HondaLink® phone app provides convenient access for free services including roadside assistance, vehicle health report, service scheduling and access to the vehicle Owners Guide. Additional fee-based services such as automatic collision notification, remote engine start and stop, security alarm alert and personal concierge are also available.
CabinControl™, an all-new feature on Pilot EX and above trims, is now available. A downloadable app for iPhone and Android phones, CabinControl™ allows passengers to use their smartphones to control a range of Pilot features, including the audio system, Rear Entertainment System (if equipped), and rear climate control system. Any connected phone can also look up an address or point of interest and then send it to the navigation system (if equipped), where the driver can accept or reject it.
Additionally, Social Playlist, operating like a virtual family jukebox, allows up to seven connected phones to share music on a playlist that appears on Pilot’s Display Audio touchscreen, where the front-row occupants can view and control the list.
CabinTalk™ is included on Pilot EX-L models with navigation and rear-seat entertainment, Touring and Elite trims. Using the HandsFreeLink® microphone, it allows those in the front row to easily communicate to those in the second and third rows using the rear speakers, wireless headphones, or both. CabinTalk™ is activated using the Display Audio touchscreen. When the CabinTalk™ app is in use, Blu-ray™ video appearing on the Rear Entertainment System is automatically paused and audio is muted (non Blu-ray content can be muted only). Audio and video automatically resumes when the app is closed.
4G LTE Wi-Fi and Rear Entertainment System
For the first time, Pilot offers an embedded Telematics Control Unit (TCU) in Touring and Elite trims that can provide an AT&T 4G LTE connection inside the vehicle. The system includes a 90-day/3GB (whichever comes first) free trial and once the trial period ends, customers will need to obtain an AT&T data plan to continue service. With a better antenna than in typical smartphones, the system often offers superior reception. The Wi-Fi network can support up to seven devices and enables “Smart TV”-style video streaming of select video content directly to the Rear Entertainment System (RES) via any W-Fi connection. Additionally, content can be streamed directly to the RES through a compatible Android device.
The 2019 Honda Pilot’s all-new state-of-the-art, factory-integrated Rear Entertainment System (RES) for EX-L Navi/RES and above trims features a ceiling-mounted 10.2-inch WSVGA (1024×600) display that swings down, allowing for easy viewing with low glare and better second- and third-row viewing. Its expanded capability over last year’s model includes integration with the onboard 4G LTE data network (Touring and Elite) or a paired smartphone (data charges apply), allowing functionality similar to that of a Smart TV with select content channels.
The system includes a High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) port for attaching high-definition players, digital TV devices such as Apple TV or Roku, compatible tablets and certain gaming consoles. A 115-volt power outlet rated for devices up to 150 watts is included, along with a pair of 2.5-amp USB ports. The system’s disc player is located in the center stack of the instrument panel, easily accessible by either the driver or front passenger. The system can play CDs, DVDs. and Blu-ray™ discs. The Rear Entertainment System can play audio via Pilot’s speaker system, or through a pair of included wireless headphones. Two additional headphone jacks are also provided.
The Rear Entertainment System includes a fun, kid friendly, puppet-themed “How Much Farther?” app. It functions as a “flight tracker” with a colorful on-screen animated marionette play that counts down time and distance to the destination that has been set into the navigation system. Multiple backgrounds with animation give the app a fun feel that’s engaging for children.
Wireless Smartphone Charging
Available for the first time in Pilot is wireless smartphone charging, using the Qi and PMA charging standards. Large enough for even plus-size smartphones, it’s standard on Elite models and available as a dealer-installed accessory on EX, EX-L and Touring trims.