What’s New – The 2009 Honda Pilot helped to define the whole segment with a combination of comfort, utility and ability that other manufacturers have only recently surpassed. With the new Pilot, Honda once again takes a leading position with a more powerful engine, sleeker styling and a more luxurious interior.
Why It Matters – The new Honda Pilot offers buyers a wide range of options, including a new Touring trim level for those who want an added dose of luxury in their rides. New engine technology makes the Pilot more fuel efficient than before, and an innovative cargo management system virtually doubles the carrying space behind the third row.
Honda Pilot – 2009 First Drive:You can’t please all the people all the time, or so the saying goes. Generally speaking it’s true. Satisfy one group and you leave others wanting. Cater to the second group and, whoops, now the first are left out in the cold.
It’s a conundrum carmakers are faced with all the time. If the first group wants a big comfortable vehicle that can carry eight passengers, and the second doesn’t want to drive something that feels more maritime than Main Street, where does the company plant its flag? After all, you can’t please both groups right?
The 2009 Honda Pilot is one of those rare vehicles that come admirably close to giving everybody what they want. Need room for the family? Check. Want tight parking-lot maneuverability? Check. Need a livable third row, with enough room behind it for more than a box of paper clips? Check, and check. Yet with the new Pilot there’s more: More power, more luxury, more features, and thanks to the new Touring trim, more models than before. Yes, the second-generation Honda Pilot improves on its predecessor in every way, while at the same time surpassing most of its competition in every category.
Wait, did we just say “most?”
Yes, because as good as the new Pilot is – and it’s very good – it fails to give a serious knockout punch. In particular, there is one competitor which still gives it a run for its money. It doesn’t wear a Toyota or Nissan badge, instead, it says “GMC” in huge letters in front, and “Acadia” in chrome block on the back. Since its introduction, the GMC Acadia it has been our benchmark for the class, and while the new Pilot definitely knocks it around, the GMC is still standing.
But more on that later.
Still, the 2009 Honda Pilot once again claims a top spot on our list of desirable crossovers thanks to its clever packaging, combination of features, clever engineering and innate goodness.