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Weidel on Wheels: This beefy crossover is easy to Pilot

Honda SUV has car-like capabilities, a brawny look and a quality ride
By: Jeffrey Weidel
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Honda SUV has car-like capabilities, a brawny look and a quality ride
At first glance, it’s hard to believe this beefy-looking sport utility vehicle is viewed as a mid-size crossover.

Sitting tall and with nearly three inches added in width during last year’s second-generation remodeling, one would swear that the Honda Pilot rests on a truck frame.

And maybe that’s the beauty of the Pilot — looks can be very deceiving.
Even if it doesn’t have the same type of handling capability one comes to expect from the many sleek crossovers that now inhabit the road, for a fairly big SUV, the Pilot is hardly truck-like — even if its boxy and upright exterior appearance suggests otherwise.

Not much has changed with the 2010 Honda Pilot since last year’s major remodeling. Still based on the popular Accord, the Pilot delivers a solid combination of utility, performance, comfort and high-quality features that honestly reminds some people of the popular Odyssey minivan.

The Touring model was test driven here. Like the other three Pilot trims, the Touring model comes with a 3.5-liter, V-6 engine that has 250 horsepower and a five-speed automatic transmission. The performance is not overly impressive and doesn’t match some of the competition.

Still, for everyday use the Pilot provides the basic necessities. Although now more rugged in appearance than ever, don’t plan on any off-road adventures. The towing capacity is 3,500 pounds with the two-wheel drive and increases to 4,500 in four-wheel drive.

Originally unveiled in 2003, some car-like qualities of the Pilot remain, so it continues to deliver a comfortable ride on most road surfaces. The Pilot scores near the top in many safety aspects with the exception of its mediocre braking. Gas mileage ranges from 16 to 22 miles per gallon.

The sticker price for the four-wheel drive Touring model, which includes a top-tier navigation and DVD entertainment system in the back seat, is relatively high at an estimated $40,245. Yet the two-wheel drive LX model can be purchased for around $27,895.

Prior to last year’s redesign, the Pilot received criticism for its smallish third-row seating, which most owners probably lay flat and left unused. The third row seating has increased in size this year, but it’s still not too suitable for adults.

However, the second row offers supportive seating with solid head and legroom. The Pilot’s cargo space ranks high as well and really opens up when the third row goes down. There is an abundance of storage bins that give the Pilot some suitable family versatility.

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2010 Honda Pilot

Price: Starting from $27,895 to $40,245

Mileage estimate: 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway   

Power: 3.5-liter V-6 engine with 250 horsepower
       
Standard features include: Antilock disc brakes; standard electronic stability control; traction control; keyless entry; power windows, doors, mirrors; CD/MP3 player; digital-media player connection; compass; rear seat pass-through; automatic headlights; child seat tether anchors

Where to buy

Get it here: Auburn Honda

Where: 1801 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn

Call: (530) 823-7234

On the Web: Auburnhonda.com