BY H. THROTTLE
In the last several weeks I’ve had the pleasure to test drive the Mazda CX-9 and most recently the Honda Pilot, both all-wheel-drive SUVs.
During the week I have observed numerous Honda Pilots in the Denver Metro area, fewer Mazda brands. The Mazda is manufactured in Japan. Both of these vehicles are very competitive, well built, and excellent to drive in the Colorado environment dealing with climate weather. The Honda Pilot is slightly higher priced than the Mazda CX-9, both range in the mid to high $45,000 in suggested retail price. Both of these SUVs are loaded with special equipment.
Honda is one of the most successful vehicle manufacturers in the world and they make a variety of wonderful products form motorcycles, scooters, lawn mowers and automobiles.
Honda cars were among the first ever Japanese cars that invaded the U.S. auto market in the 60s and 70s spawning a vast importation of foreign cars that were very competitive in quality and price. American auto companies had to pick up the pace and match the foreign car influx that still exists today and benefits consumers.
The 2019 Honda Pilot AWD Elite has a 280 horsepower VTEC six-cylinder engine that powers the nine-speed variable transmission. The larger engine has variable cylinder management that contributes to 26 mpg on the highway and an overall 22 mpg. average. The test drive saw mileage climb over 23 mpg reaching 26 mpg.
The transmission has push-button controls that show drive and shifting is done by steering wheel paddles. With the variable transmission, it was rare to change gears. The transmission takes some adjustment to just pushing the buttons to change gears, find park and reverse but it became easy very quickly.
New sound system controls have become more complex to dial radio selections of AM, FM and SiriusXM Satellite stations. I long for the simple dials to control volume and station selection with the vast computerization of the center control screen. These selections take eyes off the road and while Honda and others have devised collision mitigation systems that avoid striking a forward object these screens are part of the problem of driver road alertness leading to so many forward collisions.
The 2019 Honda is not yet safety rated but has all of the necessary safety features of multiple airbags and collision mitigation braking. Also, lane assist and lane departure warnings.
The second-row seating in the Honda has heated captain chairs and third-row folding seats. The third-row seats fold down for a large trunk capacity assisted with a push-button rear door panel. The rear panel opens easily from a driver seat lower dash control button.
The heated seats and steering wheel have been very welcome during the colder days being encountered this winter. The SUV has good traction and all-weather tires. The ride of the Honda is exceptionally smooth and comfortable.
The Apple Car Play system allows my Apple phone calls to arrive on the center screen with easy options to hear the louder sound and speak on the phone hand’s free.
This Honda Pilot has final assembly in Lincoln, Alabama with the engine and transmission made in the USA.
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