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Honda Pilot, which the authors of this article for Weekly.ua took on a test drive to the rural town of Svalyava, impressed us with its exterior and interior size. The model built on a same platform with the Acura MDX, unlike its luxurious brother, has a rather callous appearance that even owners of expensive sedans succumb to when looking at the rear-view mirror.
Inside, the Pilot is just as impressive with a maximum seating capacity of eight. Although sitting in the third row is not that comfortable, a passenger can survive a few hours drive.
The second row is more spacious accommodating three people of a larger stature. The seats can be moved backwards and forwards, the incline of the back of the seat can be adjusted and the seats can even be heated. The second row is equipped with climate control at the touch of a button.
When the third row seats are collapsed, the luggage space is somewhat limited. Another drawback is that it is not fitted with a curtain to hide its contents from the eyes of a passerby. To compensate, the Pilot features a luggage hold under the hatch and the back door opens at the press of an electronic button on the keys.
When you fold down both rows of seats in the back, you instantly have 1,680 liters of cargo space. The front seats are also quite spacious and are equipped with electronic regulation and memory for several positions.
Clearly, this vehicle was designed for the U.S., where many people are overweight. The rough textured plastic dashboard is also reminiscent of the vehicle’s U.S.-oriented design. It seems this is a “disease” that all SUVs made in the U.S. suffer from.
The Pilot has a huge center console with a deep storage compartment separated into three parts (one for cup-holders) with a sliding cover that stops at each section and serves as a useful flat surface between the seats when fully closed. When you leave the car, you can conveniently hide your cell phone, camera and other gadgets or items that might attract burglars.
The Honda Pilot is great for long-distance trips. The suspension is quite tough and virtually impenetrable. It easily cruises over streetcar tracks, potholes on roads in Western Ukraine and speed bumps at 40 km/h.
Parking a Honda Pilot on the narrow streets of Ivano-Frankivsk turned out to be easier than one would have thought. When you switch gears into reverse, the side mirrors automatically lower so that the driver can see the curb and a color display lights up in the rear view mirror showing an image from the rear. However, a driver can feel the square form of the overall dimensions of the vehicle without such frills.
Steering this 2-meter wide SUV is almost as easy as steering a standard lightweight car. Naturally, you can feel how the vehicle careens when turning, but this is normal for a vehicle of this size and smoothness of driving.
The vehicle’s all-terrain capacity is quite modest. The fact is that when cruising on a hard surface, the front wheels are spinning. The real wheels only kick in when the front wheels are spinning in sand. Forced blockage of the master differential can come to the rescue in such situations. It was only thanks to this that we managed to pull out of the Carpathian mud.
The Honda Pilot accelerates on a hard surface to 100 km/h in slightly less than 10 seconds. That is more than a respectable indicator for a family sedan with an electronically limited maximum speed of 180 km/h. The greatest advantage of this vehicle, however, is its economy engine. The ingenious Japanese have developed the Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system.
The essence of its operation comes down to turning off two or three cylinders. As a result, fuel consumption during the test drive was slightly over 12 liters/100 km, while on the freeway at 90 km/h, the onboard computer showed an even lower figure than that written in the technical specs – 8 liters/100 km. An excellent indicator for a vehicle of this size and weight.