2013 Honda Pilot Touring
2013 Honda Pilot Touring
2013 Honda Pilot Touring. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Simon Hill

Since its introduction for the 2009 model year I’ve always liked the second-generation Honda Pilot. It’s practical without being plebeian, comfortable without being soft, and luxurious without being pretentious. It’s just the ticket for transporting yourself and seven kids to a softball game, hauling a load of pre-assembled storage cabinets back from the local Home Depot, or taking the family – and all their luggage – on a road trip.

It also stands out as one of the few test vehicles that’s actually garnered a nickname from my kids: they call Pilots “Woloomobiles,” based on the digital dashboard greeting that expands outward from an imaginary horizontal line so that just before it reads “Welcome” it actually spells out “Woloomo.” When I last tested a Pilot, the kids were young enough that they’d chant out “Woloomo, woloomo!” as I fumbled around to get the car started, and while they’re too old for that game now, they remembered it and played it again for teenage laughs.

Like my kids, the Pilot has grown up some since I last tested it, without losing any of its essential character. A mid-cycle refresh for the 2012 model year saw the ruggedly boxy styling smoothed a little at the front, addressing what was indeed my only real complaint about the early second-generation vehicle: its slightly puckered-looking grille. It now bears a much more handsome (if perhaps less distinctive-looking) horizontally ribbed chrome grille, and here and there it has had its sharp edges rounded off. Inside, the 2012 refresh included a revised (and much improved) centre stack with more logically arranged controls, and a bunch more technological content.

For 2013 the refreshed Pilot carries over mostly unchanged, although Honda has added some significant new standard equipment to the lower trim LX models, including an eight-inch multi-information display, USB audio input, and rearview camera (these all remain standard on higher trim models). A new Obsidian Blue paint colour has been added to the lineup too, though my top-of-the-line Touring test car wasn’t outfitted in the new colour, but rather in a Dark Amber Metallic finish that seemed to change colour in different lighting.

2013 Honda Pilot Touring2013 Honda Pilot Touring2013 Honda Pilot Touring2013 Honda Pilot Touring
2013 Honda Pilot Touring. Click image to enlarge

What hasn’t changed is the Pilot’s well-appointed seating for up to eight and its roomy, versatile luggage capacity. Short of a minivan, there are few vehicles as commodious as the Pilot. The first two rows of seating are uncompromisingly comfortable, and even the third row is reasonably accommodating – at 5’11” I found it a little tight on knee room but reasonably comfy, with cupholders, storage cubbies and individual air vents in the outboard positions. If you need to load cargo instead of passengers, the second and third rows fold quickly and easily in a 60/40 split configuration, allowing 589 L of cargo space with all seats up, 1,351 L with the third row folded, and 2,464 L with all seats folded.

2013 Honda Pilot Touring2013 Honda Pilot Touring2013 Honda Pilot Touring2013 Honda Pilot Touring
2013 Honda Pilot Touring. Click image to enlarge
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