Business Insider/Hollis Johnson
- For Honda, the stalwart Accord and Civic sedans have for decades delivered reliable sales and helped the company profit year after year.
- But with the meteoric rise of SUVs in recent years, Honda now depends more and more on crossover utes like the mid-size Pilot.
- The three-row, mid-size Honda Pilot is updated for the 2019 model year with fresh styling, a more refined drivetrain, and new tech.
- In the marketplace, the Pilot competes with the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, Subaru Ascent, Nissan Pathfinder, and Volkswagen Atlas.
- All Pilots are powered by a 3.5-liter, 280 horsepower V6 engine mated to either a six-speed or a nine-speed automatic transmission.
- The base 2019 Honda Pilot LX with front-wheel drive starts at $31,450. Our top-of-the-line all-wheel-drive Elite trim test car starts at $48,020. A $995 destination and handling fee pushed the as-tested price to $49,015.
For decades, Honda has depended on its stalwart Accord and Civic sedans to deliver not only sales volume but also profits.
The automotive landscape has changed drastically in recent years. Crossover SUVs are now king of the showroom. For Honda, it’s the CR-V compact crossover.
The Civic and Accord remain Honda’s second and third best sellers in the US with 326,000 and 291,000 units respectively left showrooms in 2018. But those figures are down 13.7% and 9.8% respectively compared to 2017.
Fortunately for the Japanese auto giant, sales of its fourth most popular offering, the mid-size Pilot crossover SUV, surged 25% last year to just under 160,000 sold.
According to data from Kelly Blue Book, the Pilot is the third best-selling three-row mid-size SUV in the US behind only the Toyota Highlander and the segment leader Ford Explorer.
The current third-generation Pilot has been around since 2016. However, Honda decided to give the Lincoln, Alabama-built family hauler a mid-life refresh for the 2019 model year.
Recently, Business Insider had the chance to spend a week with a 2019 Honda Pilot AWD Elite to see how the updated crossover stacks up to the competition.
The base 2019 Honda Pilot LX with front-wheel drive starts at $31,450. Our top-of-the-line all-wheel-drive Elite trim test car starts at $48,020. A $995 destination and handling fee pushed the as-tested price to $49,015.
Honda introduced the first generation Pilot back in 2003. It was the company’s first mid-size SUV.
Previously, Honda’s SUVs were simply rebadged versions of models made by other manufacturers. For example, this 2002 Honda Passport is really an Isuzu Rodeo.
In the 1990s, Honda even sold rebadged a Land Rover Discovery Series 1 as the Crossroad.
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Source: Business Insider