The Honda Pilot has been freshened for 2006 with subtle styling updates along with enhancements to some of the interior features. Also, a new front-wheel-drive model has been added that lowers the price of entry for this midsize sport utility.
The 2006 Honda Pilot models offer enhanced safety in the form of three-row curtain air bags that come as standard equipment. Curtain airbags are important because they can provide head protection in an accident; head injuries are the leading cause of death in side impacts and rollovers.
The available navigation system has been enhanced for 2006 with expanded voice recognition capability and Zagat restaurant ratings. A rearview camera is included with the navigation package to assist when backing up, a terrific feature that may sound like a gimmick but proves to be quite handy for spotting children on tricycles as well as for easier parallel parking.
The Pilot is the Honda of SUVs, practical, efficient, reliable, and powerful. It's a crossover vehicle, so called because it's built on a car structure and drives more like a car than a truck, with crisp, predictable handling and a smooth ride. It's not designed to tackle the Rubicon Trail or tow a big, heavy boat or haul a load of gravel.
Capable of seating up to eight passengers, the Pilot is not a small vehicle. It's larger overall than a Toyota Highlander or Nissan Murano. It's wider and offers more cargo space than a Ford Explorer.
A 3.5-liter V6 motivates the Pilot with 244-horsepower and is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. The power gets to the ground through either the front wheels, or via an advanced, full-time four-wheel-drive system. Yet the Pilot delivers impressive fuel economy, particularly in two-wheel-drive form, thanks to a fuel-saving cylinder-deactivation system that disengages half the engine's cylinders when not required for acceleration or towing. As a Honda, it promises quality, durability and reliability.
All Honda Pilot models come with the V6 engine and a five-speed automatic. They offer a choice of front-wheel drive (2WD) or all-wheel drive (4WD). Two trim levels are available: LX 2WD ($26,995) and 4WD ($28,195) and EX 2WD ($29,545) and 4WD ($30,745). Both are well equipped.
Safety features that come on all Pilots include anti-lock brakes, front-passenger frontal and side-impact airbags. The EX model adds an electronic stability control system that Honda calls Vehicle Stability Assist.
The LX comes with air conditioning, cruise control, AM/FM/CD stereo, power windows, mirrors and door locks, and a rear wiper.
The EX raises the ante with synchronized front and rear automatic climate control, a power driver's seat with adjustable lumbar support, an outside temperature indicator, HomeLink garage-door remote, a premium seven-speaker stereo with cassette and six-disc CD changer and steering wheel audio controls. EX can be distinguished by its aluminum alloy wheels and body-colored moldings, mirrors and door handles.
Option packages for the EX include the leather interior ($2,300) with heated front seats and side mirrors. The entertainment package ($3,900) includes the leather package and rear-seat DVD video system. The navigation package ($4,500) adds leather, a satellite-linked guidance system and a rear-view camera. A towing package and brush guards are available as dealer-installed accessories.