2017 Honda Pilot Review, Seating Capacity & 3rd Row

The 2017 Honda Pilot keeps most of the design choices that made the 2016 Pilot such a success among dealers and customers alike. With LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, and Elite trims, the 2017 Pilot is certain to be a popular choice for a wide range of buyers looking for a sporty SUV that also has sufficient storage space and towing capacity for the largest family outings.

In This Guide


Seating Capacity & Configuration

The 2017 Pilot comes with the now standard three rows of seating, but unlike many smaller SUVs, the seats are both comfortable and easily accessible. The second-row seating can comfortably fit three adults or the purchaser can choose the optional version that includes two captain’s chairs along with a pass-through to the third-row seat.

All trim levels include well upholstered and comfortable seating, with accessible storage spaces for cups and smartphones alike.

Third Row Room

One of the best features for the Pilot is the roomy third row. Accessed either by folding the second-row seats or using the pass-throw for the captain’s chair option, many reviewers have remarked on how the third-row seating provides abundant head and legroom for adults.

When unneeded, the third-row seats can be folded down to provide up to 55.9 cubic feet of cargo space, while folding the second-row seats increases the internal cargo storage to an impressive 83.9 cubic feet.

What’s New in 2017?

The 2017 Pilot does not represent a dramatic design shift from the 2016 model, which was itself a complete redesign when compared to earlier model years. Rather, the design can best be described as taking the 2016 version and adding a number of improvements to an already successful design.

Interior: Comfortable and Stylish

The Pilot’s interior compares well with many higher priced models currently on the market. The materials and design are subdued rather than garish, with an optional panoramic roof allowing natural sunlight to liven up the interior.

Compared to the previous Pilot, the step-in height is lower, making it easier for older drivers and passengers to enter the vehicle. The uncluttered interior makes maneuvering around the vehicle quite easy, which is a definite plus for families.

Performance and Powertrain

The 2017 Pilot only offers a single engine choice, but the 3.5-liter V6 engine is more than sufficient for any driver’s needs, providing a smooth driving experience, along with excellent gas mileage. Depending on the trim level, the Pilot comes with either a 6-speed or 9-speed automatic transmission. Fueleconomy.gov rates the 6-speed transmission Pilot at 19/27 city/highway MPG with the higher-end 9-speed transmission providing 20/27 city/highway MPG.

For those needing to tow heavy loads, the standard Pilot can tow up to 3,500 pounds, while the all-wheel-drive Pilot increases that limit to 5,000 pounds. This is a comparable to other SUVs in the Honda Pilot’s weight and price range. However, individuals who expect to do a large amount of towing, especially of heavy loads, might consider purchasing a larger SUV than the Pilot.

Driving Impressions

The Pilot is focused on providing a comfortable driving experience for its passengers, with an independent suspension helping to damp out bumps on the road, while assisted braking makes it easier to take tight corners. Its maneuverability makes it easy to get into small spaces, a plus for any SUV on the market today. Most importantly, the Pilot navigates city and rural streets with equal aplomb, making this an ideal choice for individuals who do a lot of traveling.

Safety Features

The Honda Pilot has received high marks for its safety features, including a standard wide-angle rearview camera, while the EX, EX-L and Touring models offer a right-side camera to assist in turn safely, especially in parking lots or congested traffic. The EX-and EX-L models also come with the optional Honda Sensing system, which offers lane-departure and collision warning systems, automatic emergency braking and road-departure mitigation systems.

The Elite and Touring trims carry these packages as standards, while the Elite trim replaces the camera system with a more conventional blind-spot monitoring system. Currently, the NHTSA gives the 2017 Pilot a five-star rating for safety.

Price and Trim Levels

The basic Pilot LX is priced at an affordable $30,595, while the EX and EX-L trims are priced at $33,030 and $36,455. Finally, for buyers who want a higher-end vehicle, the Touring and Pilot Elite trims have an MSRP of $41,670 and $47,070.

The various trims come with a variety of features for the driver and passengers alike.

  • The LX offers push-button start, seven-speaker audio system, a USB port, Bluetooth capability and most importantly, a multi-angle rearview camera.
  • The EX adds Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, tri-zone automatic climate control, and LaneWatch, all tied together with an 8-inch touch-screen and remote start.
  • The EX-L comes equipped with a moonroof, power liftgate, heated front seats and a power-folding system for the second-row seats.
  • The Pilot Touring model includes 20-inch wheels, a nine-speed automatic transmission and front and rear parking sensors. For passenger comfort, this model includes a 10-speaker stereo and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a strong selling point for families with children.
  • The Elite is the top-end Pilot model. Added features include a panoramic moonroof, blind spot monitoring system with rear cross traffic alert, LED automatic high-beam headlights and heated second-row captain’s chairs. Finally, it includes standard AWD, instead of demanding $1,800 to add it to the other trims.

Final Impressions

The 2017 Pilot is an SUV that does its job without being overly flashy. With a driving style that is designed to work with the driver, comfortable seating for driver and passengers alike and abundant storage space, this SUV is ideal for a wide range of users. Whether it is for a young professional looking for a stylish SUV or for a family seeking a practical and cost-efficient transport, the Pilot is an excellent choice.

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Over to You

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