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The EX-L Navi Is the One to Get - 2016 Honda Pilot Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,059
edited March 2016 in Honda
imageThe EX-L Navi Is the One to Get - 2016 Honda Pilot Long-Term Road Test

Comparing the 2016 Honda Pilot EX with the Pilot Elite led me to conclude that the 2016 Honda Pilot EX-L Navi is the one to buy.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • banhughbanhugh Posts: 315
    edited March 2016
    Damn, this is the best article I have read on edmunds.com for a while! Thanks! I'm on Dan's side. If Mike wants a more luxury-packed model, I suggest the MDX instead of the Pilot Elite.
  • kirkhilles1kirkhilles1 Posts: 860
    Great article, but I don't understand. First off, I've mentioned this endless times, but having a DVD player (in this case DVD/Blu-ray) has been a godsend for our kids (4 and 9). We have iPads, tablets and smart phones, but there's nothing like stopping by Redbox and putting in a DVD for them to watch. Could you instead go with iPads and use Vudu and such? I guess, but its a great change for them.

    Secondly, I don't get the Navigation. Don't you guys have Android Auto on that? Can't you fire up Google Maps and have a far superior mapping tool?

    And no sensing? These are some impressive safety and convenience technologies and is the MAIN reason why I'm dying to get a new Civic. Why would you choose a 90's GPS non-live-traffic-technology over semi-automated driving + Google Maps?

    What am I missing?
  • ebeaudoinebeaudoin NE IllinoisPosts: 509
    edited March 2016

    Great article, but I don't understand. First off, I've mentioned this endless times, but having a DVD player (in this case DVD/Blu-ray) has been a godsend for our kids (4 and 9). We have iPads, tablets and smart phones, but there's nothing like stopping by Redbox and putting in a DVD for them to watch. Could you instead go with iPads and use Vudu and such? I guess, but its a great change for them.

    Secondly, I don't get the Navigation. Don't you guys have Android Auto on that? Can't you fire up Google Maps and have a far superior mapping tool?

    And no sensing? These are some impressive safety and convenience technologies and is the MAIN reason why I'm dying to get a new Civic. Why would you choose a 90's GPS non-live-traffic-technology over semi-automated driving + Google Maps?

    What am I missing?

    The Pilot does not support Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. At this point, only the 2016 Accord and Civic EX and above trims have it. Secondly, the navigation in the the 2016 Pilot, Civic and Accord is sourced by Garmin. In my opinion, it's an excellent design- as easy-to-use and clear as Garmin products but built in to the dash as well as featuring Live Traffic updates.

    That being said, I would probably go with the EX-L Sensing. I'm a fan of the Honda Sensing suite. My wife would likely be less critical of my driving if I could point to the car as a scapegoat :D Plus, I have a nice, big dash-mounted Garmin GPS that I'm more than happy with.

    My ideal Pilot doesn't exist- it would be an EX-L with Navi, Sensing and Rear Entertainment. I have two kids under 2 years old, so the DVD would be nice for trips. The Navi, like I said, is a nice, clean design and is fully integrated. The Voice Commands for the Garmin system are MARVELOUS, especially compared to Honda's old in-house Navigation voice commands. Lastly, as I mentioned above, I like the Honda Sensing suite. I don't like the 9-Speed transmission or the 20" wheels, either, so I would have no interest in the Touring.

    I sell Hondas for a living and believe me, their off-the-shelf options structure is a blessing and a curse. It's nice because I can keep one of every color of every trim in stock and pricing is incredibly easy; simply pick the trim you want and pick color. Of course, as a consumer, nobody likes being told that they can only have one serving of dessert with their Pilot, whether it be Rear Entertainment, Honda Sensing or Navigation. I guess that's just how it goes.
  • sdg319sdg319 Posts: 4
    Dan... this is a great update and comparison! Thank you for taking the time to explain the real-world differences between the models. Do you feel the quiet front side glass on the Touring/Elite makes a difference in overall interior quiet compared to EX-L and below models? I have read the Touring/Elite have other noise reduction measures (more sound insulation?) but nothing from Honda's information confirms that.
  • kirkhilles1kirkhilles1 Posts: 860
    ebeaudoin said:

    Great article, but I don't understand. First off, I've mentioned this endless times, but having a DVD player (in this case DVD/Blu-ray) has been a godsend for our kids (4 and 9). We have iPads, tablets and smart phones, but there's nothing like stopping by Redbox and putting in a DVD for them to watch. Could you instead go with iPads and use Vudu and such? I guess, but its a great change for them.

    Secondly, I don't get the Navigation. Don't you guys have Android Auto on that? Can't you fire up Google Maps and have a far superior mapping tool?

    And no sensing? These are some impressive safety and convenience technologies and is the MAIN reason why I'm dying to get a new Civic. Why would you choose a 90's GPS non-live-traffic-technology over semi-automated driving + Google Maps?

    What am I missing?

    The Pilot does not support Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. At this point, only the 2016 Accord and Civic EX and above trims have it. Secondly, the navigation in the the 2016 Pilot, Civic and Accord is sourced by Garmin. In my opinion, it's an excellent design- as easy-to-use and clear as Garmin products but built in to the dash as well as featuring Live Traffic updates.

    That being said, I would probably go with the EX-L Sensing. I'm a fan of the Honda Sensing suite. My wife would likely be less critical of my driving if I could point to the car as a scapegoat :D Plus, I have a nice, big dash-mounted Garmin GPS that I'm more than happy with.

    My ideal Pilot doesn't exist- it would be an EX-L with Navi, Sensing and Rear Entertainment. I have two kids under 2 years old, so the DVD would be nice for trips. The Navi, like I said, is a nice, clean design and is fully integrated. The Voice Commands for the Garmin system are MARVELOUS, especially compared to Honda's old in-house Navigation voice commands. Lastly, as I mentioned above, I like the Honda Sensing suite. I don't like the 9-Speed transmission or the 20" wheels, either, so I would have no interest in the Touring.

    I sell Hondas for a living and believe me, their off-the-shelf options structure is a blessing and a curse. It's nice because I can keep one of every color of every trim in stock and pricing is incredibly easy; simply pick the trim you want and pick color. Of course, as a consumer, nobody likes being told that they can only have one serving of dessert with their Pilot, whether it be Rear Entertainment, Honda Sensing or Navigation. I guess that's just how it goes.
    Interesting, I assumed that the Pilot would have Android Auto/CarPlay or be one of those manufacturers that have said that you can upgrade to Auto/Carplay. Maybe their 2017 models will have it.
  • Yeah if we were going to replace our 2011 Pilot Touring, it would most likely be an EX-L with the rear entertainment to keep the 6 speed and it has most of the options we enjoy now. I like that Honda packages the much better stereo set-up with it and the in-dash NAV is useless to us. And I don't need all the sensing stuff honestly. With the younger kids its nice to not have a device in each of their hands and having control over it and up and out of the way. Heated, Leather seats are a must for small kids and our cold winters and I'm a sunroof guy too.

    To be honest though I don't know if it would be worth the upgrade to a 2016 though. I prefer the utility of our "boxy" Pilot and think that's what set it apart from the other crossovers. After sitting in a 2016 at the car show a couple of weeks ago i'm really disappointed in the New Pilots less utility. My biggest contention is the 3rd row. We use our third row a lot for extra people/kids. It was the main shove over to the Pilot when were shopping 2010-2013 models of crossovers a couple of years ago. The new 3rd row has more distance between the middle seat back and 3rd row seat back but its narrower and sits on the floor. My knees were pointing straight up. In the boxy style Pilot, adults can ride back their just fine if you slide up the middle row a click or two. Really the only two SUV's when we shopped that had better 3rd rows for people were the Sequoia and the Expedition. And the space behind the 2016 3rd row at the floor is deeper, but its a lot more shallow at the headrests and above because of new less boxy/bigger CRV design.

    Add to that less ground clearance for our off pavement excursions and no more standard tow package (factory tow packs are hard to find on the new ones). It would be nice to have the better fuel economy and more power, but utility wise I feel like the Pilot took a couple of steps back and lost its advantage over the other crossovers. I think we'll hang on to our 2011 for many more years... now if I could just slide the new 3.5 and 6 speed auto in it, it would probably be about perfect.
  • subytrojansubytrojan Monterey Park, CaliforniaPosts: 120
    Sounds like you want a 2016 Mazda CX-9, Dan. ;)
  • Dan consistently writes the best entries on this site, by far. Most of the other stuff just reads like space filler .
  • ebeaudoinebeaudoin NE IllinoisPosts: 509



    Add to that less ground clearance for our off pavement excursions and no more standard tow package (factory tow packs are hard to find on the new ones).

    The standard tow package was removed in the name of weight savings. Gotta eek out that higher MPG somehow.

    Every Pilot customer I've had has asked about towing. The new towing package is a dealer-installed accessory made up of 8 or so a la carte parts and it is a pain in the rear to order. When the vehicle debuted my dealership had two botched tow package installations because Honda simply hadn't told anyone what equipment was necessary to tow the full 5,000 lbs. Our parts department was like chickens running around with their heads cut off and Honda was absolutely no help.

    I think they've figured it out now, but it's still a lot to cover for someone who tows only occasionally.
  • actualsizeactualsize Santa Ana, CaliforniaPosts: 451
    edited March 2016

    Great article, but I don't understand. First off, I've mentioned this endless times, but having a DVD player (in this case DVD/Blu-ray) has been a godsend for our kids (4 and 9). We have iPads, tablets and smart phones, but there's nothing like stopping by Redbox and putting in a DVD for them to watch. Could you instead go with iPads and use Vudu and such? I guess, but its a great change for them.

    Secondly, I don't get the Navigation. Don't you guys have Android Auto on that? Can't you fire up Google Maps and have a far superior mapping tool?

    And no sensing? These are some impressive safety and convenience technologies and is the MAIN reason why I'm dying to get a new Civic. Why would you choose a 90's GPS non-live-traffic-technology over semi-automated driving + Google Maps?

    1) I guess it depends on the age of your kids. But RSE is on the decline because of the rise of tablets, etc. We went through the DVD phase, but that came to a screeching halt when the girls got phones.

    2) I travel plenty of places where smartphone data goes dark, at which point the phone's navigation is useless. Resident navigation works off the grid just fine. And in the west just about any long trip goes through places where data drops away. Note that the Civic does have CarPlay, and the head unit looks similar to the Pilot's. I'm sure the Pilot will have it very soon. But that still doesn't solve the lack-of-connection issue that can be a thing depending on your geography and your cell-phone provider.

    3) The idea of sensing is great, but many such forward collision systems are hypersensitive. Like fuel economy dyno test driving patterns used for mpg measurement, I'm wondering if the conditions set forth for testing assume a DMV-handbook style of driving that doesn't accurately reflect how people interact with each other in real life. And in the space of one hour on our evaluation test loop it reacted to an overpass shadow, a roadside hedge and a mailbox. I've seen the overpass reaction before, and another time it reacted to the shadow of a tour bus I was passing in the next lane. And it does not expect the sort of gap-filling lane changes other people do in front of it ever day during an LA commute.

    Is it useless? No, not in certain situations. But if it's so intrusive that you find yourself switching it off, why spend the money? And I'm not the only one. It's always off when I get in after the last driver tired of the wolf-crying. I invariably turn it on thinking "why is it off?" and then give up within the hour thinking, "oh yeah, that's why." Same goes for our new Civic, too. It could be there's an optimal level of traffic at which it works best, and our particular brand of freeway hell is on the "too dense and cutthroat" side of the spectrum.

    You could get EX-L w/Sensing and buy a suction-cup Garmin aftermarket navigation unit if you have the rural smartphone data problem I have. But if you want all three you must to step up to the Touring or the Elite.

    Twitter: @Edmunds_Test

  • Is there any leaked information about any changes that might come later this year for the 2017 model year? Such as improvements to infotainment system, maybe adding a power/volume/tuning button to the stereo? Possible addition of Apple CarPlay to infotainment? Improvements to reported radio reception/speaker volume? Adjustments to default 'ON' of the idle stop versus remembering chosen setting after car is turned off and restarted? Adjustments to the 9-speed ratios that improve smoothness and gear selection?
  • If anyone has time to comment today to help me decide between two trim levels of a 2010 Pilot, I would appreciate it. 1. is a Touring 2WD with navigation- 110,000 miles. The second is an EX-L AWD with navigation and 88,000 miles. If price is the same, would touring offer more positive options or having the AWD? I'm in Arizona so won't need AWD often. But maybe the fewer miles on the EX-L makes a better case than the Touring trim level. Thanks! I'm stuck!
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 119,894
    smcgill2 said:

    If anyone has time to comment today to help me decide between two trim levels of a 2010 Pilot, I would appreciate it. 1. is a Touring 2WD with navigation- 110,000 miles. The second is an EX-L AWD with navigation and 88,000 miles. If price is the same, would touring offer more positive options or having the AWD? I'm in Arizona so won't need AWD often. But maybe the fewer miles on the EX-L makes a better case than the Touring trim level. Thanks! I'm stuck!

    How much do you drive? If it's 10K/yr, then the lower mile car is two years newer, for your purposes.

    They both have leather and NAV. Not sure what the Touring could have that would make it worth 22K more miles.

    But, in any case, vehicle condition is important. Mileage alone doesn't mean everything.

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • Thanks for the comment and input. I appreciate it. I was unsure if AWD was a minus if we don't need it, ie gas mileage or extra repairs. I think the AWD lower mileage had bumper damage previously and worry that may decrease value.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 119,894
    smcgill2 said:

    Thanks for the comment and input. I appreciate it. I was unsure if AWD was a minus if we don't need it, ie gas mileage or extra repairs. I think the AWD lower mileage had bumper damage previously and worry that may decrease value.

    By the time you sell it, any previous bumper damage will be irrelevant on a 9 year old SUV with over 100K miles.

    Doubt the AWD will mean any more than 1 mpg difference. Extra maintenance is minimal.

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

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