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2016 Honda Pilot long-term road test: wrap up

After one year, nearly 17,000 miles, over 61 fuel fill ups, and dozens of memories, it’s time to say goodbye to our long-term 2016 Honda Pilot.

We spent the last year with the 2016 Honda Pilot after naming it The Car Connection Best Car To Buy 2016. Why? To get to know it far more intimately with some in-depth seat time. From learning its quirks to seeing how it performed in various situations, the Pilot was used and abused.

And after twelve months, what’s the verdict?


For those needing a quick reminder, our pearl-white 2016 Honda Pilot showed up with 259 miles on the odometer. It’s a Touring model with a 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6, nine-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive.

All in, our Pilot ticked almost all the boxes at $43,700. That puts it one step below the range-topping Pilot Elite, which now stickers for a hair over $47,000. 

2016 Honda Pilot Touring long-term road test, accessories2016 Honda Pilot Touring long-term road test, accessories
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2016 Honda Pilot Touring long-term road test, first service stop2016 Honda Pilot Touring long-term road test, first service stop
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2016 Honda Pilot Touring long-term road test, first service stop2016 Honda Pilot Touring long-term road test, first service stop
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What we did

In the last year we’ve taken a look at the different Pilot trim levels, and discussed which one might be right for you based on your needs.

We also took a look at the seven reasons you might want to buy the Honda Pilot over the competition. Of course, nothing’s perfect and that’s why we listed everything we’d want to change about the Pilot.

Safety tech is important, that’s why we tested all of the Pilot’s systems and came back with a detailed report on our experiences.

As the miles piled on we eventually needed to head to the dealership for a service stop. The oil was changed and tires were rotated. We even ate a few free cookies while we waited.

Want to make it your own? We broke down the available accessories for the Pilot, taking a look at those we’d add, those we definitely would not, and those that might be worth a look. t

What we learned

While we had a lot of seat time in the Pilot before naming it The Car Connection’s Best Car To Buy 2016, spending a full year with a vehicle day-in and day-out is a whole different story. You get to know it very, very well.

Flat out: The Pilot remains one of the best family haulers on the market today. From car seats and strollers to spit up and crackers, the Pilot’s set up for the family, and it’s easy to clean as well.

When it comes to fuel economy, there are three things you should know about the Pilot in our experience: The first is that, if you drive like us, you’ll probably see the EPA ratings for both city and mixed driving. However, the Pilot’s highway fuel consumption is susceptible to variables and proved rarely consistent. That means that achieving the EPA rating isn’t cut and dry. Perhaps most notably, the Pilot’s trip computer tends to be wildly optimistic at times. Mystifyingly, our hand calculations revealed that it’s not consistent in its over-projections, however. Your mileage may, literally, vary.

When it comes to winter weather the Pilots all-wheel-drive system does an impressive job, as long as you put it into the snow mode. Skip that step, and the story changes entirely, and not for the better.

While the 2017 Pilot has Apple CarPlay, our 2016 didn’t. Notably, you can’t upgrade the 2016 to CarPlay because the system itself doesn’t have the correct microphone. That’s a mildly disappointing omission, but we’re glad it has been corrected. Also, the lack of a real volume knob might possibly be our largest gripe—but Honda is righting its wrong and adding back the volume knob in some new models.

Final thoughts

There’s no question that our team is sad to see the Pilot go. Why, you might ask? It’s a terrific vehicle that does everything you ask of it—aside from towing because we neglected to order the towing package—and then some. It gets acceptable fuel economy for its class, is beyond comfortable for a cross-country road trip, and is attractive. It also held up well over the course of our demanding test. 

Flat out, we’re going to miss our white chariot. What’s more, there’s not a doubt in our mind that it deserves The Car Connection Best Car To Buy 2016 award we bestowed upon it.

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