ARE YOU A MINIVAN OR SUV FAMILY?
We are an SUV driving family, it’s no secret that we have a Honda CRV and love it. We have been wondering though what larger vehicles are like if we were to make the switch to something bigger. We recently had the opportunity to try out the 2017 Honda Pilot. The main question on our minds was: Is this a minivan alternative?
The Honda Pilot looks like a minivan from the side profile. Even though The front end is a little bigger and the rear doors are hinged rather than sliders. Let’s make one thing clear though, this is not an SUV, it’s a cross-over. A tall, all wheeled drive station wagon. From the drivers seat, it feels like the Honda Odyssey.
Similar Features to a Minivan:
- front windows for better visibility
- thin windsheild pillars and unobstructed view over the hood
- dashboard and low center console
- front captains chairs with adjustable arm rests.
The Pilot remains a good option for families who need the added ground clearance and all-wheel drive functionality but we are left to wonder about how if you are going this big on a vehicle, the Odyssey does provide everything and more with its complete package offering.
For our family, with any vehicle, we need to be able to fit our two car seats easily. We had no issue with the Honda Pilot and getting the car seats in easily. We were able to install them into the middle row pilot seats. Thanks to the opening between the seats, instead of it being a bench seat, there was still access to the flexible third row of seats. That’s right, the Honda Pilot has 7 seats!
There are actually still some days where Jason thinks we could easily be a compact car family still, though Tamara is quick to bring him back to reality every time. One word… stroller. We still need space to be able to bring things like a stroller or a kids bike with us places. We were surprised to see that even with the third row of seats we could fit our stroller in. With the third row of seats folded down, we had more room to fit the stroller and anything else we needed. There was an increase in space from our CRV to the Pilot. That being said, there is definitely more storage space in the Odyssey despite there being nearly the same exterior footprint.
There were some things that really won us over driving the Honda Pilot. The rear view camera was great to have when reverse stall parking at our home or when we were out and about. It made a difference with knowing our surroundings because the vehicle was so much larger compared to what we normally drive. The girls really loved that there was a Honda Blu-ray rear entertainment system, aka… in-flight movie. Having this in a vehicle can be a huge help when on long drives. They also loved that there were built in sun shades for their windows, helping to keep the Summer sun out of their eyes when we were driving around.
Now, there are some things we would like to see Honda improve on. We felt like the Honda Pilot had a challenging time shifting through the gears while getting up to speed. We also soon realized that we preferred the vehicle with the idle stop turned off. To us, this feature seemed very temperamental. It also seems to be a theme with us, that we prefer when vehicles have knobs for controlling things like volume and temperature over touch screen and buttons. The Honda Pilot even stepped away from having a shifter for putting the car into drive and park, instead you had buttons. We were not fans of this and felt it actually took away from the vehicle and is just one more techy thing to possibly break on the vehicle.
What we loved about it was that we didn’t have to argue over seat settings for the driver thanks to the driver’s seat memory. We each found our perfect seat settings and saved it. Pressing our number when in the vehicle if the other had been driving before. The interior has been designed beautifully with all sorts of different touches, from soft-touch materials to ambient lighting. Even the cupholders have lighting for the driver and front passenger. The navigation system was great, we found it had no lag in telling us where to go and it was nice and bright for good visibility.
WOULD WE GO WITH A PILOT?
That’s a tough question to answer. While we did like Honda Pilot as a larger vehicle, the things we dislike with it would need to be addressed and improved on. If we find ourselves in need of a larger vehicle it is an option that we would consider in the future as Honda continues to change and improve their vehicles. If Honda put a built in vaccum into the Pilot like they did the Odyssey… sold!