By Asian Journal Auto Editor

For 2019, the venerable Honda Pilot receives a host of revisions—new changes include: a new infotainment system with CabinTalk and CabinControl, and updated styling— all featured to keep the Pilot competitive. Also added are hardware and software changes to update the 9-speed transmission on the higher range models, faster paddle shifters, and some revisions to the engine start-stop system, which is now quicker in operation. Honda has also made Honda’s Sensing safety technology as standard equipment on all Pilots, with forward collision warning with emergency braking, road departure mitigation, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control. Wireless charging is now standard on the 2019 Pilot Elite, and a hands-free tailgate is now standard on Touring and Elite.

Cosmetic changes, include an updated front fascia, our back, the taillights have been redesigned, as well as the rear bumper. Inside, there’s a new larger digital instrument cluster display, and the much welcomed return of a proper volume knob for the upgraded infotainment system. Upgraded Wi-Fi connection and larger rear entertainment screens are also available. The Honda Pilot starts at $41,090 for the LX and up to $43,000, and at $53,990 for the super cool Black edition with its dark- effect trim, black details and wheels. Each model adds more optional equipment that builds on each trim.

All Pilots are powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that develops 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. LX, EX, and EX-L trims come with a six-speed automatic transmission, and Touring and Elite models get the upgraded nine-speed.

The Pilot’s interior is spacious and practical and can be had with family-friendly options such as a DVD entertainment system with video-streaming capability, there are two roomy captain’s chairs for the middle-row bench, and the kid –friendly spacious third row seat. The Pilot’s high seating position makes for a commanding view of the road, while large windows make for best-in-class visibility. The base LX’s 5.0-inch display screen offers the basics, whereas EX and above trims step up to an 8.0-inch touchscreen with SiriusXM satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice command, and other app functions. Navigation is optional on the EX-L trim and standard on the Touring and Elite.

The Honda Pilot has you fully covered in terms of technology. The 2019 Pilot comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on EX and above trims, and it adds Honda’s new infotainment system, which gets CabinControl and CabinTalk on EX-L and higher models. For the uninitiated, CabinControl, is a downloadable smartphone app that allows passengers to control the Pilot’s audio system, rear entertainment system (if equipped), and rear climate control system. The passenger can also send the Pilot’s navigation system a specific address directly from his or her smartphone, and with CabinTalk, the driver can talk to backseat passengers through headphones when they’re watching a movie, or through the rear speakers! Not much to complain about.

Safety is high with the previously optional Honda Sensing package of driver-assistance features is now standard on all models for 2019. Key safety features include: Standard forward-collision alert with automated emergency braking, Standard lane-keeping assist, and Standard adaptive cruise control.  Blind–spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert are only standard on EX, EX-L, Touring, and Elite models.  Top-notch crash-test results and plenty of standard tech mean the Pilot is highly rated for safety. The Pilot retains its five-star rating from the U.S National Highway Transportation Safety Administration for 2019

On the road, equipped with torque vectoring control, the Pilot’s system can send up to 70 percent of the torque to the rear wheels and 100 percent of that torque to the rear wheels. There are four modes available: Normal, Snow, Mud, and Sand.  The Pilot is fairly agile, but its considerable size can make it feel ponderous when cornering. However, light steering helps the Pilot feel nicely maneuverable at lower speeds. Have to say the Pilot has an impressive tow capability. Front-wheel drive Pilots can tow up to 3,500 pounds (1,587 kg), while the AWD version can tow a mighty 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg), with the proper towing packages. Fuel economy is good at (City/Hwy/Combined) 13.0/9.3/11.3 – 12.4/9.3/11.0. With a high seating position, kid-friendly interior, and vast cargo space, the Honda Pilot is highly versatile, and has always been a family favorite, and will continue to do so. Highly recommended.

2019 Honda Pilot: priced from $41,090 – $53,990.