The Honda Pilot is getting a mid-cycle refresh for 2019, which includes a pile of extra technology as the eight-person family shuttle enters its fifth model year. The Pilot now more closely resembles the Odyssey minivan with which it shares a platform. Honda swapped the three-bar chrome grille for a trapezoidal, mildly protruding upper snout and squared off the lower fascia with vertical black trim that houses slimmer turn signals.
On the top Elite trim shown here, Honda moved the fog lamps within the faux air vents (which now have a few actual passthroughs) and reshaped the chin spoiler while adding a silver skid-plate-like piece. The jeweled headlights incorporate a full array of LEDs, and at the rear, the Pilot’s backup lights shift from the bumper to the taillamp units. The priciest Pilot also sports a lower rear garnish in silver and additional chrome trim along the lower doors.
Inside, Honda redesigned the steering wheel, replaced the clock-radio-style digital speedometer and analog tachometer with a larger high-res central screen incorporating both readouts, and—thank you, spirit of Soichiro—added a real volume knob in place of the finicky touch-capacitive slider bar. An upgraded infotainment system now offers 4G WiFi capability, streaming video for the larger rear entertainment screens, and wireless software updates. The Odyssey’s CabinTalk system migrates to the Pilot; it broadcasts the driver’s voice to everyone in the car (including those wearing the car’s wireless headphones). Also new is a power liftgate that can be opened by waving your foot under the bumper.
Honda Sensing, the automaker’s bundle of driver assists, now is standard on every Pilot; it includes forward-collision alert, automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control. But we’re most interested in Honda’s “significant refinements” to the ZF nine-speed automatic, a key factor in the Pilot’s last-place finish in our 2017 comparison test of three-row crossovers. That transmission, which has displayed poor behavior in vehicles from other manufacturers, still is reserved for Touring and Elite trims.