For one thing, you might get a better bargain from a dealer looking to unload his 2013 stock.
For another, the 2014 Pilot is virtually unchanged from the 2013 model, which, aside from updating and refining some electronic features, was pretty much unchanged from 2012.
Hmmm. Is the Japanese automaker stuck in a rut?
Well, if that is so, when it comes to the Pilot that is a very good rut to be stuck in. Though there are many choices in the midsize crossover segment, the Pilot offers a practical, efficient, and reliable option, especially for shoppers with growing families.
Though categorized as a midsize crossover, the Pilot has an extremely roomy interior with three-row seating that looks as if the back row was planned, not thrown in as an afterthought.
Designers not only put in real seats in the third row, they also provided a decent amount of cargo space behind them, a generous 18 cubic feet, in fact. That solves what often is a problem in many crossovers/SUVs with three-row seating -- no space for the luggage for the extra passengers.
With the Pilot, you can have your cake and eat it, too, bringing all the entire family on vacation as well as their suitcases.
Also appealing to families on a budget: The Pilot gets pretty decent gas mileage for a vehicle its size with ratings of 17 miles-per-gallon city, 25 highway with front-wheel drive, 17-24 with all-wheel drive, running on regular unleaded.
Performance is not overwhelming, but adequate.
The 3.5-liter V6 under the hood tops out at 250 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque with a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds in 2WD configuration. AWD models more than double that to 4,500 pounds. The only transmission offered is a five-speed automatic
The Pilot shares the same platform as the Acura RDX, but it doesn’t have the upscale interior touches of the Japanese automaker’s luxury brand. LX and EX trims get cloth seats, for example, and EX-L and Touring merit leather. The LX rides on steel wheels, others on aluminum alloy.
On the other hand, all models across the line get the same safety features, including front side airbags with passenger side occupant detection system (OPDS), three-row side curtain airbags, and a rearview camera.
The controls for most features are pretty intuitive to operate -- always good, but with one little annoyance. AWD models have available a “lock mode” system to get maximum-torque to the rear wheels at speeds up to 18 mph by pushing a button on the dash.
The thing is that button is right where a push-button start (not available on the Pilot) would be. If you are somewhat used to a model with such a feature, you may find yourself pushing a button with no reaction until you realize you must crank the key in the ignition in the steering column.
Probably not a feature that is going to bother many.
The Pilot’s boxy shape is somewhat of a throwback to earlier SUVs, especially when contrasted with the flowing, more streamlined profiles of several of its competitors. But the tradeoff here is more headroom for the occupants and 87.0 cubic feet of storage space with the second- and third-row seats folded.
Also because of its shape, the driver may have the impression that the Pilot is bigger than a midsize crossover. The hood looks to be about a half-acre expanse, and the driver sits high in the saddle. But the Pilot does handle well and causes no extra consternation when maneuvering in a strip mall parking lot.
Speaking of storage space, the Pilot does have a lot of it. With the gear shift protruding out of the center stack, the center console is virtually all devoted to cupholders and a storage box. A sliding cover keeps items out of sight.
Pricing for the 2013 Pilot starts at $30,350 (including destination and delivery) for the 2WD LX to $42,100 for the top of the line model with AWD and navigation and rear-seat entertainment systems.
For a look at the Pilot, check out the slide show.