I’ve been curious about the Honda Pilot for years. It’s one of those vehicles that isn’t particularly beautiful in a typical sexy, suv sense but yet seems to have a rugged, powerful look that turns heads.
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And then I started to notice that whenever I saw one in an accident, no matter how bad the other car looked (fender bender to completely totalled) the Pilot always looked like it had just been out for a walk in the park. (Likely due to its rigid uni-body frame.)
As a mom often left to drive the kids to and from various events, the potential safety factor there was a definite draw.
I took the 2012 model out for a spin recently and found that from the inside of the truck offers more than I expected. It took me a while to put my finger on it: Big seats, a large centre digital console that starts up with a Star Wars-esque  sequence, the feeling that you’re about to launch something big everytime you start her up….. and that’s when it hit me.
The Honda Pilot feels like a truck. 
If I had to put an age on it, I’d say the Pilot is an 18 year old boy’s dream – as well as anyone who has ever been an 18 year old boy or wished they could’ve been.
That’s not an insult.
I think there are a lot of men and women who would love what the three-row SUV crossover  has to offer. The power tailgate and cargo space (with or without the seats folded down) offers plenty of room for lugging and storage.
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Passengers will also be less fussed about the spaceship control room feel up front and more interested in the fact that there’s a lot of leg room in the back two rows and seating for 8 as opposed to the more popular 7-seaters out there. Independent Climate control means that the passengers have as much
control over there heat and cooling as you do, and an optional dvd system also
keeps them happy.
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 But it won’t take you long to figure out that while it may have mini-van or SUV options, it feels like a truck.

What I liked:
* the gear stick is actually mounted on the vertical console. I actually slapped my forehead and said “genius!” when I saw that one.  Why don’t more cars do that? I often find the traditional horizontal mount uncomfortable and I’m not a fan of the steering wheel mount, but this? This was perfect.
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* The GPS Navigation system doesn’t require you to punch in buttons to set your route! Instead you can use a large knob, which rotates like a door knob between the letters and listen for  verbal prompts to help you. Of course, you shouldn’t be trying to navigate the GPS while you are driving but when you’re off to the side and trying to re-route or orient yourself while also dodging flying juice boxes and blocking out yells of “He touched me!” from the back seat, the verbal prompts are useful.
 
* Storage: This was the one part of the interior that really felt like it was meant for a woman like me. There are pockets everywhere. Several in the door (driver and passenger), a great roll-away compartment up front keeps things neat while still allowing space to throw the house keys, gum packs etc. And on the passenger side, though the glove compartment is small, there is room on top  to hold things like your wallet, cell phone, iPod etc. It would’ve been great to have a spot to charge there as well, but it was still a great use of space for extra storage.
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What I liked less:
* That big Console: It was too much. Too flashy My husband and kids? Loved it.
* This is a heavy vehicle. Estimates put it at about 4500 pounds but when I’m taking corners it felt light and that made me uncomfortable. I like a bit of weight to my car and the feeling that I’m firmly planted.

Prices for the Pilot start at $34,990. Thanks to Honda Canada for letting me take her for a spin.
For more information: www.honda.ca

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