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MSRP Range: $27,595 - $38,395
Fuel Economy: 17 MPG city / 23 MPG highway

All-new version is the consummate crossover SUV.

Introduction
While the name and a minute number of parts remain the same, the 2009 Honda Pilot is a new vehicle. Every piece of sheetmetal and glass, every mechanical component, and every feature has been gone through yielding a just slightly larger Pilot that put all the space to use inside. And unlike many similar designs it didn't gain too many pounds.

An eight-passenger Pilot can handle four adults and four kids easily, or four infant seats if you have the earplugs. It has useful cargo space beyond the third-row seats so you needn't fold one to fit a cooler or week's worth of groceries. And with six cupholders in the second row alone, eight door cargo pockets and the ability to carry a 4x8-foot sheet of building material flat inside, finding a place for everything isn't an issue.

Apart from perhaps flexibility and fuel economy for like vehicles the Pilot doesn't strike one as superior in any given aspect, but rather feels like a well balanced vehicle that maintains average or better performance in any number of areas; the utility moniker is apropos. Good carrying space, road manners, and comfort are now wrapped up in a much better looking box.

The majority of Pilots are all-wheel-drive models that allow another 1000 pounds in tow rating and provide better acceleration and climbing in snow; with the same tires and brakes, they don't stop or change direction any better than the front-drive version. If you don't tow near the maximum and live in temperate climes, Honda's Odyssey offers more room and similar flexibility and features for about the same tab as an equal-level Pilot.

Potential Pilot shoppers include all those Honda car owners who may have outgrown their sedan, Odyssey owners who bought a bigger boat or have a legitimate need for the added traction of all-wheel drive, and anyone looking to replace a traditional truck-based SUV with 95 percent of the ability for 95 percent of the owners 99 percent of the time while saving fuel and society's glare.

In footprint and operation the Pilot is one of the most efficient eight-seat crossovers around, and offers models suitable for hard-core outdoor adventurers who define camping as a sleeping bag to those who wouldn't consider adventuring unless there's a Four Seasons within an hour's drive. And if you ever get tired of it, 95 percent of a Pilot can be recycled.

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