What's one of the very first things that prove how serious a manufacturer is about a particular automobile? The answer is longevity. If you think about it, there are an immense amount of automobiles that are no longer in production, greater than how many are currently in production. Various models this year are brand new, but that comes with a plethora of drawbacks and sacrifices sometimes. On the other hand, announcements of certain automobiles are no surprise, and in many cases, these new models follow a lineage of many years behind them. Models such as the 2022 Honda Pilot have proven to many that sometimes, a vehicle doesn't have to garner a fancy new name to compete with the competitors of the modern day.
Five trim levels make up the 2022 Pilot, all of which are similar to last year's except for the first two entry-trim levels from last year not returning. That means that EX-L now serves as the base trim, whereas this was not the base offering last year. This year's Pilot starts at an MSRP of $39,060, and while this is a substantial difference from last year's model, this has allowed Honda to ensure that every Pilot model can be the very best it can be.* The Special Edition from last year makes a return as well, along with the Touring, which greatly enhances what's already a fantastic interior. The Elite is also still present, adding the likes of ventilation to your heated seats and captain's chairs in the second row, for example. Lastly, the Black Edition makes its return, offering a sleek and distinctive exterior with large 20-inch wheels and subtle red lighting in the interior.
Those worried about the Pilot potentially not offering the power and performance that you're looking for, you need not fret. There's one available powertrain for the 2022 Pilot, and this is an incredible advantage for the base model as it'll perform identically to the higher-tier trims in regards to horsepower, torque, fuel efficiency, and even towing. The engine that we see this year is the same as last year's, a 3.5L V6. With both an adequate size and ample performance, many times, you might think an engine of this caliber will eat through fuel. This isn't the case on the 2022 Pilot we're pleased to report.
The 3.5L V6 engine inside of the 2022 Pilot will also come paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. This will provide a happy medium for a majority of drivers as it's inevitably punchier than a 6-speed automatic transmission and better than even an 8-speed. Horsepower and torque for this engine are also quite decent at 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. The V6 manages to perform quite well, and this also means that towing is entirely possible with this SUV. Some may be hoping for a V8 or a turbocharged engine, but that's not necessary as the V6 inside of the Pilot currently will do the job perfectly fine. Towing capacity for this vehicle caps out at 5,000 lbs if you have all-wheel drive and 3,500 lbs if you have front-wheel drive.
Lastly, fuel efficiency is a strong suit for this engine, which becomes even more impressive after you consider the performance profile that it has. As is normally the case, all-wheel drive models will be slightly less efficient than front-wheel drive models, but the difference is not substantial enough to exclusively warrant your decision. front-wheel drive models will get EPA-estimated ratings of 20 mpg city and 27 highway, while all-wheel drive models are rated for 19 mpg city and 26 highway, so a difference of 1 mpg for both city and highway travel isn't too severe.**
Part of the changes that occurred when Honda eliminated the first two trims from the lineup that we saw last year is a vastly improved interior. Getting rid of the weakest links means that the new base model for the Pilot will grant you an assortment of amenities that you're not used to for a starting trim. For example, every Pilot model comes with leather seats, so you can forget about the cloth seats that are so common on base models all around the market. Not only are these leather seats, but the front seats will be heated as well. Heating your seat is one thing, but the Pilot also comes standard with a supremely comfortably 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and the front seat passenger also gets a power-adjustable seat that can move four ways. Typically, base models are criticized for their uncomfortable and often manually adjustable seats, but that's not the case here.
The base model 2022 Pilot also comes standard with a power-adjustable moonroof, planting a wide window on the top of your vehicle for extra airflow and sunlight. Every vehicle offers climate control, some have dual-zone climate controls, but the Pilot offers a tri-zone setup, allowing your passengers to have different temperatures in three different sections of the interior. Next is the speaker setup, and although not marketed as the "premium" audio system, the base setup is still impressive. This setup includes seven high-clarity speakers that output 215 Watts, so it certainly is powerful. The interior also comes standard with an integrated infotainment center, and this is another upgrade that we saw over last year. For reference, last year's Pilot model offered two possible infotainment centers that you could opt for.
Last year, there was a giant 8-inch screen and a smaller and less impressive 5-inch screen, and this year we say goodbye to that small 5-inch screen. Now, you'll get the bigger one right away. Essentially acting as a computer system that replaces your traditional radio, this screen will become the new hub for your music selection, navigation, and more. Even better, these infotainment centers include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and while we've been seeing these two features come standard on many models nowadays, not every manufacturer has made the jump, surprisingly. Fortunately for Honda, this just furthers the appeal of an already stunning set of features.
To get the most out of the Pilot's interior, you should consider opting for a higher-tier trim level. Stepping up to the Special Edition, the same set of amenities is here, but with additions such as a Wireless Phone Charging Pad. If you or a passenger forgot the phone charger at home, which can happen far too often, simply rest your phone on top of this pad, and it'll start charging if your smartphone allows for the feature. After stepping up another trim level, the standard speaker system is upgraded to a 10-speaker setup, allowing for more audio channels, which results in crisper-sounding music. These speakers are far more powerful and offer 590 Watts of power, a stark 174% bump in power over the base setup. This trim also allows for two captain's chairs in the second row instead of the bench, and the rear seats can be heated too.
Moving up to the Elite trim, the captain's chairs that were available in the preceding trim now come standard, and ventilation is added to the front seats. That means that in addition to being heated, they can be cooled down too. Additionally, a heated steering wheel comes with this trim, which is perfect for cold morning drives. Perhaps the most enticing feature of this trim is the panoramic sunroof that it adds, allowing even the backseats to get more sunshine.
Every 2022 Pilot comes with Honda Sensing, the manufacturer's answer to the safety suites that have been implemented in numerous vehicles recently. Honda Sensing combines some of the most noteworthy and technologically advanced safety features that are around today and implements them into one complete package. Among the included features is a Collision Mitigation Braking System, which will help bring your vehicle to a complete stop in emergencies that call for it, such as a potential crash. This works along with the Forward Collision Warning to ensure you have enough time to apply the brakes yourself for the best possible results.
Lane Departure Warning and the Lane Keeping Assist System both come standard on every trim, and if you happen to be drifting away from the lane you're driving in, Lane Departure Warning will make sure that you return your attention to the road. If the drifting continues to occur, the Lane Keeping Assist System will nudge the steering wheel slightly, either left or right, to remain in your lane for the safety of yourself and others. If your vehicle is close to leaving the road entirely, the Road Departure Mitigation System can apply steering inputs and light braking to keep you from driving off the road.
Adaptive Cruise Control is another feature that will come standard with your 2022 Pilot. This will not only maintain the speed level that you set but will also shift speed up and down to adhere to the current flow of traffic. Lastly, a Blind Spot Information System is included alongside a Cross Traffic Monitor, and these are highly important for everyday travel. The blindspot of your vehicle is perhaps the riskiest due to your lack of visibility, but the Blind Spot Information System can let you know if a vehicle is too close to your blind spot, which is crucial information if you're planning on switching lanes. The Cross Traffic Monitor is activated when your vehicle is in reverse, and by using both cameras and sensors, it will give you directional notifications on what's passing by and from what direction.