6th Place - Honda Pilot Touring 4WD
The fact that this crossover didn’t come dead last speaks volumes about how well it was designed from the start because it’s been pretty much been the same old crossover since people still believed balloon boy was real. As a senior citizen in the automotive world, it should come as no surprise that everything inside the Honda Pilot felt dated from the gauge cluster to the center stack to the wiper blades. Items like satellite radio, navigation and heated seats were included on our test vehicle, but the layout and switch gear all seem down market compared to the more modern offerings in this comparison. Even the Traverse’s interior looked more modern than the Pilot’s.
At an as tested price of $42,250, The Pilot costs more than the Santa Fe, Sorento and Highlander. Hurting the Pilot further is the fact the two Korean offerings come equipped with cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel and panoramic sunroofs at that price.
As should be expected from a Honda product, most of the fundamentals have been nailed in the Pilot. The cabin layout is hands-down the most practical and the boxy shape that allows for both great sight-lines and a lot of interior space. Aside from offering the second most total cargo room at 87 cubic feet, the Pilot was able to allow seven seats to still be operable during our luggage testing – a number only beat by the Traverse that allowed eight.
The boxy shape does have some drawbacks however as it created excessive amounts of wind noise on the highway. The suspension feels squishy in normal driving, yet is harsh over rough roads. The steering also drew some ire as it was overly soft and featured plenty of on-center play that lead to constant corrections during highway driving.
SEE ALSO: 2013 Honda Pilot Review – Video
Under hood is Honda’s 3.5-liter V6 with 250 hp and 253 lb-ft paired to a five-speed automatic. Despite having the ancient automatic, the Pilot is officially rated at 17 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway. During our testing, it finished mid-pack with an observed fuel economy average of 20 MPG.
The current Pilot is in desperate need of a redesign and rumor has it one is not far off. However, if you must own a mid-size Honda crossover, the Pilot still is somewhat competitive.
- PRICE AS TESTED: $42,250
- ENGINE: 3.5-liter V6, 250 hp, 253 lb-ft
- TRANSMISSION: 5-speed automatic
- OBSERVED FUEL ECONOMY: 20.0 MPG
- CARGO CAPACITY (behind second row): 47.7 cu. Ft.
5th Place – Kia Sorento SX AWD
The Kia Sorento is another vehicle that had our staff divided. Some found it to be the most responsive vehicle in this test in terms of engine and handling response, while others found it to be a big bowl of “meh”. With only 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque from a 3.3-liter V6, the Sorento rivaling the 360 hp Hemi powered Durango for quickest in the test may sound far fetched. However, the 3,894 lbs. Sorento has a whopping 1,500 pound weight advantage over the monstrous Dodge.
This lightness also adds up to impressive fuel economy. Rated officially at 18 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway, we managed an average of 22 MPG during our testing period which put the Kia second only to the Pathfinder Hybrid. The Sorento also placed second when came to price, listing just higher than the lowest-in-test Highlander at $38,895. And unlike the Toyota, the Sorento came loaded up with features like heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel and a panoramic sunroof.
Efficient, affordable and responsive, the rest of the Sorento came off less impressive, relegating it to a mid-pack finish. The sporty pretensions of this crossover hurt it as the ride quality was deemed to be worst in test. Bumps in the road sent vibrations throughout the chassis and the vehicle never felt all that planted.
The Sorento was the smallest vehicle in the test and offers virtually no cargo space, although we were surprised to find the third row seats were not the worst in the test and actually somewhat accommodating.
SEE ALSO: 2014 Kia Sorento Review
We like the Sorento’s center stack better than the one found in the Hyundai and we also appreciated the easy, clean layout of the dashboard. However, the rest of the interior feels a bit cheap and the navigation system is out of date.
The smaller Sorento represents a good value with a killer warranty and the allusion that is a sporty alternative to regular three-row crossovers. If space and refinement are not high on your shopping list, then there’s an argument to be made for taking the Sorento for a test drive.
- PRICE AS TESTED: $38,895
- ENGINE: 3.3-liter V6, 290 hp, 252 lb-ft
- TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic
- OBSERVED FUEL ECONOMY: 22.0 MPG
- CARGO CAPACITY (behind second row): 36.9 cu. Ft.