What would superdad drive?

The Honda Pilot would be a prime candidate


The Pilot is spacious and comfortable as a minivan, yet can keep dad interested in it as a car.

Fathers who love cars and driving are positively spoilt for choice nowadays. No longer are they relegated to trudging along in a refrigerator-shaped van if they want to bring the family along. There are vehicles that gracefully weave across that fine line of being both useful to have, and be desirable to own.

Case in point is the Honda’s latest-generation Pilot SUV. The Pilot is as spacious and comfortable as a minivan, yet carries enough sporting ability to keep dad interested in it as a car.

From the outside, the Pilot plays the part of dad-vehicle quite well. It’s deliberately understated, with the smooth and unobtrusive shape hiding the fact that this is a large vehicle.

Front styling cues similar to the CR-V’s would have you mistake it for one, until you actually park it beside a CR-V and see how much bigger the Pilot is.

Headlamps and taillights are LED, including the daytime running lights.

The Pilot absolutely shines when it comes to the interior. Driver comfort and ergonomics are superb, beginning with the power-actuated driver’s seat, equipped with memory feature.

The seat provides ample back support, something fathers can’t take for granted, and the thigh cushions are ample in length, too.

In front of the driver is a meaty, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. The gauges are straightforward, with a large analog tachometer and digital speedometer.

Honda’s touchscreen interface is responsive, and the menu system largely intuitive.

The gearshift has been reduced in size and shunted to the side, freeing up space in the center console.

There’s a huge bin behind the gear lever, big enough to swallow a 12-inch laptop or tablet.

The center console even includes a small tray for loose objects, that slides out of the way when not needed.

What families will enjoy are the second and third row of seats. The middle row has a soft-push putton that electrically releases it to tilt and slide forward, allowing access to third row. As a parent, that’s one killer app right there.

The third row is something that is not that common in this class: a seat suitable for adults—three, no less, making the Pilot a genuine eight-seater SUV, compared to others that can seat seven, or more realistically, 5 plus 2.

The Pilot is gentle and easy to drive around the city. Despite its large footprint, it manuevers more easily than we would have thought, thanks to a tight turning circle.

Parking it is easy too, provided you have a wide enough space. The Pilot is built for the American market, and it shows in the width. Unlike some other “dad’s dream SUV,” this one is practical enough to be a daily driver.

When the open road beckons, the Pilot obliges with the 3.5-liter V6 tucked under its hood. With 284 ps and 352 Nm, there’s plenty of thrust to make the miles go by quickly.

Unlike many engines nowadays, it’s a big, naturally-aspirated unit, so response is quick, and it revs willingly to redline. All-wheel drive makes sure the torque is put to the pavement efficiently.

Honda Sensing active safety technology is on board. It comprises a suite of features to help keep the car safer on the road.

Included are adapative cruise control, road departure mitigation, front collision warning, and lane departure warning.

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