Best 3rd Row SUV
Looking for the best 3rd row SUV? One of the best ones on the market right now is the 2011 Honda Pilot. Voted highly among critics as a great family-friendly mid-sized SUV, it is one of the only SUVs this size that can comfortably fit adults in the third row. This vehicle is an ideal alternative to a minivan.
Pros for the Honda Pilot include an ample and versatile cargo bay, four-wheel drive, outstanding in most crash tests, smooth ride, and generally reliable. The vehicle is known for its spaciousness, with the option to fold down the second and/or third row of extra seats for even more storage room. The luggage capacity is 18 cubic feet with a max cargo capacity of 87 cubic feet. All passengers will enjoy the cup holders in all three rows. Its rugged, blocky look is also popular feature for many buyers.
Its price is very competitive at a base MSRP of $28,045 to $40,395. The closest rival in this price range is the 2010 Toyota Highlander with a base MSRP of $25,855 to $34,670. New features for this model include a backseat DVD player on the Touring team and optional navigation on the EX_L trim. Otherwise this model is very similar to the 2010 Pilot.
Cons for the Honda Pilot include marginal roll over roof strength, long braking distances, poor agility with generally sluggish acceleration, an instrument panel with an excessive number of buttons, and hard plastics in the cabin. Some reviewser feel that the acceleration and brake issues are enough to send them looking elsewhere. Similar vehicles in this price range with better ratings in these areas include the Ford Flex, Chevrolet Traverse, Hyundai Veracruz, Mazda CX-9, and Toyota Highlander.
The Honda Pilot earns its title as the best 3rd row SUV with the highest scores in all of its crash tests, which include front, side and rear. It got a 4 out of 5 star rating for rollover avoidance in its government tests. However, as stated in the cons, it does still have weaker rollover roof strength, earning it a “Marginal” rating by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It did earn a “Good” rating from the Institute for both frontal-offset and side-impact crashes.
The fuel economy is the same as it was for the 2010 model with 17 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway, and 19 mpg combined with the front-wheel drive. It loses 1 mpg across the board with the four-wheel drive. The Pilot has a 250-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine. Drivers have the option to shut down half of the cylinders to boost the fuel economy. The Pilot has a five-speed automatic transmission.
The standard safety equipment includes front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, and stability control. It also has standard antilock brakes. However, as expected with its long braking distances, they aren’t ideal for panic stops, with 149 feet required for a complete stop from 60 mph. This is 20 feet longer than most of its competitors.
The Pilot is offered in four trim levels, LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring, all of which are available with front- or all-wheel drive. It comes with a basic 3 year/36,000 mile warranty.
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