The Inside

The Pilot's cabin has been thoroughly updated, including new styling and more space for passengers and their belongings. The new dash features a mix of styling elements, like white-faced gauges and translucent turquoise trim in the middle of the dashboard, but taken as a whole the design works well. I did notice an uncharacteristic-for-Honda exposed cutline in one of the dash pieces and a slightly misaligned trim piece on the instrument panel hood. Much of the dashboard plastic, though nicely grained, is hard to the touch, which is unusual considering that many automakers are using soft-touch materials in cabin designs.

The Pilot's front bucket seats have moderately firm cushioning that proved comfortable during the four-plus hours I spent driving and riding in the SUV. The seats are finished in cloth or leather with a two-setting heat function; power seats are optional.

Adults will be equally at home in the second row, which adds 1.1 inches of legroom, according to Honda. I'm 6-foot-1 and had legroom to spare, and that's with the driver's seat adjusted for me. The three-place bench is split 60/40, and these sections can slide forward and back and recline independent of each other. My only complaint is that the lever for reclining the backrest is located on top of the seatback, which makes for an awkward reach when sitting. A better solution, which Audi has adopted, is a low-mounted lever on the outside of the seat cushion.

The third row gains 1.9 inches of legroom for 2009. Despite the bump in third-row legroom, it's still on the small side for adults. Fortunately, young kids are most likely to prowl this part of the Pilot, and for them it should provide adequate room.

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