2016 Honda Pilot Elite Long-Term Update 2

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A lot of seven-passenger SUVs spend most of their lives hauling one person, but not in this office. Whether it’s entertaining friends and family or moving a whole lot of stuff, big SUVs pull their weight around here.

Our long-term Pilot is no exception. Sure, the Miata is all sex appeal and sportiness, but the Pilot gets a lot of love when people need to get things done. When our photographers aren’t using it to haul gear and our testing team isn’t using it to haul equipment and tires, staffers are making airport runs, taking groups out, moving, and in the case of the boss, hauling surfboards without having to mount a roof rack.

As a result of all that work and more than a few road trips, the Pilot’s already got more than 21,000 miles on it with months to go on its stay. For context, the average mileage of a long-term test car over 12 months is around 20,000 miles.

With all those miles, a second service has come and gone. Like the first, this was prompted by a notice in the instrument cluster information screen. At the local dealer, it included an oil and filter change, replacing the fluid in the rear differential, and a general inspection. The dealer also performed a “product update,” to the software that controls the audio and navigation systems.

While it was in for service anyway, Ron Kiino had a new set of tires installed ahead of yet another road trip. Although we have no real gripes about the standard Continental CrossContact LX Sports on the Pilot, Kiino reached out to our friends at Tire Rack to inquire about the best all-season tire option for his trip up to the snow. They recommended and supplied at set of Michelin Premier LTX all-seasons, Tire Rack’s highest-rated in the category. At $221.75 each, they’re actually slightly cheaper than the $232.75 Continentals. Plus, our instrumented testing is pretty tough on tires, so it was about time for them to go anyway.

We had the dealer install the tires, bringing the total for the service to $244.75. Of that, $130 was to mount and balance the tires. The software update was free.

Although the Pilot has been a reliable workhorse, we’ve noticed a few more small things we don’t love about it. The first is a bit of electrical interference, which presents itself as a high-pitched electronic whine that changes pitch with engine speed. It’s faint, but noticeable even over the radio.

The second is the release mechanism for the third-row seats. To unlatch them, you pull a strap hanging on the back of the seat. To get them back in, you reach in, hoping the strap Velcroed itself to the seat somewhere within your reach, then use the same strap to pull it up. Once the seat is up, you have to grab and hold it with your other hand before you release the strap; otherwise it won’t latch, and the seat will fall back down. Honda’s CR-V has a better solution, using handles on the walls rather than the straps in the seat backs.

More on our long-term 2016 Honda Pilot here:

Arrival Update 1: How the SUV of the Year Finalist is Faring So Far