2017 Honda Pilot LX

Yes, I know. It’s a crossover and most TTAC readers would rather be locked in a room with a rabid weasel than drive a three-row box that’s oriented towards families. The rest of the nation does not feel this way, however, with American shoppers hoovering up these types of machines at an exponential rate.

Three rows, nearly 300 horsepower, and 3.5 liters: let’s see what a base model Honda Pilot offers for just over $30,000.

The three-row crossover segment is cutthroat, not unlike the minivan market of yore. Back when suburbs were awash with examples of the Dodge Caravan, manufacturers were in a constant state of one-upmanship to placate the demands of buyers. Today, of course, their attention has largely shifted to seven-seaters of a different ilk.

A base model Pilot checks in at $30,745, bringing with it a direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 engine making 280 horsepower, lashed to Honda’s six-speed automatic. This is only $1,000 dearer than the cheapest V6-powered Kia Sorento, and we all know which brand will hang onto a shred of resale value come trade-in time. The 3.5-liter is the engine installed in all Pilots across the board.

At this end of the spectrum, the Pilot is a front-drive affair, meaning buyers in the snow belt had better set aside some cheddar for a good set of winter tires. Actually, all drivers in the snow belt should have winter rubber, because all-wheel drive simply gets a person up to crashing speed more quickly.

In terms of driver assists, the usual cadre of stability and traction controls keep things on the straight and narrow, while a backup camera spies the situation astern. Jack needn’t weep for LaneWatch on a Pilot until the EX trim.

2017 Honda Pilot LX

Push button start, cruise control, and a tilt/telescope wheel are all standard — as they should be when one is playing in the $30,000 league. Pleasant surprises include a trick hidden storage well and subwoofer to bump the parent’s EDM music after they’ve dropped the kids off at daycare. The Kia has a smaller infotainment screen than the Honda and a one-touch power window only for the driver, compared to express service on both the driver and passenger windows in the big H.

A palette of colors are available, ranging from milquetoast greyscale to more interesting blues and reds. Depending on the hue selected, one will find themselves sitting in either a grey or beige cloth interior.

By pricing the LX just above $30,000 while also endowing it with a nearly 300 hp engine, Honda has erased a lot of the value argument once held high by Korean brands. That equation starts to evaporate the further one moves up the food chain but here, in the Ace of Base domain, the Pilot makes a strong case for itself.

[Images: Honda]