Honda has added a volume knob to its 2019 Pilot mid-size crossover as part of a significant mid-cycle refresh that also brings a Canada-exclusive Black Edition trim, new styling and a revised transmission.
This makes the Pilot the latest Honda model to get a revised infotainment system to replace one widely criticized for its touch-sensitive volume control. The automaker made a similar return to a physical knob in the 2017 Honda CR-V.
The updated Pilot also gets revised exterior styling front and rear, plus new technology that includes a CabinControl smartphone app that allows passengers to control the audio and climate control systems and send an address to the navigation system in models so equipped. Touring and Black Edition models also get the CabinTalk public-address system Honda debuted in the Odyssey minivan, and wireless smartphone charging is available in the Pilot for the first time, too.
Other tech changes include a Pilot-first hands-free tailgate for Touring and Black Edition trims, a new 7.0-inch TFT instrument cluster and a revised nine-speed automatic transmission (standard in Touring and Black Edition) that in most situations will start out in second gear for smoother launches. Honda has also revised the engine's idle stop system to make its operation less obvious, and the engine now remains off when the transmission is shifted to park.
There's no mention yet of the five-seat Pilot we reported on in spring of 2017, which was said to be in the works for a production start in the fall of this year.
These changes don't come free. The new model starts at $41,090 in LX trim, a $500 increase over the 2018 Honda Pilot that applies to the other three trims carried over from last year (EX, EX-L Navi and Touring). The Black Edition becomes the new top-end variant, carrying a price tag of $53,990, a $1,500 step up from Pilot Touring.
The 2019 Honda Pilot and its new volume knob is set to arrive in Canadian showrooms on August 24.