The subject of the TOV's latest Road Test is Honda's all new 2003 Honda Pilot. Featuring seating for up to 8 passengers, a highly refined 240hp V6, and a sophisticated all wheel drive system at a starting price of only $26,900, it's no surprise that the Pilot was welcomed to the crowded SUV marketplace with great enthusiasm.
In a manner consistent with their approach to the minivan market, Honda has ventured into the SUV segment with incredible trepidation. This time it only took about a decade for Honda to recognize that more than a few automakers were raking in record profits by foisting staggering volumes of crude, inefficient, plodding monstrosities upon a willing American public. In droves, American families have been lining up to pay big bucks for "rugged" vehicles that offer little or no advantage in the way of utility or sport than a run-of-the mill minivan or even a stationwagon. Still, the "style-conscious" and "individuals" of the suburban set wouldn't be caught dead in a minivan or station wagon for fear of casting the image of a "soccer mom" or worse. In fact, in some perverse absence of logic, SUVs have even come to represent some sort of symbol of status. Suffice it to say, I will never understand this.