Honda Trucks Now 52% of Honda Sales in USA
Honda’s Accord and Civic sedans have been among the best selling vehicles for years. Honda usually counts retail sales when they are quoting sales figures because their sales to fleets is virtually non-existent. But their best selling vehicle is the Honda CR-V – a mid-size crossover SUV (XSUV). It seems like every other woman in Orange County is driving one. Year to date, “truck sales” have accounted for 52% of Honda’s sales in the USA. (AutoPacific’s forecast is that truck sales will be over 70% of the industry within the next five years).
We had an opportunity to drive Honda’s truck line-up at the Epona Estate in Hidden Hills near Westlake Village. The event featured the freshened 2019 Honda Pilot Premium Mid-Size XSUV and the Honda HR-V. The promise of the event was there was going to be an off-road course for the Pilot. Unfortunately, the HR-V was not available to drive because of the cars being stranded in a flood in Mexico.
2019 Honda Pilot: The Honda Pilot freshening is relatively minor and adds to the character of an already good product. Honda Pilot is standard with 8-passenger seating, but can had with second row captain’s chairs giving a capacity of 7-passengers. HondaSensing is standard on all Pilots for 2019. This is Honda’s suite of driver assistance technologies including adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, etc. Also, all Honda Pilots get LED headlamps, LED daytime running lights and automatic high beams.
Honda has finessed the 280HP 3.5L V6 and 6-speed automatic transmission in the Pilot to enhance noise, vibration and harshness. The drive vehicles were Elite models which checks all the boxes and upgrades the transmission to a 9-speed unit. The drive is seamless, quiet and confident.
Honda is fighting the features war with the Honda Pilot adding features not previously available or now being expected on a Premium Mid-Size XSUV. Cabin control is on the second step up EX model. Memory driver seat and mirrors are on the EX-L model (52% of sales). So are 2nd row seat sunshades. If you pop for the EX-L with Navi and RSE you get the navigation system and rear seat entertainment (for those of us who don’t want RSE, it is unfortunately standard on the upper Touring (25%) and Elite (10%) models). By the time you have selected the Elite model you have power moonroof, power liftgate, Homelink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, parking sensors, dual-pane panoramic moonroof, ventilated front seats and rain sensing wipers. Clearly, you can get a fully equipped Pilot that leaves almost nothing to desire.
Honda did the unthinkable with an XSUV, they let us drive the Honda Pilot off-road on an albeit mild off-road course. Not the stuff of Jeep off-roading events, but much more than most XSUV makers will attempt. These are shots of Pilot doing things you wouldn’t think it was capable of. Good going, Honda…
2019 HR-V: It is too bad the HR-V couldn’t be driven. This is a delightful compact crossover XSUV. With its magic seating system, HR-V is an extremely flexible package. For 2019, HR-V adds Sport and Touring trim levels to broaden its appeal. Sport is one notch above the base LX trim level and should account for 20% of HR-V sales. The top of the line Touring trim gets a nod for 7% of the mix. You have to get to the EX trim (42%) to get HondaSensing. At the top in the Touring package AWD is standard as is Navigation, LED headlamps and foglights. This begs the question if there is room in the HR-V lineup for an even more fully equipped Elite model?
Ridgeline, Odyssey and CR-V: Honda also had the rest of its truck lineup on hand for local drives. All are top notch, but surprisingly the Ridgeline pickup proved to be the most fun. It is a good size has good performance and is quiet and solid-feeling. If I needed a pickup, the Ridgeline would certainly be in my consideration set. (FYI: Ridgeline won both AutoPacific awards in 2019 – Vehicle Satisfaction Award and Ideal Vehicle Award. Odyssey also won both AutoPacific awards for 2019 – quite a sweep!)
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