The 2009 Honda Pilot isn't the fastest or most exciting car to go on sale this year, nor is it the best looking. But, if we're honest with ourselves — which honestly, we aren't very often — it's probably the one we should buy. But that's the problem with honesty, it just isn't very exciting.
You see, with up to six or seven beefy bloggers, plus the occasional girly man (I'm raising my hand here) to haul around, most of the sexy sports cars we dream about are ruthlessly inefficient. Requiring Ray — we let him drive, it makes him feel powerful — to make an equivalent number of journeys to the number of people being moved just isn't the best way to start off sixteen hours of live auto show coverage. Aside from the fact that none of us enjoy being there, Ray's
full blown borderline OCD has him biting our heads off at the best of times. Throwing cramped quarters into the equation would probably bring about the end of Jalopnik as we know it.
A minivan would probably be best suited to our needs. Designed with nothing but road-going people capacity in mind, they're exactly what we need. The problem is, our vanity (once again, my hand way up in the air) gets in the way. Hence the constant stream of SUVs, they provide the utility without making us look like we're on the way to a sci-fi convention, Hardigree excepted. We know we're not kidding anyone — the closest we usually get to off-roading is when we get lost in downtown Detroit — but in the unbelievably egotistical world of automotive journalism (we won't call it an industry as that would suggest something productive is, on the whole, achieved by those involved) trucks allow us to cling to whatever shred of cred we still have. At least until we get drunk and pick fights with Angus MacKenzie that is.
Those trucks usually take the form of some variant of the Suburban/Yukon/Escalade platform. An inefficient use of space if we ever saw one. Not only do they only offer cramped accommodation for seven, but they're also larger outside than Ray's apartment. We like them mostly because GM will hand them over at the merest hint of a phone call. And because we think they lend our badly dressed, overweight asses some sort of class. Something that's lost the second Travis exposes his crack attempting to climb into the way back seats.
Not only are these trucks ruthlessly non-reformed of us, but they're also a stupid choice, never delivering on their promised utility. This is where the Pilot comes in. Possibly the most unassuming car we've ever come across, and by that we mean it looks so bland we actually have no opinion on its design, it is nevertheless ridiculously practical. Here, in the footprint of a Highlander, you have eight seats, enough interior capacity to carry a stack of plywood sheets, enough cup holders to hold a week's worth of spilled coffee and skittles, and fuel economy that manages to creep above 20mpg, depending of course on none of us actually being allowed to drive it that is
The new Pilot manages to make all other crossovers, and certainly every SUV ever look ridiculous by somehow actually delivering on the utility they've always promised but never delivered. It's safe, it tows, it carries eight, you could move house in it, and it drives well. It's even good off road. Imagine that. This is great news to tens of thousands of American families with the good sense to buy one, but bad for us. Not just because Gawker's too cheap to ever actually shell out for a car, but because, caught up in our own fantasies of performance and image, we'll never be smart enough to buy one ourselves. We'll be missing out. Honest.