With 77% of Modern Dog readers taking their dogs with them
when they travel and 76% telling us that having a dog affects their vehicle
purchasing decisions, I thought I’d share my experience
test-driving a 2011 Honda Pilot through some of the toughest winter road conditions I’d
yet to experience. My recent road-trip to BC’s interior took me
through some extremely diverse driving conditions, starting with west coast torrential
rains on crowded, high-speed freeways then twisting high-elevation mountainous passes with roads treacherously covered with ice. As we climbed further upward, we met with a heavy
blanket of snow that fell so quickly the Highways’ ploughs couldn’t clear it fast

Our Honda Pilot was fully loaded
with four people, three dogs, and all our gear, yet we still had room to spare and could relax and enjoy the luxurious interior with features such as an awesome sound system, movie screen, tri-zone temperature control, and my personal favourite, heated seats. With the weather turning from bad
to worse, we were glad that we started out early enough so that we wouldn’t
have to negotiate the high altitude part of the trip in the dark. Anyone who’s
driven the Coquihalla and Connector during a winter storm can tell you that it
can be hair-raising, indeed (it’s not uncommon to see multiple accidents with
cars off the road or pulled over to the side, simply unable to climb the slick

Despite the treacherous conditions, the Pilot got us safely to our destination, and in both style and comfort. Not only did it provide amazing visibility (so important when there’s fog and
snow), but we didn’t slip once due
to its incredible four-wheel drive system that kept us safely on the road.

Here are some of
the features I particularly enjoyed:

The seating is
versatile (with the 60/40 split-folding second and third row seats, there are
sixteen different seating configurations!); eight people, a lot of gear, or any
combination thereof can comfortably fit inside. My group of four doesn’t
travel light and even with our three dogs and all their travel accessories we
had plenty of room to spare.

The traction was
incredible due to Honda’s Variable Torque
Management® 4-wheel drive system (VTM-4®)

that automatically transfers power to the rear wheels when the system detects
loss of front-wheel drive traction. This is something you’ll really appreciate
when driving on slippery winter roads.

was plenty of power to spare (every Pilot is powered by a 3.5-liter i_VTEc
VFuel efficiency – Variable Cylinder
ManagementTM (VCM®)
, but despite the powerful engine,
it was still great on gas (the VCM increases mileage and lower emissions by
automatically deactivating and reactivating multiple cylinders, depending on
the driver’s needs).

you’ve ever noticed that some vehicles easily fog-up when it’s cold outside,
especially when there’s a warm group of people inside, you won’t have this
problem in a Pilot which they tell me is due to a Tri-Zone Automatic
Climate Control System with Air Filtration
(EX and above). This
system also gives passengers the ability to choose the exact temperature they
want, so everyone’s comfortable and happy.

With the Honda
Satellite-Linked Navigation SystemTM with Voice Recognition, Off-Road Tracking
and Rearview Camera
you will never have to stop for
directions again.

Call Hands
Free – the Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®
with Navigation[1] is a huge convenience. It lets me make and receive calls on my iPhone while my hands stayed on
the wheel and my eyes on the road.

Here we are starting our ascent up into the mountains… 

You won’t need to stop and ask for directions with this handy and easy-to-use navigation system. The screen also allows you to see what’s behind you when you put the vehicle into reverse. All and all, a great ride, especially for those of us with dogs, gear, friends and family, and places to get to! 


This vehicle’s traction won’t disappoint!

A luxurious and roomy interior… even the third row of seats has ample leg room.