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For us, a family road trip to the Smoky Mountains starts with a great (and fun) vehicle! It, of course, must be large enough to comfortably seat all passengers, luggage, and every random item that the children can’t leave behind for a week.

The 2012 Honda Pilot was a fantastically comfortable vehicle for the six hour trip from our home to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We loved having the opportunity to spend a week reviewing the Pilot as we journeyed to and from our destination and spent some time driving through the Smoky Mountains – taking in magnificent views.

Not only has the 2012 Honda Pilot received a more sleek front-end design, it boasts an EPA highway fuel economy rating of 25 mpg on two-wheel-drive models.

By easily folding the rear seats down, we had more than enough room for our luggage, a large cooler, grocery items and every other “necessity” for the trip.

See Packing the Pilot and find out what we brought on vacation!

The entire family, especially the children, needs to be comfortable when spending hours in a vehicle. Car seats should fit nicely and everyone should have some leg room for a little stretching along the way. We are usually a little cramped in our sedans. So, a travel vehicle that is large enough to keep us from being cramped yet able to easily reach each other when needed is a must. The Pilot seemed a perfect fit for the storage and stretching space needed – while still allowing me to be close enough for any of moment where mom or dad was needed by kids in the second row.

Adding to the comfort level of the 2012 Pilot is a reduction in noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). Enhanced body seam sealing around the unit-body connection points, and re-tuned rear suspension sub-frame mounts, result in lower noise levels in the passenger cabin. Other specific NVH countermeasures include body-seam sealants to reduce air leaks, enhanced pillar separators, revised insulation materials and acoustic windshield glass on all models.

Owning a sedan, I prepared myself for having greater difficulty parking a large size SUV in the very creative spaces available in Gatlinburg. Have you been there? Some of the parking lots can be a little tricky! Those who are familiar with the sparse and tight parking spaces available in Gatlinburg will appreciate the tight turning diameter of 37.9 feet. I was able to move the Pilot in and out of those delightful parking lots with great maneuverability.

We enjoyed driving the Pilot to our vacation destination and back home again. I think I most enjoyed taking it through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and seeing the amazing sites available along the way and on stops with amazing views.

Ultimately, safety is the highest priority when planning travel with my family. Having a more updated vehicle that meets current safety standards is monumental. The feature I enjoyed and now miss the most was the wide-view rear-view camera. I continue to look down at my dashboard for a view of what is behind the vehicle before I back out of the garage, driveway or parking space. That camera came in very handy during all of those tricky parking maneuvers in the mountains!

Safety technology includes the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure that helps reduce the amount of crash energy reaching the passenger compartment and can enhance frontal collision compatibility. Additional safety equipment includes three-row side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor, driver’s and front passenger’s side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), active front seat head restraints and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist. Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®), commonly referred to as Electronic Stability Control, is standard on all models. The 2012 Pilot also meets new federal regulations with taller rear head restraints.

Disclosure: Bloggy Moms was provided with complimentary use of a 2012 Honda Pilot for a review period. All opinions are our own.

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