Fire and Rain

Fire and Rain

Honda has been personally dear to me since my parents got a white Accord back in 1994, then a green Civic in 1996. Those were the two cars that ferried me and my siblings to school everyday. I still remember my dad (stepdad) making our heads almost hit the roof by not slowing down for the huge village humps - don't ask me why.

Tons of memories like those are tucked in my consciousness. Honda was, and always will be, my comfort car brand. There must be something about growing up with a particular brand that sticks to the recesses of our minds.

I remember seven hour trips to Baguio in our white Accord with James Taylor on loop - my siblings and I memorizing songs written before I, the eldest, was born.

Before I continue strolling down memory lane, I’d like to insert a little about today to this article. 

This time, my kids are listening to Fire and Rain via FM radio on a short trip to Tagaytay on a white Honda while I drive. It's a familiar badge I see on the steering wheel that explodes with memories as James Taylor sings in the background. The difference is, this car stands much taller and can easily go off the road. It's an SUV that Honda calls the Pilot.

Today, most would complain about the amount of space they have in a 100 square meter condominium unit their parents have rented for them to help start their lives, and I don't blame them. Think about it - some people's childhood bedrooms were more than that, not only in the posh exclusive gated villages, but even in far flung rural areas of the country. Unfortunately, with more than one hundred million people in the country today, space is at a premium especially in the business districts where all the better paying jobs are - so all the "brats" with their college degrees flock to the concrete jungle of the different metros in the country. 

These brats, as most people would brand them, probably just need some space saving tips from our Japanese neighbors three thousand kilometers north where the capital has coffin-sized accommodations at roughly one thousand pesos per cubic meter per night that are sometimes fully-booked. Expensive! To give you an idea how expensive that is, that rate applied to your standard 20 square meter bedroom with a standard height of 2.4 meters would equate to forty-eight thousand pesos per night. 

So how do the Japanese make up for this lack of space? With design, technology, and engineering, the Japanese are able to find every little bit of space for everything - whole floors are storage spaces with latches you can pull up, a button turns the kitchen and dining area into a living room, and a pull-out bed turns the whole space into a bedroom. See what I mean? In as much as I'd like to write a lot more about magnificent tiny homes, my job is to write about how the Japanese brand, Honda, brought this philosophy to a vehicle they call the Pilot, lest I be fired by my partners. 

Yes, the Pilot isn't a compact car - far from it in fact. This Honda is a clear competitor of the likes of The Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander - all have a commanding presence on the road, and if you don't notice any one of them that pass you, you're either blind or ignorant to what these vehicles look like. If the Pilot isn't a small car, what was the point of that introduction about small spaces? 

In today’s world where cars are no longer just a means of transportation, people store all sorts of personal items like a change of clothes, cologne, refreshments, toilet paper and whatever else you can think of. Storage and organization are key to having a peaceful second home on the road - I'm sure you know at least one person who needs to push everything to one side of the car to let others hitch a ride.

With the Pilot, countless nooks and crannies allow you to keep a tidy car with extra space for your passengers' personal effects. The center console can even keep a whole Prada bag from the harsh rays of the sun, and after closing the hard top cover, it still gives you enough room to put another purse on top.

Happy wife, happy life. 

Aside from all that storage, the Pilot also has a whole set of driver assistance technology available if that's your cup of tea. It can brake by itself along with a visual and audible front collision warning. It can also warn you and slightly control the steering if you're drifting away from your lane. It also warns you when there's cross traffic while backing out of a parking space. I personally turned all of this off because I like being in control - yes, I'm a control freak especially when it comes to driving. What I left turned on were things I found helpful like blind spot information, and traction control. 

Driving the Pilot is great! Long road trips are stress-free and bumper-to-bumper driving in the city isn't a road rage affair thanks to a multitude of entertainment options and a very comfortable ride. The one thing that may stress me out on the Pilot is its quite thirsty appetite. I did an average of 5.3 kilometers to the liter while testing. 

It has been almost ten years since my dad passed, and I know if he were still around, he'd get a Pilot and drive to Fire and Rain by James Taylor. 

2016 Honda Pilot 3.5 EX-L AWD

Engine: 3,471cc, V6
Fuel: Gasoline
Power: 280 bhp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 355 Nm @ 4,700 rpm
Transmission: Earth Dreams Technology 6-Speed Automatic, AWD
0-100 km/h: 6.1 seconds
Top Speed: 183 km/h
Fuel Economy: 9.4 km/L Overall
Price: PHP3,385,000
+: Capable 4x4 system, powerful engine, helpful driving aids and lots of compartments
-: Quite thirsty, dead steering feel
Verdict: A great SUV not only for the city, but for the rough mountain roads as well
Rating: 8.5/10

Ex-Public Highway Racer

Instagram: @miguelolfindo