2016 Honda Pilot shows off at Chicago Auto Show
Willie Grace | 2/13/2015, 1:33 p.m. | Updated on 2/13/2015, 1:33 p.m.
POPULAR HONDA SUV WILL HIT SHOWROOMS THIS SUMMER
Honda used the Chicago Auto Show to introduce its third-generation Pilot SUV today.
The 2016 Honda Pilot goes on sale this summer, and the differences are stark. The current model, now seven years into its production run, is clearly a throwback to the boxy look of a body-on-frame utility. The new Pilot is more curvaceous in the mold of other unitbody SUVs such as the Kia Sorento or Hyundai Santa Fe, with a strong family resemblance to the smaller Honda CR-V. The ’16 Pilot is handsome, to be sure, though its three-bar grille and headlight configuration could be mistaken for a 2012 Ford Fusion.
The next Pilot is three inches longer than the current one, but Honda says curb weight drops “nearly 300 pounds.” That should leave the lightest all-wheel-drive Pilot at about 4,100 pounds. Power comes from an update of Honda’s 3.5 liter i-VTEC V6, still with variable displacement technology but now also with direct injection. Output? Honda calls it “the most powerful Pilot ever.” We’d project about 300 horsepower and 270-280 lb-ft of torque.
Honda promises “a completely new all-wheel drive system,” though exactly what’s new remains under wraps. Lower-trim Pilots get a six-speed automatic, as opposed to the current five speed. High-zoot models get a nine-speed auto with push-button engagement, paddle shifters on the steering wheel and start/stop operation. The extra ratios and reduced weight should improve EPA ratings, even with an increase in horsepower. Honda also promises “class-leading dynamic performance and fuel efficiency.”
Inside, the development team in Marysville, Ohio, focused on improving access to a more spacious third seat. The second row slides forward and flat for rear access with the touch of a button, and for the first time the Pilot will be offered with second-row captain’s chairs. And even with the more comfortable third row, there’s still room for an 82-quart cooler behind the rear seat, according to Honda. The dash and center stack are clean and attractive, and the general finish is improved throughout.
The new Pilot offers full LED lighting, including projector headlights, and 20-inch wheels. There’s a full suite of “Honda Sensing” safety systems, including a standard multi-angle backup camera, adaptive cruise control and—for the first time in a Honda—rear cross-traffic alert.
Then there are a bunch of typical Honda niceties, like a split panoramic sunroof, a deep center console bin that swallows several tablet computers, two 12-volt and five USB charge ports spread throughout the cabin—most with a charge rate of 2.5 amps. The Android-based infotainment OS has been updated and streamlined, with a faster processor. A larger, higher-res rear video screen offers Blu-Ray capability.
In a vehicle full of family-friendly features, the 2016 Pilot does have one glaring omission. It will not provide Wi-Fi hotspot capability, so if connectivity is your number one priority, take that into consideration.
The 2016 Honda Pilot should be in showrooms this summer.
For more information go to http://www.autoweek.com