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The Honda Pilot, a midsize crossover SUV by the Japanese manufacturer, has been produced since 2002. At the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, its third generation (the latest one so far) was unveiled. Among its rivals are the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, and some others.
The new vehicle marks a new development stage for the segment meaning other car makers have to make an effort to be on a par with it. It features a redesigned body and even more capacious and luxurious cabin as well as a range of state-of-the-art (safety) features and improved fuel economy.
Exterior and Interior
The 2016 Honda Pilot has slightly different dimensions in comparison with the previously produced model. It became longer by 3.5 inches (now it’s 191.0 inches long) and lower by an inch (its height is 69.7 inches) while its wheelbase increased by 1.7 inches being 111.0 inches in total. Also, the vehicle shed about 300 lb of weight.
The new Honda Pilot acquired a considerably new appearance. You aren’t offered a boxy crossover SUV anymore. Instead, the automaker made it more sophisticated by adding gentler lines to its front and rear ends as well as on each side. Now, the car’s exterior resembles the Nissan Rogue and Hyundai Santa Fe. We also like the Pilot’s LED accents applied to the head- and taillights.
The vehicle’s interior lets you know that you’re in a completely different Pilot, meaning the manufacturer learnt a lesson. To compare it with the previous model’s interior is like to compare apples and oranges. You cannot find any cheap and hard materials inside the new Honda Pilot. Its cabin is trimmed with high-quality soft-touch ones. Besides, the top-of-the-range models come with panoramic roof/roofs for the first time in the history of the Honda Pilot. The new model’s cabin design resembles the Buick Enclave’.
Apart from getting revamped exterior and interior, the new Honda Pilot is also changed in terms of comfort it offers its passengers. A crash structure at the front is enlarged as well as cargo capacity and third row of seats.
The Honda Pilot of the 2016 model year is available in such trims as the LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, and Elite. Almost all the models are capable of seating up to eight passengers in three rows of seats except for the range-topping one that due to captain’s chairs in the second row, seats no more than seven people.
There’s plenty of space in the front compartment of the Honda Pilot. Both a driver and a passenger enjoy highly supportive and comfortable seats. A person behind the steering wheel has a commanding view of the road. Still, a driving position isn’t as high as you may think. The Honda Pilot gains another point here.
The second-row seats don’t yield to the ones at the front in regard of comfort. They are available as captain’s chairs and a bench. In the first case, space between the seats is filled with a console containing cup holders and a tray.
Access to the third row is easier thanks to the floor lowered by 1.2 inches, captain’s chairs in the second row, and their ability to fold up and slide forward at the push of a button. These seats can accommodate three adults in comfort, a valuable but uncommon feature nowadays. There’s so much head and leg room here no car can boast of.
The 2016 Honda Pilot offers enormous cargo capacity. You can use 18.5 cubic feet of space behind the third row of seats. Fold it down and there’ll be 56 cubic feet at your disposal. With the third and second rows bent down, the vehicle offers 109 cubic feet of cargo space.
A sufficient number of small storage compartments across the cabin will also please owners of the new Honda Pilot. There are a lot of places where you can keep your gadgets and simply small items. For example, there are two deep cup holders and a shallow recess for electronic devices apart from a deep compartment covered with a lid on the centre console. The models with a nine-speed automatic transmission feel even roomier due to the absence of a shift lever.
The 2016 Honda Pilot is powered by the only engine, an improved 3.5-litre V6 one that produces 280 hp at 6,000 rpm and 262 lb/ft of torque at 4,700 rpm. It accelerates the vehicle up to 60 mph in fewer than seven seconds and emits a special sound peculiar exclusively to Honda engines. Depending on a trim level, it comes with a six- (LX, EX, and EX-L) or nine-speed automatic (Touring and Elite) transmission.
The Honda Pilot can be either all- or front-wheel drive. The Intelligent Traction Management technology (other manufacturers also offer it but under different names) allows a driver selecting a mode corresponding with the surface they are driving on: Normal, Snow, Mud, or Sand. Once a mode is selected, the system adjusts certain parameters to enhance stability and control of your vehicle.
Along with a pretty large number of innovations in almost all the spheres, the new Honda Pilot improved its fuel efficiency.
The models equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission differ in fuel-efficiency figures depending on the layout. The AWD Pilots return 18 mpg city and 26 mpg hwy while FWD ones are estimated at 19 mpg city and 27 mpg hwy.
The EPA estimated the top-of-the-range Touring and Elite cars, which come with a nine-speed auto gearbox, at 19 mpg city and 26 mpg hwy for AWD models and 20 mpg city and 27 mpg hwy for FWD Pilots.
Good news is that in real-world conditions, the SUV is even more fuel-efficient as long as it exploits the start/stop technology that shuts off some of the engine’s cylinders or the engine entirely when there’s no need in such amount of power.
Safety and other Features
The Honda Pilot LX offers such standard equipment as 17-inch wheels and power locks, mirrors, and windows as well as cloth-wrapped seats, five-inch colour screen, 200-W seven-speaker audio system, A/C, cruise control, USB port, etc.
The mode advanced EX models add a power-adjustable driver’s seat, remote start, extra USB ports, bigger eight-inch screen, tri-zone climate control, Pandora radio, LaneWatch camera, and some other features. The Sensing safety package including lane departure and forward collision warning systems with auto braking, adaptive cruise control, road departure mitigation, and lane keeping assistance is optional.
Move up and there’s the Honda Pilot EX-L. This trim provides a wide range of cutting-edge technologies at a reasonable price. With it, you’ll get a power tailgate and panoramic roof, leather upholstery, heated seats at the front, and an opportunity to access the third row easier with the second-row seats moved forward at the push of a button.
One of the range-topping trims, the Touring, runs on 20-inch wheels and offers in-ceiling Blu-Ray DVD entertainment system for passengers at the back, 540-W ten-speaker audio system, seats with memory, Garmin sat nav, five USB ports, and a power outlet as well as the Sensing safety package, start/stop technology, parking sensors, etc.
The most expensive Pilot, the Pilot Elite, features automatic high beams, LED headlamps, and two panoramic roofs (the one over the rear seats is added). The seats at the back are heated as well as the steering wheel while the ones at the front are ventilated; the second-row seats can be captain’s chairs. The model also offers the Honda’s Sensing safety package and blind spot monitors along with cross-traffic alerts.
The Honda Pilot Elite diversifies the SUV’s usage. It becomes not just an excellent people carrier but also a freight carrier. The model is equipped with a trailer hitch, bike mounts, roof box and rails, tent, etc.
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