The all-new 2016 Honda Pilot is the third generation to be designed and manufactured in America since the Pilot’s debut in 2003, as the first three-row mainstream SUV developed on a car-like unit-body platform. Year over year the Pilot has set the industry standard for fuel efficiency, spacious interior, safety performance and dynamic handling performance within the mid-size SUV segment. With the debut of this latest model, Honda is poised to set the bar even higher.
Honda has completely redesigned the Pilot from the ground up for 2016. It’s goal: to better accommodate the needs of it’s passengers by providing more family-friendly utility, advanced technology and a wealth of premium amenities unavailable until now. Major upgrades have been made to the interior quality with more standard features available on each trim, along with the arrival of the new top end Elite version, offering many Honda-first features including 20 inch wheels, ventilated front seats, headed second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, and a panoramic glass moonroof.
Honda has also equipped its new family-friendly SUV with many new tech features. Each Pilot comes equipped with up to five USB ports, four of which provide enough power to charge iPads or smartphones while they are in use. An auxiliary jack, HDMI port for game consoles, 2 headphone jacks and up to three 12-volt power outlets are also included. While all of these features provide for keeping the kids entertained in the back seat, the upsized 8-inch touchscreen Display Audio interface with available Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ will keep adults on the right path in the front. The new system comes with updated graphics and capabilities including 3D renderings of your surroundings.
Under the hood you’ll find an all-new engine from Honda’s EarthDreams Technology powertrain series. The direct-injected 3.5 liter SOHC i-VTEC® V-6 engine, along with two all-new 6-speed and 9-speed transmissions, and intelligent variable torque management system (VTM4™), turns out 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. With a 19.5 gallon gas tank on each model, combined city and highway gas mileage ranges from 21-23 mpg.
Finally, the new Pilot boasts additional cargo space in the form of 3.5 inches of added length. This allows for an inch more of tandem seating space and 1.3 additional inches in the cargo area. Accessibility to the 3rd row has also been made easier with the inclusion of the one-touch second-row seat available on EX-L and above models.
From an exterior and interior perspective, the redesigned Pilot is a win for Honda. The look of the vehicle is more streamlined and looks much sportier than the previous boxy models. The interior looks much more comfortable and many more features are available. The fact that there are so many trims available makes the Pilot a versatile choice for families looking at all price ranges in the mid-size SUV segment. In truth I’ve never been a huge fan of Honda. I’ve often found the engines sluggish and the finishes lacking. However, my husband and I recently moved and borrowed a friend’s Pilot to help transport some of our larger items. My husband found the engine to be quite exceptional, given the size of the vehicle. He also said it felt roomy on the inside, but he didn’t feel he was driving a massive car. He said it handled well, particularly given its size and the amount of cargo we loaded it with. And when we went to the pump to refill the gas tank and return the car to our friend, we received no sticker shock. It got great gas mileage, especially given its size.
I would have to drive the new 2016 to give the engine and handling a proper review, but based on our experience with a slightly older model, I would say I would be pleasantly surprised. In a time when costs seem to be going up everywhere and quality seems to be going down, with the 2016 Pilot, Honda is delivering a quality product at a very competitive price. MSRP on the 2016 Pilot ranges from $30,145-$46,570.