Honda has certain had quite a success in the SUV world with the Pilot and the CR-V. Unfortunately the Pilot suffered a bit of a setback in 2014, with sluggish sales and antiquated features that signaled this big SUV was due for an overhaul. Honda listened and took the Pilot to a new place, giving their largest SUV a complete new look and new equipment for 2016, poising it for a renewed sales success and giving us the chance to fall in love with a full sized SUV from Honda once again.
The first thing you will notice about the new Pilot is the shape. This SUV is no longer a box on wheels, but offer a dynamic appearance with lines and curves that would make a sports car jealous. Even though it’s the largest Honda vehicle on a lot, other than the Odyssey, the Pilot shows features that are normally reserved for smaller vehicles such as a curved and angled front fascia, body lines that show the length and size of the vehicle, a low angled hood to roof line and even a curved back rear end to finish the deal.
As the Pilot enters its third generation, it stole the show at the Honda booth in January at the Detroit Auto Show and came in with a list of features that made many in attendance ready to drive it home that day. The new Pilot will show up at dealers in the summer, giving it advanced sales over those models which will arrive in the fall. The new Pilot shows up with a 3.5-liter V6 engine which features the variable cylinder management to help give you even better fuel efficiency than without this awesome feature. Adding to this will be the all new all-wheel drive system from Honda which is more dynamic than before.
This new power plant will be attached to either a six-speed automatic transmission on the base model or a nine-speed automatic on the higher models. This should give in improvement of fuel efficiency across the board, even with the AWD added to the vehicle. This will make it more appealing when it comes time to turn it into a used SUV at a local dealership. The Pilot is expected to gain even better numbers from the 300 pound weight loss it has experienced through the new body style and structure with some aluminum infusion. Even though this SUV lost some weight, it is actually 3.5 inches longer, making it roomier on the inside.
Another key area of improvement was the interior of this SUV. The old model had a dated interior that was described as not user friendly. The new Pilot offers fewer knobs and buttons to maneuver and gives instead a very user friendly touch screen infotainment system to control all the features. Upping the technology piece this new SUV has up to five UB ports in the cabin to charge devices or share information.
The second row of seating now offers captain’s chairs as well, making it a more comfortable ride for these passengers. To give even more of a luxury ride to these second row passengers there is an optional nine-inch rear entertainment system and a center console between these seats. With this upgraded second row, the third row access has been dramatically improved as well, making it much simpler to reach the very back of the Pilot. Once behind the third row you can see there is still plenty of space for some luggage and cargo to be placed in the very back of the vehicle, making this an SUV that is great for every duty.
On the outside, other than the new look and lines of the SUV the Pilot features LED headlights, 20-inch wheels and a fully modernized look. Even though it is larger than before, the look is not nearly as imposing as it used to be with the old boxy shape and design. This looks more like an SUV that could make its way to the reaches of a luxury model with the right equipment.
No new vehicle is complete without a discussion about what new technology will be included. These features include Honda’s LaneWatch display with a camera feed from the passenger side, blind spot monitoring, a multi-view rearview camera, lane departure warnings, lane keep assistance, adaptive cruise control and the road departure mitigation system which is continually monitoring the position of the Pilot on the road.
Overall the Honda Pilot looks like a crossover SUV on steroids, which might be just the right message to send in order to bring shoppers back to the full size SUV market. Even though other manufacturers enjoyed some great sales in 2014, Honda lost ground with the Pilot. This new version seems to be the perfect vehicle to carry the name and reputation of the Pilot back into the sales lead starting with the 2016 model year.