What Is It?
The 2016 Honda Pilot is a three-row midsize crossover.
What's New About This Model?
The 2016 Honda Pilot is completely redesigned from top to bottom. It features heavily revised styling, new features and an optional nine-speed automatic transmission.
When Does It Go on Sale?
The 2016 Pilot will arrive at Honda dealers this summer.
How Much Does It Cost?
Pricing will be detailed closer to the showroom launch, but considering the intense price competition in the family-oriented midsize crossover market, Honda is likely to keep a base-price hike for the 2016 Honda Pilot modest and in line with its higher level of new content.
How Many Body Styles and Trim Levels Are There?
The 2016 Honda Pilot is a four-door midsize crossover with three rows of seating. Honda has yet to detail specifics regarding trim levels, but we expect the 2016 Pilot lineup to closely align with the five trim levels — LX, EX, SE, EX-L and Touring — available for the current Pilot.
What Kind of Engines and Transmissions Does It Have?
A heavily revised, direct-injection version of the existing Pilot's 3.5-liter V6 is under the hood of every 2016 Honda Pilot. Although the company has yet to disclose its power ratings, we expect a significant increase over the 250 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque generated by the current Pilot's 3.5-liter V6. Also available is a new stop-start function that saves fuel by shutting off the engine during brief stops and automatically restarting it when you're ready to move again.
Aligning with the 2016 Pilot's new V6 engine are a couple of new automatic transmissions. Lower-trim versions of the Pilot get a six-speed automatic (up one gear over the current Pilot's five-speeder), while premium versions of the 2016 Pilot get an all-new nine-speed automatic transmission. Paired with the revised V6 and a 260-to-300-pound weight reduction, either transmission should help improve the Pilot's performance and fuel efficiency.
What Unique Features Does It Offer?
Honda is launching the 2016 Pilot with a raft of new electronic safety technologies that, combined with existing features such as its LaneWatch camera, comprise what the company is calling "Honda Sensing," a suite of cooperating driver-assist features. For the 2016 Pilot, Honda Sensing includes options such as adaptive cruise control, collision-mitigation braking, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and Honda's newest active-safety feature, Road-Departure Mitigation (what we think folks used to call "keeping it between the white lines").
Although Honda wouldn't confirm it, we also expect the Pilot's completely new all-wheel-drive system will feature a new terrain-selection function to allow the driver to choose from a variety of settings that optimize the all-wheel-drive — and other traction-related hardware such as the engine, transmission and stability control system — according to the driving environment. The new Pilot's all-wheel drive also incorporates "torque-vectoring" that helps enhance handling by manipulating the power apportioned to individual rear wheels during cornering.
Inside, the 2016 Pilot's redesigned interior focuses on improved, more-premium materials across the model range, while its extra 3.5 inches of length is most noticeable in the 2.5-inch-wider entry to the third-row seats. Entry and exit to the third row also is eased by a nifty new one-touch feature that slides the second-row seat forward and folds its backrest forward in a single, smooth motion. Honda also says that the Pilot's added length means items such as a giant 82-quart cooler now will fit in the cargo hold behind the upright third-row seats.
For the first time the Pilot will offer the option of captain's chairs for the middle row of seats, making for a seven-passenger capacity rather than eight occupants with a middle-row bench seat. Up front, the traditional transmission lever is gone in favor of a unique push-button/toggle setup on the center console that we're told offers more intuitive operation than is available from the expanding crop of push-button automatics.
The new Pilot's center console also is the site of what Honda's calling a "tech locker" that's sized to hold even larger portable electronics such as iPads and is fitted with all manner of connection and charging ports. The 2016 Pilot also offers as many as five USB ports situated around the interior, most of which have enhanced 2.5-amp charging capability.
What Models Will It Compete Against?
Chevrolet Traverse: A solid-performing, solid-value family hauler, the Traverse remains popular thanks to its expansive interior and long list of features.
Ford Explorer: Long the benchmark of the segment, the Explorer offers more engine choices than most of its competitors, and its roomy interior continues as the site of Ford's envelope-pushing Sync electronics interface — for better or worse.
Toyota Highlander: Like the Pilot, the Highlander was recently redesigned to give it more room inside and the latest safety and convenience features. It also offers a hybrid version that gives it one of the highest mileage ratings in the class.
Should You Wait for It?
The 2016 Pilot is a huge leap ahead from the current model in terms of technology, design and overall practicality. If you're in the market for a three-row SUV with all the latest features and solid fuel economy, the new Pilot should arrive as one of the top choices in the segment.