2016 Honda Pilot: Performance-Tested Tank
by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on December 15, 2015
The 2016 Honda Pilot only needs to accelerate and brake well enough to safely carry people and cargo on the street. It's probably safe to say that most Pilot owners aren't concerned with quarter-mile trap speeds or lateral loads on the skidpad.
The Pilot wasn't designed with track performance in mind, yet it remains one of the most competent vehicles in its class when pushed. Read ahead to see the numbers.
Vehicle: 2016 Honda Pilot Elite AWD
Driver: Jonathan Elfalan
Drive Type: All-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Nine-speed automatic
Engine Type: Naturally-aspirated V6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,471/212
Redline (rpm): 6,750
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 280 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 262 @ 4700
Brake Type (front): One-piece ventilated discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): One-piece discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): MacPherson strut front suspension
Suspension Type (rear): Multi-link
Tire Size (front): 245/50R20 102H
Tire Size (rear): 245/50R20 102H
Tire Brand: Continental
Tire Model: CrossContact LX Sport
Tire Type: Regular all-season
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,301
0-30 (sec): 2.5 (w/ TC on 2.6)
0-45 (sec): 4.5 (w/ TC on 4.3)
0-60 (sec): 6.6 (w/TC on 6.7)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.3 (w/TC on 6.3)
0-75 (sec): 9.8 (w/TC on 9.9)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 14.8 @ 92.9 (w/TC on 14.8 @ 92.6)
30-0 (ft): 31
60-0 (ft): 123
Slalom (mph): 60.7 ( 59.1 w/TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.79 (0.77 w/ESC on)
RPM @ 70: 1,800
Acceleration: The Pilot doesn't like power braking. In fact it only delays it on the launch. The quickest run was achieved in Sport mode, going from brake to throttle with right foot as quickly as possible. With all-wheel drive, there's no wheel spin leaving the line either, which accounts for the speed advantage over the front-drive Pilot we tested.
The engine revs smoothly, and feels best from the mid-rpm range to high-end. It tends to make its best power just before 5,000 and upward, where torque peaks. The transmission shifts quickly and crisply, keeping in lock-step with the eagerness of the engine. Nice powertrain.
Braking: Brake pedal travel is fairly long and with a fair amount of squish. There's a good level of anti-dive engineered into the suspension geometry, so the Pilot's front end doesn't dive much even under hard emergency braking. The ABS activation is audible and quite a bit of suspension noise makes it into the cabin. But it tracks straight and stable, with only a little lateral wiggle experienced on some of the runs.
Braking distances were nice and consistent with only a couple feet of variance after five runs, and with no discernable odor from over-baked brake linings. The 123-foot braking distance is about average for the class (124 feet)
Slalom: The Pilot understeers and rolls quite a bit but is most noticeably lazy and slow to respond through the slalom. Lack of steering feel and effort build-up make for a numb front end best-suited for comfort cruising, not performance driving. The trick to quickly navigating the slalom was to drive below the stability control's threshold. The system is very invasive past a point, so the less steering movement and lateral inertia you generate, the better.
Skidpad: Traction control on/off doesn't affect the level of understeer sustained around the skid pad. Once the Pilot takes a set in the corner, it keeps a pretty consistent and predictable line despite not carrying a ton of speed. The steering manages to deliver a relatively precise feel for an SUV despite the large all-season SUV tires, but transmits very little feedback from the road. All-wheel drive helped the skid pad number a bit with traction turned off, but was identical to the FWD car with it on.
Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 2,434 miles