Highlight: The vehicle is been built in Lincoln, Alabama.
Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $47,300 (base model $31,245)
Seating Capacity: 7 to 8, depending on trim
Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; electronic stability control system; daytime running lights; a capless fuel filler door; four cargo area tie-down hooks; a tire pressure monitoring system; a hill assist system; a rear privacy glass; a rearview camera; and a vehicle stability assist system
Standard Equipment (LX model): 18-inch wheels; a 6-speed automatic transmission; cloth seats; manual adjustable front seats; a manual adjusted air condition; a hidden storage well; a push button keyless ignition system; a manual operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a 4.2-inch infotainment screen; a rear privacy glass; third row bench seats; and a remote keyless entry system
Standard Equipment (Elite model): 20-inch wheels; a 9-speed automatic transmission; an all-wheel drive system; leather seats; a leather wrapped steering with paddle shifters; a 10-speaker AM/FM/CD/HD with satellite radio; an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment screen; a DVD rear entertainment system; a push button starter system; a push button (gear shift) selector; a tri-zone automatic climate control system; a 10-way power driver’s seat with a 2-position memory seating system; a power front passenger seat; heated front and second row seats; an extra USB port; an exterior temperature display; a homeline (garage) system; a tri-zone a/c system; a blind spot lane changing system with a cross traffic alert system; a panoramic roof; front and rear parking sensors; a remote engine start system; a power tailgate system; LED headlights with auto high beam system; heated power door mirrors; a rain sensing wiper system; a collision mitigation braking system; a radar-activated cruise control system; a lane keep assist system; a forward-collision warning system; a lane departure warning system and a road departure mitigation parking system
Other Trim Level:
LX; EX; EX-L; and Touring
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 7-speaker 200-watt audio system AM/FM
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
USB Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.5-liter, 6-cylinder/280-hp
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Standard Fuel Mileage:
What’s New: The Honda Pilot grows in size during the 2016 model year, while offering a more powerful engine and many of the latest high-tech safety features. Moreover, the three-row Pilot goes upscale, adding on a new Elite trim.
Why: Honda has literally pushed the new Pilot outside of the box, with its current generation three-row crossover. The boxy exterior design no longer exists. In fact, the vehicle’s stylish exterior looks like a cross between the Chevy Traverse and the Honda Odyssey, which isn’t a bad thing in our opinion.
So, beyond the new exterior design, the larger crossover offers a roomier cabin, which obviously lends itself to more cargo room, too. Moreover, the Pilot’s interior is surrounded by a number of soft touches and amenities, making the Pilot look more contemporary, when compared to its predecessor. Surprisingly, the new Pilot, depending upon the trim, could easily wear a badge from its near-luxury sibling, Acura.
Yes, the new Acura, oops we meant Honda Pilot has moved the crossover to a new league. We definitely found this to be the case with the model’s all-new Elite trim. Ironically, unlike the Pilot’s other trims, the Elite trim only seats seven due to its second-row captain chairs. The Acura-like crossover also wears 20-inch wheels, an oversized sunroof, LED headlights and a number of interior luxury amenities that sets it apart from the crowd.
Furthermore, to navigate the larger frame, the Pilot receives a new more powerful fuel-efficient 3.5-liter engine. While a 6-speed transmission is standard on the lower trims, a new 9-speed transmission is outfitted in the EX-L and Elite trims, adding to the fuel efficiency.
Lastly, the 2016 Pilot also is available with a number of safety amenities that were not available on its predecessor. With the exception of the base LX model, every trim can be accessorized with such features as the forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking, a radar-activated cruise control system and a lane departure warning system. We should note on the higher trims the aforementioned features are standard.
But: For those stepping up to the brand’s new Elite Trim, they’ll also be forced to pay for a 4-wheel drive system. Like with the high-end Ford Explorer Platinum, there is no cost saving front-wheel configuration available.
Furthermore, we questioned why does this upscale trim not include Honda’s exclusive Lane Watch system, which helps when merging into the right lane or making right turns? And, why hasn’t Honda added electric brakes? In our opinion, an upscale trim should offer all of the latest premium features.
Added to that, the forward collision braking seems overly sensitive. Honda’s engineering team needs to consider reprogramming this system, before consumers completely opt to it shut off.
Lastly, even with the new Pilot being larger than its predecessor, the standard third row is designed for short trips only.
Verdict: With consumers burning desire for crossovers, Honda has a hit on its hands with the all-new outside of the box Pilot. The redesign model is available in a front wheel drive or a 4-wheel drive configuration with the latest safety amenities. Furthermore, the new Pilot adds a new Elite premium model that not only offers bucket seats in the second row and 20-inch wheels, but it also includes a panoramic sunroof, too.
So, no matter the price point, there is a Pilot to fit every budget. Yes, the Pilot offers a great road ready vehicle wrapped in a contemporary package.
Competition: Chevy Traverse LTZ; Ford Explorer Platinum; Toyota Highlander Limited; Nissan Pathfinder Platinum; Hyundai Santa Fe Limited; and Kia Sorrento Limited