In one of the earlier Truck Tuesdays I declared that 2015 was the year of the Chevy Colorado, with a low starting price and a variety of engine choices including a brand new diesel engine, a first for its class, it was a clear choice that I stand behind wholeheartedly. What that pick up offers, is unmatched in its segment, and it deserves all the praise and honor that it gets. However, if the Colorado takes truck of the year honors then Honda deserves equal praise for its latest entry in the SUV segment. The CR-V that we talked about yesterday was the source of this recent revolution in Honda’s SUV lineup. The mid-cycle refresher gave the CR-V a cleaner/meaner look, which is to become the signature face of Honda’s trucks. With the youngest sibling the HR-V creating a lot of hype, the big guy in the family seemed to be all left out, but as we are about to find out that’s far from the truth. Let’s take a detailed look at the biggest SUV in the Honda family and see if the gentle giant is aging gracefully.
2016 Honda Pilot
The Pilot is now in its third generation, and there are no signs that Honda is planning on slowing down production anytime soon, and why should they. Gas prices have been lower than ever and so has the popularity of the minivan and station wagons, meaning that Honda timed the introduction of its latest mid-size SUV perfectly.
With looks that command attention and the powerful presence of true functionality, the 2016 Pilot sets a new benchmark in the midsize SUV class with an unmatched combination of sophistication and utility. Is how the Vice President of Honda describes the redesign, and I agree to an extent, but there is no getting away from the fact that it looks like a bloated CR-V. However, as with most Honda redesigns the appearance in person is sure to be much more pleasant and that’s what I’m hoping for with the latest Pilot. With that being said, I like the overall shape and design, and from certain angles there is a lot more MDX than CR-V in the design cues, and that upscale look and feel is what Honda focused most of its energy on when designing this truck. The idea behind this mindset is that the Pilot can appeal to a much greater audience base, particularly those in the luxury SUV market, meaning that this latest Pilot would feel at home taking the kids to their game on Saturday morning and parked out front the swanky restaurant you took the wife to on Saturday night, and in my opinion they nailed it. The high yet wide grille is more aggressive than the previous generations bulldog face. Same goes for the headlights which are now integrated into the face in a much cleaner way than those of old Pilot, plus now they are more intelligent offering LED projector and auto high beam technology. Keeping up with the upscale trend there will be available signature LED daytime running lights and LED tail lights as well. The overall look is more muscular and purposeful than before, gone is the cartoonish face and in its place is a much more mature front end and athletic stance that aims to appeal to those looking at the Lexus RX or even some of the German offerings.
Tech and other luxuries
The interior of the new Pilot will offer numerous firsts for Honda. First of which will be the panoramic roof that would allow all three rows of passengers to gaze upon the stars above and those in the middle row will be now be more comfortable than ever because the bench seat is replaced by captain chairs, so the Pilot now is a seven passenger vehicle. Continuing to show love for the guys in the back, Honda will offer heated seats for the second row, while we’re on the subject the second row, those captain chairs will allow walk though access to the rear seats and also have the capability to fold and slide forward with one touch, but enough about seats. Let’s get to the good stuff, like the available 9 speed automatic transmission which would maximize engine efficiency and performance, while allowing more towing capabilities. Combine this with shaved weight of 300lbs of the entire body` and reworked direct inject 3.5 vTech six, that now also comes with stop/start technology, and rated at around 300hp, with that Honda is hoping to take over the top spot in this segment. Safety has also been a Pilot strong hold and the trend continues here, with an abundance of safety equipment and features called Honda Sensing, this Pilot promises to help keep you and yours out of harm’s way. The coolest, is the defiantly the LaneWatch system which will not only alert you of an upcoming vehicle in your blind spot but will display it on the screen so you can gauge the approach yourself. Also the new NAV is equipped with a 3D view, which will show buildings and terrain almost like googles street view. All of this is accented by the gentle LED interior lighting which gives off a much more upscale appearance than before, and would be welcomed in an SUV costing much more.
The Pilot is one of four new vehicles that Honda plans to introduce within the next two years, and it’s one of the most compelling arguments it has to be taken more seriously in the midsize SUV segment, with strong completion such as the Murano and Grand Cherokee that won’t be and easy task to accomplish. However, offering more comfort, versatility, luxury features, safety, and technology all wrapped in an attractive package than the others I believe this gentle giant has a really strong chase to claim the top spot.