The 2016 Honda Pilot is the most powerful model yet, packing 280hp

Yes, the Honda Pilot is a quintessential soccer parent car. Yes, it’s meant to haul kids and stuff. And yes, it’s one of the many definitions of mainstream.

But under the humdrum body lay a Honda Accord chassis, morphed into a vehicle with more space and ground clearance, and the result was clear–it’s an excellent machine to pilot, outshining its looks by being able to satisfy those who like to drive.

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That’s totally ok with us and allows us driver folk to worry less about losing our ability to enjoy the practice of sporty driving when the priorities of a family take over.

Bolstering this relief is the fact that the new 2016 Honda Pilot comes with a whopping 280hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, from Honda’s lovely 3.5L V6–30 more horses and seven more torques than the outgoing model. There’s also the same new nine-speed auto serving duty as in the updated 2016 Acura MDX.

But if you thought the Honda Pilot was all about going on the pavement, it’s also designed to go softly off it. Honda introduced their new Intelligent Traction Management system, which is synonymous to Land Rover’s Terrain Response, Jeep’s Selec-Terrain, and Ford’s Terrain Management System.

It provides the driver with various settings to the traction control, throttle response, transmission, and all-wheel drive system in presets, according to the driving conditions.

Speaking of which, that all-wheel drive system is the latest rendition of Honda’s all-wheel system, which isn’t that far off in construction when compared to Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive.

Check out the press release below.


Beauty, Brawn and Brains: The 2016 Honda Pilot is the Triple Threat Poised to Top the Three-Row SUV Segment

• Sleek and athletic exterior meets interior elegance for a commanding yet sophisticated presence
• Top-of-the-line Elite trim introduces a premium look, feel and experience with highest level of standard features
• Direct injected 3.5-liter i-VTEC® engine with more horsepower and torque than outgoing model
• Smartest Pilot ever with new Intelligent Traction Management system, Honda Sensing™ technologies and i-VTM4 AWD system

TORRANCE, Calif., April 10, 2015 – The all-new, third generation 2016 Honda Pilot will go on sale this summer ready to take the mid-size SUV segment by storm, with more of what active families seek in a three-row SUV – sleek and athletic styling, outstanding power, sophisticated technology and, new for 2016, an all-new Elite model with a panoramic roof and an vast array of other standard features.

Building on the solid reputation established from the fall 2002 introduction of the first generation 2003 model, the 2016 Pilot brings a whole new level of refinement and available content to the segment. This includes a more powerful direct injected 3.5-liter SOHC i-VTEC® Earth Dreams™ Technology engine producing 280 horsepower1 and 260 lb-ft of torque2, and new 6-speed and 9-speed automatic transmissions. Providing outstanding dynamic handling are a new Intelligent Variable Torque Management™ (i-VTM4™) AWD System and all-new selectable Intelligent Traction Management system featuring Normal, Mud, Sand, and Snow modes on the AWD model and Normal and Snow on the 2WD model. Also significantly upgraded are the Display Audio and navigation systems. The available Honda Sensing™ suite of safety and driver assistive technologies brings available features that include Collision Mitigation Braking System™3 with Forward Collision Warning4, Road Departure Mitigation System5, Lane Keeping Assist System6 with Lane Departure Warning7 and Adaptive Cruise Control8.

Providing customers with a greatly increased range of trim levels, the 2016 Pilot is available in a new top-of-the-line Elite trim together with LX, EX, EX with Honda Sensing™, EX-L, EX-L with Honda Sensing™ and Touring trims. Honda Sensing™ is standard on both Touring and Elite trims. The Pilot Elite offers an extensive feature content list, including a panoramic glass roof, heated and ventilated front seats, second-row heated captain’s chairs, LED headlights with auto high-beam, rain sensing windshield wipers and much more. And these are in addition to a long list of standard features throughout the Pilot trim range.

Model Trim Summary

Pilot LX Prominent Features
Direct-injected 3.5-liter SOHC i-VTEC engine with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM)
6-Speed Automatic Transmission
Hill Start Assist
Intelligent Variable Torque Management™ (i-VTM4™) AWD System (available)
18-inch aluminum alloy wheels
Brake Assist
Multi-Angle Rearview Camera9 with guidelines
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)10 with Tire Fill Assist and Location and Pressure Indicators
Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) Body Structure
LED Brake Lights
Remote Entry
Push Button Start
5-Inch Color LCD Screen
200-Watt Audio System with 7 Speakers, including Subwoofer
Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®11
Bluetooth® Streaming Audio11
MP3/Windows Media®12 Audio (WMA) Playback Capability
USB Audio Interface [Center Console w/High-Speed Charging (1 Port)]

Pilot EX Prominent Features – Changed or added from LX
Intelligent Traction Management, Normal/Snow (2WD), Normal/Mud/Sand/Snow (AWD)
Remote Engine Start
Multi-Angle Rearview Camera9 (HS) with dynamic guidelines
LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
Honda Sensing™ (available)
Honda LaneWatch™13
Pilot EX Prominent Features – Changed or added from LX (continued)
Programmable Remote Entry
Smart Entry
Fog Lights
HomeLink® Remote System14
Driver’s Seat with 10-Way Power Adjustment, including Power Lumbar Support
USB HondaLink/Audio Interface15 [Front w/Charging (1 Port) and Center Console w/High-Speed Charging (2 Ports)]
225-Watt Audio System with 7 Speakers, including Subwoofer
8-Inch Display Audio with High-Resolution WVGA (800×480) Electrostatic Touch-Screen and Customizable Feature Settings
HondaLink® Next Generation16
SMS Text Message Function17
SiriusXM® Radio18
Pandora®19 Compatibility
Song By Voice® (SBV)

Pilot EX-L Prominent Features – Changed or added from EX
Acoustic Windshield Glass
One-Touch Power Moonroof with Tilt Feature
Power Tailgate
Rear Entertainment System with HDMI interface20 and 115V power outlet (RES) (available)
Automatic-Dimming Rearview Mirror
Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel
One-Touch 2nd-Row Seats
Front Passenger’s Seat with 4-Way Power Adjustment
Leather-Trimmed Interior
Heated Front Seats
Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with Voice Recognition21 and Honda HD Digital Traffic (available)

Pilot Touring Prominent Features – Changed or added from EX-L
9-Speed Automatic Transmission with Shift-By-Wire (SBW) with Paddle Shifters
20-inch Aluminum Alloy Wheels
Honda Sensing™
Acoustic Windshield and Front Door Glass
Body-Colored Power Side Mirrors. Heated (AWD) with Memory and Integrated LED Turn Indicators
Driver’s Seat with 10-Way Power Adjustment, including Power Lumbar Support with Two-Position Memory
Roof Rails
Blu-Ray Rear Entertainment System
Blue Ambient LED Lighting
Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with Voice Recognition22 and Honda HD Digital Traffic
540-Watt Premium Audio System with 10 Speakers, including Subwoofer
USB Ports, 2nd-Row w/High-Speed Charging (2 Ports)

Pilot Elite Prominent Features – Changed or added from Touring
Auto High-Beam Headlights
Blind Spot Information System (BSI) with Rear Cross Traffic Monitor23
Rain Sensing Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers
Trailer Harness
Panoramic Roof
LED Headlights with Auto-On/Off
Heated Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel
Front and 2nd-Row Illuminated Beverage Holders
Heated and Ventilated Front Seats
Heated 2nd-Row Captain’s Chairs
HD Radio™24

Earth Dreams™ Technology Powertrain

The 2016 Pilot delivers more refined, powerful and fuel-efficient performance than ever before courtesy of its new 3.5-liter, direct-injected i-VTEC® V-6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM™) cylinder deactivation technology. The engine’s peak output of 280 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque is up 30 hp and 7 lb.-ft. over the previous model. The engine is matched to a choice of two new advanced transmissions – a Pilot-first 6-speed automatic transmission or, on upper trims, a Honda-first 9-speed automatic transmission – both delivering more refined, responsive and fuel-efficient performance.

Intelligent Variable Torque Management for all Four Wheels (i-VTM4)

The Pilot’s available new Intelligent VTM4 (i-VTM4) is the most sophisticated and technologically advanced all-wheel-drive system offered in a mainstream, three-row SUV. This entirely more capable system progressively distributes optimum torque between the front and rear axles and, for the first time ever in a Honda vehicle, dynamically distributes engine torque between the left and right rear wheels using the new, lightweight rear drive unit. Benefits include superior all-weather handling and neutral, accurate steering under power that is unmatched by front-drive, rear-drive or conventional all-wheel-drive systems.

Intelligent Traction Management

This new Pilot features a new button-operated Intelligent Traction Management System that offers different operating modes, for the AWD: Normal, Mud, Sand and Snow; and for the FWD: Normal and Snow. Reflecting Pilot’s role as a key U.S. export model, this system was developed, tuned and tested at various locations in the U.S. and around the world – including in Imperial Dunes “Glamis”, California; Moscow, Russia; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Intelligent Traction Management system allows the driver to select the operating mode that best suits the driving conditions by simply pushing a button on the vehicle’s center console. Based on the setting selected, the system adjusts the drive-by wire map, transmission shift map, Vehicle Stability Assist™ and i-VTM4 torque distribution for AWD equipped models for optimal performance in varying road or surface conditions.

Display Audio and Navigation
Honda’s latest thinking for advanced, family-friendly technology is embodied in the new Pilot. New features include the available 8-inch capacitive touchscreen Display Audio telematics interface with Android operating system and all-new Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ developed in cooperation with the experts at Garmin®24.

Exterior Colors
All 2016 Pilot trims are available in eight exterior colors including three metallic and five pearl colors. All colors have a strong character, offering expressive contrasts that complement the Pilot’s body-panel curves and angles, while also exhibiting a smart luxury appearance.

Chris Chin

Chris Chin is the Editor-In-Chief of egmCarTech and is a regular contributor to Automobile Magazine.

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