NEW FOR 2016:

– New model

Honda’s big family hauler receives a full makeover for 2016 and it’s returned a markedly different vehicle. Where the outgoing Pilot was much more of a sport utility vehicle in the way it looked and drove, the new model is much more like a conventional crossover. And that’s a good thing for most consumers.

Though the new Pilot is wider, longer, and considerably more spacious on the inside, Honda managed to trim the curb weight by several hundred pounds. That’s no easy feat given the Pilot is more than 20 per cent stiffer than the outgoing model, comes with more standard equipment, and is considerably more refined on the road. Electric power steering replaces the previous Pilot’s hydraulic assist, while two-mode dampers offer improved levels of ride comfort.

Inside, the Pilot continues to offer seating for eight (seven on the Elite model), but the interior ambience is greatly improved by sleeker dashboard with more padded interior trim. It’s less cluttered looking too, thanks to the standard fitment of the button-free HondaLink Display Audio system. Over-protective types are certain to love the fact you need not buy the top-of-the-line Pilot to get the latest in active safety technology – lane-departure warning, road-departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and auto-brake, and adaptive cruise control are all standard on LX-Sensing and up. Kids will appreciate the Pilot’s standard on-board Wi-Fi; top-level models can be had with DVD or Blu-ray entertainment systems.

All Pilots are motivated by a 3.5-litre SOHC V6 that features direct injection; it’s effectively the same engine that can be found under the hood of the Acura MDX, but it’s been tuned to run on regular fuel instead of premium. Power is competitive at 280 hp and 262 lb-ft. Barring the high-zoot Touring, which uses a new ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic with paddles and Honda’s quirky push-button electronic shifter, all Pilots have a six-speed automatic with a conventional shifter. Front-wheel drive is standard on the base Pilot LX, with Honda’s i-VTM4 torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system as standard on all other trim levels.

The Pilot is available in LX-2WD, LX-AWD, LX-Honda Sensing, EX, EX-L, EX-L Navi, EX-LL RES, and Touring trims.

LX-2WD includes 18-inch wheels, hill-start assist, tire-pressure monitoring system with tire fill assist, trailer stability assist, HondaLink telematics system, body colour door handles and power-heated mirrors, front and rear splash guards, tri-zone climate control, TFT display in instrument cluster, vanity mirrors in sun visors, heated front seats, cruise control, multi-angle rear-view camera, proximity key with push-button start, front wiper de-icer, seven-speaker 225-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system, active noise cancellation, remote starter, revisable cargo lid, display audio touchscreen system, three USB ports, aux-in port, Siri Eyes Free compatibility, SMS and e-mail function, on-board Wi-Fi hotspot.

LX-4WD adds Intelligent Variable Torque Management AWD system and Intelligent Traction Management System.

LX-Honda Sensing builds on LX-4WD with collision mitigation braking system, forward collision warning, lane-departure warning, road-departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assist.

EX builds on LX-Honda Sensing with one-touch power moonroof, LaneWatch blind-spot display, illuminated vanity mirrors, 10-way power driver’s seat and power lumbar support, fog lights, LED daytime running lights, mirrors with LED turn signal indicators, roof rails, and garage door opener.

EX-L adds leather upholstery, power tailgate, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated second-row seats (outboard positions only), one-touch second-row sears, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, front and rear parking sensors, satellite radio, four-way power passenger seat, and an acoustic windshield.

EX-L Navi adds navigation system with voice recognition.

EXL-RES adds HDMI port, 110-volt power outlet, nine-inch rear display with integrated remote and dual wireless headphones, and second-row sunshades, deletes navigation.

Touring adds electronic gear selector, perforated leather upholstery, idle-stop system, second-row captian’s chairs, panoramic sunroof, 20-inch alloy wheels, blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, projector-beam LED headlamps, automatic high-beams, automatic leveling headlights, driver’s memory seat, memory-linked mirrors with reverse gear tilt-down, rain-sensing wipers, power folding mirrors, ambient lighting, five USB ports, ventilated front seats, Blu-ray rear-seat entertainment system, and a 540-watt 10-speaker premium audio system with 5.1 Surround Sound.

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