2016 Honda Pilot Makes Chicago Auto Show Debut

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole
2016 honda pilot makes chicago auto show debut

Honda just took the wrapper off its latest Pilot SUV. This 2016 model is the nameplate’s third generation and it’s significantly improved, offering more cargo space, greater performance and improved fuel economy.

The first thing most drivers will notice about this crossover is the exterior. Honda is not typically known for its lusty styling and the current Pilot is about as boxy as the crate your refrigerator came in. But no more! The 2016 model is sleek and pleasantly attractive, with a smoothly flowing front end and plenty of tasteful design elements.

Of course that candy coating conceals a lot of wholesomeness within. The vehicle is about three inches longer than today’s pilot, something that allowed for more storage space, particularly behind the third-row seat. Engineers also made it easier to get into and out of that rear-most bench.

2016 honda pilot makes chicago auto show debut

Remarkably the 2016 Pilot is up to 300 pounds lighter than today’s version. Engineers scrutinized and optimized everything they could in a bid to trim unwanted mass and it appears as though they’ve succeeded. Despite the weight loss it’s still expected to be a safety leader. Honda estimates it will ace both NHTSA and IIHS crash tests.

Adding some glitz are optional LED projector headlamps with automatic high beams as well as available 20-inch wheels. Other premium items on the menu include a panoramic roof, heated and ventilated front seats and, in upper-level models, second-row captain’s chairs.

Overall the cockpit is much improved. Materials are noticeably more premium and there’s a host of new features. Honda has installed a ton of different ports to serve the needs of today’s connected families. There are five USB outlets, an auxiliary jack, an HDMI port and more. Also, the vehicle sports a new Android-based infotainment system.

Complete 2015 Chicago Auto Show Coverage

Drivers can also get a whole range of advanced assistance technologies including things like lane-departure warning, collision mitigation braking, blind-spot monitoring and much more — pretty much all of the latest and greatest safety and convenience features.

Power is provided by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that’s pumped up with direct fuel injection. Neither horsepower nor torque are available at this time but they will be greater than what’s offered in today’s Pilot. For reference its port-injected bent-six delivers 250 ponies and 253 lb-ft of peak twist.

2016 honda pilot makes chicago auto show debut

Variable Cylinder Management shuts half of the engine’s pots down when full power is not required in a bid to goose efficiency. Start/stop technology will also help slash consumption, though official economy figures are not available at this time.

Honda is offering two transmissions in the 2016 Pilot. Mercifully the base unit features six forward gears, replacing the outdated five-speed unit found in today’s model. Higher trim variants benefit from an all-new nine-speed gearbox sourced from German supplier ZF. Both of these transmissions will improve fuel economy and performance. Customers can opt for either front- or all-wheel drive.

The 2016 Honda Pilot is scheduled to arrive at dealerships across the country this summer. Not surprisingly pricing information is not available at this time.

GALLERY: 2016 Honda Pilot Live Photos

GALLERY: 2016 Honda Pilot Official Photos

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