Versatility, sleekness, spaciousness and affordability are the words that best sum up the completely redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot. The complete overhaul refines both interior and exterior plus bumps the engine by 30hp giving the 2016 Pilot a similar engine to the 2016 Acura MDX. Gone are the old boxy exterior and the utilitarian interior, thankfully replaced with a sleeker more elegant interior to go with the sporty and curvaceous exterior.
ENGINE & DRIVE
With the same 3.5L six cylinder engine and six speed automatic transmission combo powering almost all models of the 2016 Honda Pilot, the only difference comes from selection of two or four wheel drive and the 9 speed automatic transmission included with the top of the line Touring model.
Having had the pleasure of driving the 2016 Honda Pilot Touring edition, I can say that the nine speed transmission provides great fuel economy, a smooth acceleration and keeps the engine revving at an ideal power level. I did find the steering to be a bit too relaxed with not enough feedback.
The 3.5L engine outputs 290hp and this noticeable 30hp bump from its predecessor gives the 2016 Honda Pilot enough power for both silent cruising as well as speedy acceleration for overtaking with a full load.
For a vehicle of its size, fuel efficiency for the 2016 Honda Pilot is a very respectable 11.3 L/100km combined city and highway rating and is improved with Variable Cylinder Management which toggles engine cylinders on and off at various speeds to reduce consumption even further.
The 2016 Honda Pilot benefits from a completely overhauled exterior design where about the only thing shared is the approximate size. Where its predecessor went for a boxy and square design, the 2016 Pilot now sports a slightly larger and definitely more elegant design with smoother lines and curves sculpting a more modern exterior. I found this sleeker body more appealing than the previous ruggedly styled exterior.
Features like the sloped roofline, side accent lines, muscular hood, rear overhang spoiler and chrome highlights really help the exterior design stand out while sporting a full size SUV design. The only improvement I would have liked to see would be larger tires and a visible dual exhaust.
The slightly larger size of the 2016 Honda Pilot translates to more room for passengers and cargo inside. The spacious interior seats 8 passengers on all models except the top of the line Touring – focused on comfort by providing second row reclining, heated captain’s chairs and therefore seating 7. The spacious interior allows more than enough head and legroom for 7 or 8 passengers in the front middle or back rows. Although the interior is quite spacious, conversation is easy throughout the interior as engine, road and wind noise are minimal.
The greatest improvement over its utilitarian predecessor is the new, modern dash decorated with style and great quality materials. Polished black finishes with silver highlights adorn the dash and surround the 8 inch touch screen display, standard on even the base model. The cavernous storage in the center console along with the many pockets and cup holders allow things to be kept neat and tidy inside. Because it’s the same style of touch screen as other Hondas, there is still the same annoying volume control that could use an improvement.
For your convenience the powered lift gate opens and closes with the push of a button and inside there are all manner of folding seats to allow for storage of awkward sized cargo.
I was so happy to see a fully redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot and I think it’s the best Honda Pilot to date! When the Pilot was first released as a 2003 model it represented a spacious, versatile large SUV with style and I’m glad to see that the 2016 version has stuck to its roots with many major improvements. With plenty of options to suit individual needs within the various model offerings, even the bare bones 2WD version gets you into this large and versatile SUV for only $35,490. As I say bare bones, the base model still includes the 8” touch screen display (minus navigation), heated seats, multi angled rearview camera, side mirror camera (Lane Watch) and remote engine starting.