Following the introduction of the Pilot concept at the Detroit Show earlier this year, today Honda took the wraps off the production version of its new crossover. Ambiguous looks apart, the second generation Pilot has grown in size thus offering more room for passengers and their luggage. Like its predecessor, the new Pilot features three rows of seats that can fit up to 8-passengers.
Behind that squashy nose hides an upgraded version of Honda’s A 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 engine that delivers 250 Hp and 253 lbs-ft of torque or 6 Hp and 13 lbs-ft more than the previous unit. Additionally, the V6 engine features a new version of Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management technology that allows it to operate in 6-cylinder mode for power and 4- and 3-cylinder modes for efficiency.
Despite being larger and more powerful than the outgoing model, Honda announces that the new Pilot manages to be more fuel efficient than its predecessor (up to 2mpg). –Details and pics after the jump
The Honda Pilot is among an elite group of sport utility vehicles that helped elevate the “crossover” segment in the last decade by introducing a combination of smooth ride comfort, accommodating interior packaging and overall efficiency that traditional SUVs lacked. The Pilot’s unit body construction and fully independent suspension helped transform the SUV segment by enhancing ride quality, earning top crash safety ratings, creating more interior space and increasing fuel efficiency. The original Pilot provided a recipe for success with features eventually imitated by the competition like a standard third row seat, decision-free four-wheel drive and an easy-to-configure interior.
The second generation of the Honda Pilot seeks to improve on the popular Honda SUV formula by adding more SUV-rugged aesthetics, more on-road refinement and enhancing interior functionality. Designed around the concept of an “intelligent adventure vehicle” with the practical needs of a family in mind, the eight-passenger Pilot provides bolder SUV styling, more clever and more accommodating interior packaging and advanced technologies for safety, fuel efficiency and convenience.
2009 Honda Pilot Summary
- 8-passenger midsize crossover SUV
- Unit body platform
- 3.5-liter i-VTEC V-6 with 250-horsepower and 253 lb-ft. of torque
- Honda-estimated* EPA city/highway fuel economy of 17/23 (2WD) and 16/22 (4WD)
- ULEV-2 Emissions Rating (CARB)
- 5-speed automatic transmission (standard)
- VTM-4 four-wheel-drive (available)
- Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE®) body structure
- MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension
- Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with Traction Control and ABS
- Trim lineup – LX, EX, EX-L and (new) Touring
* Based on 2009 EPA mileage estimates, reflecting new EPA fuel economy methods beginning with 2008 models. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Actual mileage will vary.
More than 10 significant and new features exist on the 2009 Pilot. Notable items include:
- Newest generation of Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®) on all models
- Tailgate with lift-up glass hatch
- Standard integrated tow hitch
- Hill Start Assist
- Humidity Control System as part of standard air conditioning
- Four Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH), increased from two
- Driver’s and front passenger’s active head restraints
- Tilt and telescopic steering column
- Aluminum hood
- Interface Dial with Scrolling and Multi-Line Display (Touring only)
- Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink™ (Touring only)
- Power tailgate (Touring only)
The Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE®) body structure enhances frontal collision compatibility with vehicles of different sizes and bumper heights. A pedestrian injury mitigation design in the front of the vehicle is intended to help absorb energy in the event of a collision. Additional standard safety equipment includes Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®), also known as Electronic Stability Control; side-curtain airbags; front side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); active front seat head restraints; and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution. Four Lower Anchor and Tether for Children (LATCH) positions – more than any other SUV in the segment – provide room for four child seats compared to two on the previous Pilot and most vehicles in the segment.
A redesigned crossover SUV platform allows even more refined handling and ride comfort to exist seamlessly with all-weather and medium-duty off-road capabilities. To further enhance safety, the Pilot features the Honda-exclusive Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE®) body structure and the most extensive use of high-strength steel (52 percent) in any Honda product to date. An aluminum hood is used for weight savings.
With its wide and solid stance, classic SUV proportions and clean design treatment, the Pilot is designed to maximize utility and communicate traditional SUV character traits including strength, durability and off-road confidence. Honda designers used the three-dimensionally beveled lines of an ultra-rugged laptop computer as inspiration to convey an active and intelligent vehicle design theme.
As a design that Honda helped make popular in the automotive industry, the crossover SUV platform that underpins the Pilot is engineered to provide the best of the car and truck worlds by integrating the refined traits and efficiency of a car design with the utility, capability and packaging advantages of an SUV design.
Three rows of seats provide a high degree of adaptability for people and large cargo loads. The first row provides a commanding view of the road from two supportive and comfortable bucket-style seats. A wide center stack and center console form the styling anchor for the interior with a design that emphasizes spaciousness and power, while allowing for convenient access to navigation (available), entertainment and climate-control systems.
The 60/40 split second row, now more spacious, slides further forward for increased ease of access to the third row. The 60/40 split third row, now supplies enough knee room for an above-average-sized adult male to fit comfortably, making the Pilot’s third row among the most practical in the industry. Each side of the second and third row independently folds down for cargo. A flat floor is created when the second and third rows are folded down.
A 3.5-liter i-VTEC V-6 engine features the latest generation of fuel-saving Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®) technology that operates in 6-cylinder mode for power and 4- and 3-cylinder modes for efficiency, an improvement compared to the previous Pilot’s VCM system that works exclusively in 6- and 3-cylinder modes. A fully-automatic Variable Torque Management® 4-wheel drive system (VTM-4®) is designed to deliver decision-free all-weather traction and medium-duty off-road capabilities – while minimizing the weight and fuel economy drawbacks of a conventional four-wheel-drive system.
2009 Pilot vs. 2008 Pilot
–2009 Pilot-2008 Pilot-Change from 2008
L x W x H (in.) EX 4WD-190.9 x 78.5 x 72.7-188.0 x 77.5 x 71.7-+2.9 x +1.0 x +1.0
Total Interior Volume*, LX (cu-ft.)-174.5-170.4-+4.1
Engine Size (L)-3.5-3.5-Same
Engine Output (HP)-250 @ 5700-244 @ 5750-+6 @ -50 rpm
Engine Output (lb-ft.)-253 @ 4800-240 @ 4500-+13 @ +300
Fuel Economy** (mpg city/hwy)-17/23 (2WD)16/22 (4WD)-16/22 (2WD)15/20 (4WD)-+1/+1+1/+2
Tires-P245/65/R17-P235/70 R16-Larger by 10/5 R1
Ground Clearance (Max.)-8.0-8.0-Same
* Includes 2.8 cu-ft. inside the underfloor storage well (2008 model =1.5 cu-ft.). The underfloor storage well can be fully combined with the above-floor storage by securing the cargo lid to the third row seatback.
** Based on 2009 EPA mileage estimates, reflecting new EPA fuel economy methods beginning with 2008 models. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Actual mileage will vary.