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The all-new 2016 Honda Pilot made its Canadian debut at this February’s Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto.

 

 

 

Cast your mind back to the anticipation in Canada for the first generation Pilot launched in 2003.  Honda was a late entry into the three row SUV market, but in typical Honda fashion, they studied what the competition had to offer, counted how many hockey families there are in Canada, applied their extraordinary talents for innovation, and then released a SUV that would prove to be a new industry bench mark for years. Since then more than 1.4 million Pilots have been built and sold in North America and that’s nearly a quarter of Honda’s light truck sales!

Now Canada is ready for this third generation which is expected to carry on that role, but where do you start when you want to start fresh? The R&D (research and development) team at Honda decided to go straight to the source… current Honda Pilot owners to ask what they’d want to see in their next Pilot. The result is an all new 3 row SUV that the Honda engineers say is the epitome of “confident driving dynamics in a thoroughly modern and stylish new package”.

2016 Pilot guages2016 Pilot centre consol

Uncluttered dash, push button start and now available push button gear changer in Pilot Touring

We can’t argue with that!  Although the 2016 Pilot was on the spinning pedestal at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, it was obvious that the new Pilot is sleeker and more aggressive than past models. I’ve been told that the blue colour on display at the show was for launch purposes only and won’t be offered in Canadian showrooms.  I can get over that. 

The 2016 Pilot will deliver more refined, powerful and fuel efficient performance courtesy of the new 3.5L direct injected i-VTEC V6 with Variable Cylinder Management. This engine will be mated to one of two new transmissions.  A Pilot first– 6 speed automatic transmission, or on the upper model trim level, a Honda first– 9 speed automatic transmission. Both will deliver a “notably refined, responsive and fuel efficient performance”.

I can already tell it’s going to have a strong presence on the road with not just brighter-more efficient LED projector headlights with auto high beam technology (available LED daytime running lights) but with available 20 inch wheels and something that no Honda has had before: a panoramic sunroof option!  Bring on the sky!  The new eight-inch touchscreen on the dash is the centerpiece of the infotainment system and improvements to the optional navigation system will feature better graphics, a new 3D view of the Pilot’s surroundings and integrates Honda’s clever LaneWatch blind spot indicator.  There are no fewer than FIVE (yes…5) USB ports, four of which have enough power to charge an iPad.  Your tech savvy kids won’t be complaining when they can enjoy the available 9-inch rear entertainment system DVD with Blu-ray capability and a HDMI input for gaming consoles…let the silence begin.

2016-Honda-Pilot front cabin2016-honda-pilot-captains seats

Soft touch materials add to the Pilot’s cabin sophistication 

 

Additional luxury features and Honda firsts include standard heated & available ventilated front seats, an available heated steering wheel and heated second-row seats.  Upper trim Pilot models, instead having the current 8 passenger bench seating configuration; will have 2 second-row captain’s chairs for a total of 7 passengers but still providing for easy walk through between the second and third rows.  Even though it’s 300lbs lighter than the outgoing model, there’s 90 mm of added vehicle length, enabling a larger rear cargo area that can hold a 78 L cooler without compromising third-row seating capability – and that is a segment first.

2016 Pilot rear in grey2016-honda-pilot-seats

A long list of cabin enhancements add to the new Pilots functionality and comfort

 

Edmunds calls it “a huge leap ahead from the current model in terms of technology, design and overall practicality. If you’re in the market for a three-row SUV with all the latest features and solid fuel economy, the new Pilot should arrive as one of the top choices in the segment.”

Once again, Honda hasn’t rushed into a premature launch, they stretched the previous generation an extra year to make sure they have another winner.  The 2016 Pilot is expected to hit Canadian showrooms this summer. 

“The first two generations of the Honda Pilot played a significant role in the growth of Honda’s light-truck business over the past dozen years,” Jeff Conrad, Honda Division senior vice president and general manager, said in remarks at the Chicago auto show “We are extremely proud of this third-generation Pilot and everything it delivers to the midsize SUV class… in the way of new value, performance, fuel safety, family utility and premium comfort.

… And we can’t wait to share it with you in the days and months ahead.” 

We at Halton Honda couldn’t agree more!

                                     2016 Pilot at the show

Canadian Launch at the Canadian International Auto Show held this February in Toronto