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.
The Honda Pilot is built on a crossover SUV platform that combines the safety, packaging and handling advantages of a car-based unit body design while still delivering the rugged versatility that mainstream consumers most frequently use in a SUV. The Pilot's highly-rigid platform with isolated front and rear subframes provides the foundation for many of its refined attributes, including its outstanding handling agility, exceptional ride comfort, world-class safety performance and packaging efficiency. The Pilot's SUV ruggedness is supported with confidence-inspiring traction in rain and snow, medium duty off-road capabilities from 8.0 inches of ground clearance and a maximum tow rating of 4,500 pounds (4WD models).
For 2009, the Pilot's body integrates the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE®) body structure for enhanced frontal crash safety with vehicles of different bumper heights, along with the most extensive use of high strength steel in any Honda automotive product to date. A bolder styling direction embraces a clean and functional approach with crisp, three-dimensional lines that create a dynamic shape with strength and solidity.
The interior of the Honda Pilot is designed to provide a comfortable experience for all passengers in business class style. For 2009, the key areas of improvement concentrate on increasing spaciousness, knee room, general comfort and accessibility while maintaining the optimal mid-size SUV exterior. The design goal of the interior was to create best-in-class functionality that truly sets it apart from the competitive set. A 2.9-inch longer and 1.0-inch-wider exterior contributes to an additional 4.1 cubic feet of space inside (EX-L), with much of that space resulting in greater practicality for the 2nd row, 3rd row and cargo area. Some of the latest technology and features from Honda culminate in a new Touring edition that includes the newest generation of the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™, Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink™ mobile phone connectivity, available DVD entertainment system with DTS surround sound, a power tailgate and more. A rearview camera is standard on the Pilot EX-L and Pilot Touring models.
Styling-wise, a functional, strong and intelligent design theme emanates from a massive-looking, wide center stack using clean, crisp lines and a combination of richly textured surfaces. The instrument panel intelligently organizes switchgear into zones for audio, climate controls and navigation (if equipped). An interface dial, similar to the one used in the Honda Accord, is used to control the navigation system on the Pilot Touring.
As a crossover SUV that mixes car sensibilities with the truck capabilities, the Honda Pilot is designed to deliver a confident, secure and fun driving experience with outstanding isolation of undesirable noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) for exceptional comfort in all driving conditions. The fully-independent chassis design also provides the foundation for the Pilot's capabilities as a people and cargo hauler, as well as an off-road vehicle.
The Honda Pilot provides an exceptionally-wide wheel track of 67.7 inches front and 67.5 inches rear for high levels of handling stability and interior space. Chassis components were designed to provide for well-controlled body motions with ride and handling characteristics that are balanced and secure. The use of fully isolated front and rear suspension subframes enhances the Pilot's outstanding NVH controls to provide a ride that is quiet and secure.
The Honda Pilot is designed to provide a comfortable, confident and fun driving experience with plenty of power to match its capabilities as an eight-passenger SUV with off-road capabilities and up to 4,500-pound towing capabilities (4WD). For 2009, Honda engineers prioritized fuel efficiency for the all-new Pilot and applied the latest generation of the company's Variable Cylinder Management technology to all models. Low emissions, a broad torque curve and low maintenance were also key development targets.
The Honda Pilot is powered by an advanced 3.5-liter 24-valve i-VTEC, V-6 engine mated to an electronically-controlled 5-speed automatic transmission. Peak engine output is 250 horsepower at 5700 rpm and 253 lb-ft. of torque at 4800 rpm. The "intelligent" Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (i-VTEC®) valvetrain technology with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) allows the V-6 engine to operate in six-cylinder mode for power and four- and three-cylinder modes for efficiency. The Pilot meets California's stringent Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV-2) exhaust emissions standards. A fully-automatic Variable Torque Management 4-wheel drive system (VTM-4) is available on all models and delivers seamless "decision free" application of four-wheel drive when needed.
Honda has consistently challenged itself to pursue vehicle safety as part of its core business strategy. The company seeks to provide a high level of occupant protection and pedestrian injury mitigation in all of its cars and trucks through a comprehensive and evolving approach to vehicle safety. This process benefits all new Honda vehicles - regardless of size or price - while also increasing compatibility with other types of vehicles in a frontal collision.
The 2009 Honda Pilot exemplifies the Honda approach to safety. Every Honda Pilot incorporates side-curtain airbags and dual-chamber, front-side airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); and active front seat head restraints that are designed to help reduce the severity of neck injury in the event of a rear collision.
An Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE®) body structure in the front of the vehicle, now added to Honda Pilot for the first time, makes the new Pilot highly effective at absorbing the energy of a frontal crash and helps minimize the potential for under-ride or over-ride situations that can occur during head-on or offset-frontal impacts with a significantly larger or smaller vehicle. Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) and an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with brake assist are standard equipment on every Honda Pilot.
Additional standard safety features include dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags, front seatbelts with automatic-tensioning systems and load limiters, and a pedestrian injury mitigation design in the front of the vehicle. Driver and front passenger seatbelt reminders and daytime running lights are also standard equipment. A class-leading total of four Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) positions provide rigid attachment points for up to four child seats.