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The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide
LET THE 2016 PILOT STEER YOU TO YOUR DESTINATION

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Except for the suspension and steering, it is an all-new 2016 Honda Pilot. Here are most of the major changes compared to its predecessor in a nutshell: 30 more horsepower and 9 pounds-feet of torque; 5-speed auto is now either 6-speed or 9-speed depending on the model; weight is down by nearly 300 pounds; wheelbase is up by almost 2 inches and length almost 3.5 inches; 1.3 cubic feet of more cargo area; fuel capacity is down about 1.5 gallons. You get the picture.
And forget that boxy and almost plain appearance the Pilot debuted with in 2003. In its place is curvy and attractive look that will draw inquisitive stares like it did for us during the test-drive week. The Honda SUV is still equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine but now packing 280 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 262 pounds-feet of torque @ 4700 rpm. Our top-level Elite was mated to a 9-speed auto transmission, which when combined with the Variable Cylinder Management, operates in three or four cylinder modes for substantial fuel savings.
As expected, it is in the cabin that he Pilot shines with numerous bins and cubbies, some particularly cavernous, are scattered throughout. There also is a massive underfloor cargo area. Passenger volume is 153.1 cubic feet of space. Thirsty occupants have 14 beverage holders to stay hydrated. The 8-inch Intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID)  displays information for audio, revised navigation, Bluetooth, rearview camera, fuel economy, texting, compass, clock, etc. Other amenities include tri-zone auto climate control, tilt/telescopic four-spoke leather steering wheel, second-row Captain chairs (or you can opt for a second-row bench) and a third-row 60/40 flat seat, 10-way power driver and four-way front-passenger seats and power tailgate.
Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, ACE body structure, four-wheel antilock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake distribution, vehicle stability assist with traction control, active front-head restraints, side-impact door beams, rearview camera, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard.
Offered as a front-wheel (tow capacity up from 2,000 to 3,500 pounds) or all-wheel drive (tow capacity rises from 3,500 to 5,000), the rigid unit-body Pilot comes in LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and Elite trims. Base price starts at $29,995 and can reach up to $46,420 for a fully loaded model with rear entertainment system and navigation. EPA fuel estimates are 19 mpg city/27 highway for FWD and 19/26 for AWD.
For an SUV that weighs about 4,300 pounds, the revamped Pilot delivers a smooth and amenable outing in comfort and style. Thanks to a fine mix of cargo-, people-hauling practicality and fuel economy, it is the ideal vehicle to park in a family garage.

PILOT (AWD)
Tires: P235/60 R18
Wheelbase: 111 inches
Length: 194.5 inches
Suspension: MacPherson front; multilink rear
Steering: power rack-assist pinion
Fuel capacity: 19.5 gallons
Web site: www.honda.com

CALLING ALL HONDA DEALERS IN THE WEST CENTRAL AREA: if you would like to be listed here as one of the test-drive dealerships, e-mail us at motoringtampabay@gmail.com