PAS S ING LANE I CHARL E S DONALDSON 2016 HONDA PILOT Honda Takes Flight! It seems that every automotive manufacturer assumes that when they redesign a vehicle, it has to grow in character and size. Some versions however, end up lacking in character. In most cases, their footprint gets closer to the mammoth Big Foot, or, at least, sprouts enough so that he feels a little less cramped in the back seat. This month’s featured vehicle is the all-new, redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot, emerging with elevated character and a growth spurt. In 2009, Honda reskinned the Pilot with a thicker and more squared-off body. This ended up being a misstep in styling as other manufacturers were edging into a softer-smoother curvy body sculpturing. Seven years later, we have a rebirth of the Pilot. In 2016, we are introduced to new sheet metal that carries softer corners resembling an overgrown Honda CRV. When the Pilot was delivered to my home, I had to take a second look, as it looks so impressive and formidable. The 2016 Honda Pilot is a three-row crossover SUV that comes in three trim levels. It enters with the LX front-wheel drive for $31,045. It follows up with the FWD EX starting at $34,480, then as a FWD-Touring 9-speed automatic transmission for $42,070 and finishes up the top of the line, All-Wheel Drive Elite with navigation for $47,470. The LX, EX and Touring are also available in All- Wheel Drive. Power for all models comes in the form of a 280 horsepower V6 347-cc engine. The EX and LX models mate the V6 to a 6-speed automatic transmission, where the Touring and Elite are teamed 24 A L I V E E A S T B A Y j u n e 2 0 1 6 with an unheard of 9-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The LX and EX FWD generates 19 City and 27 Highway miles per gallon. Decrease that by one mile each for the AWD versions. The Touring FWD (20/27) and AWD (19/26) and AWD Elite spits out 19 City and 26 Highway MPG. The new Honda Pilot is longer, narrower and lower than its previous generation, and is also 300 pounds lighter. As noted earlier, the newly-styled Pilot has lost its hard lines and replaced them with elements of well-balanced curves. The low front-end and horizontal grille mesh well and begin the flow. The eight-passenger interior is very well-finished and appointed with attention to detail. You can see and feel the influences of the Honda Accord and CR-V. New soft-touch points have elevated the interior to a near-luxury level. The front seats are comfortable and carved with better bolsters and more support. The driver seating position is not too high while delivering raised visibility, and the step-in is relatively low for a Crossover. The second and third row seats fold down easily and support adult bodies with ease. The large panoramic sunroof creates an open and airy feel allowing a great deal of light inside. Cabin space is plentiful with 18.5 cubic feet with seats up, or 56 cubic feet with the third row folded down. Need more space? When you drop the second row seat down, you increase the cargo capacity to a total of 109-cubic feet.
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