It’s Bigger, it’s Better, and it’s no longer Boxy. For some, the more rugged appearance of the previous Pilot was a nice departure from most crossover SUVs on the road today. For most, the sleeker styling of the all-new 2016 Honda Pilot is a long-awaited improvement. And the changes only start there. Almost everything else is also improved in this re-design, borrowing various enhancements from the Acura MDX that was introduced for 2014.
Starting with the inside, it’s more spacious than before and is now among the leaders in the midsize class. Honda added 3.5 inches to the new Pilot, helping to increase both legroom and cargo space in back. That’s great for carseats and kids. Thankfully, Honda didn’t change one of the best things about the Pilot: Four of the 6 rear seats have the LATCH carseat attachment system, while all six have top-tether anchors. That makes it one of the most flexible SUVs for carseats in back. Most trim levels seat eight, with only benches available in back, but the Elite trim is only available in a 7-passenger version with an aisle between two second row captain’s chairs.
Other improvements include a cabin that is much more refined and competitive than before, with softer materials all around. The access to the third row is improved, so even adults can get back there more easily than before. Cargo space behind the third row is 1.3″ longer than before, and even more spacious when you flip the stowable lid covering the deep storage area below. If you have a lot of stuff to put behind the third row, the Pilot has more room than almost any midsize competitor. You’d have to go to a minivan or huge full size SUV to do much better. And there are lots more charging outlets for all those devices, too!
Update: The 2016 Pilot earned a Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS, and a Top Safety Pick+ when equipped with the Honda Sensing Package. In addition, it earned the top “Good” rating in each individual crash test and a “Superior” front crash protection score. There are not yet any crash testing results from NHTSA. This section will be updated as they are released. Given the excellent results obtained by the similar Acura MDX, I expect the new Pilot do do very well overall.
As for features, there are a full array of airbags and standard safety features, like a multi-angle backup camera and hands-free bluetooth for taking calls on the road. Only the base LX trim lacks optional advanced safety features. On the EX and EX-L, the Honda Sensing package offers a great array of safety enhancements as an option.