The 2016 Honda Pilot, Bigger and Better for Kids?
You may have seen some previews of the all-new Honda Pilot already, so we’ll focus on carseats for this quick preview. We reviewed the current generation Honda Pilot and found it to be arguably the best midsize SUV in terms of carseats and child seating flexibility. How does the all-new 2016 Honda Pilot compare?
As for styling, gone is the rugged, boxy appearance. This is good or bad, depending if you prefer the sleeker, minivan-like styling of the new model.
While the current model is an 8-passenger SUV, the 2016 version will have 7-passenger and 8-passenger trim levels. The fully loaded 7-passenger model on display had the optional captain’s chairs with an aisle/console between (below, left). A 3-seat 2nd row bench will also be standard. The easier, push-button mechanism to slide/tilt the 2nd row chairs forward is quite similar to the current Acura MDX (below, right). Honda says it gives 2.5 more inches of access room at the bottom. Lower step-in height makes access easier for the little ones, too.
The third row remains a 3-seat bench. It appears to be similar in width to the current Pilot, but has an update in the design. Specifically, the passenger side seat with LATCH appears to be a hair wider, at the expense of the narrow middle seat. The passenger side seatbelt buckle stalk is also revised, also an improvement for installation of wider carseats. The problem is that the hardware for folding the 40/60 bench is taller and more pronounced than before, likely making carseat installation even more difficult in the narrower middle seat. On the plus side, Honda has resolved some of the seatbelt crossover issues which may make it easier for an smaller adult, teen or pre-teen to ride in the middle next to a narrow carseat.
In the 7-passenger model on display, there are a total of 3 LATCH positions for the two 2nd row captain’s chairs and the third row passenger seat. As for top-tether anchors, Honda provides two more for the third row to make a total of five. It is not clear if the 8-passenger trim will have LATCH or a top-tether for the 2nd row center seat. Honda claims that cargo space behind the 3rd row is increased with a nice hidden cargo area below (below, left). Honda shows it with an 82-quart cooler! (below, right)
And if you have kids like mine, perhaps the most important feature is the console between the front seats (below) that has a 120V AC outlet and two USB charging jacks for occupants in the back. The Pilot has a total of up to five (5!) USB outlets (4 charging @2.5amps), two 12-volt DC outlets and one AC outlet for all those devices!
A 300-pound weight reduction, a 9-speed transmission and new engine stop-start system will all help improve fuel economy. The stop-start system on higher trim levels is fairly unique for non-hybrid, midsize SUVs and turns the engine off when the vehicle is stopped or when power is not required. Front wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions will both be available. For those concerned about safety, the 2016 Pilot is improved to finally catch up with the new Toyota Highlander. According to Honda:
In keeping with Honda’s commitment to safety, the new Pilot will feature the most comprehensive set of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies ever offered on a Honda vehicle. Together these technologies make up Honda Sensing™, a suite of technologies designed to expand the driver’s situational awareness while sensing and responding to potential road hazards, including other vehicles, road obstacles and even pedestrians, mitigating the possibility or severity of a collision. It includes Honda’s popular LaneWatch™ display, Blind Spot Indicators, a standard Multi-Angle Rear View Camera, and available Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Rear Cross Traffic Monitor, Adaptive Cruise Control and a Honda-first Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) system.
The new Pilot is expected to deliver the highest safety ratings in its class and targets a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), including a GOOD rating in all crash modes. The new Pilot incorporates Honda’s next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, designed to more efficiently absorb and disperse the energy from a frontal collision, along with a new ultra-high-strength door ring designed to help better protect occupants. The 2016 Pilot also incorporates an all-new 3-bone platform while also utilizing high and ultra-high strength body materials, which together reduce noise, vibration and harness (NVH), improve handling, increase rigidity and reduce weight.
Standard safety and driver-assistive features include four-channel anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Brake Assist and Hill Start Assist; Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with Traction Control; an Expanded View Driver’s Mirror; dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags, driver and front passenger SmartVent™ side airbags and side-curtain airbags for all outboard seating positions; and a new Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with real-time display of individual tire pressures.