The 2016 Honda Pilot is all-new from bumper to bumper, sharing much of its underbody content with the Acura MDX. The 2016 is more streamlined in appearance than the previous model, offering LED headlights and 20-inch wheels on some trims. 2016 models are available with a new all-wheel drive system that uses torque vectoring to sharpen handling. A new Traction Management system offers Normal and Snow modes for front-wheel-drive models and Normal, Mud, Sand and Snow setting for AWDs. The Pilot can carry up to eight passengers and offers 83.9 cu ft. of cargo space with the second- and third-row seats folded.
New for 2016 are the range-topping Touring and Elite models, which feature a comprehensive array of advanced safety and driver-assistance features.
What We Like
Roomy cabin; available advanced driver-assist systems; four LATCH positions for child seats; quick-folding second-row seats; quiet interior; updated styling
What We Don’t
Infotainment lacks volume and tuning knobs; shift buttons on 9-speed automatic; floaty handling
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The 2016 Pilot keeps last year’s 3.5-liter 24-valve single-overhead-camshaft V6 with output improved to 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. It still runs regular unleaded gas.
There are two new automatic transmissions: a 6-speed with a conventional shift lever on LX, EX and EX-L and a 9-speed with push-button shifting on the Touring and the Elite. LX, EX, EX-L and Touring offer a choice of FWD or AWD. The Elite model comes standard with AWD. FWD Pilots can tow up to 3,000 pounds, while AWD models have a 5,000-lb rating.
FWD Pilots with the 6-speed automatic are EPA-rated at 19 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, and 9-speed FWD Pilots get a 20 mpg city/27 mpg hwy rating. AWD Pilots with the 6-speed automatic net a 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy rating, while 9-speed AWD models achieve a 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy estimate.
Standard Features & Options
The 2016 Honda Pilot is available in LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and Elite trims.
Typical LX standard equipment includes cloth seats, 18-in alloy wheels, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and audio streaming, multi-view backup camera, a 5-in LCD infotainment screen, USB connectivity, air conditioning with filtration, rear privacy glass, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, remote keyless entry, a 7-speaker AM/FM/MP3 stereo, push-button start, 3-row seating for eight passengers, split fold-flat second- and third-row bench seats, dual front- and side-impact airbags, overhead airbags and power locks, windows and mirrors.
The EX trim upgrades to an 8-in touchscreen audio display, Sirius XM, SMS text messaging, Pandora compatibility, tri-zone automatic climate control, LED running lamps, Honda LaneWatch, 18-in alloy wheels, HomeLink, a power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, smart entry, a conversation mirror, heated door mirrors and fog lamps.
The EX-L gains a leather-trimmed steering wheel, first- and second-row leather seats, a power moonroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats, a power front passenger seat and a power lift gate.
The Touring brings the 9-speed automatic, 20-in alloys, navigation, 10-speaker premium audio, Blu-Ray rear-seat entertainment, sunshades, lane-departure warning and forward-collision warning, road departure mitigation, collision mitigation braking, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, roof rails, an 115-volt outlet and driver seat memory.
The Elite adds blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic warning, automatic high beams, rain-sensing wipers, a panoramic roof, LED headlamps, heated steering wheel and rear seats and heated and ventilated front seats.
The 2016 Pilot has been one of the top-selling 3-row SUVs, so availability of used examples should be good. Available AWD gives the SUV all-weather capability for snowy climes, but the standard FWD with traction control is sufficient for most driving situations.
To get a good idea of the 2016 Pilot’s price range, investigate the Kelley Blue Book used-car values at KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued the following recalls for the 2016 Pilot:
On a small number of 2016 Pilots, the fuel tank may leak, creating a fire risk in the presence of an ignition source.
Incorrect software may fail to illuminate a dash warning lamp when the stability control, anti-lock brakes or other safety system first malfunctions.
A third-row seatbelt may jam between the seat and cargo side trim, preventing the occupant from buckling and being restrained in a crash.
Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
NHTSA gave the 2016 Pilot a 5-star overall rating, with a 5-star rating for side impacts but four stars for frontal impacts and rollover performance.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2016 Pilot Good ratings for moderate-overlap front and side impacts, as well as roof strength, head restraints and seats. For small-overlap front impacts. The Pilot received a Good rating on the driver’s side, but an Acceptable rating for the passenger’s side. The 2016 Pilot is an IIHS Top safety Pick+.
The 2016 Pilot was sold with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty including 24-hour roadside assistance and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Honda certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles must be younger than 6 years old and have no more than 80,000 miles on the odometer. Every CPO Pilot undergoes a 182-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, extending the basic new-car warranty to 48 months or 48,000 miles and powertrain coverage to 7 years or 100,000 miles from the date when the vehicle was first sold, whichever occurs first.
Other Cars to Consider
2016 Ford Explorer — This car-based 3-row crossover gets more truck like styling and comes with a 280-hp 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder turbo, a 290-hp 3.5-liter V6 or a 365-hp 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6. New for 2016 is an optional hands-free liftgate, improved infotainment with real buttons and a luxury Platinum model.
2016 Toyota Highlander — Toyota’s largest crossover can tote up to eight passengers. It offers a choice of FWD or AWD and a fuel-saving 185-hp 2.7-liter 4-cylinder or a peppy 270-hp 3.5-liter V6. A gas-electric hybrid version offers 231 hp and a 27 mpg city/28 mpg hwy EPA rating with AWD.
We like the Pilot EX-L because it comes with power front seats, an upgraded stereo with an 8-in touchscreen, leather upholstery and many features buyers want. If you want navigation, rear-seat entertainment and the latest safety and driver-assistance tech such as adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, lane-keeping assist and such, the top-of-the-line Touring or Elite models should be on your list. Look for well-maintained lower-mileage examples or, better still, a Honda certified pre-owned Pilot. Make sure it has had all applicable safety recalls performed by the dealer.