2016 Honda Pilot Spied Testing in the Desert

2016 Honda Pilot 13 photos
Photo: SB-Medien
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Since the second-gen was introduced in 2008, the Honda Pilot grew in size and offered more creature comforts than before. But the model is getting quite old now and the Japanese manufacturer is already working on the third-generation, expected to launch sometime next year, maybe in the second-quarter.
The outgoing Honda Pilot is loosely related to the 2007 - 2013 Acura MDX mid-size luxury crossover. But the MDX has already received a new generation at the 2013 North American International Auto Show, sporting a new V6 mill with Variable Cylinder Management and many new mechanical bits and bobs, as well as a suite of new techy features.

So starting with the 2016 model year, the less luxurious Honda Pilot will also be rejuvenated. The test mule caught on film by the carparazzi testing in the desert is heavily camouflaged, but there are a few tell-tale signs of what to expect from the upcoming third-gen Pilot. If you look closely, the black cladding hides a much more expressive front fascia, including more aggressively styled lower air intakes.

Close-up photographs of the headlights hint that LED daytime running lights are on the menu, together with better designed clusters. The large, angular front bumper incorporates turning indicators and minuscule fog lights. As for the too heavily masked rear, we identified new taillights boasting LED lighting elements. The interior photograph indicates that the current Honda Pilot's round air vents will be replaced by rectangular units that bookend a slightly different infotainment system screen.

A more conservatively-styled instrument binnacle is also visible, with some interesting gauge faces. The entire feel is of a more upscale interior than the outgoing model. Another change is represented by the gear selector's location: on the outgoing model it's mounted on the dash, but the 2016 Honda Pilot will adopt a more traditional layout, with the shifter sticking out of the transmission tunnel.

In terms of mechanicals, the third-generation Honda Pilot is expected to use a reworked variant of the Odyssey's platform. The 3.5-liter V6 engine with VTEC and Earth Dreams tech will most certainly power the crossover with about 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft (362 Nm) of torque. FWD models are expected to get a CVT gearbox, while all-wheel drive versions will adopt a conventional six-speed automatic.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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