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Roseville, Calif. – Think you know the Honda Pilot? Don’t be so sure. A major redesign has the 2016 Pilot going through some major changes. Practically everything is new – engine and transmission, styling, and interior features.

For folks enamored with the previous two generations of this family-friendly crossover sport utility vehicle, don’t be alarmed, the new Pilot is improved and won’t lead to any head scratching – like why the heck did Honda have to make so many changes with the third generation?

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The easy answer is those changes were overdue. The Pilot’s last major redesign came six years ago. So to stay on par or ahead of competition like the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Flex and Nissan Pathfinder, Honda was smart to make significant alterations.

2016 Honda Pilot

  • Performance: 3.5-liter, six-cylinder, 280 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 19-27 mpg
  • Estimated price: $30,145 to $46,570
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain: 5 years/60,000; corrosion:
  • 5 years/unlimited; Roadside assistance: 3 years/36,000

From a glance, the Pilot will look a little different. The 2016 models are not as square and blocky shaped as previous ones and now possess some sharp angles and sleek lines that add to its visual appeal. The headlights feature LED accents and the taillight design is new and pretty cool. Note that the 2016 Pilot is a tad smaller and lighter than previously.

There’s no change in the Pilot’s primary mission – it remains a three-row people hauler capable of transporting eight, although that number dips to seven people with the Elite model and its comfy second-row captain’s chairs.

Something that hasn’t changed is the front-wheel drive Pilot comes with just one engine. It’s a more powerful 3.5-liter, V6 that generates 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. The 2016 version has added 30 more horsepower. Also new is the Elite model has a nine-speed automatic transmission – the other models have a six-speed. The Pilot has been clocked going 0-60 mph in as low as 6.4 seconds.

Another new feature is the Pilot’s cylinder deactivation and engine stop-start system. While a little annoying at times due to its delayed reaction at complete stops, the feature has helped increased the Pilot’s gas mileage a bit to 19-27 mpg.

Adding to the Pilot’s overall appeal is its ability to deliver a comfortable and composed ride. It offers reasonably precise steering and gives the driver a fair of amount of confidence in all situations.

What veteran Pilot owners will really find different is the interior. Honda is getting major kudos for taking a huge leap forward in comfort and refinement. Always roomy in the past, the 2016 model has added additional leg and headroom in the third row, although most adults still won’t be too enamored in the kids’ row Front seat occupants and those in the second row will both have more than enough leg and headroom.

The improved interior utilizes more soft materials and has added additional acoustic equipment to soften the overall noise. The Pilot is downright minivan-like, adding more cupholders and bins, going with an updated 8-inch touchscreen interface that helps put this SUV on par with its rivals in terms of overall technology.

If you liked the previous two generations of the Pilot, chances are you will love the third one. The traditional crossover SUV has made improvements across the board and is as good as it gets in this class.

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