2016 Honda Pilot to pack 280 hp, new Intelligent Traction Management system

Honda has released a spate of details on the all-new, third-generation Pilot, building on the information that was distributed way back at the car’s 2015 Chicago Auto Show debut. Included in this latest release are power figures for the 3.5-liter Earth Dreams V6, a breakdown of trim levels and details on the new Intelligent Traction Management system.

Let’s start with that V6, which makes the Pilot the latest vehicle to be fitted with Honda’s Earth Dreams technology. Regardless of whether it’s mated to the standard six-speed automatic or the optional nine-speed gearbox, the 3.5-liter mill produces 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. That’s 30 more hp and 7 more lb-ft than the current model. While Honda isn’t quite ready to release fuel economy figures, we have high hopes for the V6/9AT combo.

The other big announcement coming today regards Honda’s new Intelligent Traction Management system. The technology functions a lot like Land Rover’s Terrain Response, Jeep’s Selec-Terrain and Ford’s Terrain Management System, providing owners with a number of condition-specific presets for the throttle response, shift mapping and stability control to maximize performance on the selected terrain.

What makes the Honda system different, though, is that it’s not limited to all-wheel-drive models. That said, the front-drive model is neutered to a degree, with its ITM only offering a Snow mode, compared to the all-wheel-drive Pilot’s Mud, Sand and Snow settings. Still, considering the big Honda’s role as a family hauler, a dedicated setting for driving in the snow will likely be welcomed by family types, especially in northern climates.

Speaking of that AWD model, it uses a new system, called i-VTM4 (short for Intelligent Variable Torque Management for all Four Wheels). If you dig past the marketing speak, though, you’ll find this system has a lot in common with the Acura Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system, in that it transfers torque not only between the front and rear axles, but laterally between the rear wheels. We reached out to Honda to see what, if any, differences there are to the system, but they didn’t get back to by press time.

Check out the official press release from Honda, available below.

Beauty, Brawn and Brains: The 2016 Honda Pilot is the Triple Threat Poised to Top the Three-Row SUV Segment

• Sleek and athletic exterior meets interior elegance for a commanding yet sophisticated presence

• Top-of-the-line Elite trim introduces a premium look, feel and experience with highest level of standard features

• Direct injected 3.5-liter i-VTEC® engine with more horsepower and torque than outgoing model

• Smartest Pilot ever with new Intelligent Traction Management system, Honda Sensing™ technologies and i-VTM4 AWD system

TORRANCE, Calif., April 10, 2015 – The all-new, third generation 2016 Honda Pilot will go on sale this summer ready to take the mid-size SUV segment by storm, with more of what active families seek in a three-row SUV – sleek and athletic styling, outstanding power, sophisticated technology and, new for 2016, an all-new Elite model with a panoramic roof and an vast array of other standard features.

Building on the solid reputation established from the fall 2002 introduction of the first generation 2003 model, the 2016 Pilot brings a whole new level of refinement and available content to the segment. This includes a more powerful direct injected 3.5-liter SOHC i-VTEC® Earth Dreams™ Technology engine producing 280 horsepower1 and 260 lb-ft of torque2, and new 6-speed and 9-speed automatic transmissions. Providing outstanding dynamic handling are a new Intelligent Variable Torque Management™ (i-VTM4™) AWD System and all-new selectable Intelligent Traction Management system featuring Normal, Mud, Sand, and Snow modes on the AWD model and Normal and Snow on the 2WD model. Also significantly upgraded are the Display Audio and navigation systems. The available Honda Sensing™ suite of safety and driver assistive technologies brings available features that include Collision Mitigation Braking System™3 with Forward Collision Warning4, Road Departure Mitigation System5, Lane Keeping Assist System6 with Lane Departure Warning7 and Adaptive Cruise Control8.

Providing customers with a greatly increased range of trim levels, the 2016 Pilot is available in a new top-of-the-line Elite trim together with LX, EX, EX with Honda Sensing™, EX-L, EX-L with Honda Sensing™ and Touring trims. Honda Sensing™ is standard on both Touring and Elite trims. The Pilot Elite offers an extensive feature content list, including a panoramic glass roof, heated and ventilated front seats, second-row heated captain’s chairs, LED headlights with auto high-beam, rain sensing windshield wipers and much more. And these are in addition to a long list of standard features throughout the Pilot trim range.

Model Trim Summary

Pilot LX Prominent Features

Direct-injected 3.5-liter SOHC i-VTEC engine with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM)

6-Speed Automatic Transmission

Hill Start Assist

Intelligent Variable Torque Management™ (i-VTM4™) AWD System (available)

18-inch aluminum alloy wheels

Brake Assist

Multi-Angle Rearview Camera9 with guidelines

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)10 with Tire Fill Assist and Location and Pressure Indicators

Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) Body Structure

LED Brake Lights

Remote Entry

Push Button Start

5-Inch Color LCD Screen

200-Watt Audio System with 7 Speakers, including Subwoofer

Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®11

Bluetooth® Streaming Audio11

MP3/Windows Media®12 Audio (WMA) Playback Capability

USB Audio Interface [Center Console w/High-Speed Charging (1 Port)]

Pilot EX Prominent Features – Changed or added from LX

Intelligent Traction Management, Normal/Snow (2WD), Normal/Mud/Sand/Snow (AWD)

Remote Engine Start

Multi-Angle Rearview Camera9 (HS) with dynamic guidelines

LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL)

Honda Sensing™ (available)

Honda LaneWatch™13

Pilot EX Prominent Features – Changed or added from LX (continued)

Programmable Remote Entry

Smart Entry

Fog Lights

HomeLink® Remote System14

Driver’s Seat with 10-Way Power Adjustment, including Power Lumbar Support

USB HondaLink/Audio Interface15 [Front w/Charging (1 Port) and Center Console w/High-Speed Charging (2 Ports)]

225-Watt Audio System with 7 Speakers, including Subwoofer

8-Inch Display Audio with High-Resolution WVGA (800×480) Electrostatic Touch-Screen and Customizable Feature Settings

HondaLink® Next Generation16

SMS Text Message Function17

SiriusXM® Radio18

Pandora®19 Compatibility

Song By Voice® (SBV)

Pilot EX-L Prominent Features – Changed or added from EX

Acoustic Windshield Glass

One-Touch Power Moonroof with Tilt Feature

Power Tailgate

Rear Entertainment System with HDMI interface20 and 115V power outlet (RES) (available)

Automatic-Dimming Rearview Mirror

Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel

One-Touch 2nd-Row Seats

Front Passenger’s Seat with 4-Way Power Adjustment

Leather-Trimmed Interior

Heated Front Seats

Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with Voice Recognition21 and Honda HD Digital Traffic (available)

Pilot Touring Prominent Features – Changed or added from EX-L

9-Speed Automatic Transmission with Shift-By-Wire (SBW) with Paddle Shifters

20-inch Aluminum Alloy Wheels

Honda Sensing™

Acoustic Windshield and Front Door Glass

Body-Colored Power Side Mirrors. Heated (AWD) with Memory and Integrated LED Turn Indicators

Driver’s Seat with 10-Way Power Adjustment, including Power Lumbar Support with Two-Position Memory


Roof Rails

Blu-Ray Rear Entertainment System

Blue Ambient LED Lighting

Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with Voice Recognition22 and Honda HD Digital Traffic

540-Watt Premium Audio System with 10 Speakers, including Subwoofer

USB Ports, 2nd-Row w/High-Speed Charging (2 Ports)

Pilot Elite Prominent Features – Changed or added from Touring

Auto High-Beam Headlights

Blind Spot Information System (BSI) with Rear Cross Traffic Monitor23

Rain Sensing Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers

Trailer Harness

Panoramic Roof

LED Headlights with Auto-On/Off

Heated Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel

Front and 2nd-Row Illuminated Beverage Holders

Heated and Ventilated Front Seats

Heated 2nd-Row Captain’s Chairs

HD Radio™24

Earth Dreams™ Technology Powertrain

The 2016 Pilot delivers more refined, powerful and fuel-efficient performance than ever before courtesy of its new 3.5-liter, direct-injected i-VTEC® V-6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM™) cylinder deactivation technology. The engine’s peak output of 280 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque is up 30 hp and 7 lb.-ft. over the previous model. The engine is matched to a choice of two new advanced transmissions – a Pilot-first 6-speed automatic transmission or, on upper trims, a Honda-first 9-speed automatic transmission – both delivering more refined, responsive and fuel-efficient performance.

Intelligent Variable Torque Management for all Four Wheels (i-VTM4)

The Pilot’s available new Intelligent VTM4 (i-VTM4) is the most sophisticated and technologically advanced all-wheel-drive system offered in a mainstream, three-row SUV. This entirely more capable system progressively distributes optimum torque between the front and rear axles and, for the first time ever in a Honda vehicle, dynamically distributes engine torque between the left and right rear wheels using the new, lightweight rear drive unit. Benefits include superior all-weather handling and neutral, accurate steering under power that is unmatched by front-drive, rear-drive or conventional all-wheel-drive systems.

Intelligent Traction Management

This new Pilot features a new button-operated Intelligent Traction Management System that offers different operating modes, for the AWD: Normal, Mud, Sand and Snow; and for the FWD: Normal and Snow. Reflecting Pilot’s role as a key U.S. export model, this system was developed, tuned and tested at various locations in the U.S. and around the world – including in Imperial Dunes “Glamis”, California; Moscow, Russia; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Intelligent Traction Management system allows the driver to select the operating mode that best suits the driving conditions by simply pushing a button on the vehicle’s center console. Based on the setting selected, the system adjusts the drive-by wire map, transmission shift map, Vehicle Stability Assist™ and i-VTM4 torque distribution for AWD equipped models for optimal performance in varying road or surface conditions.

Display Audio and Navigation

Honda’s latest thinking for advanced, family-friendly technology is embodied in the new Pilot. New features include the available 8-inch capacitive touchscreen Display Audio telematics interface with Android operating system and all-new Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ developed in cooperation with the experts at Garmin®24.

Exterior Colors

All 2016 Pilot trims are available in eight exterior colors including three metallic and five pearl colors. All colors have a strong character, offering expressive contrasts that complement the Pilot’s body-panel curves and angles, while also exhibiting a smart luxury appearance.

2016 Honda Pilot to pack 280 hp, new Intelligent Traction Management system

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