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Honda Pilot: balancing performance with fuel economy

Honda Pilot
Honda Pilot

When a car excites you, it breaks your heart to leave it behind in the showroom because your pocket or bank account is speaking the ‘can’t buy’ language.

The feel, the look and the features become indelible, coming up in your dreams and thoughts.

That was my experience with the 2016 Honda Pilot at the Honda Place. Hi-tech, razor-sharp styling inside and out, classic premium features and sporty feel summarise the prowess of the Honda Pilot.

 It derives its power from a 3.5L V6 engine. It makes 280 hp at 6,000 rpm, 262 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm, courtesy the i-VTEC + VCM engine system with six automatic transmission and a three-mode suspension.

With Japanese automakers Honda taking the car back to the drawing board and completely retouching its styling, incorporating sweeping angles and shapelier lines, the outcome is a sleek and athletic body, a departure from the box-like look of the first- and second-generation models.

In keeping with Honda’s approach to the market, the third-generation Pilot continues with a conservative look. At the same time, the current model is more aerodynamic with its curved front, flowing roof  and rounded angles.

The vehicle has become stiffer, with a light body for better performance increased engine output and transmission efficiency, with its new all-wheel drive system giving it ground all-weather performance.

For those who want a compact SUV—to haul the family, shopping and climb up that steep gravel driveway—but don’t want to cough up so much for fuel, the Pilot is certainly the car of choice.

“It is a perfect four wheel drive for all terrains.  It is a car for the family, for business and multipurpose and very user friendly in terms of infotainment systems,” the Brand Head of the Honda Place, Manish Daryanani, said.


A peep inside the car reveals a vast improvement over its predecessor. The cabin feels far more sophisticated with its interior design. Although now eight-seater, the seat arrangements are comfortable and passengers and driver alike benefit from well-contoured leather seats and enough head and legroom.

The seat belts are easy to brace. Head restraints could fit persons of all stature while there is enough space at the rear to accommodate a child passenger’s seat.

A multi-information display (MID) added functions on the dashboard provides an intelligent traction management that provides options to manoeuvre through terrains, including sand and mud and a tyre pressure monitoring system to provide a warning of low pressure on any one of the four tyres. And through its Eco Assist, the Pilot provides feedback and assistance in employing fuel-friendly driving habits and a remote engine start.

For comfort and convenience, there is tri-zone climate control, 4-USB port with 2.5 amp capacity for charging devices, engine start and stop function, smart key and lane watch.

The new 8-inch screen in the Pilot is very sensitive, and now includes smartphone-like touch and swipe controls. The graphics are bright and clear, and it's overall a huge improvement.

The screen can be connected to android phones or iphones.

The Pilot is not without fun. It is littered with speakers which boom sounds from USB/auxiliary input jacks and has a phone pairing bluetooth device.


For safety, all variations of the Pilot are stocked with a load of passive and active safety technologies including air bags for all occupants,  vehicle stability assist (VSA) with traction control,  anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD), brake assist and multi-angle rear-view camera.

The beef

The only beef with the Pilot is cargo space but, as they say, you can’t eat your cake and have it. The cargo space available when all eight seats are occupied is not impressive. However, when the rear seat is folded, it could even become a playground for children. It is that big.


The warranty for the Pilot is 100,000 kilometres or three years, whichever comes first.