2009 Honda Pilot – Click above for high-res image gallery When the new 2009 Honda Pilot turned up as a concept at the Detroit Auto Show in January, most observers were decidedly underwhelmed. Unlike many other recent crossovers, notably the GM Lambdas, Honda chose to go with a decidedly more utilitarian look for the second-generation Pilot. As Honda officials explained when we gathered for a preview drive of the 2009 Pilot, they wanted to retain the "Utility" in CUV and a big part of that involved maximizing the useful interior volume within the Pilot's relatively modest exterior dimensions. That means a boxy shape that provides room for up to eight (at least as defined by the seat-belts) inside. While the Pilot won't be challenging the Buick Enclave or Mazda CX-9 for style points, it isn't too painful on the eyes. It's more a case of being almost invisible. The greenhouse is actually strongly reminiscent of the first generation Jeep Liberty, only longer. In spite of the rather barn like shape, it's actually more aerodynamic than the original Pilot, resulting in substantially less wind noise. In fact, the Pilot has a whole range of improvements that reduce noise, which we'll explore a bit later. There are also some things that might be considered a step backwards. Read on after the jump to learn about our first drive in the new Pilot. %Gallery-20460% Photos Copyright © 2008 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc. Let's cut to the chase. Setting aside the Pilot's appearance, the new unit is generally a much better vehicle than the 2008 model. Under the hood, propulsion still comes from a 3.5-liter V6 with a slew of upgrades. The new engine spins out 250 hp and 253 pound-feet of torque, increases of 6 hp and 13 lb.-ft. respectively. Fuel economy picks up 1 mpg across the board, thanks in part to a new version of Honda's variable cylinder management (VCM) deactivation system. Previously, VCM would simply shut off one bank of cylinders. The new version can run on three, four or six cylinders, with four-cylinder mode available by disabling one cylinder on each bank. The unibody has seen one of the most significant upgrades, with high strength steels growing from 13-percent of the body structure to 52-percent, resulting in seriously improved rigidity. Honda has also implemented what it calls Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) into the structure. According to Honda, ACE provides better protection for occupants in the event of a crash involving vehicles with different bumper heights. The extra inch of body width on the new model also meant that Honda was able to fit a third LATCH position in the middle row for mounting child seats. A fourth kid seat can be mounted in the third row. The second row seats are split 60/40 and each can slide forward independently to provide some extra leg room for those relegated to the back forty. Speaking of that rear-most row, hip room in the back-back is only 48.4 inches. With …
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|MPG||16 City / 22 Hwy|
|Transmission||5-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||250 @ 5700 rpm|
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