For all it had going for it, the second-generation Honda Pilot was stung by one undeniable fact: it looked like a big, boxy SUV at a time when consumer favor was shifting towards car-based crossovers. For 2016, though, Honda is offering a third-generation Pilot that not only does away with the old model's brutalist looks, but also adopts bleeding-edge safety technology and fuel-efficient powertrains. The Pilot's new styling still doesn't really work, to our eyes. That's not because of the CR-V-inspired headlights or Accord-derived grille. It's not even because of the horizontally oriented, reshaped taillights. The biggest problem with the Pilot is its profile. The hood is an inch lower for 2016, and the CUV is 3.5 inches longer than its predecessor with an extra inch ahead of the front axle. Simply put, the proportions are out of whack. The hood is too short, the passenger compartment too large, and the beltline too low. It's little wonder then that both Autoblog staffers and readers have pointed out the 2016 Pilot's minivan-like resemblance. Changes underneath the Pilot's sheetmetal are just as drastic. Honda incorporated a mix of high-strength steel, aluminum, and even magnesium to create the CUV's new bones. Taken as a whole, our top-of-the-line Elite tester is 286 pounds lighter than the previous model, while being 25 percent more rigid overall. Aside from some penny pinching in the cabin – the hard plastic on the top of the rear door panels is particularly egregious – the Pilot's interior is home to soft-touch plastics, quality leather, and handsome piano black accents. Front passengers are treated to broad, comfortable, power seats, complete with heating and ventilation (depending on trim). What they lack in outright support through the turns, they make up for in long-haul comfort. Honda will continue to sell the Pilot with seating for eight, but for the very first time, it's also offering a pair of captain's chairs in place of the second-row bench. Either setup is comfortable, though the seven-passenger layout allows easier access to the third row. As for the way-back, it can accommodate two kids or two adults in a pinch, but we aren't sure how Honda thinks three humans of any size will fit back there. Happily, Honda ditched the two-screen center stack setup found elsewhere in its model range. The Pilot's ample eight-inch display (standard on the Touring and Elite trims) has menus that are easy to manage. A version of the Android operating system and Garmin navigation make up a pleasing software suite. That said, the touch-capacitive controls that sit on the driver's side of the display aren't very responsive, and when combined with the lack of haptic feedback, left us wondering if the 'buttons' had even registered our inputs. There's an additional 4.2-inch display in the instrument cluster that replaces the analog speedometer – that's right, the digital speedo is all you get. Flanked by the counter-rotating needles of the tachometer, fuel, and temperature gauges, the screen displays everything from trip info to …
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|MPG||19 City / 26 Hwy|
|Transmission||9-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||280 @ 6000 rpm|
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