Although the all-new 2016 Honda Pilot was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show in February, a number of details about the third generation of this midsize SUV were absent from the stat sheet. Honda has now confirmed that the latest iteration Pilot will be the most powerful and most capable version to date when it goes on sale this summer. With a new Elite trim grade joining the existing LX, EX, EX-L and Touring grades, it's also set to become the most luxurious.

The sole Pilot engine will be a new 3.5-liter direct-injected SOHC V6 from the Earth Dreams portfolio. Shared with the Accord, this new engine makes 280 horsepower - up 30 - and develops 262 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 9 lb-ft. The engine is backed by a new 6-speed automatic transmission in Pilot LX/EX/EX-L models and paired with Honda's first 9-speed automatic that features shift-by-wire and steering-wheel-mounted paddles in the Touring and Elite.

AWD available on all models

All but the Pilot LX are fitted with a new Intelligent Traction Management system and all versions can swap standard front drive for an optional Intelligent VTM4 (i-VTM4) all-wheel drive system. Honda claims i-VTM4 is the most technologically advanced setup of its kind on any mainstream 3-row SUV and provides full front/rear and left/right torque vectoring. The Pilot's pushbutton-activated Intelligent Traction Management setup is specifically geared to each drivetrain layout, adding Mud/Sand settings on AWD models the basic Normal/Snow settings found on FWD Pilots.

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In keeping with longstanding Honda tradition, the Pilot has a long list of standard equipment. Even the base LX boasts things like a full array of power assists, Bluetooth HandsFree phone and audio streaming, USB audio port with high-speed charging, a Multi-Angle Rearview Camera, Hill Start Assist and 18-inch alloy wheels. In addition to upgraded Display Audio with an 8.0-inch touchscreen (EX and above trims) and GPS Navigation (EX-L and above trims), the 2016 Pilot Touring and Elite introduce the new Honda Sensing suite of enhanced safety/driver assists that include Collision Mitigation Braking System with Forward Collision Warning, Road Departure Mitigation System, Lane Keeping Assist System with Lane Departure Warning and Adaptive Cruise Control with the top-line Pilot also getting a Blind Spot Information System with Rear Cross Traffic Monitor and LED Auto High-Beam Headlights.

The Elite experience 

Seeking to offer loyal Pilot owners seeking even more high-end features, Honda has added the top Elite trim. In addition to all of the aforementioned items, the Elite features a panoramic glass roof, heated/ventilated front buckets, second-row heated captain's chairs, a trailer harness, rain-sensing variable intermittent wipers and HD Radio. Pricing for all 2016 Honda Pilot models will be released closer to the on-sale dates.

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