Pilot Ready for Takeoff
Honda has taken a winning formula and added further refinement and sophistication as it moves toward the spring launch of the next-generation Pilot.
The company has concentrated on increasing the versatility and level of accommodation, safety and efficiency with the Prototype, which is close in looks to the full production model being launched this spring, according to Executive Vice President of American Honda John Mendel.
“The Pilot’s pioneering formula improves for 2009 by enhancing its combination of refinement and efficiency with even more traditional SUV strengths,” he said.
The three rows of seats are a major selling point for Pilot and the accommodation has been further advanced. With the Prototype, the third row is easier to access and provides sufficient knee room to allow an above-sized adult male to sit comfortably. Both the second and third rows of seats have a 60/40 split-folding capability and independently fold down to create a flat floor for cargo. The second row also slides forward to provide additional knee room in the rearmost seats.
The driving compartment emphasizes spaciousness and power with the two front captain’s seats providing a commanding view of the road. A wide center stack and console dominate the cabin and offer easy access to navigation, entertainment and climate control systems as well as the shifter, which protrudes from the fascia.
Safety has been enhanced with the Pilot featuring Honda’s exclusive Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE®) body structure and a 52 percent use of high-strength steel — the highest volume in any Honda model. The ACE body structure provides additional frontal collision protection with vehicles of different sizes and heights. Honda claims the vehicle has the highest level of safety in its class.
A crossover SUV platform is at the heart of the Pilot and combines the refinement and packaging advantages of a unit body car design with the utility and capability of an SUV. The Pilot is powered by a V6 engine using the latest generation of Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management (VCM®) which uses all six cylinders for power but drops down to four or three cylinders for efficiency.
Honda also displayed its CR-Z (Compact Renaissance Zero) lightweight sports car hybrid that made its debut in Tokyo in fall 2007. The car features a gas-electric hybrid system that achieves both clean performance and a high level of torque.
The next generation, zero emissions, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, the FCX Clarity, made its Detroit debut. The vehicle is based on the new Honda V Flow fuel-cell stack which offers significant improvements to driving range, power, weight and efficiency.