The 2016 Honda Pilot is almost 300 pounds (136 kg) lighter than its predecessor in higher trims, but we think the automaker has taken its weight-loss efforts too far. At a recent 2016 Accord event (read the review here), Honda displayed the eye-catching 2016 Pilot Cut Body crossover you see here, an in-your-face way of showing some of the changes that make up what the engineers expect will be an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick +. Oh, and did we mention this thing is fully drivable?
All 2016 Honda Pilots are powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 producing 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. Although most get a six-speed automatic transmission, the loaded crossovers such as the Cut Body model shown here are upgraded to a nine-speed automatic. Even though we’ve seen such displays before, they’re still striking in person. Seeing the heating coils on the second-row captain’s chairs, for example, is cool, as is watching the mechanism that powers the front passenger window up and down. Check it out in the riveting five-second video below.
The 2016 Pilot has 25-percent more torsional rigidity and 67-percent more mount rigidity than its predecessor, which was a heavier crossover. Just over 60 pounds of that weight savings comes from what Honda calls a 3-Bone structure, which stretches from the front to the rear of the passenger cabin. The purpose of one of the three “backbones” is to send collision forces under the passenger cabin; the other two send forces to the left and right side frames. The front bumper on the Cut Body crossover — partially finished in blue — is aluminum, and contributed another 2.2 pounds of weight savings.
Put the package together and you get what Honda anticipates will be a crossover earning that IIHS Top Safety Pick + rating as well as a 5-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The 2016 Pilot is also the first Pilot to offer Honda Sensing active safety tech, which can slow down the vehicle if it senses an obstacle ahead, nudge it back into its lane, and a rear cross traffic system that can be helpful when reversing from a parking spot with obstructed sightlines.