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2016 Honda Pilot demonstrates ‘Real’ off road capabilitity

For those of you that wish to use the family hauler for more than running the kids to soccer practice, Honda presents a 2016 Pilot SUV with “Real” off-road-capability, and they’ll prove it to you!


The last Honda “Truck” standing

At this point in time, with Ridgeline pulled out of production until 2016, Honda Pilot is the last remaining light truck in American Honda’s lineup that has retained some “Real” off-road driving capability, heavy load hauling-towing capacity and manual differential lockers.

In-fact Honda has pushed 2016 Pilot to the next level in all-terrain and foul weather viability through an upgrade of its all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. Recently while attend the “Honda Dream Garage" event In Lake San Marcos, California, Honda-Torque News was treated to a demonstration of Honda’s latest generation Intelligent Variable Torque Management ™ i-VTM AWD.

We head for the hills

After taking the front passenger and rear seat position for this demonstration, we learned how this push button activated variable-road-surface drive mode adjust the vehicle’s distribution of torque (torque-vectoring) to the wheel where it’s needed most.

Honda shared with us that Pilot has been tested in all-weather and road conditions, from scalding Saudi-desert heat to sub-zero Minnesota testing grounds winter conditions, and Siberian mud-fest, “Where the hell is the pavement? road conditions.

Honda-Torque News reported on the release of the totally redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot Elite; featuring a 280 horsepower, 9 speed, Honda Watch ™ equipped, direct injected i-VTEV V6, from the proving grounds in Tennessee. But it’s a bit flat in the Heartland; we wished to see Pilot perform a bit, off of the pavement.

Mud, snow, sand, no worries

Well, seeing is believing. The following video demonstrates 2016 Pilot’s traction capability while climbing a 28% sandy grade from a standing start.

Honda retains the “truck” in 2016 Pilot, for those that wish to use Pilot for more than just a safe and comfortable family hauler. Let’s go!


Ben dover (not verified)    December 27, 2015 - 2:19AM

Really? No other suv? it's not an suv and it's not even marketed as one. It's a crossover and there's NOTHING truck about it. Trucks have frames. Even the Ridgeline was an oddessey with a pickup body. And that video is a joke. Any car would've made it up that same tiny perfectly smooth mildly loose hill with the same effort. It doesn't even look like an suv anymore. It looks almost the same as the minivan it shares EVERYTHING with except it's body and the vtm system. Don't get me wrong. For what the pilot is its pretty good. Easily on par with the highlander. But true suv off road capabilities it does not have its CERTAINLY NOT a truck. He'll my jeep liberty has a higher towing capacity and it's lighter and has less power. I'm not bashing the pilot. I'm bashing your goofy made up assement of it.

Parks McCants    December 28, 2015 - 2:39PM

In reply to by Ben dover (not verified)

Welcome Ben. Now that I've had my coffee! The Videoed demonstration was conducted by Honda on a NASCAR infield in Tennessee. And no, a car could not track the incline composed of sand & gravel pictured in the video. As a life-time driver of light, medium and heavy industrial trucks, both on and off road, I agree with you. In the old-school definition of what constitutes a light-truck, frame mounted SUV, Pilot isn't. However, times are changing, as is technology. The Pilot was extensively tested in Siberia, the Middle East and the California desert. It is in all practical applications a multipurpose daily driver with light-duty off road vehicle capability, superior interior comfort and safety features. In questioning American Honda Motors as to the "Light Truck " classification, the United States Government E.P.A. classifies Pilot a " Light Truck." The current generation Pilot is not the same animal as the outgoing model. Call it a crossover if you will! What do you believe that Pilot crossovers from? Don't point to the outgoing Odyssey, again, not the same vehicle. While attending the 2015 SEMA Show Las Vegas, Honda did have on display the Baja 1000 off-road prepared 2016 Pilot support vehicle. The only discernible difference between the modified support Pilot and the factory rendition was a mild lift, tires and a roof rack. I would drive 2016 Pilot under any condition and reasonable road surface, paved, sand or gravel. This isn't a pissing match Ben. Go out and drive a 2016 Pilot Elite and get back to me. Your comments are always welcome here. Please qualify them with a bit of seat time. Take care my new friend.

William B. (not verified)    January 24, 2017 - 10:32AM

In reply to by Ben dover (not verified)


I'm with you. Just get the minivan if you're getting the pilot. And I'm pretty sure my Elantra could make it up that hill. It was just this side of paved. Total joke.


Mike (not verified)    January 5, 2016 - 9:10PM

I would love to know more about the Baja modification. How did they lift the pilot? I think it looks cool with the front light bar.