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2016 Honda Pilot Elite features tech-spin on SUV utility [Video]

Why equip 2016 Honda Pilot with a 9 speed transmission and paddle shifting? Good question.


Originally designed for track and off-road racing applications, paddle shifting -- 6 through 9 speed dual clutch automated, and automatic transmissions, have gone mainstream as showcased in 2016 Honda Pilot Elite.

We had fun with the 9 speed transmission in Acura TLX, and despite a malfunctioning shifting problem or two reported along the path, 9 speed transmission technology is here to stay, and now is optioned in Honda Pilot Tour and Elite.

For discerning owners that want exceptional comfort, reasonable fuel economy, safety and 7 passenger utility in a midsize 3 row SUV, Honda Pilot Elite hits the top of the mark while under-pricing Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan and Toyota.

Honda tells us that the 9 speed option was facilitated through an E.P.A. driven quest for higher fuel economy, we found another use for it. You may read our latest 2016 Pilot review here.

Increased towing capacity

We like the paddle shifting attributes of Honda’s Z9 equipped Pilot for another application, towing. and exceptional acceleration, and downhill gear holding capability of this 9 speed automatic transmission while set in sport-mode.

Note: When set in “Sport Mode,” the throw distance between gear ratios is tightened, resulting in a quick-shift 6 speed automatic. We noted very little to no shift lag between the push of the paddle and the gear-shift, up or down. Love it!

Despite the glaringly missing stick-select-shift (automatic or manual) found in the majority of light trucks and SUV’s, Honda Pilot equipped with the 9 speed transmission and steering wheel mounted paddle shifter will effectively hold a down or uphill grade in the selected gear; thus eliminating downhill brake overheating and weight-load-vehicle-overrun.

Smart transmission

Watch the 280 horsepower direct injected i-VTEC V6, 9 speed automatic, very smart all-wheel-drive, Honda Pilot Elite shift through the gears as Parks drives the back roads of Eugene, Oregon.