Honda announced an all-new version of its Pilot three-row SUV Monday, featuring a new V-6, improved technology, and a new adventure-friendly TrailSport trim. Though still a far cry from the capability of something like a 4Runner, the Trailsport chases the Subaru Outback and Kia Telluride adventure crowd.
To do that, it comes with a more sophisticated all-wheel-drive system than a standard Honda crossover. While the normal Honda system has been criticized for being slow to react and biased heavily toward the front wheels unless serious slip is detected, the Intelligent variable torque management (i-VTM4) system on the TrailSport is more closely related to Acura's more advanced SuperHandling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). That means it can send 70 percent of the power to the rear. All of that power can be sent to either rear wheel through the torque-vectoring rear differential, while the front end has brake-based torque vectoring. It may lack locking differentials or conventional four-wheel drive, but I wouldn't expect the Pilot Trailsport to struggle much on slippery surfaces.
It should also be better at clearing obstacles, thanks to a one-inch lift and reworked stabilizer bars that enable better articulation. Better is relative, though, as the short video Honda posted on Twitter shows the TrailSport lifting a wheel on a trail. Ideally, you want all four wheels to stay in contact with the surface over extremely uneven terrain, but this is something all unibody crossovers like the Pilot, Outback, and Telluride would struggle with. The good news is, if you do come down hard on an obstacle, the Trailsport has serious skidplates designed with input from Honda's powersports division. Because those hooligans are used to making side-by-sides, the Pilot's skidplates is designed to support its entire weight. Recovery points on the front skidplate and trailer hitch are also rated for twice the Pilot's Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), so even with a full complement of passengers and gear you shouldn't have trouble towing it out of a ditch.
To avoid getting stuck in the first place, you can also use the TrailWatch camera system, which comes on automatically in Trail mode. Like Toyota's Multi-Terrain Monitor, it uses 360-degree parking cameras to give you a better view of the trail. It stays on until you reach 15 mph and re-activates when you slow down below 12 mph, which should cover any time you're doing tricky maneuvering. Continental TerrainContact AT tires round out the package, offering better resilience against tears and punctures over tough terrain.
As a whole, the truck is unlikely to make many waves in the true off-roading scene. The Pilot is large, unibody, and low from the factory. A one-inch lift helps, but the last Pilot had 7.3 inches of clearance, so even a one-inch improvement wouldn't match a Subaru Outback or Kia Telluride. We've reached out to Honda to find out what the total ground clearance figure is, but with such a long wheelbase don't expect this to be anything like a trail rig.
It's no 4Runner TRD Pro, but this new Pilot does make an interesting case as an adventure vehicle. The vast majority of people planning adventures in the wilderness are not rock crawling, but using their vehicles to get to trailheads or dispersed camping locations up rutted or muddy roads. For that, a reliable, large, comfortable vehicle with enough room to sleep in or store a ton of gear is a fantastic choice. It's why the Subaru Outback has had such lasting success. A three-row version of that, capitalizing on the limited success of the Subaru Ascent and the limited capability of the Kia Telluride, is a compelling concept. Whether the Pilot can actually fill that role remains to be seen, but we'll let you know what we think as soon as we drive it.Looking to purchase a car? Find your match on the MSN Autos Marketplace 2022-11-07T15:54:24Z dg43tfdfdgfd