2016 Honda Pilot - Chassis

The 2016 Pilot utilizes an all-new chassis developed from the ground up to provide exceptionally high levels of ride comfort and confidence-inspiring handling and braking performance, while also making critical contributions to the even more family-friendly interior package, class-leading fuel efficiency and safety performance. Working in conjunction with the new Pilot's more rigid, lightweight and sound-insulating body structure (see Body section) the new chassis features major improvements to the suspension and steering systems, wheels, wheel bearings, tires and brakes. Also contributing to the dynamic improvements are the Pilot's lower weight, improved aerodynamics, lower center of mass, and improved horsepower and torque (see Body section and Powertrain section).

The stiffer new body structure allows for more flexibility in optimizing the suspension tuning to deliver significant gains in both dynamic handling performance and better isolation of road noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), as well as expanded third-row passenger space and improved passenger ingress/egress. The new suspension includes the first use of Amplitude Reactive Dampers on the Pilot, further enhancing Pilot's supple ride, enabling extremely low NVH, and sharpening cornering performance. Standard 18-inch alloy wheels and available 20-inch alloy wheels further improve steering response and overall agility. While more athletic, the Pilot chassis also contributes to lower running resistance, thanks to its low-drag brakes and low rolling-resistance tires. All of these qualities ideally position the 2016 Pilot to satisfy customers who want both a high-level of family-friendly utility and high levels of comfort, quietness and driving confidence.

Key Chassis Features

Pilot LX, EX and EX-L

  • 4-wheel independent suspension
  • Vibration-damping subframes
  • Amplitude Reactive Dampers*
  • Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Steering (EPS)*
  • 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS1 and Brake Assist
  • Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®)2 with Traction Control
  • Low rolling-resistance 18-inch M+S tires*
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)3 with Tire Fill Assist*^
  • Low running resistance
  • Agile Handling Assist*

Pilot Touring and Elite (in addition to or replacing the above)

  • 20-inch wheels and lower-profile M+S tires*

Pilot AWD Models

  • Trailer Stability Assist*

*First for Pilot
^First for Honda

Four-Wheel Independent Suspension
The Pilot independent front and rear suspension systems are engineered to provide long wheel travel and excellent compliance for a supple ride, together with the precise damping and spring rates needed for excellent handling and a sporty driving feel.

Front Suspension
At the front is a strut-type system with forged-aluminum lower control arms, hydraulic bushings, coil springs and a solid stabilizer bar. This setup uses moderate spring rates, relatively firm damping and specially tuned bushings for a smooth, controlled ride with exceptional cornering abilities. The upper front damper mounts provide a “triple path" load-bearing system that helps absorb road vibration and harshness.

Rear Suspension
At the rear is a compact multi-link design with a tubular stabilizer bar. This multi-link system allows a generous amount of wheel travel and excellent compliance for a supple ride, together with confident cornering and handling. All rear suspension control arms are steel – including the high-strength steel upper and lower control arms. Compared to the previous Pilot, the new 2016 Pilot has improved rear-suspension geometry, the upper damper mounts are now located on the body side rails for greater rigidity, and softer bushings are calibrated to reduce road noise without compromising handling.

Also compared to the previous Pilot generation, where the previous setup transmitted suspension loads to the vehicle's rear wheelhouse, the new setup transmits suspension loads to the more rigid body side frame, which allows for more aggressive tuning of suspension bushings to aid both ride comfort and handling precision. The transmission of road vibration to the second- and third-row seats is also significantly reduced. Further, the elimination of the forward trailing arm on the previous Pilot rear suspension allows for a 1.4-inch lower rear floor that, along with a 1.8-inch longer wheelbase and redesigned second-row seat, provides for easier third-row ingress and egress.

Vibration-Damping Subframes
The Pilot's engine, transmission, and front and rear suspension systems are mounted on rigid steel subframes. These subframes attach to the unit body at rubber-isolated mounting points that help keep powertrain and road noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) out of the passenger cabin. Two of the rear subframe mounts are filled with specially tuned hydraulic fluid for maximum effectiveness. Permanently sealed, they require no scheduled maintenance. The rear subframe is particularly sophisticated, with hydroformed side elements for maximum strength and minimal weight.

Amplitude Reactive Dampers
Amplitude Reactive Dampers provide superior ride comfort and handling in all driving conditions. The dampers have two separate hydraulic circuits – one tuned to optimize the ride quality on smooth roads with relatively small irregularities, and the other tuned to handle large inputs resulting from rough roads or large steering and braking inputs. As a result, the Pilot remains smooth and supple when cruising, and secure and stable in corners, with reduced body roll.

The primary Amplitude Reactive Damper technology consists of two separate damping pistons: a main piston and a second piston. To improve overall ride comfort, when smaller inputs occur during normal driving conditions, only the main piston works to provide the ideal damping characteristics. To improve the Pilot's ride and handling on rougher surfaces and during more aggressive driving, the second piston operates to provide additional damping force.

The Amplitude Reactive Dampers are a purely mechanical system that does not require electronic controls. Altogether, they provide a much wider range of effective damping performance than offered by the previous Pilot.

Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Steering (EPS)
Standard on all 2016 Pilot trims, Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Steering (EPS) initiates steering inputs that prompt the driver to steer in the correct direction during cornering and in slippery road conditions. The system works with Honda's Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA®) and Electric Power Steering, helping to stabilize the vehicle under braking and also help mitigate understeer and oversteer. For further information see the Safety and Driver Assistance section. 

The 2016 Pilot utilizes a 16.0:1 steering ratio, approximately 10-percent quicker than the previous Pilot model's steering. This offers increased agility in all forms of driving, while also complimenting the functionality of the torque-vectoring rear axle on the AWD models. (See the Powertrain section.) With 3.14 turns lock to lock and a 39.4-foot curb-to-curb turning diameter new Pilot is responsive to steering commands and maneuverable in tight spaces.

The steering column is located by a new cast magnesium steering hanger beam. Rigid and lightweight, the steering hanger beam is a structural member that directly contributes to improved handling and NVH performance. See the Body section for more information.

Four-Wheel Disc Braking System with Electronic Brake Distribution 
The 2016 Pilot has 4-wheel disc brakes with a 4-channel anti-lock braking system for a powerful and linear brake feel and confident stops in a wide range of driving conditions. The ventilated front discs are 12.6 inches in diameter and use 2-piston calipers, while the solid rear discs are 13.0 inches in diameter and have single-piston calipers. The calipers utilize a spring-loaded mechanism to maintain separation between the brake pads and rotor to reduce brake drag when not in use, reducing rolling resistance and improving fuel efficiency in the process. See the images on pages 38-39.

For optimum performance with widely varying loads, Pilot has Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) system technology. EBD monitors braking force and adjusts front-to-rear brake effort to achieve maximum braking performance and stability. At the rear, a select-low braking strategy is used to help maintain directional stability in slippery driving. In the event one rear wheel verges on lock-up, triggering a pressure modulation at that wheel, brake pressure is also diminished at the adjoining wheel to help preserve the rear axle's lateral stability. The parking brake is set by stepping on a pedal located on the left side of the driver's foot well, freeing space in the center console area. The release is located on the lower left side of the instrument panel.

ABS with Brake Assist
The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) independently modulates braking power at each wheel to help the driver retain steering control during heavy braking. The Brake Assist system recognizes emergency braking situations and almost instantly applies full braking force when appropriate to help shorten braking distance. See the Safety and Driver Assistance section for more information.

Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with Traction Control
Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) is an Electronic Stability Control system that works in conjunction with the Pilot's Drive-by-Wire™ throttle and its 4-channel ABS systems to enhance control capability while the vehicle is accelerating, braking, cornering or when the driver makes a sudden maneuver. VSA also provides a limited-slip differential effect for the driving wheels by applying braking force to a slipping wheel, thereby redirecting driving force to the wheel with more traction. While the driver can reduce the traction control effectiveness allowing more wheel slip during stuck condition by pressing the VSA button, ABS remains fully operational at all times. For further information see the Safety and Driver Assistance section.

Trailer Stability Assist
Standard on all Pilot models, Trailer Stability Assist helps enhance vehicle stability while a trailer is being towed. An integral part of Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®), Trailer Stability Assist detects trailer oscillations that can result from improper loading, excessive speed, adverse road conditions, crosswinds or emergency-avoidance maneuvers.

When such oscillations are detected, Trailer Stability Assist automatically activates to help damp the oscillations before they can increase and further upset the stability of the vehicle and trailer.

Wheels and Tires
The Pilot LX, EX and EX-L trims have stylish paired 10-spoke design, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with a machined face on EX and EX-L. The Touring and Elite trims have new 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with unique, upscale paired 10-spoke design with a machined face.

The Pilot LX, EX and EX-L trims come standard with 245/60 R18 Bridgestone all-season (M+S) tires, while the Touring and Elite trims have lower-profile 245/50 R20 Continental all-season (M+S) tires for enhanced driving performance. All tire choices offer improved steering precision, as well as 10-percent less rolling resistance, than the previous Pilot's tires, which contributes to greater fuel efficiency. See Low Running Resistance below.

All 2016 Pilot models include a spare tire on a steel wheel that is mounted below the cargo area, where it does not intrude on interior cargo storage space.

Low Running Resistance
Total vehicle running resistance is reduced nearly 20 percent versus the previous Pilot model. In addition to improvements in powertrain efficiency and vehicle aerodynamics, key engineering features for reduced running resistance include:

  • Tires with 10-percent less rolling resistance compared to the previous Pilot tires (see Wheels and Tires above).
  • Brake calipers that are designed to reduce drag when not in use, reducing rolling resistance by 18.6-percent compared to the previous Pilot braking system.
  • A new lightweight, low-drag wheel bearing design further improves overall driving efficiency.

Additional aerodynamic gains are found in the computer-aided engineering (CAE) optimized exterior shape. See the Body section for more information.

Agile Handling Assist
Standard on all Pilot trims, Agile Handling Assist selectively uses the vehicle's brakes to improve initial turning response and overall cornering ability. Agile Handling Assist utilizes brake vectoring to improve corner traceability and confident handling feel. By applying braking force to the inside wheels during cornering at high lateral G, the system creates a yaw moment, thus generating more turning force and reducing understeer.

Off-Road Capability
Honda engineers took thorough measures to ensure the off-road capabilities of the new Pilot. The vehicle meets design criteria, which was based on research at different off-road areas around the world. This research was the foundation for specific minimum performance criteria for the new Pilot, including off-road friendly approach and departure angles (18 degrees front and 19.7 degrees rear, respectively).

The available AWD system with computer-controlled traction utilization capabilities helps the Pilot meet typical off-road challenges without the need for low-range gears. (See the Powertrain section for a full description.) The system is designed for "decision free" operation, meaning that the driver does not need to actively choose when to engage all-wheel-drive. The system is always active and ready to proportion rear wheel torque as needed.

When equipped with a Honda dealer-installed accessory towing package, the new 2016 Pilot can tow up to 3,500 lbs. The available towing package includes a Class III hitch, towing kit, and wiring harness. Adding a Honda dealer-installed ATF cooler increases the towing capacity to 5,000 lbs. for AWD models. When not being used for towing, the hitch can double as an attachment point for a genuine Honda accessory bicycle rack. See the Accessories section for more information.

Chassis Features

Features LX EX EX-L Touring Elite
MacPherson Strut Front Suspension
Multi-Link Rear Suspension
Stabilizer Bar (mm, front/rear) 25/26.5 25/26.5 25/26.5 25/26.5 25/26.5
Amplitude Reactive Dampers
Electric Power-Assisted Rack-and-Pinion Steering (EPS)
Steering Wheel Turns, Lock-to-Lock 3.14 3.14 3.14 3.14 3.14
Steering Ratio 16.0:1 16.0:1 16.0:1 16.0:1 16.0:1
Turning Diameter, Curb-to-Curb 2WD/AWD (ft.) 39.4 39.4 39.4 39.4 39.4
Power-Assisted Ventilated Front Disc/Rear Solid Disc Brakes (in, front/rear) 12.6/13.0 12.6/13.0 12.6/13.0 12.6/13.0 12.6/13.0
Wheels 18" alloy 18" alloy 18" alloy 20" alloy 20" alloy
All-Season Tires 245/60 R18 105H 245/60 R18 105H 245/60 R18 105H 245/50 R20 102H 245/50 R20 102H
Compact Spare Tire T165/80 D17 104M T165/80 D17 104M T165/80 D17 104M T165/80 D17 104M T165/80 D17 104M

# # #

1 The ABS does not reduce the time or distance it takes to stop the vehicle. It only helps with steering control during hard braking. Always drive appropriately for the conditions.

2 The VSA may not function properly if tire type and size are mixed. Make sure to use the same size and type of tire, and the air pressures as specified. VSA cannot enhance stability in all driving situations and does not control the entire braking system. Always drive appropriately for the conditions.

3 Use TPMS-specific wheels only. For optimal tire wear and performance, tire pressure should be checked regularly with a gauge. Do not rely solely on the monitor system. The system cannot monitor the pressure of the spare tire.


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