2016 Honda Pilot - Powertrain

2016 Honda Pilot - Powertrain

The 2016 Pilot benefits from a completely reengineered powertrain and drivetrain to match its all-new body and chassis. Highlights of the powertrain include a new more powerful and efficient direct-injected i-VTEC V6 engine; two new, more responsive and refined transmissions, and an available new Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4™) AWD system with dynamic torque vectoring capabilities and a new Intelligent Traction Management system. Taken together, these new features and technologies make this new Pilot the most dynamically capable, confidence-inspiring, fuel efficient, powerful and refined Pilot yet.

Powering the 2016 Pilot is a new 3.5-liter direct injected i-VTEC® 24-valve SOHC V-6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM™) cylinder deactivation technology. The new engine is mated to one of two new transmissions – a 6-speed automatic (6AT) for LX, EX and EX-L trims, and 9-speed automatic (9AT) for Touring and Elite models. Models equipped with the new 9AT also have a new Idle-Stop capability to further enhance fuel efficiency. The Pilot's new engine – from the Honda EarthDreams® Technology powertrain series – is rated at 2801 peak horsepower and 262 lb.-ft.2 peak torque. Peak engine output is up 30 horsepower and nine pound-feet of torque over the previous model, with increased torque over the engine's entire operating (rpm) range for improved driving dynamics.

The new, more efficient engine and transmissions, along with the lighter and yet more capable all-wheel-drive system, in combination with a nearly 300-pound reduction in vehicle weight (for upper trims) and a major reduction in running resistance, result in substantially enhanced performance and fuel efficiency. Compared to the previous Pilot, EPA fuel economy ratings (city/highway/combined)3 are up across the board:

  • +1/2/1 mpg on 2WD models with 6AT
  • +1/2/1 mpg on AWD models with 6AT
  • +2/2/2 mpg on 2WD models with 9AT
  • +2/2/2 mpg on AWD models with 9AT

The Pilot's dynamic handling capabilities and all-weather performance are significantly enhanced by the most advanced all-wheel-drive system in the Pilot's competitive class – the available all-new Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4™) all-wheel-drive system with an electronically controlled rear differential and dynamic torque vectoring capabilities that aids both traction and dynamic cornering performance. To further enhance all-weather performance, both the front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) Pilot models include Intelligent Traction Management with push-button control to allow the driver to choose between Normal, Snow, Mud and Sand modes with AWD, and Normal and Snow with FWD for optimal performance and traction in varying road and surface conditions.

Key Powertrain FeaturesEngine

  • New 3.5-liter, SOHC V-6 engine  
  • i-VTEC® (intelligent Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) for intake valves
  • Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®) cylinder deactivation
  • Computer-controlled Direct Injection (DI) with multi-hole fuel injectors
  • Idle-Stop capability (models with 9AT)
  • 11.5:1 compression ratio
  • High-tensile strength steel crankshaft
  • Drive-by-Wire throttle system
  • Direct ignition system
  • Detonation/knock control system
  • Maintenance Minder™ system optimizes service intervals
  • 100,000 +/- miles tune-up interval4

Emissions/Fuel Economy Ratings

  • High-flow, close-coupled next-generation precious metal catalytic converters plus under floor catalytic converter
  • High capacity 32-bit RISC processor emissions control unit
  • ULEV-2 Emissions compliant5
  • Improved U.S. EPA fuel-economy ratings (city/highway/combined)
    • 19/27/22 mpg3 (2WD with 6AT)
    • 18/26/21 mpg3 (AWD with 6AT)
    • 20/27/23 mpg3 (2WD with 9AT)
    • 19/26/22 mpg3 (AWD with 9AT)


  • 6-speed automatic (LX, EX, EX-L)
  • 9-speed automatic with paddle shifters (Touring & Elite)

New All-Wheel-Drive System

  • Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4) AWD system with front-to-rear and left-to-right dynamic torque vectoring
  • Capable of "overdriving" rear wheels to enhance handling

Engine Architecture and Features

Cylinder Block and Crank 
With its 60-degree V-angle, the Pilot's V-6 engine is inherently smooth and has compact overall dimensions that allow efficient packaging within the vehicle. The V-6 has a die-cast lightweight aluminum alloy block with cast-in-place iron cylinder liners. Made with a centrifugal spin-casting process, the thin-wall liners are high in strength and low in porosity. The block incorporates a deep-skirt design with four bolts per bearing cap for rigid crankshaft support and minimized noise and vibration. The 3.5-liter V-6 uses a high-tensile strength steel crankshaft for minimum weight.

A cooling control spacer positioned in the water jacket surrounding the cylinders helps control warm-up and operating cylinder liner temperatures to reduce friction. Plateau honing of the cylinder lining further reduces friction between the piston skirts and the cylinder walls by creating an ultra-smooth surface. This two-stage machining process uses two grinding processes instead of the more conventional single-stage honing process. Plateau honing also enhances the long-term wear characteristics of the engine.

Pistons/Connecting Rods
Designed with "cavity-shaped" crowns, the 2016 Pilot's pistons help maintain stable combustion and contribute to stratified-charge combustion. Ion-plated piston rings help reduce friction for greater operating efficiency. Heavy-duty steel connecting rods are forged in one piece and then "crack separated" to create a lighter and stronger rod with an optimally fitted bearing cap.

Cylinder Head and Valvetrain
Like other Honda V-6 powerplants, the Pilot engine's 4-valve cylinder heads are a single-overhead-camshaft design, with the cams driven by the crankshaft via an automatically tensioned toothed belt. Made of low-pressure cast, low-porosity aluminum, each cylinder head incorporates a "tumble port" design that improves combustion efficiency by creating a more homogeneous fuel-air mixture. An integrated exhaust manifold cast into each cylinder head reduces parts count, saves weight, improves flow and optimizes the location of the close-coupled catalyst on each cylinder bank.

i-VTEC with 2-Stage Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®)
The Pilot's V-6 engine combines Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) with Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (i-VTEC), which changes the lift profile, timing and lift duration of the intake valves. A switching mechanism allows each cylinder to operate with low-rpm valve lift and duration or high-rpm lift and duration. While operating in three-cylinder mode, the rear cylinder bank's valve gear closes all intake and exhaust valves to minimize pumping losses.

The "intelligent" portion of the system is its ability to vary valve operation based on the driving situation and engine rpm. At low rpm, the i-VTEC intake valve timing and lift are optimized (low lift, short duration) for increased torque, which allows a wide range of 3-cylinder operation. As engine rpm builds past 5,350 rpm, the i-VTEC system transitions to a high-lift, long-duration intake cam profile for superior high-rpm engine power.

VCM Operation
To help improve the fuel efficiency of the Pilot engine, a new variation of Honda's Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) is used. The i-VTEC system combines with Active Control engine Mounts (ACM) to allow the VCM system to operate with just three cylinders in a wide range of situations to maximize fuel efficiency and lower emissions. When greater power is needed, the system switches seamlessly to 6-cylinder operation.

During startup, aggressive acceleration, or steep ascents – any time high power output is required – the engine operates on all six cylinders. During moderate-speed cruising and at low or moderate engine loads, the system operates just the front bank of three cylinders.

The VCM system can tailor the working displacement of the engine to match the driving requirements from moment to moment. Since the system automatically closes both the intake and exhaust valves of the cylinders that are not used, pumping losses associated with intake and exhaust are eliminated and fuel efficiency gets a further boost. The system combines maximum performance and maximum fuel efficiency – two characteristics that don't typically coexist in conventional engines.

VCM deactivates specific cylinders by using the i-VTEC (intelligent Variable Valve-Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system to close the intake and exhaust valves while the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) simultaneously cuts fuel to those cylinders. The spark plugs continue to fire in inactive cylinders to minimize plug temperature loss and prevent fouling induced from incomplete combustion during cylinder re-activation.

The system is electronically controlled, and uses special integrated spool valves in the cylinder heads. Based on commands from the system's Electronic Control Unit, the spool valves selectively direct oil pressure to the rocker arms for specific cylinders. This oil pressure in turn drives synchronizing pistons that connect and disconnect the rocker arms.

The VCM system monitors throttle position, vehicle speed, engine speed, automatic-transmission gear selection and other factors to determine the correct cylinder activation scheme for the operating conditions. In addition, the system determines whether engine oil pressure is suitable for VCM switching and whether catalytic-converter temperature will remain in the proper range. To further smooth the activating or deactivating cylinders, the system adjusts ignition timing and throttle position and turns the torque converter lock-up on and off. As a result, the transition between three and six cylinder modes is effectively unnoticeable to the driver.

Drive-by-Wire Throttle System
The Pilot's Drive-by-Wire throttle system replaces a conventional throttle cable with smart electronics that "connect" the accelerator pedal to a throttle valve inside the throttle-body. The result is less under-hood clutter and lower weight, as well as quicker and more accurate throttle actuation. Plus, a specially programmed "gain" rate between the throttle pedal and engine offers improved drivability and optimized engine response to suit specific driving conditions.

Honda's Drive-by-Wire throttle system establishes the current driving conditions by monitoring throttle pedal position, throttle valve position, engine speed (rpm) and road speed. This information is used to define the throttle control sensitivity that gives the Pilot's throttle pedal a predictable and responsive feel that meets driver expectations.

Direct Injection System
The direct-injection system enables increased torque across the engine's full operating range along with higher fuel efficiency. The system features a compact, high-pressure, direct-injection pump that allows both high fuel flow and pulsation suppression, while variable pressure control optimizes injector operation. A multi-hole injector delivers fuel directly into each cylinder (not to the intake port, as in conventional port fuel injection designs), allowing for more efficient combustion.

The multi-hole injectors can create the ideal stoichiometric fuel/air mixture in the cylinders for good emissions control. Theoretically, a stoichiometric mixture has just enough air to completely burn the available fuel. Based on the operating condition s, the direct-injection system alters its function for best performance. Upon cold engine startup, fuel is injected into the cylinders on the compression stroke. This creates a weak stratified charge effect that improves engine start-up and reduces exhaust emissions before a normal operating temperature is reached.

Once the engine is fully warmed up, for maximum power and fuel efficiency fuel is injected during the intake stroke. This helps create a more homogeneous fuel/air mix in the cylinder that is aided by the high-tumble intake port design. This improves volumetric efficiency, and the cooling effect of the incoming fuel improves anti-knock performance.

Direct Ignition and Detonation/Knock Control
The Pilot's Electronic Control Unit (ECU) monitors engine functions to determine the best ignition spark timing. Two engine block-mounted acoustic detonation/knock sensors "listen" to the engine, and based on this input, the ECU can retard the ignition timing to prevent potentially damaging detonation. The 3.5-liter V-6 has an ignition coil unit for each cylinder that is positioned within each spark plug's access bore.

Idle-Stop System
To help improve fuel efficiency, the Pilot Touring and Elite are equipped with Idle-Stop capability. When the system is enabled by the driver and certain operating conditions are met, the Idle-Stop system will automatically shut off the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver releases the brake pedal after a stop.

The system is engineered to operate smoothly and seamlessly. When stopped, a special cold storage evaporator in the air conditioning system helps maintain a comfortable cabin temperature even in warm weather. The Pilot's active engine mounts help smooth the restart. Idle-Stop operation is fully integrated into the operation of the Pilot's Brake Hold system and its available Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system.

The Idle-Stop feature can be turned on/off via a button on the center console, located at the bottom of the electronic gear selector array. The system will automatically turn itself off in certain circumstances, including:

  • If the driver's seatbelt is not fastened
  • If the engine coolant and/or transmission fluid temperature is too high or low
  • If the vehicle comes to a stop again before vehicle speed reaches 3 mph
  • If the transmission is in a position other than "D"
  • If the battery state of charge is low, or the battery temperature is below 14°F
  • If the climate control system is on and the outside temperature is below -4°F
  • If the rear HVAC fan is set to maximum speed

Close-Coupled Catalysts and High-Flow Exhaust System
The exhaust manifolds of the 3.5-liter V-6 are cast directly into the aluminum cylinder heads to reduce weight, decrease parts count, and create more under-hood space. The result of this casting design is that the two primary catalytic converters are positioned much closer to the combustion chambers, enabling extremely rapid converter "light-off" after engine start. A significant weight savings is realized by eliminating traditional exhaust manifolds. Downstream of the close-coupled catalytic converters, a hydroformed 2-into-1 collector pipe carries exhaust gases to a secondary, underfloor catalytic converter.

Emissions Control
The 2016 Pilot 3.5-liter V-6 engine meets the tough EPA Tier 2/Bin 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV emissions standards, and is certified to this level of emissions performance for 120,000 miles. A number of advanced technologies are factors in the emissions performance. The unique cylinder head-mounted close-coupled catalytic converters light off more quickly after engine start up, and a 32-bit RISC microprocessor within the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) boosts computing power to improve the precision of spark and fuel delivery.

The engine features Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) that continually adjusts the fuel delivery to yield the best combination of power, low fuel consumption and low emissions. Multiple sensors constantly monitor critical engine operating parameters such as intake air temperature, ambient air pressure, throttle position, intake airflow volume, intake manifold pressure, coolant temperature, exhaust-to-air ratios, as well as the position of the crankshaft and the camshafts.

To further improve emissions compliance, the 3.5-liter V-6 makes use of an after-catalytic-converter exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system that allows cleaner, cooler EGR gas to be fed back into the intake system. An EGR system, especially one that delivers a cleaner, cooler charge, reduces pumping loss for better fuel efficiency.

Noise and Vibration Control
With its 60-degree V-angle and compact, rigid and lightweight die-cast aluminum cylinder block assembly, the 3.5-liter V-6 powerplant is exceptionally smooth during operation. Other factors that help reduce engine noise and vibration are a rigid forged-steel crankshaft, die-cast accessory mounts, and a stiff cast-aluminum oil pan that reduces cylinder block flex.

Active Control Engine Mounts
A powerful 28-volt Active Control Engine Mount system (ACM) is used to minimize the effects of engine vibration as the VCM system switches cylinders on and off. The 28-volt ACM is a key factor in the VCM's broad range of operation in the new Pilot. Sensors alert the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) to direct ACM actuators positioned at the front and rear of the engine to cancel engine vibration using a reverse-phase motion. See the Interior section for more information.

100,000+/- Mile Tune-up Intervals
The Pilot's 3.5-liter V-6 requires no scheduled maintenance for 100,000+/- miles or more, other than periodic inspections and normal fluid and filter replacements. The first tune-up includes water pump inspection, valve adjustment, replacement of the camshaft timing belt, and the installation of new spark plugs.

Battery Management System
The Battery Management System (BMS) is designed to increase the overall service life of the battery, reduce the chance of a dead battery and help improve fuel efficiency. Should the owner accidentally leave the headlights on or fail to fully close a door causing an interior light to remain on, the BMS will automatically terminate power delivery after a set period of time to prevent the battery from being drained of power. As a result of the discharge protection afforded by the BMS, the battery should always have enough reserve capacity left to start the engine.

The Pilot engine makes use of a powerful 130-amp alternator that charges in two different ranges— a low 12-volt range and a high 14-volt range. By controlling the alternator charge voltage range, BMS works to keep the battery in a specific charge range, which can extend the service life of the battery by more than 25 percent. With BMS keeping the battery in a specific charge range, the alternator can run more often in the low range, which generates less drag on the engine resulting in improved fuel efficiency. Application of numerous electrical power reducing items (such as the use of efficient LED lighting and a special humidity control system that has an automatic air conditioning "off" function) allows the BMS to operate the alternator even more frequently in the more efficient low charge mode

Maintenance Minder™ System
To eliminate unnecessary service stops while ensuring that the vehicle is properly maintained, the Pilot has a Maintenance Minder™ system that continually monitors the vehicle's operating condition. When maintenance is required,  the driver is alerted via a message on the Multi-Information Display (MID).

The Maintenance Minder™ system monitors operating conditions such as oil and coolant temperature along with engine speed to determine the proper service intervals. Depending on operating conditions, oil change intervals can be extended to a maximum of 10,000 miles, potentially sparing the owner considerable expense and inconvenience over the life of the vehicle. The owner-resettable system monitors all normal service parts and systems, including oil and filter, tire rotation, air-cleaner, automatic transmission fluid, spark plugs, timing belt, coolant, brake pads and more. To reduce the potential for driver distraction, maintenance alerts are presented on the MID only when the ignition is first turned on, not while driving.

Advanced Transmissions

The Pilot offers the choice of two different automatic transmissions: A new 6-speed automatic in LX, EX and EX-L models, and a Honda-first 9-speed automatic on Touring and Elite models.

6-Speed Automatic Transmission
Pilot LX, EX and EX-L models are equipped with a new 6-speed automatic transmission. This transmission contributes to improved acceleration and fuel efficiency, and features reduced friction and improved lockup clutch performance. The new 6-speed automatic offers excellent launch-feel, acceleration performance and fuel efficiency with a new wider gear ratio spread featuring a "lower" (numerically higher) first gear, and a "higher" (numerically lower) top gear than the 5-speed transmission it replaces.

The 6-speed transmission's straight-gate shifter is an intuitive and easy-to-use design that takes up little space in the center console.

9-Speed Automatic Transmission
2016 Pilot Touring and Elite models are equipped with a new 9-speed automatic transmission, featuring steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The new 9-speed automatic is 66 lbs. lighter than the Pilot's standard 6-speed automatic, with more closely spaced gear ratios and 25-percent faster gear shifts and the capacity for multi-gear downshifts that enhance performance. The 9-speed automatic transmission has an even greater ratio spread than the 6-speed automatic, further enhancing acceleration performance.

The conventional console-mounted shift lever is replaced with a fully electronic, shift-by-wire gear selector. Park, Neutral, Drive and Sport are selected with the push of a button. Reverse is selected by pulling back a dedicated switch. Indicator lights near the buttons indicate the mode selected. As an added safety feature, if the vehicle is brought to a stop in Drive, the system will automatically select Park if the driver's seatbelt is unbuckled and the driver's door is opened. A steering wheel-mounted paddle shifter system lets the driver take manual control of transmission gear selection.

Automatic Modes
The 9-speed automatic transmission can be operated in two different fully automatic modes: the D (or "Drive") mode is ideal for most driving situations, and combines fuel efficiency with smooth operation and responsive power when needed; the Sport mode is for more performance-oriented driving, and features more aggressive shift mapping to keep engine rpm higher for greater acceleration and response.

When in the D mode (optimized for normal driving), the transmission incorporates an advanced Grade Logic Control System, Shift Hold Control and Cornering G Shift Control – all of which reduce unwanted shifting and gear hunting. The result is smart transmission operation that optimizes fuel efficiency and keeps the transmission in the appropriate gear for driving conditions, generating excellent performance and smooth operation.

While ascending or descending hills, Grade Logic Control alters the transmission's shift schedule to reduce shift frequency and improve speed control. The transmission ECU continually measures throttle position, vehicle speed and acceleration/deceleration to determine when the vehicle is on a hill. The shift schedule is then adjusted – during ascents to hold the transmission in lower gears to boost climbing power, and during descents to provide greater engine braking.

Shift Hold Control keeps the transmission in its current (lower) gear ratio during aggressive driving, as in the case of decelerating at a corner entry. Shift Hold Control leaves the chassis undisturbed by eliminating excess shifting and ensures that power will be immediately available (without a downshift) at the corner exit. Cornering G Shift Control monitors the speed of each rear wheel independently to determine when the Pilot is turning. When the system detects a sufficient speed differential between the rear wheels, it will suppress any unwanted upshifts. This prevents the transmission from upshifting during a corner, which could upset the chassis balance thus requiring downshifting again at the corner exit when the throttle is applied.

Temporary Manual Operation in Drive Mode
While in Drive mode, special transmission logic programming allows the use of the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. When the driver operates the paddle shifters, the transmission responds to the driver's shift command and then returns to its normal fully automatic mode if further paddle shift inputs are not made within a few seconds depending upon driving conditions. This special logic makes it easy for the driver to command a quick downshift without leaving the convenience of Drive mode.

Manual Mode
By selecting the "S" position with the shifter on the 9-speed transmission, Sport mode is engaged. This mode offers automatic operation with more aggressive shift mapping. A pull on the racing-inspired paddle shifters (mounted on the steering wheel) places the transmission in fully manual mode until another mode of operation is selected with the console-mounted shifter (e.g., switched to Drive mode). A digital display in the instrument cluster indicates which gear the transmission is in.

A double-kick-down feature lets the driver command a sporty double downshift – such as from fifth to third gear. By pulling on the left downshift paddle twice in rapid succession, the transmission will drop directly to the chosen lower gear ratio. The Drive-by-Wire throttle system also creates a "blip" of the throttle to help match gear speeds while downshifting.

To prevent harm to the powertrain when the transmission is paddle shifted by the driver (including during double-kick-down shifts), the system will inhibit potentially damaging shifts. As an added safety measure, the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) can also cut off fuel to the engine to prevent over-revving. If fuel cut-off is insufficient to prevent engine over-revving, as may be possible when the vehicle is on a steep downhill, the transmission will automatically upshift to prevent damage. On downshifts, the transmission will not execute a driver command that will over-rev the engine.

For improved stop-and-go performance and to help prevent "lugging" the engine, the Sequential SportShift transmission will automatically downshift to first gear even though the transmission has been left in a higher gear, (except in second gear) as the vehicle comes to a stop. In Manual Mode, when coming to a stop in second gear, the vehicle will restart in second gear as well.

Cooperative Control
Both shift performance and smoothness are improved by cooperative control between the Drive-by-Wire throttle system and the electronically controlled, Sequential SportShift automatic transmission. The engine is throttled by the engine management system during upshifts and downshifts; thus the function of the engine and transmission can be closely choreographed for faster, smoother shifting. As a result, the peak g-forces (or "shift shock") are reduced significantly during upshifts and downshifts.

Gear Ratio Comparison

Gear 2015 Pilot (All Trims) 2016 Pilot (LX, EX, EX-L) 2016 Pilot (Touring, Elite)
1st 2.697 3.359 4.713
2nd 1.606 2.095 2.842
3rd 1.071 1.485 1.909
4th 0.766 1.065 1.382
5th 0.612 0.754 1.000
6th 0.556 0.808
7th 0.699
8th 0.580
9th 0.480
Reverse 1.888 2.269 3.830
Final Reduction Ratio 4.312 4.250 4.334

Drivetrain Architecture and Features

2-Wheel Drive
The Pilot offers standard front 2-wheel drive. With its efficient and lightweight design, the Pilot system drives the front wheels to make a significant contribution to overall fuel efficiency. Operation in Snow Mode, using the Intelligent Traction Management System, adjusts the drive-by wire map, transmission shift map and Vehicle Stability Assist™ for the best performance.

Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4™) AWD System
The Pilot's available Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4) all-wheel-drive system includes an all-new electronically controlled, hydraulically actuated rear differential. This entirely more capable system progressively distributes optimum torque between the front and rear axles and, for the first time ever in a Honda vehicle, dynamically distributes engine torque between the left and right rear wheels. The benefits of the system are superior all-weather handling and neutral, accurate steering under power that is unmatched by front-drive, rear-drive or conventional all-wheel-drive systems.

By rotating the outside rear wheel faster than the front wheels while cornering, the Pilot's AWD system uses torque vectoring to create a yaw moment to help turn the vehicle through the corner — reducing understeer and improving controllability. With cornering forces more evenly distributed between front and rear tires, overall cornering power is increased in all road conditions.

Vehicles with high power ratings using conventional front or rear drive systems often employ a limited-slip differential to help maintain traction when under power. By linking inside and outside drive wheels, these systems tend to resist turning and can increase understeer. Conventional AWD and 4WD systems similarly work to link the inboard and outboard wheels as well as the front and rear wheels, which can create resistance to turning. Most competing vehicles in the Pilot segment utilize an open rear differential and individual rear-wheel braking to distribute rear-wheel torque from left to right. Using dynamic, hydraulically actuated left-to-right rear wheel torque vectoring to help turn the vehicle, the Pilot's AWD system delivers more responsive, neutral and predictable handling performance while providing outstanding all-weather traction and control.

Controls and Parameters
The i-VTM4 system works in cooperation with the Pilot's Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) system and Agile Handling Assist to optimize torque distribution for superior handling and traction utilization. The Electronic Control Unit (ECU) provides information on engine torque, airflow and transmission gear-ratio selection, while the VSA ECU provides wheel-speed data. The AWD ECU also monitors steering angle, steering angle rate of change, lateral G-forces, vehicle yaw rate and hydraulic clutch pressure for the right and left rear axle shafts. Drive torque is calculated from ECU information, and then the acceleration situation, wheel spin, lateral G-force, steering angle and steering angle rate-of-change are used to determine the front-to-rear torque distribution and the torque split between right and left rear wheels. This adds up to a 46-percent faster system response time. i-VTM4 operating parameters include:

  • Up to 100 percent of available torque can be transferred to the front wheels during normal cruising.
  • In hard cornering and under acceleration, up to 70 percent of available torque can be directed to the rear wheels to enhance vehicle dynamics.
  • Up to 100 percent of the torque sent to the rear axle can be applied to either the left or right rear wheel, depending on conditions.

System Layout
The Pilot AWD system is a full-time system that requires no driver interaction or monitoring, thanks to a torque-transfer unit that is bolted directly to the front-mounted transaxle. The torque-transfer unit receives torque from a helical gear that is attached to the front differential's ring gear, and a short horizontal shaft and hypoid gear set within the torque-transfer unit's case send power to the rear propeller shaft, which in turn transfers power to the rear drive unit that has a 20-percent greater torque capacity.

The Pilot's new, lightweight rear drive unit is 22 lbs. lighter than the previous generation Pilot unit and is constantly overdriven by 2.7 percent compared to 0.8 percent. The resulting overdrive effect is regulated by left- and right-side clutch packs (located in the rear differential) that independently control the power delivered to each rear wheel. The significant overdrive percentage in the new Pilot means that the torque vectoring effect is pronounced and effective even in corners with a radius of as little as 49.2 feet (15 meters). This means that torque vectoring can be felt when accelerating aggressively through a typical corner.

Hydraulically operated clutch systems mounted on either side of the hypoid gear that drives the rear axles control the amount of torque sent to each rear wheel and provide a limited-slip differential function when needed. The clutches can be controlled as a pair to alter front/rear torque split or they can be controlled independently to allow 100 percent of available rear axle torque to go to just one rear wheel. A single electric motor powers a pair of hydraulic pumps – one for each clutch pack. An Electronic Control Unit (ECU) controlled linear solenoid valve selectively sends pressure to the clutch packs, which in turn control the amount of power sent to each rear wheel. The clutch packs and their friction material are carefully designed to withstand the small amount of continuous slip between front and rear axles created by the 2.7-percent speed differential – all while delivering the durability expected of a Honda product.

Intelligent Traction Management System

The 2016 Pilot features a new push-button-operated Intelligent Traction Management System that offers four different AWD operating modes: Normal, Snow, Mud and Sand; and two FWD modes: Normal and Snow. Developed, tuned and tested at various locations in the U.S. and around the world – including Imperial Dunes "Glamis", California; Moscow, Russia; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates – the Intelligent Traction Management system allows the driver to select the operating mode that best suits the driving conditions by simply pushing a button on the vehicle's center console. System information and an animated selected mode icon is shown on the color Multi-Information Display (as shown in the second image on the following page). Based on the setting selected, the system adjusts the drive-by-wire map, transmission shift map, i-VTM4 power distribution and Vehicle Stability Assist™ for optimal performance in varying road or surface conditions.

Powertrain Feature Comparison

Feature 2015 Pilot 2016 Pilot
Engine Type V-6 V-6
Displacement (cc) 3471 3471
Horsepower @ rpm (SAE net) 250 @ 5700 280 @ 6000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm SAE net) 253 @ 4800 262 @ 4700
Bore and Stroke (mm) 89 x 93 89 x 93
Compression Ratio 10.5:1 11.5:1
Direct Ignition
Valvetrain 24-Valve SOHC i-VTEC® 24-Valve SOHC i-VTEC®
Fuel Delivery Port Injection Direct Injection
Drive-by-Wire Throttle System
Variable Cylinder Management
Variable Intake Valve Lift (VTEC)  
Transmission 5-Speed Automatic 6-Speed Automatic (LX, EX, EX-L); 9-Speed Automatic (Touring, Elite)
2-Wheel Drive
Available AWD

Powertrain Features

Feature LX EX EX-L Touring Elite
Engine Type V6 V6 V6 V6 V6
Engine Block/Cylinder Head Aluminum-Alloy Aluminum-Alloy Aluminum-Alloy Aluminum-Alloy Aluminum-Alloy
Displacement (cc) 3471 3471 3471 3471 3471
Horsepower (SAE net) 280 @ 6000 rpm 280 @ 6000 rpm 280 @ 6000 rpm 280 @ 6000 rpm 280 @ 6000 rpm
Torque (SAE net) 262 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm 262 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm 262 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm 262 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm 262 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm
Redline 6800 rpm 6800 rpm 6800 rpm 6800 rpm 6800 rpm
Bore and Stroke 89 mm x 93 mm 89 mm x 93 mm 89 mm x 93 mm 89 mm x 93 mm 89 mm x 93 mm
Compression Ratio 11.5:1 11.5:1 11.5:1 11.5:1 11.5:1
Valve Train 24-Valve SOHC i-VTEC® 24-Valve SOHC i-VTEC® 24-Valve SOHC i-VTEC® 24-Valve SOHC i-VTEC® 24-Valve SOHC i-VTEC®
Fuel Injection Direct Direct Direct Direct Direct
Drive-by-Wire Throttle System
Eco Assist™ System
Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®)
Active Control Engine Mount System (ACM)
Active Noise Cancellation™ (ANC)
Hill Start Assist
Intelligent Variable Torque Management™ (i-VTM4™) AWD System Available Available Available Available
Intelligent Traction Management   Normal/
Snow (2WD) Snow/Sand/Mud (AWD)
Snow (2WD) Snow/Sand/Mud (AWD)
Snow (2WD) Snow/Sand/Mud (AWD)
Remote Engine Start  
CARB Emissions Rating1 ULEV-2 ULEV-2 ULEV-2 ULEV-2 ULEV-2
Direct Ignition System with Immobilizer
100K +/- Miles No Scheduled Tune-Ups2


Feature LX EX EX-L Touring Elite
6-Speed Automatic Transmission    
Gear Ratios: 1st: 3.359, 2nd: 2.095, 3rd: 1.485, 4th: 1.065, 5th: 0.754 6th: 0.556, Reverse: 2.269, Final Drive: 4.250
9-Speed Automatic Transmission with Shift-By-Wire (SBW)       with Paddle Shifters with Paddle Shifters
Gear Ratios: 1st: 4.713 2nd: 2.842, 3rd: 1.909, 4th: 1.382, 5th: 1.000, 6th: 0.808, 7th: 0.699, 8th: 0.580, 9th: 0.480, Reverse: 3.83, Final Drive: 4.334

Fuel Economy and Emissions Ratings

Ratings 2016 Pilot (LX, EX, EX-L) 2016 Pilot (Touring, Elite)
EPA Fuel Economy Ratings3
(city / highway/ combined)
19/27/22 (2WD)
18/26/21 (AWD)
20/27/23 (2WD)
19/26/22 (AWD)
Recommended fuel Regular unleaded 87 octane Regular unleaded 87 octane
CARB emissions rating4 ULEV-2 ULEV-2

# # #

1 280 horsepower @ 6000 rpm (SAE net)

2 262 lb-ft @4700 rpm (SAE net)

3 Based on 2016 EPA fuel-economy ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions and other factors.

4 Does not apply to fluid and filter changes. Will vary with driving conditions. Please see your Honda dealer for details.

5 ULEV-2 (Ultra-Low-Emission Vehicle) models as certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).


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