Honda Pilot SUV Unveiled At North American International Auto Show

American Honda Motor Co., Inc. today unveiled a pre-production version of its Pilot sport-utility vehicle at the 2002 North American International Auto Show. Scheduled for release as a 2003 model at dealers nationwide this summer, the Pilot is an all new Honda-designed and built SUV that combines the rugged versatility of traditional sport-utilities with the quality, refinement and innovative design that is the hallmark of all Honda vehicles.

Developed under the theme of the "Ultimate Family Adventure Vehicle," the Pilot delivers best-in-class interior space with theatre-style seating for up to eight passengers, along with advanced Honda VTEC V-6 power, sophisticated four-wheel drive technology and five-star safety performance, making Pilot the best all-around performer in its class.

"We think this vehicle strikes at the heart of what many people are looking for in a family-sized SUV," said Dick Colliver, executive vice president of American Honda. "The Pilot delivers all the utility and versatility that people expect from their SUV with the added benefits of Honda's world-class quality, durability and innovative design."

In keeping with Honda's long standing commitment to the environment, Pilot will be a Low-Emissions Vehicle (LEV) with excellent fuel economy, constructed with ninety percent recyclable components.

The Pilot's exterior was designed to be bold and distinctive with classic SUV proportions, a wide, strong stance, upright roof pillars and a large greenhouse area with panoramic views for all occupants. Careful attention to body shape and utilization of underbody strakes help to make Pilot the most aerodynamic SUV in its class, improving on performance and fuel economy.

Designed from the inside out for optimal utility, the interior features 60/40 split folding second- and third-row seats that convert to accommodate up to eight passengers and a wide variety of cargo items. With the widest wheel track in its class and a flat cargo floor, the Pilot boasts the largest and most versatile passenger and cargo carrying capability in its class.

Highlighting the Pilot's instrument panel is a sporty, beveled, three-gauge center instrument cluster inspired by a precision chronograph design. Complimenting the instrument panel's sporty appearance is a silver-trimmed steering wheel with controls for the 7-speaker AM/FM/CD/Cassette Stereo and cruise control. A clean and functional center panel stack incorporates the air conditioning and stereo controls along with the optional Satellite-Linked Navigation System or Honda DVD Rear Entertainment System. The column-mounted shift lever provides for a large, unobstructed center console area, in keeping with the vehicle's functional design theme.

As part of the "Ultimate Family Adventure" concept, Honda engineers developed a number of family-friendly features including a multi-function center console with a large center storage bin, dedicated cell phone cradle, 12-volt power outlet, CD rack, and two-position cup holder. The second-row seat features a child's activity tray that incorporates a cup holder and storage tray with a place for a pocket-size game machine or PDA, crayons, markers or other kids' stuff, as well as a tray for fast food items including a special place for fast food sauce containers.

A highly rigid reinforced unit body with front and rear subframes and four-wheel, fully independent suspension system provides the foundation for outstanding ride quality and precise, responsive, handling performance. Four-wheel anti-lock (ABS) disc brakes ensure stable and predictable brake performance in varying conditions.

Further ensuring a fun and confident driving experience is the Pilot's advanced 3.5-liter, 24-valve, all-aluminum VTEC V-6 engine and five-speed electronically controlled transmission mated to Honda's innovative VTM-4 (Variable Torque Management 4WD) full-time, four-wheel drive system. Employing sophisticated electronic sensing and control mechanisms, the VTM-4 system continuously monitors the vehicle's dynamic condition and distributes engine torque between the front the rear wheels for optimal performance and control on dry, wet, icy or snow-covered roads. A unique electronically locking rear differential feature allows for maximum front-to-rear torque split for added traction in extremely slippery or "stuck" conditions.

In targeting the highest levels of safety performance, Honda engineers employed a number of advanced safety systems including dual-stage/dual-threshold driver and front passenger airbags, an "intelligent" front passenger side airbag with Occupant Position Detection System, and three point seatbelts with pretensioners and headrests in all eight seating positions. Internal testing confirms five-star level safety performance in frontal and side impacts for all passengers, the highest safety ratings given by the federal government. Additional design measures were undertaken to confirm a high level of safety for third-row passengers in a rear collision, over and above existing safety standards.

In keeping with the SUV customer's off-road expectations, the Honda Pilot provides for confident and stable off-road performance. With more than 8-inches of ground clearance, short front and rear overhangs and VTM-4 four-wheel drive technology with locking rear differential capability, the Pilot is designed to provide the kind of off-road toughness desired by the typical SUV customer.

The Honda Pilot SUV was developed and designed by Honda R&D Americas, Inc., and will be produced by Honda Canada Manufacturing, Inc., in Alliston, Ontario, using domestic and globally-sourced parts, beginning in the spring of this year.

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