With prices starting from $27,895, the 2010 Honda Pilot keeps offering practical SUV capabilities with the driving sophistication and refinement that people expect from a Honda. For 2010, the Pilot if being offered in four trims: EX, LX, EX-L and Touring with either 2WD and 4WD configuration.

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Every Honda Pilot is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that delivers an impressive 250 hp and 253 lb.-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a 5-Speed Automatic Transmission with Grade Logic Control. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated4 city/highway/combined fuel economy of 17/23/19 mpg on two-wheel-drive models and 16/22/18 mpg on four-wheel-drive models.

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This transmission uses the engine’s broad torque curve for brisk acceleration, optimal fuel economy and smooth-shifting characteristics. Grade Logic Control improves efficiency under a wide variety of driving conditions, such as uphill/downhill and city-traffic driving. It "knows" when the Pilot is on a hill and automatically holds the engine in a lower gear for better climbing power and increased engine braking when going downhill. This decreases annoying "gear hunting" that can often occur with other automatic transmissions in these situations.

Press release after the jump.

  • 2010 Honda Pilot
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Press release

The 2010 Honda Pilot crossover combines car-like road manners and around-town driving ease with the most sought-after SUV traits by virtue of its spacious interior, rugged character and all-weather confidence.

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"The Pilot crossover offers practical SUV capabilities with the driving sophistication and refinement that people expect from a Honda," said Vicki Poponi, assistant vice president of Product Planning for American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "The combination of spacious eight-passenger seating, a comfortable ride and advanced fuel-saving technology help make the Pilot one of the most accommodating vehicles for children, work, errands and for longer trips with family and friends."

The 250-horsepower V-6 engine provides both performance and enhanced efficiency with Variable Cylinder Management™, a technology that can deactivate up to three of the engine’s six cylinders to save fuel when cruising or lightly accelerating. The available Variable Torque Management™ 4-Wheel-Drive (VTM-4®) enhances traction in rain, snow and slippery terrain. All models are equipped with a standard towing receiver and a maximum tow rating of 4,500 pounds on 4WD models and 3,500 pounds on 2WD models1.

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Consistent with contemporary SUV styling, the exterior conveys a bold and modular approach that also helps maximize interior space. Yet the Pilot still maintains a garage-friendly exterior size of less than 16 feet, requiring less space to park compared to other popular 8-passenger SUVs by a margin of 10 inches, and in some cases up to two feet.

The interior emphasizes an expansive feel with an efficient and modern design that supplies 152.7 cu-ft. of passenger space within three rows of seats. Adjustable storage compartments in the center console can accommodate items large and small from handbags to mobile phones. The instrument panel’s wide center stack intelligently groups similar controls together for the audio system, climate controls and the available Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ and Honda DVD Entertainment System (if equipped). All models provide an auxiliary audio input jack for digital music players, and the Pilot Touring also includes Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® and a USB audio interface2.

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The first row provides a commanding view of the road from two bucket-style seats. The 60/40 split second row accommodates three passengers and slides forward for increased ease of access to the third row. The third row, also split 60/40, is designed to offer sufficient knee room for an average size adult. There are four Lower Anchor and Tether for Children (LATCH) attachment positions - more than any other crossover SUV - which provide options for three child seats in the second row and one in the third row. The 20.8 cu-ft of cargo space behind the third row matches or exceeds the trunk space of a typical large sedan and can accommodate items as large as a mid-size cooler or a folded stroller. A hidden storage well (2.8 cu-ft.) combines with the above floor storage area by securing the hinged floor panel against the seatback. Pilot EX-L and Touring models provide a load-supporting cargo net (20 pounds maximum weight) to further subdivide the rear cargo area. For maximum cargo, the second and third rows fold flat into the floor to create 87.0 cubic feet of storage capacity, while also providing sufficient width for 4-foot-wide items.

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Safety technology includes the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure that can enhance frontal collision compatibility with vehicles of different sizes and bumper heights. Additional safety equipment includes Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®), commonly referred to as Electronic Stability Control; three-row side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor; driver’s and front passenger’s side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); active front seat head restraints; and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist. Since the 2009 model year, the Honda Pilot has earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) TOP SAFETY PICK and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) best-possible crash safety rating3 of 5 stars for both frontal and side impact performance.

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The Pilot is powered by an advanced 24-valve i-VTEC engine with "intelligent" Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (i-VTEC) technology. Variable Cylinder Management allows the V-6 engine to operate in six-cylinder mode for power and four- or three-cylinder modes for efficiency. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated4 city/highway/combined fuel economy of 17/23/19 miles per gallon on two-wheel-drive models and 16/22/18 miles per gallon on four-wheel-drive models. A 21-gallon fuel tank can comfortably provide a driving range of more than 400 miles on the highway.

The 5-speed automatic transmission features Grade Logic Control to help maintain the most appropriate gear when going uphill or downhill, thereby avoiding gear "hunting." The VTM-4 system (available) adds fully automatic four-wheel-drive capability. VTM-4 delivers seamless, "decision-free" application of four-wheel-drive when needed, a key benefit compared to conventional systems. The system also provides a "lock mode" - available when in first or second gears (up to 18 mph) and activated by a button on the instrument panel - that can deliver the maximum-possible torque transfer to the rear wheels to aid in extraction from extremely low traction or stuck conditions.

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The unit-body construction makes extensive use of high-strength steel (52 percent) to minimize weight. The suspension is a fully independent system with front MacPherson strut and rear multi-link with trailing arm designs that contribute to responsive driving characteristics for an SUV. The 109.2-inch wheelbase facilitates a smooth ride and standard 17-inch wheels with P245 65 R17 all-season tires combine both on- and off-road performance. A turning diameter of 38.6 feet aids maneuverability in tight parking situations.

The Pilot is available in four model choices (LX, EX, EX-L and Touring); each offered in either a two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive configuration. Standard comfort and convenience features on the Pilot LX include a front and rear air conditioning system with air-filtration system, keyless entry, tilt and telescope steering column, cruise control, power windows with auto-up/down driver’s and passenger’s window, power door and tailgate locks, AM/FM/CD stereo system with 7-speakers including subwoofer and Radio Data System (RDS), trip computer, digital compass, auto on/off headlights, heat-rejecting tinted glass, integrated class III towing receiver, and more.

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The Pilot EX adds a tri-zone automatic climate control system with humidity control and air filtration, a power driver’s seat with 10-way power adjustment with lumbar support, 6-disc in-dash CD changer, security system, XM Radio®5, body colored side mirrors and door handles, alloy wheels, roof rails, fog lights, exterior temperature indicator, HomeLink® Remote System, and more.

The Pilot EX-L adds leather-trimmed seating surfaces, heated front seats, 4-way power front passenger’s seat, one-touch power moonroof, acoustic windshield glass, automatic-dimming rearview mirror with rearview camera display (EX-L-exclusive), and the availability of the Honda DVD Rear Entertainment System with 9-inch screen (which also upgrades to the Premium Audio System with 10 speakers including subwoofer and adds a 115-volt power outlet), and more.

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The top-of-the-line Pilot Touring adds the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with rearview camera, Premium Audio System, Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®, USB Audio Interface, the availability of the Honda DVD Rear Entertainment System, Multi-Information display, corner and backup sensors, exclusive alloy wheels, power tailgate, side-mirror integrated turn indicators, and more.


The Honda Pilot is built on a crossover SUV platform that combines the safety, packaging and handling advantages of a car-based unit body design while still delivering the rugged versatility that mainstream consumers most frequently use in a SUV. The Pilot’s highly-rigid platform with isolated front and rear subframes provides the foundation for many of its refined attributes, including its outstanding handling agility, exceptional ride comfort, world-class safety performance and packaging efficiency. The Pilot’s SUV ruggedness is supported with confidence-inspiring traction in rain and snow, medium duty off-road capabilities from 8.0 inches of ground clearance and a maximum tow rating of 4,500 pounds (4WD models).

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For 2010, the Pilot’s body integrates the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE®) body structure for enhanced frontal crash safety with vehicles of different bumper heights, along with the most extensive use of high strength steel in any Honda automotive product to date. A bolder styling direction embraces a clean and functional approach with crisp, three-dimensional lines that create a dynamic shape with strength and solidity.

Exterior Styling

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With its wide and solid stance, classic SUV proportions and clean design treatment, the Pilot is designed to communicate traditional SUV character traits including strength, durability, utility and off-road confidence. Honda designers used the three-dimensionally beveled lines of an ultra-rugged laptop computer as inspiration to convey an active and intelligent vehicle design theme. The concept provided the basis for the Pilot’s unique blend of sporty, functional and rugged design elements. A bold six-sided grille framed by large headlights creates a unique appearance that is easily identifiable as both a Honda and as a light truck. The Pilot also communicates a higher level of refinement than most of its competitors with modern details and tight body gaps with outstanding fit and finish. From the profile, the doors utilize a more truck-like full-frame design instead of more car-like roll-form sash doors. Pilot Touring models add side mirror integrated turn signal indicators and bright chrome-appearance side trim.

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The Pilot body is aerodynamically optimized with under-vehicle aerodynamic aids. A wide chin spoiler and splash shield direct air under the front subframe. Additional strakes are positioned ahead of the front and rear wheels, plus two additional rear mudguard-style deflectors that smooth airflow exiting the rear of the vehicle. Overall, the aerodynamic coefficient of drag (Cd) has improved by 2 percent compared to the 2008 model.

Body Construction

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The 2010 Pilot is constructed of 52 percent high strength steel (340 grade or above) to create a larger and lighter body with increased rigidity and enhanced safety. An aluminum hood further reduces vehicle weight to enhance the vehicle’s overall efficiency. The 2010 hood weighs 15.9 pounds and is 19.2 pounds lighter than the previous generation’s steel hood. A four-ring safety shell connects the floor, body side and roof for enhanced occupant protection. The ACE Body structure further enhances frontal collision compatibility between vehicles with different bumper heights. The Maximum Efficiency Floor (MEF) design is comprised of a network of longitudinal rails, floor cross-members and pillar reinforcements that carry heavy loads to enhance crash safety, handling and packaging efficiency.

Reinforced steel stiffeners located inside the doors at the vehicle’s beltline make a continuous horizontal connection between the first three pillars. High tensile strength steel tubular beams inside the door structure provide additional intrusion resistance. A roof-mounted reinforcement is provided to secure the center passengers’ upper-shoulder belt.

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Attaining a high level of dynamic body rigidity is essential for precise handling, ride quality and quietness inside the cabin. By researching the body’s dynamic response to chassis loads resulting from everyday driving events, engineers considered the unit body’s "dynamic stiffness" as an entire system. Compared to the first generation Pilot, bending rigidity has increased by 25 percent and torsional rigidity has increased by 7 percent. Instrumented testing revealed that the "tailgate ring" - the open area surrounding the tailgate - is particularly important for handling, stability and ride. In the second generation Pilot, this area has been markedly stiffened, providing the rear suspension with a more solid mounting and resulting in a more precise handling feel. In addition, the floor frames are wider for improved packaging and rigidity.

The increases in rigidity represent a significant achievement considering that body dimensions have increased and the body’s relative weight has been reduced. Ultimately, the increased rigidity enables enhanced vehicle dynamics, ride comfort, and driving quietness.

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Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE®) Body Structure

The Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure is a pioneering Honda unit-body construction technology. Introduced to the Pilot for the first time in the 2010 model, it maximizes the body’s ability to disperse crash energy in a frontal collision and is designed to deliver top safety ratings. (See Safety tab for more information.)

Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) Reduction Features

The Pilot is designed to drive exceptionally smooth and with minimal noise intrusion into the cabin. To accomplish this, the Pilot approaches NVH reduction from three primary directions - traditional insulation in the floor, doors and firewall; active systems that work with the engine and audio system to cancel unwanted engine noise; and front hydraulic lower suspension arm bushings that minimize the transmission of road noise into the cabin.

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All Pilots use a dual door-seal system to minimize the possibility of wind noise or rain intrusion. To further reduce operating noise, an audio system-based Active Noise Control (ANC) system is used along with an engine cradle-based Active Control Engine Mount (ACM) system (see chassis section for more information).

Exterior Lighting

The integrated multi-reflector headlight design houses the halogen low beams, halogen high beams, turn signals and side marker lamps in chrome-appearance trapezoidal-shaped enclosures. Relative to the 2008 model, the low beams achieve 33.5 percent more output with a 9.5 percent longer beam reach and 15.7 percent beam width. Auto on/off headlights and daytime running lamps are standard equipment. The auto on/off headlights are activated by a light sensor located at the top center of the instrument panel near the base of the windshield. The headlight switch, located on the turn signal stalk, provides a setting for auto on/off headlights. Alternatively, the driver can operate the headlights manually. Fog lights are standard equipment on EX and above models.

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Taillights have a high-tech design with a clean and bright appearance. The ruby-like inner lenses appear to be suspended in the arched housings. The reverse lamps feature a white lens and polished reflector. Pilot Touring models provide a side marker lamp integrated into the side mirrors.

The Center High Mount Stop Lamp (CHMSL) located at the top of the tailgate features a single array of five LEDs. An LED CHMSL was selected for its high-tech appearance and ability to produce brightness while retaining slender physical dimensions.

Glass and Visibility

The Pilot was designed to provide excellent outward visibility, improving the comfort and safety for all occupants. The Pilot features a large greenhouse with 273-degrees of outward visibility. Deeply tinted privacy glass is used in the rear side doors, rear quarter windows and rear tailgate. Heat rejecting glass is used in the front windshield to reduce heat from solar loading for improved comfort and air conditioning performance. Pilot EX-L and Touring models have acoustic windshield glass that helps to reduce interior noise levels. The rear side glass houses the vehicle’s amplified stereo antenna.

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Tailgate with Lift-Up Glass Hatch

The Pilot’s top-hinged tailgate design improves for 2010 with the addition of lift-up glass hatch for improved access to the cargo area. The glass hatch can be opened via the remote key fob (on the Pilot LX, EX, EX-L), a button on the top right side of the license plate garnish, or a button inside the vehicle located on the lower part of the driver’s door. The tailgate glass incorporates an electric defogger system, activated by a button on the dash, along with an intermittent rear wiper and washer nozzle.

Power Tailgate with Lift-Up Glass Hatch (Touring)

Pilot Touring models receive a power tailgate design. The power tailgate can be operated via the remote key fob, from a button on the driver’s door panel, or from a button located inside the tailgate (for closing). The location of the motor in the Pilot’s D-pillar (instead of in the roof) allows excellent headroom for the third-row seats. The tailgate can also be operated manually.

Integrated Class III Trailer Hitch

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New for 2010, every Pilot includes an integrated trailer hitch as standard equipment. The Class III hitch supports a maximum tow rating of 4,500 pounds on four-wheel-drive models and 3,500 pounds on two-wheel-drive models. To supplement the Pilot’s towing capability, standard cooling equipment includes a high-capacity radiator with dual high-power fans, transmission cooler and power steering cooler. The Pilot 4WD’s 4,500-pound rating is calculated to include up to four passengers and their cargo. A pre-wired for trailer harness is included for trailer lighting and an electric brake controller. Pilot Touring models are equipped with a 7-pin trailer unit and harness.

One-Touch Power Moonroof with Tilt Feature

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A moonroof is standard equipment on the Pilot EX-L and Touring models. The opening measures 33.0 x 13.0 inches, a 26 percent improvement of 4.7 x 1.0 inches compared to the 2008 Pilot. In addition to being larger, the available moonroof on the 2010 Pilot also improves operational convenience. To tilt or slide the moonroof the driver or front passenger needs only to fully press the ceiling-mounted switch once (instead of pressing and holding it for several seconds). The moonroof fully opens or closes automatically. However if the operator wishes to only partially open or close the moonroof (such as to achieve partial ventilation), a lighter touch yields fully manual control. The moonroof can also tilt to provide ventilation. A pinch protection feature is built in, helping to ensure that the moonroof will not forcefully close if someone’s hand or arm is positioned in the path of the moonroof. If an obstruction is detected, the moonroof mechanism will reopen the moonroof.

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Windshield Wipers

For the front windshield, single-piece wiper arms are used. For cleaning, windshield washer sprayers with large openings are employed to maximize the coverage area and to reduce the chance of clogging or freezing. The intermittent rear wiper allows the driver to match wiper speed to various levels of precipitation. The rear wiper arm is a one-piece design with a clean, integrated appearance. A jet-type washer nozzle located on the upper edge of the tailgate (inside the center high-mount stop light) provides quicker and more thorough distribution of washer fluid. Fluid is delivered almost the instant the wash button is touched thanks to use of a check valve in the delivery line.

Remote Key Fob

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All Pilots come standard with two remote-controlled key fobs for remote vehicle locking and alarm functions. The fob of the Pilot has three buttons: at the top, there’s a large round concave button (with raised nibs for tactile identification) to command the lock function. A round convex-shaped button near the base of the key controls the unlock function. Depressing this button once unlocks just the driver’s door. A second push unlocks all four doors and the rear tailgate. To the right of the unlock button is a round (smooth) convex-shaped button that unlatches the rear lift-up tailgate glass on LX, EX and EX-L models. On Pilot Touring models, this button controls the power tailgate. Additionally, each of the Pilot Touring’s two key fobs can be linked to individual memory settings for the 8-way power driver’s seat position and various configurable items within the Multi Information Display. A recessed "panic" button at the bottom of the fob will cause the vehicle’s horn to sound and exterior lights to blink intermittently in the event of an emergency.


The interior of the Honda Pilot is designed to provide a comfortable experience for all passengers in business class style. For 2010, the key areas of improvement concentrate on increasing spaciousness, knee room, general comfort and accessibility while maintaining the optimal mid-size SUV exterior. The design goal of the interior was to create best-in-class functionality that truly sets it apart from the competitive set. A 2.9-inch longer and 1.0-inch-wider exterior contributes to an additional 4.1 cubic feet of space inside (EX-L), with much of that space resulting in greater practicality for the 2nd row, 3rd row and cargo area. Some of the latest technology and features from Honda culminate in a new Touring edition that includes the newest generation of the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™, Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink™ mobile phone connectivity, available DVD entertainment system with DTS surround sound, a power tailgate and more. A rearview camera is standard on the Pilot EX-L and Pilot Touring models.

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Styling-wise, a functional, strong and intelligent design theme emanates from a massive-looking, wide center stack using clean, crisp lines and a combination of richly textured surfaces. The instrument panel intelligently organizes switchgear into zones for audio, climate controls and navigation (if equipped). An interface dial, similar to the one used in the Honda Accord, is used to control the navigation system on the Pilot Touring.

Interior Styling

Honda designers used the three-dimensionally beveled lines of an ultra-rugged laptop computer as inspiration for the active and intelligent design theme. The concept provided the basis for the Pilot’s unique blend of sporty, functional and fun interior and exterior design elements. In keeping with conventional Honda design philosophy of "man maximum, machine minimum," Honda designers sought to provide Pilot owners with the largest possible interior space while optimizing the exterior size for improved driveability, garageability and efficiency.

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Like all Honda vehicles, the Pilot interior is designed with world-class levels of refinement, comfort and ease-of-use (ergonomics). Controls are designed to be simple and functional with minimal complexity. Gauges, switches and warning lights are carefully positioned and well labeled for intuitive use. Every aspect of the vehicle’s interior is optimized to provide an enjoyable and relaxing driving experience.

Clever Storage and Packaging

Flexible SUV cargo carrying capability is highlighted by 60/40 split second and third row bench seats that fold flat into the floor. Clever and thoughtful storage areas throughout instrument panel, center console and doors provide convenient access for items as small as sunglasses and mobile phones to larger items like purses and beverage containers of varied sizes. The extra large center console, which is up to two times larger by volume than most consoles in the segment, provides generous space for personal items.

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The Pilot provides four Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) positions - whereas most vehicles in the segment can attach only two. The cargo area behind the third row has 25 percent more space so large items like a medium-sized cooler or a collapsed baby stroller can easily fit inside without having to fold the seat.

Versatile and Accommodating Eight-Passenger Seating

For maximum versatility, the Pilot is equipped with three rows of seats - two front bucket seats and two rows of three-person bench seats. The second- and third-row seats are split 60/40 and can be individually folded flat in one simple motion to handle anywhere from one to eight occupants and a variety of cargo shapes. The Pilot’s seats are designed to provide every occupant with a commanding outside view, comfortable seating position, and easy vehicle ingress and egress. The first and second-row seats are designed to fit occupants up to a 99th percentile adult male. The third row is optimized to accommodate a 95th percentile adult male.

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First and second row outboard seats feature height adjustable seatbelt anchors. Second- and third-row seats utilize ceiling-mounted retractable shoulder belts in the center seating position. When in use, the shoulder belt attaches to a special receiver in the lap belt anchor. When not in use, the shoulder belt retracts snugly into a special ceiling fixture, providing for an open and unobstructed cargo space when the seats are not in use.

To ensure a high level of visibility and comfort for all passengers, the Pilot features theater-style second- and third-row seats and a large, glassy greenhouse with excellent outward visibility (273 degrees). Paying special attention to the comfort of third-row passengers, the third-row seats are approximately two inches higher than the first-row seats to allow for excellent forward visibility and a comfortable seating position. Second-row seats are raised about one-half inch over the front row for improved visibility.

First Row Seating

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The first row seats are designed for optimal space and quality. The driver and front-seat passenger sit in bucket seats with six-way manual adjustments (LX), adjustable active head restraints and three-point seatbelts with adjustable B-pillar anchors. All seats are designed to provide long-distance driving comfort with an excellent balance of driver comfort and enveloping feeling while maintaining good vehicle ingress and egress. In keeping with the vehicle’s stuff-able storage capabilities, the front seat backs feature cargo pockets.

Pilot EX, EX-L and Touring models add an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support. Pilot EX-L and Touring models, which feature leather-trimmed first- and second-row seating surfaces, door panels and a matching vinyl third-row seat, also add a four-way power adjustable front passenger’s seat. The Pilot Touring provides an additional sliding storage bin under the front passenger seat.

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Second Row Seating

The second row seats are designed to be adaptable and comfortable. The three-person, second-row seat features two separate sections split 60/40 with individual fold-flat capability. Each section slides back and forth by approximately three inches to allow for more cargo space or more legroom. Three-point seatbelts with automatic tensioners, adjustable head restraints and three LATCH system child seat attachment points are provided for all three seating positions. Second-row seatbacks can recline via a lever on each seat’s upper bolster.

For 2010, the second row "walk-thru" opening is between 2.6 inches longer (top) and 1.8 inches longer (bottom) to make ingress and egress even more convenient. The second row center armrest, positioned higher off the seat for better comfort, provides two beverage holders and a tray to hold small items. Second row legroom measures 38.5 inches, up 1.1 inches from 37.4 inches in the 2008 Pilot.

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To fold the second row seat flat for cargo hauling, the user simply lifts up on a lever located on the upper portion of the outboard seat bolster. A linkage automatically cantilevers the bottom seat cushion both down and forward as the seat back is folded down to create a flat load floor for optimal cargo carrying utility. The head restraints do not have to be removed to fold the seats flat.

Third Row Seating

More spacious for 2010, the three-person, third-row bench seat features a 60/40 split with recline and fold-flat capabilities. Third row legroom measures 32.1 inches, up 1.9 inches compared to the 2008 Pilot. Knee room also increased by moving the seat’s hip point higher by 0.6 inches and rearward by 2.0 inches. This additional space provides sufficient knee room for a 95th percentile adult male (an above-average-size person) to sit comfortably. Expanded cargo room behind the seats allows the third row to be used in greater variety of people and cargo situations, as opposed to the less desirable people or cargo situations.

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The rear seats are also easier to enter and exit compared to the previous model with larger walk-thru openings (up to 2.6 inches wider than the 2008 Pilot) and newly added 3rd row grab handles located on the C-pillar. The increased walk-thru openings are made possible by the 2.9-inch longer wheelbase. Third row air vents have also been added for 2010, which can help reduce rear seat cool-down time by as much as 25 percent.

Levers on the seat bolster allow for simple, one-step, transformation of seats from the side doors or rear tailgate opening. Head restraints and three-point seatbelts are also provided in all seating positions. New for 2010, the head restraints do not need to be removed for the seat to be folded flat.

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Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) System

Up to four child seats can be installed using the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children LATCH system. The second-row seats (all three positions) and one outboard position in the third row (on the passenger side) feature the LATCH system with its easy-to-use tethers affixed between the seatback and seat bottom. The third row LATCH position is placed on the 40 percent side of the 60/40 seat so that the cargo area can be better utilized, if needed. The LATCH system, when used in conjunction with compatible child seats, eliminates the need to secure the seat using the vehicle’s seatbelts. (See the safety section for additional LATCH information.)

Cargo Hauling Capabilities

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The Pilot is designed to provide the most versatile cargo hauling capacity in its class with the unique capability to allow loading of four-foot wide items, like plywood sheets, between the wheel wells with no tilting of items or scraping of interior surfaces. With its two rows of 60/40 split fold-flat seats, the Pilot is easily reconfigured to handle anywhere from one to eight occupants and a wide variety of cargo. Longer items can be stored down either side of the vehicle while maintaining two to four occupant seating capability. In full cargo mode (all second and third row seats flat), the Pilot provides 87.0 cubic feet of storage capacity. The rear cargo floor has four separate tie-down points to secure loose items.

When the second-row seats are in use, there is still 47.7 cu-ft. of space available, more than three times that of a full size car’s trunk. And if it’s necessary to use all three rows of seats for passengers, the Pilot still provides up to 20.8 cubic feet of space behind the third-row seat (lid open to utilize the 2.8 cu-ft. underfloor storage zone). The floor of the rear cargo area has large enough dimensions for a medium-size cooler, or a collapsed baby stroller, or a full set of golf clubs.

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A 2.8-cubic-foot underfloor storage area exists behind the third row (+1.3 cubic feet compared to the 2008 model). The lid of the underfloor storage area opens flush against the back of the third row seat and locks in place. The open lid creates an extra deep well and provides access to five grocery bag hooks. Once open, a cargo net (standard equipment) can then be attached across the upper portion of the lid to create a second tier of storage. Access to the rear cargo area is enhanced with lift-up glass hatch in the tailgate, a new feature for 2010. A power tailgate is standard on the Pilot Touring.

Another new feature is an integrated storage box located in the driver’s side wall of the cargo area. It’s large enough to accommodate such items as a one gallon container of windshield washer fluid, an ice scraper or a roadside assistance kit.

Instrument Panel and Gauge Cluster

The instrument panel is divided into three specific regions - the driver’s zone, the information center, and the utility zone. Frequently used systems like the audio and climate controls have switches conveniently positioned within logical zones near the steering wheel. For 2010, an instrument panel-mounted gear selector replaces the column-style gear selector. On the Pilot Touring, an Interface Dial operates the audio system and the navigation system.

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Driver’s Zone

To put the Pilot’s various systems under the clear control of the driver, the gauge cluster provides analog instrumentation supplemented with digital and graphic displays. The analog speedometer, tachometer, fuel meter and engine temperature gauge are fashioned to provide a three-dimensional floating appearance. The gauges are front-lit with LED lights. The Maintenance Minder™ system also alerts the driver of upcoming maintenance needs via either the information display or multi information display.

Information Display (LX, EX, EX-L)

Pilot LX, EX and EX-L models receive an LCD information display below the speedometer, which includes the following features: odometer; dual trip meters; trip computer with instant fuel economy, average fuel economy A/B and range (miles to empty); glass-hatch open indicator, TPMS indicator and outside temperature display.

Programmable Multi Information Display (Touring)

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The Pilot Touring has a dot matrix Multi Information Display (MID) that interfaces with that model’s more advanced, programmable features. In addition to the trip computer, the MID includes: TPMS display with individual tire pressures, HandsFreeLink information, compass, keyless memory settings, parking sensor display and glass-hatch open indicator.

Information Zone

As the vehicle’s information center, the center panel has been carefully designed for maximum visibility and ease of use. Its large central display is mounted at the top of the center stack for easier visibility, and the switches are mounted lower for easier reach. Most components are flush mounted with high-grade materials for an upscale appearance and feel.

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The center display provides an important advancement in usability and convenience. Its easy-to-see location at the top of the instrument stack allows the driver to quickly see information. The three-line display shows clock, compass and audio system information (mode, track, time information for XM, RDS, CD and MP3). Temperature readouts for the tri-zone automatic climate control are included in the Pilot EX, EX-L and Touring.

Underneath the center display are two adjustable HVAC vents, the emergency flasher switch and a passenger-airbag off light. Below the vents are the HVAC controls. Audio-system controls are located in a separate row and feature larger switches that are easier to identify at a glance. Near the middle of the center panel, Pilot LX, EX and EX-L models have easily accessible volume knob and tuning knobs.

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Utility Zone

The utility zone is located on the passenger side of the instrument panel. A large lighted and locking glove box measures 6.4 liters. Just above the glove box is a three-segment storage tray. The tray is an ideal space to store small items for convenient access while traveling.

Automatic Dimming Rear View Mirror with Backup Camera Display (EX-L)

As an enhancement to rear visibility, the Pilot EX-L is exclusively equipped with a 2.5-inch LCD display in the rearview mirror that shows live video from the rear of the vehicle when the gear selector is in reverse. (The video from rearview camera on the Pilot Touring is shown on the navigation display.)

Multi-Function Center Console

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A truly innovative and useful interior design is highlighted by the Pilot’s multi-function center console. For 2010, the 0.53 cubic foot storage bin has 47 percent more volume for enhanced functionality and a new level of connectivity. Whereas most vehicles in this segment have the gear shift lever located in the console, the Pilot’s gear shift lever is intelligently located on the instrument panel to further enhance the capacity and function of the center console.

The console features a large, covered deep storage bin in the rear to hold large items including music CD or DVDs- it is even large enough to hold a conventional square box of tissues. The rear-hinged cover opens upward. Inside is a standard auxiliary input jack for the audio system and a 12-volt auxiliary outlet.

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The Pilot Touring adds a 115-volt outlet (100 Watts) and a USB connectivity port in this location for Apple iPod®* and iPhone®, or removable "memory stick" mass storage devices containing WMA or MP3 format music. The Touring’s115-volt, 100-watt outlet is positioned inside the center console to provide power for a video game console, laptop computer or other small electronic device.

Just ahead of the rear bin is a smaller and dividable space for storing personal items like a wallet, mobile phones and PDAs. In front of the small personal item space is a beverage holder with room for two containers that can hold drinks as large as 44 ounces side-by-side. Built into the console is a toll way-friendly coin storage area that can hold up to 18 quarters. A large tambour door scrolls from the front of the console backward to conceal personal items, which also creates a convenient flat surface to rest a purse or backpack.

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The console also incorporates separate temperature, fan and vent controls for the rear passengers along with upper air conditioning vents (fresh or cooled air) and lower heat vents for improved airflow and comfort for second- and third-row passengers.

Additional Storage Capacity

Occupants of second- and third-row seats also have their own special storage solutions. Front row seatbacks also have netted storage compartments for use by second-row passengers. Both rear doors feature large storage compartments and new mid pockets for personal storage modules. Each rear door provides two beverage holders.

Third-row passengers have access to four beverage holders. In addition, two outboard armrests have been added. The left armrest incorporates a hidden storage area with a lid, the right armrest provides a side storage area underneath the elbow pad. Two grab handles are located on the C-Pillar to support easier vehicle entry and exit.

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The rear cargo area has a 12-volt power outlet and a spacious storage box on the left-hand side large enough to hold a 1 gallon jug of windshield washer fluid. The rear cargo floor also has tie-down anchors to secure loose items.

The Pilot features a 2.8-cubic foot covered cargo area built into the rear cargo floor behind the third-row seat. When open, the lid rests flush against the upright third row seats and creates a deep storage well. The inside of the lid has a strap that connects to the third row seat to secure it in the upright position. The inside of the lid also has five grocery bag hooks, plus a standard net system that creates a second level of storage in the cargo area. The third row seatback also has three grocery bag hooks on the seatback. When the cargo lid is raised, the third row seatback grocery bag hooks are not accessible. Pilot LX, EX and EX-L have additional hooks on each rear side panel; the Pilot Touring has an additional hook on the passenger side only.

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Tilt and Telescope Steering Wheel with Integrated Controls

The steering wheel is designed to provide a confident, secure feel with its large diameter grip and ergonomically contoured surfaces. Standard features on every steering wheel include manual tilt and telescope capability which helps accommodate drivers of various heights more comfortably; cruise control buttons for set, resume, cancel and main; and Pilot EX and above models provide audio control buttons for volume, channel and mode. Pilot Touring models also provide buttons for voice activation of the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System, multi-information display interface and Bluetooth HandsFreeLink telephone system. Turns lock-to-lock measure 3.69 rotations.

Air Conditioning with Air Filtration System

The primary heating, air conditioning and ventilation (HVAC) controls are located on one easy-to-use panel in the center instrument console and include individual controls for temperature, fan speed, vent selection (center, floor and defogger vents), rear electric defogger and fresh or recirculated air. Independent control of the rear HVAC unit is standard. To maximize passenger comfort, the Pilot LX features a front and rear air conditioning system with air filtration. The controls for the rear zone are conveniently located on the rear of the front console.

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The Pilot EX, EX-L and Touring models add tri-zone automatic climate controls that maintain a user-selected temperature. The tri-zone automatic climate control allows the driver, front passenger and rear zone to be set to different temperatures. Rear zone controls on EX, EX-L and Touring models, conveniently positioned on the rear of the center console, provide an LCD display with automatic temperature mode and fan speed controls. The Pilot Touring climate control system benefits from GPS-linked, solar-sensing technology. Based on its continuously updated vehicle position information, the navigation system determines the position of the sun relative to the driver and passenger.

When in AUTO mode, this information is combined with input from the solar sensor located on top of the instrument panel to automatically adjust the temperature from side to side as needed to compensate for asymmetrical solar heating.

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To provide greater driving range while maintaining a comfortable interior climate, the Pilot has improved air conditioner efficiency. By partially mixing cool cabin air with fresh air in the blower, the amount of compressor operation can be reduced by up to 40-percent compared to operating exclusively on exterior air. Over the course of a tank of fuel, this partial recirculation mode can extend fuel economy by as much as 4-percent.

Humidity Control System

To help avoid window fogging situations, the Pilot’s climate control system has a cabin humidity control system. This new control system provides greater passenger comfort and minimizes the time the air conditioning runs. When set to operate in AUTO mode, a temperature and humidity sensor located in the front of the passenger cabin monitors the interior climate. If the system determines that there is a low probability of window fogging, it maintains a comfortable humidity level of around 20-percent.

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If the system determines that potential window fogging conditions exist, it changes the climate control parameters to help keep the windows clear. In these situations, the air conditioning system is set to MAX, the air outlet mode is switched to HEAT/DEF and the fan speed is gradually increased to reduce the chances of window fogging.


First row convenience lighting includes two ceiling-mounted map/reading lights, ambient overhead console lighting, a lighted glove box and two courtesy lights (puddle lights) mounted on the lower portion of the front doors. Driver and front seat passenger window controls are also illuminated for night use.

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Four additional map/reading lights are integrated into the second- and third-row headliner and are activated by depressing the lenses themselves. This simple and easy-to-use design is exclusive to Pilot and has a patent pending. The grab handles are also designed to accommodate hangers for carrying clothing. A light in the rear liftgate provides downward illumination for the cargo area and ground at the rear of the vehicle when the liftgate is raised. The interior lights turn on automatically when the vehicle is unlocked or a door is opened. The lights will remain on for 30 seconds or until after the doors are closed, at which time they will fade gradually to full off. This feature is programmable on the Pilot Touring.

AM/FM/CD Audio System with Seven Speakers including Subwoofer (Pilot LX, EX and EX-L)

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The Pilot LX comes with a 135 watt AM/FM stereo and in-dash, single-disc CD player with seven speakers including a subwoofer. An auxiliary audio input jack is standard equipment on all vehicles. Every system can play CD, CD-R/RW, CD-Text, and MP3/WMA discs. The Pilot EX and EX-L upgrade to a 155-watt amplifier and add an internal 6-disc changer.

All systems feature twelve FM and six AM presets; treble, bass, subwoofer fade and balance controls; and automatic search capabilities. To make a high-quality audio connection simple for owners who have personal music players, there is an easily accessible auxiliary input jack with a nearby 12-volt power outlet located in the center console.

The audio systems’ displays are compatible with the Radio Data System (RDS) which provides supplemental programming information on the display (from participating radio stations) while also offering search-by-genre capabilities. Embedded text information on compatible CDs can also be displayed.

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The audio system has large-format controls that make the audio system easy to operate. The audio system integrates with the vehicle’s Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) system to minimize certain frequencies associated with cylinder deactivation.

The instrument panel has a 1.5-inch soft-dome tweeter positioned on each side. Mid/low-range 6.5-inch dual thickness polypropylene-cone speakers are positioned in each door, and an 8-inch subwoofer is located in a special tuned enclosure in the sidewall of the cargo compartment. Speed-sensitive Volume Control (SVC) automatically adjusts as road speed increases to maintain a clear and comfortable sound level. The amount of compensation can be set to three different levels or turned off completely. The Pilot’s FM radio antenna is built into the rear side glass with an antenna amplifier. The XM antenna mounted onto the roof and has a low profile for a clean appearance.

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Steering wheel-mounted control buttons located on the left side of the steering wheel provide volume, mode and channel control (EX, EX-L and Touring models). The driver can change volume and toggle through radio channel presets or CD tracks.

EX models equipped with a Honda DVD Entertainment System incorporate additional controls that allow for the selection of separate front and rear audio channels (see DVD Entertainment System below).

10-Speaker Premium Sound System with 6-CD Changer

The Pilot EX-L equipped with the available DVD Rear Entertainment System and Touring models also include an enhanced audio system with 512 watts and 10 speakers. Like the Pilot’s standard sound system, the Premium Sound System is remarkably versatile. The 6-disc in-dash changer can play CD, CD-R/RW, CD-Text, and MP3/WMA discs. The system also includes AM, FM and XM® Satellite Radio. It’s easy to connect a personal music player to the system via an auxiliary input jack. The auxiliary input jack, along with nearby 12-volt power outlet, is located inside the rear portion of the center console. For optimum sound regardless of vehicle speed, the system includes user-selectable automatic speed-sensitive volume control.

Honda DVD Rear Entertainment System (Available Pilot EX-L and Touring)

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Available on Pilot EX-L and Touring models, the Honda DVD Rear Entertainment System (RES) that features a rear display screen for on-the-road entertainment for the second- and third-row passengers. With a large 9-inch (diagonal) flip-down Thin Film Transistor (TFT) screen mounted in an overhead console, the system provides Audio plays through the speakers in Dolby Digital surround sound via two wireless Personal Surround headphones and through three audio jacks. In DVD playback mode, the system provides a total of six discrete audio channels. Large-format controls make the system simple and intuitive to operate. A prominent display below the center instrument panel vents shows the current audio system status at all times.

The system also includes a separate LCD control screen that makes operation clear and intuitive. An AUX input jack in rear of the center console is provided for video game play or other inputs. A 115-volt, 100-watt outlet is positioned inside the center console to provide power for a video game console, laptop computer or other small electronic device. Besides video programming, the system also plays the full range of audio content available from the audio system, complete with on-screen information. The RES can also operate independently, in most cases allowing the rear passengers to enjoy one type of programming using headphones, while the front passengers listen to another through the vehicle’s front speakers.

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The Rear Entertainment System main controls and DVD player are built into the center section of the instrument panel, just below the audio system. An illuminated and removable, wireless remote control is also positioned in the overhead console for easy operation by second- and third-row passengers.

XM Satellite Radio

The Pilot EX, EX-L and Touring audio systems include XM® Satellite Radio, which provides more than 170 channels of digital program material and near-CD quality sound. Informational text on the programming appears on the audio system display. XM® Satellite Radio offers virtually uninterrupted coverage of the 48 contiguous states and coast-to-coast signal coverage to the densely populated regions of Canada; service for Alaska and Hawaii is not available at this time. Three months of complimentary XM® Satellite Radio service is provided starting on the purchase date of a new vehicle. After the complimentary period, XM® Satellite Radio requires a monthly subscription.

Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with Voice Activation, Off-Road Tracking and Rear View Camera

The Pilot Touring is equipped with the latest generation Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with Voice Recognition™ Off-Road Tracking and Rear View Camera. This highly capable system is similar to the available unit in the Accord, and is designed for intuitive and quick operation.


The Honda Pilot is designed to provide a comfortable, confident and fun driving experience with plenty of power to match its capabilities as an eight-passenger SUV with off-road capabilities and up to 4,500-pound towing capabilities (4WD). For 2010, Honda engineers prioritized fuel efficiency for the all-new Pilot and applied the latest generation of the company’s Variable Cylinder Management technology to all models. Low emissions, a broad torque curve and low maintenance were also key development targets.

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The Pilot is powered by an advanced 3.5-liter 24-valve i-VTEC, V-6 engine mated to an electronically-controlled 5-speed automatic transmission. Peak engine output is 250 horsepower at 5700 rpm and 253 lb-ft. of torque at 4800 rpm. The "intelligent" Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (i-VTEC®) valvetrain technology with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) allows the V-6 engine to operate in six-cylinder mode for power and four- and three-cylinder modes for efficiency. The Pilot meets California’s stringent Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV-2) exhaust emissions standards. A fully-automatic Variable Torque Management 4-wheel drive system (VTM-4) is available on all models and delivers seamless "decision free" application of four-wheel drive when needed.

Engine Architecture

The Pilot’s engine is an advanced 3.5-liter, SOHC, 24-valve, 60-degree, V-6, aluminum-block-and-head design that is compact, lightweight and powerful. The i-VTEC valvetrain and high efficiency intake manifold optimize cylinder-filling efficiency across a wide range of engine speeds. Low-restriction intake and exhaust systems, a 10.5:1 compression ratio and roller-type rocker arms further aid efficiency and power delivery across a broad rpm range.

Engine Block

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The Pilot 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. Both the block and caps are heat treated for greater strength.

Crankshaft, Connecting Rods and Pistons

A forged steel crankshaft is used for maximum strength, rigidity and durability with minimum weight. Instead of heavier nuts and bolts, connecting rod caps are secured in place with smaller, high-tensile-strength fasteners that screw directly into the connecting rod. Short-skirt, cast-aluminum, flat-top pistons are notched for valve clearance and fitted with full-floating piston pins.

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Cylinder Head

Like other Honda V-6 powerplants, the Pilot V-6 cylinder heads are a SOHC 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 an integrated exhaust manifold to reduce parts count, improve flow and optimize the location of the close-coupled catalyst on each cylinder bank.

The cylinder head employs four-valve combustion chambers, the best approach to optimum performance with excellent fuel efficiency and very low emissions. Valves are clustered near the center of the bore to minimize combustion chamber volume and to provide ample squish area. A 10.5:1 compression ratio helps maximize thermal efficiency, power output and fuel efficiency. One centrally located camshaft per cylinder bank is driven by a fiberglass-reinforced toothed belt. Head gaskets are made of high-strength materials to contain combustion pressures.

Dual-Stage Intake Manifold

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The Pilot uses a dual-stage intake manifold that is designed to deliver excellent airflow to the cylinders across the full range of engine operating speeds. On four-wheel-drive models, the two-piece manifold is extremely light due to its cast magnesium design. The intake manifold on two-wheel-drive Pilot models is constructed of aluminum using an identical design.

The induction system significantly boosts torque across the engine’s full operating range. Internal passages and two butterfly valves within the intake manifold are operated by the powertrain control module to provide two distinct modes of operation by changing plenum volume and intake airflow routing.

At lower rpm these valves are closed to reduce the volume of the plenum and effectively increase the length of inlet passages for maximum resonance effect and to amplify pressure waves within each half of the intake manifold at lower rpm ranges. The amplified pressure waves significantly increase cylinder filling and torque production throughout the lower part of the engine’s rpm band.

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As the benefits of the resonance effect lessen with rising engine speed, the butterfly valves open at 4200 rpm to interconnect the two halves of the plenum, increasing its overall volume. An electric motor, commanded by the powertrain control module, controls the butterfly valves. The inertia of the mass of air rushing down each intake passage helps draw in more charge than each cylinder would normally ingest. The inertia effect greatly enhances cylinder filling and the torque produced by the engine at higher rpm.

i-VTEC with 3-stage Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM™)

To help improve the fuel efficiency of the V-6 engine, the latest generation of Honda’s VCM is used (similar to the Accord V-6). This is the first application of VCM on a Honda 4-wheel-drive model. (The previous generation of VCM used in the 2007 - 2008 Pilot switched between three- and six-cylinder operation and was used exclusively in two-wheel-drive models.) The Pilot’s new VCM system can operate on three, four or all six cylinders, and is standard on all both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models.

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During startup, acceleration or when climbing hills - any time high power output is required - the engine operates on all six cylinders. During moderate speed cruising and at low engine loads, the system operates just one bank of three cylinders. For moderate acceleration, higher-speed cruising and mild hills, the engine operates on four cylinders.

With three operating modes, the VCM system can finely 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 economy increases. The VCM system combines maximum performance and maximum fuel economy - two characteristics that do not typically coexist in conventional engines.

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VCM deactivates specific cylinders by using the VTEC (Variable Valve-Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system to close the intake and exhaust valves while simultaneously the Powertrain Control Module cuts fuel to those cylinders. When operating on three cylinders, the rear cylinder bank is shut down. When running on four cylinders, the left and center cylinders of the front bank operate, and the right and center cylinders of the rear bank operate.

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 that do double duty as rocker-shaft holders 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.

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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 smooth the transition between activating or deactivating cylinders, the system adjusts ignition timing, drive-by-wire throttle position and turns the torque converter lock-up on and off. As a result, the transition between three-, four-, and six-cylinder operation is unnoticeable to the driver.

Active Control Engine Mount (ACM) and Active Noise Control (ANC)

The ACM system is used to minimize the effects of engine vibration as the VCM system switches cylinders on and off. Sensors alert the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) to direct ACM actuators positioned at the front and rear of the engine to move to cancel engine vibration. Inside the interior of the Pilot, the ANC system works in cooperation with the ACM system to further reduce any sound relating to the function of the VCM system. (Please see the Interior tab for more information.)

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Drive-By-Wire (DBW) Throttle System™

The drive-by-wire throttle system uses smart electronics instead of a conventional cable system to connect the throttle pedal to the throttle butterfly in the intake tract. Besides allowing engineers to program the relationship between throttle pedal movement and engine response, the system optimizes engine response to suit driving conditions. The system monitors throttle pedal position, throttle butterfly position, road speed, engine speed and engine vacuum. This information is used to define the throttle control sensitivity.

High-Mounted Fresh Air Intake

The Pilot has a high-mounted fresh air intake system that reduces air intake temperatures to help improve low-end torque while protecting against water intrusion into the engine. To supplement good off-road and towing capabilities, the fresh air intake is mounted just above the front bulkhead (underneath the front edge of the hood.)

Powertrain Control Unit

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A 32-bit, 96MHz powertrain control unit (PCU) within the powertrain control module calculates injection timing and duration after assessing an array of sensor signals: crankshaft and camshaft position, throttle position, coolant temperature, intake manifold pressure and temperature, atmospheric pressure and exhaust-gas oxygen content. The PCU controls the Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI), i-VTEC valvetrain, and dual-stage intake manifold and also communicates with processors that regulate the five-speed automatic transmission and the available Variable Torque Management 4-wheel-drive system.

Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI)

The PGM-FI system continually adjusts the fuel delivery to yield the best combination of power, low fuel consumption and low emissions. Multiple sensors constantly monitor critical operating parameters, such as throttle position, intake air temperature, coolant temperature, ambient air pressure, intake airflow volume, intake manifold pressure, exhaust air-fuel ratio and the position of the crankshaft and cams.

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The fuel injector nozzles produce ultra-small fuel droplets, which improves atomization and flame propagation inside the combustion chambers. The better atomization enhances combustion and reduces emissions. Fuel is cut to all cylinders during deceleration.

Direct Ignition and Detonation/Knock Control

The powertrain control module (PCM) monitors engine functions to determine the best spark timing. An engine-block mounted acoustic detonation/knock sensor "listens" to the engine, and based on this input, the PCM retards the ignition timing to prevent potentially damaging detonation. The Pilot has a coil unit for each cylinder that is positioned above each spark plug’s access bore.

Regular Unleaded Fuel Operation

To keep operating costs at a minimum, all Pilots are designed to use relatively less-expensive regular unleaded fuel, thanks to compact 4-valve combustion chambers and precise fuel injection and spark control.

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High-Flow Exhaust System with Dual Outlets

A low-restriction, high-output, exhaust system is crucial to efficient power and torque production. A completely new exhaust system on the Pilot accommodates its increased power output. Tubing diameter has been increased and new dual silencers are used. High-chromium stainless steel is used throughout the exhaust system for excellent durability.

High-Efficiency Catalytic Converters

Key contributors to the engine’s excellent emissions performance are its high-efficiency catalytic converters. The engine has its exhaust manifolds cast directly into the aluminum alloy cylinder heads to reduce weight and position each primary catalytic converter as close as possible to the combustion chambers. A high-efficiency close-coupled converter mounts directly to the exhaust port of each cylinder head for extremely rapid converter activation after engine startup. A second converter is positioned shortly downstream, beneath the passenger compartment floor. Both converters use a new thin-wall design that increases internal reaction area and improves efficiency.

Maintenance Minder System and Tune-Up Intervals

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The Pilot’s standard Maintenance Minder system calculates the engine’s tune-up schedule based on driving conditions (tracked by the ECU). When determining proper maintenance intervals, the system minimizes owner guesswork about whether the vehicle is being operated in standard or severe conditions. The Pilot’s Maintenance Minder information appears in the odometer display, and indicates when to change the oil, oil filter (every other oil change), air cleaner, transmission fluid, spark plugs and coolant, as well as when to rotate the tires. A tune-up is not required until about 100,000 miles. (100K+/- Miles No Scheduled Tune-ups may vary with driving conditions. Does not apply to fluid and filter changes. Exact mileage is determined by actual driving conditions. The owner’s manual contains full details). Long-life fluids have been applied for reduced maintenance costs and environmental impact (fluid disposal). As a result, engine coolant changes are needed about every 10 years or approximately 100,000 miles, and engine oil changes are required every year or around 7,500 miles under normal driving conditions. The maintenance minder system calculates the exact miles between service intervals.

5-speed Automatic Transmission with Grade Logic Control

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The Pilot’s 5-speed automatic transmission has several features engineered specifically to match its performance requirements, including extra-wide gear ratios for good low-end response and comfortable highway cruising; a computer-controlled lock-up torque converter; a rigid alloy case; and a 4-shaft design. Honda Grade Logic Control technology is designed to hold the vehicle in a lower gear when climbing or descending a steep grade for improved performance.

An advanced 5-speed automatic transmission with extra-wide gear ratios was adopted to meet the Pilot’s performance and efficiency targets. A computer-controlled lock-up torque converter is provided to maximize fuel efficiency. Torque-converter lock-up and shift timing are both managed by a CPU working in cooperation with the engine’s central processing unit. Gear and clutch materials, and the transaxle case, are all engineered to support towing, off-road driving and 4-wheel-drive use. One notable feature of this unit’s design is extra-wide gear ratios. The difference in torque multiplication between first and fifth gears is nearly 5:1 (4.932) to balance low-speed pulling power with good fuel economy and the ability to cruise quietly at highway speeds.

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An over-running clutch is provided for first gear to smooth upshift quality. An extra-capacity transmission fluid cooler is standard equipment to help maintain acceptable lubricant temperatures during heavy-load conditions.

A direct-control strategy is used to provide real-time pressure management of the transmission’s clutches. Various control strategies are utilized allow for smooth coordination of engine and transmission operations. For example, the driveline shock that often accompanies gear changes is minimized by momentarily reducing engine torque during shifting.

Heavy-Duty Automatic Transmission Cooler and Heavy-Duty Power Steering Cooler

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A heavy-duty automatic transmission fluid (ATF) cooler is standard equipment. An ATF cooler contributes to long-term reliability by keeping damaging heat out of the transmission. Often an option, most vehicles used for towing require a transmission cooler in order to properly utilize the maximum advertised towing capacity. The Pilot’s standard ATF cooler is mounted in front of the engine’s radiator. Also related to towing and heavy payloads, the Pilot features a heavy-duty power steering cooler to help dissipate power steering fluid heat build up that can occur when hauling heavy loads or towing.

Honda Grade Logic Control

For driving on hilly terrain, the Pilot’s transmission is equipped with Honda Grade Logic Control that monitors throttle position, vehicle speed and acceleration to minimize gear hunting. A lower gear is held to provide better climbing ability on uphill grades and more engine braking on steeper downhill grades.

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Variable Torque Management 4-wheel-drive (VTM-4)

Ensuring a high level of all-weather stability, traction and control is the Pilot’s available VTM-4 (Variable Torque Management 4-Wheel Drive) system. Unlike conventional on-demand systems that work only when the wheels are slipping, VTM-4 proactively delivers torque to all four wheels during acceleration for excellent dry-road vehicle dynamics as well as outstanding control in wet, icy and snow conditions. A unique "lock" feature is provided to maximize traction for extremely low traction or "stuck" conditions. A compact transfer case is bolted directly to Pilot’s front-mounted transaxle. A two-piece propeller shaft delivers torque from the transfer case to a rear axle drive unit. Two computer-controlled, electromagnetically-powered clutches engage as needed to provide torque to the rear wheels.

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The Pilot’s innovative VTM-4 four-wheel drive system was designed to deliver outstanding traction, stability and control in all weather conditions as well as good medium-duty off-road performance. It was also designed to minimize the weight and packaging penalties associated with conventional four-wheel drive systems.

The VTM-4 system is unique in its operation. Unlike some approaches that use an engagement strategy triggered by wheel slippage, VTM-4 anticipates the need for all-wheel drive and engages the rear wheels whenever the vehicle is accelerating. Additional torque is applied to the rear wheels when wheel slip is detected, up to an approximate maximum of 70 percent depending on conditions.

Another unique feature of the system is the VTM-4 Lock function. Activated by a button on the instrument panel, the VTM-4 Lock mode delivers maximum torque transfer to the rear wheels to aid extraction from extremely low traction or "stuck" conditions. The feature works only when the vehicle is in first, second or reverse gears, and automatically disengages at speeds above 18 miles per hour.

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When cruising under normal conditions, the Pilot provides front-wheel drive power for improved efficiency. Torque is proactively distributed to the rear wheels when the vehicle is accelerating or wheel slip is detected. The level of torque delivery, front to rear, is determined by the amount of acceleration (rate of change in velocity) and wheel slip (difference in rotational speed) and is controlled by a dedicated CPU with sensors in the braking, engine and transmission systems.

To avoid the weight and bulk of a conventional transfer case, VTM-4’s torque transfer unit is a compact cast-aluminum housing bolted directly to the transaxle. The transfer case is a single-speed, permanently engaged device without a low-range, reducing weight and space penalties while maintaining excellent on- and off-road capabilities.

Attached to the front wheel differential’s ring gear is a helical gear that provides input torque to the transfer unit. A short horizontal shaft and a hypoid gear set within the case turn the drive ninety degrees, move it to the vehicle center line and lower its axis by approximately 3.75-inches.

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VTM-4 Engagement Modes

There are three distinct modes of VTM-4 engagement:

(1)The first mode, called Acceleration Torque Control (ATC), works whenever the vehicle’s throttle is depressed, even on dry pavement - a feature unique to the VTM-4 system. Sensors in the engine and transmission monitor vehicle speed and acceleration. The amount of torque applied, as directed by the system’s ECU, is determined according to vehicle speed, the amount of acceleration and transmission status (gear setting). This benefits not only the Pilot’s ability to gain traction from a standing start, before wheel slip occurs, but also its overall dynamic stability on both dry and low traction roads. Reducing the propulsive force carried by the front tires under acceleration reduced torque steer and cornering adhesion. Rear wheel torque rises smoothly from zero to a preset maximum in proportion to vehicle acceleration (both forward and reverse). During constant-speed driving, all power is driven to the front wheels for improved fuel efficiency.

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(2) The second engagement mode occurs when wheel slip is detected. Differences in rotational speed between front and rear wheels are measured by sensors in the ABS system and monitored by the ECU. In response, the ECU commands an increase in torque delivery to the rear wheels. Torque application is adjusted according to the amount and the rate of change in wheel slip. As slip increases, more power is delivered to the rear wheels for improved traction.

(3) The third mode of engagement is VTM-4 Lock. Lock mode occurs when the driver shifts into first, second or reverse gears and depresses the VTM-Lock button on the instrument panel. When lock mode is selected at vehicle speeds below 18-mph, the system ECU commands a preset maximum amount of rear-drive torque to be delivered to the rear wheels for improved traction in very low-speed, low-traction, conditions. As control is regained and vehicle speed increases, the system gradually reduces rear axle torque until it is completely disengaged.

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The maximum torque delivered to the rear wheels is sufficient to climb the steepest grade observed on any public road in America - 31-degrees (60 percent slope) - with a two-passenger load on board. The Pilot will also move from rest up a 28-degree (53 percent slope) dirt grade. On a split-friction grade (different amounts of traction at each wheel), VTM-4 automatically provides sufficient rear-wheel torque to help the vehicle climb something like a steep, low traction driveway.

Propeller Shaft

The two-piece propeller shaft that carries torque from the transfer case to the rear-drive unit is made of high-strength steel tubing to permit a smaller diameter. Minimizing driveline dimensions improves both ground clearance and interior room. The cross yokes attached at each end by friction welding are forged steel for high strength and low weight. The center support bearing is rubber isolated to block the transmission of driveline noise from the interior of the vehicle. A low-friction plunger joint located near the center of the propeller shaft accommodates relative motion between front- and rear-mounted driveline components.

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A tuned-mass damper inside the front portion of the propeller shaft cancels any bending tendency in response to powertrain vibrations. Equal-length, front-wheel half-shafts have a plunger joint at their inboard end and a ball-type universal joint at the wheel end. Rear half shafts are similar in design but use a double-offset joint at the inboard end and a ball joint at the outboard end. All universal joints are constant-velocity type.


As a crossover SUV that mixes car sensibilities with the truck capabilities, the Pilot is designed to deliver a confident, secure and fun driving experience with outstanding isolation of undesirable noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) for exceptional comfort in all driving conditions. The fully-independent chassis design also provides the foundation for the Pilot’s capabilities as a people and cargo hauler, as well as an off-road vehicle.

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The Pilot provides an exceptionally-wide wheel track of 67.7 inches front and 67.5 inches rear for high levels of handling stability and interior space. Chassis components were designed to provide for well-controlled body motions with ride and handling characteristics that are balanced and secure. The use of fully isolated front and rear suspension subframes enhances the Pilot’s outstanding NVH controls to provide a ride that is quiet and secure.

Front Suspension

Redesigned for 2010, the MacPherson strut front suspension with an aluminum lower control arm (new) provides a generous 7.3 inches of wheel travel (4.3-inches in compression, 3.0-inches in rebound). Separate load paths to the unit body are provided for the coil spring and the shock absorber to reduce road noise. A solid 23mm (0.9-inch) stabilizer bar is linked directly to the strut via ball-joint connections to reduce body roll during cornering maneuvers, a critical factor in minimizing the "head toss" tendency that is associated with many taller vehicles and SUVs. A new hydraulic bushing, often referred to as a hydrobushing, replaces one of the conventional rubber bushings on each of the geometrically-optimized lower control arms. The hydrobushing uses fluid to damp vibrations for improved resistance to shimmy and brake judder. Additionally, the L-shaped lower arm allows a very tight steering angle resulting in good low-speed maneuverability.

Front Subframe

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A welded-steel subframe secured to the unit body’s longitudinal rails supports the Pilot’s engine, transaxle, transfer case, steering gear and front suspension. The front of the subframe assembly is constructed of tubular steel for maximum stiffness with minimal weight penalties and uses four tuned rubber mounts to isolate the subframe from the main body structure. A stiffener located under each subframe attachment fastener helps stabilize the assembly, thereby sharpening handling and braking performance. A stiffener plate bolted across the subframe under the transfer case (if 4WD) greatly increases the assembly’s rigidity. The subframe houses two Active Control Engine Mounts (ACM) that counteract the inherent vibration created by the Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system, plus one lightweight urethane transmission mounts. (See the Powertrain section for more details on ACM). The mounts are strategically positioned to counteract noise and vibration while reducing the transmission of engine noise and vibration to the passenger compartment.

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Rear Suspension

The Pilot’s rear suspension is a compact, multi-link trailing arm layout for excellent ride and handling, minimum weight and optimum packaging. Wheel travel is a generous 4.9 inches in compression and 3.3-inches in rebound. The three links that position each rear wheel laterally run between the knuckle assembly and the subframe. A trailing arm also runs from the unit body to each rear knuckle. Coil springs seat on the lowermost lateral link and anchor against the unit body directly behind each axle shaft. Shock absorbers positioned ahead of the drive shafts run from a low point on each knuckle to a secure attachment point on the unit body. Steering knuckles are an "in-wheel" design to optimize suspension geometry and packaging efficiency. Bushing compliance provides a modest toe-in effect in response to substantial cornering and braking loads to enhance overall stability.

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For 2010, the rear knuckles are made from aluminum and are 54 percent lighter compared to the previous steel units, helping to reduce unsprung weight for improved response. Optimized trailing-arm mounting points have been moved up higher to increase mechanical compliance for ride and comfort improvements. Coil springs, dampers and an anti-roll bar are tuned for the best combination of ride and handling. Rear subframe mounts and lateral control link bushing rates were adjusted to create a discrete level of lateral force steer at the rear axle. Since the Variable Torque Management® 4-wheel drive system constantly varies drive torque at the rear axle, the longitudinal and lateral force steer properties were carefully developed for optimum response, stability and consistency.

Rear Subframe

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The rear subframe, which supports most of the rear suspension and the rear axle drive unit, is made of high-strength steel for high stiffness and minimal weight. The shape of the rear subframe is equally important - it must accommodate the drivetrain components for the available VTM-4 four-wheel drive system and the multi-link rear suspension, and still allow for the versatility of the third-row seat and flat cargo floor. For excellent ride and handling characteristics, the subframe attaches to the unit body at four widely spaced, rubber-isolated, mounting points. Rear-suspension components, especially the springs and shock absorbers, are as compact as possible to facilitate a wide, flat, load floor and to leave room for both a spare tire and a full-size fuel tank. The rear axle drive unit is mounted to the subframe by means of rubber isolators to block road and powertrain noise and vibration from the passenger compartment. .

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Steering and Turning Diameter

The Pilot’s rack-and-pinion steering system is tuned for quick, linear, car-like response and sensitive feel - and the torque-sensing power steering assist is high for parking maneuvers and low at highway speeds. For towing, standard equipment includes a heavy-duty power steering fluid cooler. The system uses heat-resistant rubber mount bushings, high-pressure die cast aluminum gear housings, a low friction material rack guide for good on-center feel and a damper valve to reduce steering wheel vibration. The Pilot features a tight turning diameter of 38.6 feet for excellent low-speed maneuverability.

Wheels and Tires

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A 65-series tire was selected to provide optimum comfort for all passengers. Tires are P245/65/R17 105T radials mounted on 17 x 7.5-inch wheels. The Pilot LX is equipped with styled steel wheels, while Pilot EX, EX-L and Touring models feature cast alloy wheels with a bright machined look. The Pilot Touring has an exclusive wheel design for a more upscale appearance. Seventeen and 18-inch chrome finish alloy wheels are available as a dealer-installed accessory on all models.

The compact spare is carried under the rear load floor and can be lowered by turning a hidden hex-head bolt with the provided lug-nut wrench. The hex-head bolt is located under a cover conveniently located in the rear hatch trim area. This arrangement guarantees the security of the spare and keeps it readily accessible without disturbing luggage or cargo carried onboard. Room is provided to stow a flat or a full-size spare in the compact spare’s location.

Braking System

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Consistent with its use as a people and cargo hauler and as a towing platform, the 4-wheel disc brakes on the 2010 Pilot are the largest brake system ever featured on a production Honda vehicle. The brake system is engineered to provide high levels of braking capability. The ventilated front brake rotors are 13.0-inches in diameter with a thickness of 1.1-inches, while the solid rear rotors are 13.1-inch diameter units with a thickness of 0.43-inches. Dual-piston cast iron brake calipers are used in front and single-piston cast iron calipers are fit in back. A single stage vacuum booster consists of one 10.5-inch diameter booster chamber.

The Pilot features large capacity brake components. Consisting of four-wheel disc brakes and four-channel anti-lock brakes, the Pilot’s brakes are tuned for stable and linear braking forces. For optimum performance with widely varying loads, Pilot has Electronic Brake Distribution system (EBD) 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.

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Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist

The Pilot’s Anti-Lock Braking system (ABS) has four sensing and activating channels to detect a wheel on the verge of lock up. In the event this occurs, brake pressure is held and then reduced to permit that wheel to regain traction before full braking resumes. The front suspension geometry has a very small scrub radius to help maintain dynamic stability even when one front wheel is braking harder than the other because of uneven traction conditions. (See the safety section for more information.)

Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control

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Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®), also known as electronic stability control, is included as standard equipment. By continually monitoring the vehicle’s operating parameters (such as road speed, throttle position, steering wheel position along with acceleration, braking and cornering loads), VSA anticipates the vehicle approaching oversteer or understeer. To help correct either of these situations, VSA first acts to transfer torque bias to the axle with the most traction. This preventative measure significantly reduces the number of brake and throttle interventions. The response is so quick that the instability may be corrected even before the driver knows it is occurring. Traction Control is integrated into the VSA, and it helps the vehicle accelerate smoothly on slippery surfaces. (See the safety section for more information.)

Off-Road Capability

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Honda took thorough measures to ensure that people with medium duty off-road needs would be satisfied with the Pilot. The vehicle meets design criteria, which was based on research at different off-road areas across the country.

This research was the foundation for specific minimum performance criteria for the new Pilot, including travel through standing water nearly 19-inches deep, off-road friendly approach and departure angles (27.8 degrees front and 24.5 degrees rear, respectively), rocks, off road and paved grades up to 60 degrees. Components located underneath the vehicle are tucked away to avoid damage in off-highway driving and the fuel tank’s evaporative canister is protected by a high-strength steel guard.

The available VTM-4 system with computer-controlled traction capabilities helps the Pilot meet typical off-road challenges without the need for low-range gears. (See powertrain section for full description.) The system is designed for "decision free" operation meaning that the driver does not need to actively choose when to engage four-wheel-drive. The system is always active and ready to proportion rear wheel torque as needed. For stuck situations in mud or snow, a driver-selected 4WD "lock" mode locks the two rear wheels together at speeds up to 18mph. Consistent with typical SUVs, the front approach, break-over and rear departure angles enable the Pilot to meet the medium duty off road needs of its target buyers.

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Hill Start Assist

New for 2010, Hill Start Assist helps to prevent the vehicle from rolling backwards when the driver switches from the brake pedal to the accelerator pedal while the vehicle is stopped on a hill. Hill Start Assist automatically activates when the road incline exceeds a 10 degree threshold and the vehicle is fully stopped in any forward or reverse gear. The system uses a longitudinal G-sensor along with a wheel speed sensor and steering angle sensor to control the hydraulic brake modulator. While activated, the brakes are released when the driver depresses the throttle to make the vehicle move.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

An onboard Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) warns the driver if the air pressure decreases significantly in any tire. The system helps reduce the chance of damaging a tire or losing control of the vehicle due to low air pressure. This is important because a slow leak, such as one that might be caused by a nail or road debris, might not be easily detectable but could cause loss of grip and potentially a blowout.

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TPMS uses a sensor mounted on each wheel that continually monitors tire pressure and sends a coded signal to the TPMS electronic control unit (ECU). The process begins with a signal initiator located inboard of each tire on the chassis. The initiator sends a unique signal for each TPMS sensor. Then the TPMS sensor sends tire pressure data to the TPMS ECU, which compares the values for each tire’s pressure against an acceptable range of pressures. When a tire’s pressure drops significantly below the proper level, an alert will appear on the information display screen.

On the Pilot Touring model, the system can display the air pressure in all four tires simultaneously via the Multi-Information Display (MID). At the driver’s preference, the MID can continually show the air pressure in all four tires. Regardless of whether the driver chooses to monitor the pressures, a warning will still occur if a tire drops significantly below specification.

Fuel System

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The 21.0gallon, saddle-shaped fuel tank is molded of high-density polyethylene for low weight, freedom from corrosion and impact resistance. It is positioned ahead of the rear wheels and over the propeller shaft to help guard against collision damage. The shape of the tank is designed to diminish the likelihood of sloshing-fuel noise. The polyethylene filler pipe and fuel lines are lightweight, and resistant to corrosion and fuel vapor losses. A high-efficiency fuel pump is housed inside the fuel tank. The fuel-filter is a lifetime design that never needs replacement.


Honda has consistently challenged itself to pursue vehicle safety as part of its core business strategy. The company seeks to provide a high level of occupant protection and pedestrian injury mitigation in all of its cars and trucks through a comprehensive and evolving approach to vehicle safety. This process benefits all new Honda vehicles - regardless of size or price - while also increasing compatibility with other types of vehicles in a frontal collision.

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The 2010 Honda Pilot exemplifies the Honda approach to safety. Every Pilot incorporates side-curtain airbags and dual-chamber, front-side airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); and active front seat head restraints that are designed to help reduce the severity of neck injury in the event of a rear collision.

An Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE®) body structure in the front of the vehicle, now added to Pilot for the first time, makes the new Pilot highly effective at absorbing the energy of a frontal crash and helps minimize the potential for under-ride or over-ride situations that can occur during head-on or offset-frontal impacts with a significantly larger or smaller vehicle. Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) and an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with brake assist are standard equipment on every Pilot.

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Additional standard safety features include dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags, front seatbelts with automatic-tensioning systems and load limiters, and a pedestrian injury mitigation design in the front of the vehicle. Driver and front passenger seatbelt reminders and daytime running lights are also standard equipment. A class-leading total of four Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) positions provide rigid attachment points for up to four child seats.

Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE®) Body Structure

At the heart of every new Pilot is an exceptionally strong foundation based on the latest version of Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE®) body structure technology. New on Pilot for 2010, the revolutionary ACE system makes the new Pilot highly effective at absorbing the energy of a frontal crash and helps minimize the potential for under-ride or over-ride situations that can happen during head-on or offset frontal impacts with a larger or smaller vehicle. Using a sophisticated computer-assisted design process, the ACE system creates a network of fully integrated load-bearing elements that help attenuate peak impact forces by more evenly distributing them across a relatively large area in the front of the vehicle.

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Unlike most conventional designs that direct frontal crash energy only to the lower load-bearing structures in the front end, the ACE system actively channels frontal crash energy to both upper and lower structural elements, including the floor frame rails, side sills and A-pillars. By creating specifically engineered "pathways" that help distribute these frontal impact forces through a greater percentage of the vehicle’s total structure, the ACE system can more effectively route them around and away from the passenger compartment to help limit cabin deformation and further improve occupant protection. Integral to the ACE concept is its unique front polygonal main design structure.

Structural Enhancements

Comprehensive structural enhancements can be found throughout the Pilot unit body, which now contains 52 percent high-strength steel. New and more robust rear structural elements add rigidity and help the Pilot meet the stringent FMVSS 301 regulations.

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The new FMVSS 301 regulation is more severe than the previous standard. This regulation began its phase-in during September 2006 and must be applied to all production vehicles after September 1, 2008. In the new requirements for the FMVSS 301 standard, a 1,360 kg (2,992 lbs.) deformable barrier strikes 70% of the vehicle’s width at 50 mph.

In contrast, the previous FMVSS 301 used a 1,814 kg (3,991 lbs.) flat rigid barrier that struck the full width of the vehicle at 30 mph. The new standard requires more body energy absorption than before.

Pedestrian Safety Design

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Structures in the front of the Pilot are designed to help absorb energy in the event of a collision with a pedestrian. Research by Honda shows that the following features can dramatically improve a pedestrian’s chance of survival if struck by a moving vehicle.

Key pedestrian safety features:

  •  * Hood is designed to deform if contact is made with either an adult or a child pedestrian
  •  * Sufficient clearance exists between the hood and hard engine parts
  •  * Energy-absorbing fender mounts and supports
  •  * Deformable windshield wiper pivots
  •  * Deformable hood hinge


Standard Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA ®) with Traction Control and Brake Assist

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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 controllability while the vehicle is accelerating, braking, cornering or when the driver makes a sudden maneuver. VSA functions by applying brake force to one or more wheels independently while also managing the throttle, ignition and fuel systems to help the vehicle maintain the driver’s intended path of travel.

The VSA system constantly analyzes data from seven sensors that monitor wheel and vehicle speed, steering input, lateral G forces and yaw rate. It compares the driver’s control inputs with the vehicle’s actual response. Whenever the actual response falls outside of a predetermined acceptable range, VSA intervenes with a corrective action.

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For instance, if VSA detects an oversteer condition, the system may apply braking force to the outside front and rear wheels to counteract the unintended yawing effect. In the event of understeer, VSA may apply braking to the inside rear wheel while reducing engine power to help return the car to its intended course. VSA also provides a limited-slip differential effect for the front wheels by applying braking force to a slipping wheel, thereby redirecting driving force to the wheel with more traction.

Emergency Braking

Another key VSA function is recognizing emergency braking situations and almost instantly applying added braking force. This brake assist feature is controlled by a special logic in the system that determines when the pedal stroke and speed exceed a typical range - as they would in a panic stop. At that point, the VSA modulator pump increases braking pressure while the pedal is still being pressed to ensure maximum stopping force, an action that helps shorten braking distance as much as possible.

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VSA is calibrated to function in a near-transparent manner, and in many cases a driver will not even be aware of its operation. However, anytime the system is enhancing vehicle stability, an indicator light flashes in the instrument cluster. While the driver can deactivate the VSA stability enhancement and traction-control functions via a switch on the instrument panel, ABS remains fully operational at all times.

Advanced 4-Channel ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution

A new and enhanced anti-lock braking system has been developed for the 2010 Pilot. This sophisticated 4-channel/4-sensor anti-lock package replaces the system found on the first generation Pilot. All Pilots are fitted with 4-wheel disc brakes that have vented front rotors and solid rear rotors. (Please see Chassis tab for more information.) Thanks to a more rigidly mounted master cylinder, the 2010 Pilot’s brake pedal has a firmer feel and a shorter activation stroke. The new ABS system also incorporates Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) circuitry that automatically proportions force based on the vehicle’s weight distribution.

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Three-row Side Curtain Airbags with Rollover Sensors

All three rows of outboard occupants are protected by a three-row side curtain airbag with rollover sensor system, which is standard equipment. The side curtain airbags deploy from modules in the roof in the event of a sufficient side impact, providing a significant level of head protection in the window area. In the unlikely event of a rollover, a roll rate sensor, located in the floor, along with multiple G sensors determine the rate of roll and deploy the side curtain airbags accordingly. Like the other airbag systems in the Pilot, the side curtain system utilizes sensors to determine the most appropriate timing and rate of deployment of the airbags.

To provide the optimal level of protection for Pilot occupants, extensive testing was performed to determine the most appropriate timing and rate of deployment in the unlikely event of a rollover. The system uses algorithms to continually evaluate the situation and determines whether a rollover is eminent. The system responds to many types of rollover "events" drivers could potentially encounter including the "curb trip rollover" which as its name suggests, results when one side of the vehicle hits a curb or like object; the "soil trip rollover" which can result when one side of the vehicles suddenly comes into contact with a different surface type, often involving a slight elevation change; and the "screw rollover." This type of rollover is usually the steepest and fastest of the rollovers whereby the vehicle comes upon a sharp angle such as an embankment. The roll rate sensor and multiple G sensors determine the "scenario" and calculate the angle of roll and the speed of the vehicle in order to deploy the airbags at the correct stage for optimum protection. In the case of a rollover, the side curtain airbags on both sides of the vehicle will deploy. However, in the event of a sufficient side impact that does not result in a rollover, only the airbags on the impacted side of the vehicle will deploy. The airbag maintains full inflation for approximately three seconds after inflation to allow for the increased time duration of a rollover accident.

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Driver and Front Passenger Side Airbags with Front Passenger Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS)

Side airbags mounted in the outboard area of each front seatback are designed to provide upper torso protection in the event of a severe side impact. In addition, the front passenger’s seat is equipped with Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), an innovative system designed to deactivate the side airbag if a small child (or small-stature adult) leans into the side airbag deployment path. When the passenger returns to an upright seating position, the side airbag reactivates so it can deploy to help protect the occupant in a side impact. This unique system utilizes sensors in the passenger seatback to determine the height and position of the occupant, and determine if it is safe to deploy the side airbag.

Dual-Stage, Dual-Threshold Front Airbags

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Both the driver and front passenger are protected by advanced front airbags that incorporate dual-stage and dual-threshold activation technology. These two features work together in the event of a deployment while helping minimize injuries that can sometimes be caused by the airbags themselves. Honda’s sophisticated dual-stage, dual-threshold system is designed to optimize the deployment rate to match both the speed and severity of a crash event. The control logic also takes several other factors into consideration, including the relative seat position of the driver and the weight of the front seat passenger, as well as whether the seat belts are in use at the time.


During a lower-speed collision, or if the seat is too close to the steering wheel, the inflators in the driver’s frontal airbag will activate sequentially to help mitigate the initial force. In a high-speed collision, or if the seat is positioned farther back, both igniters are triggered simultaneously for full and rapid inflation. The passenger-side frontal airbag is designed to operate in a similar manner, however a sensor under the passenger seat calculates whether the weight on the lower cushion meets a NHTSA-specified minimum value. If it doesn’t, the airbag is deactivated, as indicated by a light on the instrument panel.

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Like other Honda vehicles, the driver’s front airbag is located in the steering wheel while the passenger airbag is located on the top of the dash. When deployed, the passenger airbag inflates upward and then rearward to maximize its protective potential while reducing the likelihood of injuries being caused by the activation process itself.

Front Seatbelts with Automatic Tensioning System and Load Limiters

The front seatbelts are equipped with an automatic tensioning system and load limiters to help minimize injury potential in a frontal collision. When an impact occurs, the automatic tensioner tightens the seatbelt (shoulder and lap) to help hold the seat occupant firmly in position. Each front seatbelt retractor incorporates a load limiter that works in conjunction with the automatic tensioner. The load limiter functions by permitting a small amount of controlled seatbelt slack shortly after the tensioner is activated to limit the peak restraining forces, to help in reducing the potential of serious injury. The front seatbelts and outboard second row seatbelts in all Pilots also feature adjustable shoulder anchors. Three-point seatbelts are standard in all six rear seating positions.

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Active Front Seat Head Restraints

Each of the Pilot’s front seats are fitted with an innovative active head restraint designed to help reduce the severity of neck injuries in the event of a rear impact. The head restraint is mechanically connected to a lumbar plate located inside of the seatback via special links. If a rear impact takes place, the passenger’s body is pushed against the seatback. That action causes the head restraint to move forward in a carefully prescribed arc. The effect of this motion helps equalize the impact forces being transmitted to the head, neck and spine throughout the collision as the occupant’s head moves backward. Effectively managing and evenly disbursing these energy spikes is a critical factor in helping minimize the potential for injuries.

Adjustable Rear Head Restraints for All Seating Positions

The first, second and third row seats feature individually adjustable head restraints for all passenger seating positions.

Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH)

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All second row seating positions and the third row outboard passenger side are fitted with Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) positions that provide a simple and secure method of installing up to four compatible child safety seats. The LATCH system features built-in, ready-to-use anchors and tethers allowing compatible child safety seats to be installed without using the vehicle’s seat belt system.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

A Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) alerts a driver whenever the air pressure in one or more of the vehicle’s tires decreases significantly below the recommended level. Using four sensors (one in each tire) TPMS monitors and transmits information on tire air pressure to the ECU. When the pressure in one or more tires drops to a potentially critical level, it causes a low tire pressure indicator (located in the instrument cluster) to illuminate. A low tire pressure indicator in the vehicle’s information display shows the location of the low-pressure tire on a basic map of the vehicle. The Pilot Touring’s Multi Information Display provides individual tire pressures, too.

Body-Colored Front and Rear Parking Sensors (Touring)

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The Pilot Touring model is equipped with parking sensors that indicate (through a visual and audible warning from the Multi Information Display) that something may be in the path of the vehicle. The parking sensors are integrated into the front and rear bumpers and are body colored. The sensors can detect whether an object is directly behind, in front of, or to the right or to the left of the vehicle.

Safety R&D Facilities

Honda operates two of the world’s most sophisticated crash test laboratories for development of improved safety designs and technologies. The Tochigi, Japan, facility is the world’s first indoor omni-directional car-to-car crash testing facility and is playing a critical role in the development of enhanced designs for occupant and pedestrian safety, as well as vehicle-to-vehicle compatibility. Honda R&D America’s Raymond, Ohio, development center performs advanced testing on all U.S.-developed models. The facility features the world’s first pitching test sled, which aids efficiency by enabling economical and speedy crash-test simulations with certain interior safety components, such as seats and seatbelts, prior to conducting a crash test with an actual vehicle. It also features one of the world’s highest-resolution impact barriers, which enables precise measurement of the distribution of impact load forces on a vehicle, allowing for even more advanced vehicle designs.

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Show Comments


  (458) posted on 09.2.2011

The interior seems so refreshing for me, I’m impressed with the interior touch even the features that this Pilot had but as for the exterior I’m not really impressed with it.

  (798) posted on 02.21.2010

I’ve already drove out with the Pilot on rough road, my friend is driving it, while Im driving a Pathfinder, I must say the pilot performs and handles well on rough road plus it’s suspension are doing it’s job well.

  (518) posted on 01.12.2010

its a good looking powerful car the gas mileage is acceptable and usually not much worse than my old honda oddyssy about 17 normaly city and about 23 normaly on the highway my best has been 25.08 (in country going about 45 mph) and worst 13.238 (stuck in traffic with a/c blasting)

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