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2012 Honda Pilot Debuts with Sleek New Look, Improved Fuel Economy and Upgraded Interior Features

TORONTO, ON, Aug. 31, 2011 – The Honda Pilot eight-passenger SUV receives a wide range of upgrades for 2012 with a sleeker front-end design, enhanced interior features and was designed to deliver the highest fuel economy available in a three-row, 8-passenger SUV. As with the prior model year, the 2012 Pilot is available in five model choices (Pilot LX 2WD, LX, EX, EX-L and Touring).

The new styling for the front fascia, with its three-bar chrome-style grille, conveys a more sophisticated SUV appearance. Interior styling changes focus on instrument panel refinement and a more intuitive button layout. For 2012, audio system upgrades on Pilot LX, EX and EX-L models include a 2 GB CD-Library (CD-L) and Bluetooth® Audio Streaming, along with the addition of Bluetooth HandsFreeLink® is now standard on all trim levels.

Feature upgrades on the Pilot EX and EX-L include the addition of a full-colour 8-inch intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) for audio and vehicle information. Touring models are equipped with Honda’s Satellite-Linked Navigation System and receive a 15 GB audio hard disk drive memory (HDD), and a higher-resolution display.

The fuel economy gains for 2012 result from combined improvements to the powertrain, chassis and vehicle aerodynamics. The 250 horsepower i-VTEC V-6 engine includes additional measures for friction reduction and improved efficiency. The 2012 Pilot becomes quieter with additional noise insulation and other enhancements throughout the vehicle.    

Body
The 2012 Pilot’s new grille and front fascia replace the prior model’s six-sided grille insert with a distinctive three-bar horizontal design. Reconfigured multi-reflector halogen headlights and turn signals contribute to the new look with a layout that relocates the turn signal from an outboard position to an inboard position within the headlight housing. A new front air dam and optimized strakes help reduce unwanted air turbulence, which impacts fuel economy.

Rounding out the exterior design changes, all Pilot LX through EX-L models receive an all-new five-spoke, 18-inch aluminum alloy wheel design (plus 1-inch compared to the previous model). Pilot Touring alloy wheels feature an exclusive 18-inch aluminum alloy six-spoke design with a high-contrast machined surface.

Exterior dimensions for 2012 are similar to 2011 with identical measurements for width (1995 mm), height (1846 mm) wheelbase (2275 mm) and track (front 1720 / rear 1715 mm). Overall length increases slightly to 4861 mm as a result of the front styling changes and ground clearance is relatively unchanged at 202 mm.

Interior    
Interior styling changes are designed to increase refinement throughout the cabin while also enhancing the intuitive nature of the controls. The instrument panel uses a more unified colour theme with less contrast between panels. A glossy black centre panel for audio controls replaces the high-contrast silver panel of the previous model. Speedometer and tachometer gauge faces incorporate a new look with distinct segments surrounding each meter’s perimeter, along with white background illumination for nighttime driving instead of the previous model’s aqua-blue background illumination. The redesigned centre stack adds a subtle U-shaped character line and different textures to create a layered effect on the panel. Ideal for phones and audio players, a larger centre storage pocket is 10mm taller. A simplified layout for the climate controls replaces some of the buttons with dials for a more intuitive, easy-to-use overall design.     

The top of the centre stack on each Pilot model contains a unique display that varies by model. Pilot LX model contains a three-line display. Pilot EX and EX-L models for 2012 (without navigation) receive the new i-MID, which provides a convenient platform for integration of vehicle information and compatible personal electronics through a colour LCD screen and intuitive steering wheel controls. The Pilot rearview camera display appears in the i-MID and includes guidelines for judging parking distance. The i-MID also shows HandsFreeLink® operation, user-loaded wallpaper such as photos, a fuel-economy display and an audio interface.

Standard on Touring, the 2012 Pilot adopts the latest version of the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™2. Now with 60 GB of total system memory (includes 15 GB allocated for user media) and voice recognition for three languages, this system uses multiple global positioning satellites covering all of North America. The hard drive can store thousands of minutes of music, which is accessible by simple voice commands using the Song By Voice™ feature. Additionally, 2012 Pilot models with navigation feature a multi-view rear camera (wide view, normal view and top-down view), with the image displayed on the navigation screen for convenient parking help when in reverse.

Adding to the comfort level of the 2012 Pilot is a reduction in noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). Enhanced body seam sealing around the unit-body connection points, and re-tuned rear suspension sub-frame mounts, result in lower noise levels in the passenger cabin. Other specific NVH countermeasures include body-seam sealants to reduce air leaks, enhanced pillar separators, revised insulation materials and acoustic windshield glass on all models.

The tailgate features a lift-up glass hatch for convenient access to the rearmost cargo area. The model’s 589 L (18.0 cubic-feet) 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. For maximum cargo space, the second and third rows fold flat into the floor to create 2464 L (87.0 cubic feet) of storage capacity, while also providing sufficient width for 4-foot-wide items.
    
The cargo area has a hidden storage well that provides 79 L (2.8 cu-ft.) of additional space and can combine with the above floor storage area by securing the hinged cover against the seatback. The Pilot Touring also provides a load-supporting cargo net (20 lbs. maximum weight) to further subdivide the rear cargo area.

Safety
Safety technology includes the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure that helps reduce the amount of crash energy reaching the passenger compartment and can enhance frontal collision compatibility. Additional safety equipment includes 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. Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®), commonly referred to as Electronic Stability Control, is standard on all models.
    
Powertrain
Power comes from an advanced 24-valve, all-aluminum engine with "intelligent" Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (i-VTEC) technology with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM). The VCM system allows the V-6 engine to operate in six-cylinder mode for power and four- or three-cylinder modes for efficiency. Fuel economy improves for 2012 with an estimated city/highway/combined fuel economy of 11.8/7.8/10.0 L/100km on 2-wheel-drive models (LX) and 12.3/8.2/10.5 on 4-wheel-drive models (LX, EX, EX-L and Touring). Representing approximately 10% in overall improvement, this gives the 2012 Pilot 2WD the highest fuel economy of any 8-passenger SUV and the Pilot 4WD the highest fuel economy for any mid-size 4WD SUV.

Fuel-efficiency enhancements include the application of engine friction-reduction technologies including a plateau-honed engine block, low-friction piston treatments, ion-plated piston rings and 0W-20 oil. Additional fuel economy-enhancing measures include the use of a load-variable alternator and high-efficiency spark plugs. The VCM operation range has also been expanded.

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 available VTM-4 system on Pilot 4WD models adds fully automatic 4-wheel-drive capability. VTM-4 delivers seamless, "decision-free" application of 4-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 29 km/h 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.

Chassis    
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 2275 mm wheelbase facilitates a smooth ride. A tight turning diameter of 5.78 m aids maneuverability in tight parking situations.

Chassis improvements that directly improve fuel economy include a variable-displacement power steering pump, low-rolling-resistance tires, and low-drag front ventilated and rear disc brakes. Improved aerodynamics, the front strakes, splash shields and inner fenders, and reduced frontal area also contribute to improved fuel economy.


Media Contacts:

Laura Heasman
Coordinator, Public Relations
Honda Canada Inc.
T: 905-888-4586
E: laura_heasman@ch.honda.com

Mark James
Media Profile
T: 416-342-1804 (office)
T: 416-400-5263 (mobile)
E: mark.james@mediaprofile.com