New Body Features
- ACE body structure
- Tailgate with lift-up glass hatch
- Integrated tow hitch (standard)
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.
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.
The 2009 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. 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.
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.