Is The 2016 Honda Pilot An Acura MDX Alternative?


One look at the specs list from the 2016 Honda Pilot and you would’ve thought you were reading Acura’s catalog instead. Honda just dropped the specifications on its 2016 Honda Pilot, and it’s more of what we want (power, styling and more tech.) at a price that might make a few Acura MDX owners drop down to the Honda Pilot on there next big purchase.

Honda’s has done a lot to this 2016 Honda Pilot. Biggest news is power. They’ve taken the redesigned 3.5 Liter V6 Earth Dreams Unit and re-purposed it for use in the Honda Pilot. Not many people know, but Honda’s 3.5 Liter V6 engine unit is vastly underrated. The Temple of VTEC took a brand new 2013 Honda Accord to the dyno and laid down 260 HP to the wheels! Dads rejoice. You can have your cake and eat it too.

The styling is a bit on the conservative side and it no longer looks like the giant bread box it once was. Although be careful Honda. You add on a set of sliding doors on the 2016 Honda Pilot and it looks an awful lot like the a Honda Odyssey.

Honda has also added an Elite trim level that takes its EX-L trim level and adds such niceties like a panoramic roof, heated and cooled seats as well as LED headlights.

I’m pretty sure that Honda’s management has thought this out carefully and although the Honda Pilot comes close to being an Acura MDX alternative, it probably never well be. Never-mind the fact that they practically share the same engine and underlying chassis, the devil will be in the details.

The previous generation Pilot’s interior compared to Acura’s offering revealed a wide gap. The Pilot simply didn’t measure up with plastic pieces galore.

Then there’s the handling. The Acura MDX utilizes SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive) while the 2016 Honda Pilot uses VTM-4. In short, VTM-4 is a traction enhancement system while SH-AWD is capable of enhancing handling and cornering in addition to improving traction in low-grip situations. Additionally, it acts as a traction control system by actively controlling the torque distribution to counteract undesirable vehicle dynamics and movement without an ABS based traction control system.

On paper, the Honda Pilot comes close to the Acura MDX but a simple test drive will reveal the differences are quite apparent.