The Honda Pilot isn’t as weird as a Citroën, nor is it as thrilling as a BMW M3. In spite of this—or perhaps because of it—Honda’s eight-passenger crossover SUV sells in substantial numbers, impressive work for a car that debuted in its second generation for 2008. (It joined our long-term test fleet soon after.) To keep shoppers interested, though, Honda’s making some tweaks for 2012, and our spy shooters have caught one of the face-lifted Pilots running around.
The most notable difference is the change in the grille. The current car’s cyborg-like front fascia was a bit of a styling risk from such a conservative company, and while it probably didn’t hurt sales, it didn’t win loads of fans either. It’s immediately apparent from these images that the flat grille will disappear, to be replaced with a three-slat insert. Tape on the rear bumper suggests some resurfacing there as well. Otherwise, the Pilot’s exterior remains mostly the same as it has been; it’s an inoffensive design and still looks fresh enough to satisfy families in the showroom.
Mechanically, the alterations to the Pilot will most likely be evolutionary. Honda has been upgrading most of its models’ five-speed automatic transmissions with six-ratio units; you can expect the Pilot to join the six-speed in-crowd. Between the new gearbox and—perhaps—some finessing of the engine’s greasy bits, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Pilot gain an extra mile per gallon or two. For the folks who put cartoonish drawings of themselves and their pets on the rear window, this will be pleasant news.
We expect Honda to unveil the face-lifted Pilot sometime this fall, either at November’s Los Angeles auto show or at a less-full-of-fanfare venue. It’ll be a busy fall for the company’s crossover division, as we’re also expecting an all-new CR-V. We’ll bring you full info on both cars when it arrives.
Thanks to: Car and Driver