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Refreshing or Revolting: 2016 Honda Pilot

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2/13/2015 Karla Sanchez
Refreshing or Revolting: 2016 Honda Pilot 2016 Honda Pilot Front Three Quarter 01© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Honda Pilot Front Three Quarter 01

It's been awhile since the Honda Pilot received a significant update, but it appears as though the wait may have been worth it. The Japanese automaker revealed the completely redone 2016 Pilot at this week's Chicago Auto Show, where it pulled a Renee Zellweger by boasting a nearly unrecognizable appearance compared to the outgoing model. Below, we closely examine all the changes the Pilot underwent to look the way it does now.

Right away, you'll notice that the Pilot's boxy frame has been smoothed out, making it look more like a crossover than the utilitarian SUV it looked like before. Although a rounded hood gives the Pilot's front end an overall softer appearance, it still looks muscular thanks to character lines on the hood. The front grille now only has two chrome bars, with a thicker one at the top connecting newly designed headlights that have been pinned back. Directly below the headlights are new daytime running lights and air inlets, while foglights are found on the lower bumper.

From the side, the Pilot looks much more modern with a sharp character line that starts on the front quarter panel and runs through the door handles, kinking up toward a more angular rear quarter window. That window now connects to the other side windows, whereas before, it stood alone since it was separated by sheetmetal. The roofline has also been squished down, sloping down toward the rear.

Major changes continue around back, where the Pilot appears to have taken inspiration from the Acura MDX and RDX. Two-piece taillights that split on the tailgate and on the rear quarter panels replace the old Pilot's rectangular lights, giving the SUV a more premium appearance. An integrated rear spoiler above the liftgate also adds more character compared to the slab-sided SUV.

Honda wasn't done there. It also completely transformed the Pilot's interior, which now looks more upscale with more quality materials and soft touch points. Like all other newer Hondas, the Pilot has a new infotainment screen flanked by rectangular HVAC vents. Gone is the sea of buttons found on the previous model, giving the new Pilot's cabin a cleaner and classier feel. The gear select lever (or buttons in the case of the nine-speed automatic) has been moved from the center stack to the console.

What do you think of the new 2016 Pilot? Do you think it has a better chance of competing against rivals like the Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander now that it looks more modern? Let us know in the comments below.

Last week's edition of Refreshing or Revolting focused on the 2016 Nissan Titan, and reactions were very contradictory.

"This is very ugly. The front has too much chrome, and the Nissan symbol at the front is too big. It's revolting," said STPeter.

"Revolting. It's just out of proportion. Some elements are big and the others are shrunken," said Monsterized.

ronnie liked it, saying, "I'm a fan. Don't really know how people can say it looks too big in the front."

The same goes for canddmeyer, who said, "I'm in the minority, but I like the new Titan. The heavy-half diesel will sell very very well."

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