- The Washington Times - Friday, January 2, 2009

TORRANCE, Calif. | The all-new 2009 Honda Pilot has earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) “top safety pick” and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) best-possible crash safety rating of five stars for both frontal and side impact performance.

NHTSA’s top rating and the prestigious “good” (the best possible) rating in IIHS frontal offset, side impact and rear crash protection tests from the IIHS highlight Honda’s leadership in safety technology and occupant protection for all passengers.

“Honda is honored to earn both of these prestigious awards,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co. “The fact that we are the only full-line automaker that has the highest possible frontal and side impact ratings for every light truck in our lineup shows our clear leadership in the industry and commitment to safety at every level.”

Every new Honda light truck, five vehicles total, has achieved NHTSA’s five-star frontal and side impact crash safety ratings since the 2007 model year. Honda is the only full-line brand to ever achieve the highest-possible side and frontal impact crash safety ratings for every light truck in its entire lineup. All 2009 Pilots include the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure in the front of the vehicle that helps to further enhance occupant protection in frontal collisions between vehicles of different sizes.

The 2009 Pilot’s standard safety equipment includes Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®), commonly referred to as electronic stability control, with traction control and ABS; three-row side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor; dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags; a driver’s front side airbag, and a front passenger’s side airbag with an occupant position-detection system. The Pilot is equipped with four Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) positions — more than any other SUV currently in the segment.

A crossover SUV platform underpins the Pilot to provide the best of the car and truck worlds by integrating the refined traits and packaging advantages of a unit body car design with the utility and capability of an SUV design. A V-6 engine introduces the latest generation of Honda fuel-saving Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®) technology that operates in six-cylinder mode for power and four- and three-cylinder modes for efficiency, an improvement compared with the existing Pilot’s available VCM system that works exclusively in six- and three-cylinder modes.

Functional eight-passenger seating, a hallmark of the Pilot, becomes even easier to access in the third row as key dimensions for legroom, cargo and occupant space increase in all seating positions. A redesigned platform allows even more refined handling and ride comfort to exist seamlessly with all-weather and medium-duty off-road capabilities.

Three rows of seats provide a high degree of adaptability for people and large cargo loads. The first row provides a commanding view of the road from two captain’s chairs. A wide center stack and center console form the styling anchor for the interior with a design that emphasizes spaciousness and power, while allowing for convenient access to navigation, entertainment and climate-control systems.

The 60/40 split second row, now more spacious, slides further forward for increased ease of access to the third row. The 60/40 split third row now supplies enough knee room for an above-average-sized adult male to fit comfortably, making the Pilot’s third row among the most practical in the industry. Each side of the second and third row independently folds down for cargo. A flat floor is created when the second and third rows are folded down.

The ACE body structure enhances frontal collision compatibility with vehicles of different sizes and bumper heights. A pedestrian-injury mitigation design in the front of the vehicle is designed to help absorb energy in the event of a collision.

The Pilot originally debuted as a 2003 model in July 2002. Design and development of the 2003 Pilot and the 2009 Pilot were carried out at Honda R&D; Americas in Raymond, Ohio, and Torrance, Calif. The Pilot is assembled at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama in Lincoln.

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