Honda coupled these cosmetic improvements with several significant mechanical upgrades to further distinguish the 2009 model from previous years. All styles may still have the same 3.5 liter V6 from previous years, but these engines are not the same. For 2009, Honda increases the Pilot's engine output to an even 250 horsepower. The 2-wheel drive Pilot provides drivers with 2500 lbs. of towing capability while the 4-wheel version nearly doubles that to 4500 lbs.
Safety was not overlooked in the Pilot's redesign. Honda claims that frame now contains more high-strength steel than any other Honda vehicle. The new frame and standard front and 3-row side curtain airbags may have played a role in the safety accolades that the new Pilot has garnered. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Pilot its "Top Safety Pick" and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Pilot its highest safety rating of 5 stars for both frontal & side impact collisions.
The entry level LX style is only available with standard factory equipment. However, this standard equipment list is a lengthy one, including front and rear power disc brakes, remote entry, power windows and locks, hidden storage well in the cargo area and lift-up glass hatch on the tailgate, a new item that is standard on the LX and the EX.
The mid-level EX adds available power front seats with heated leather trim. Also, drivers will enjoy the addition of an improved power moonroof that is 26% larger than previous years with a diffuser to minimize exterior noise while moonroof is open. The EX also is available with a selection of upgraded stereos as well as a rear seat entertainment system, which includes a DVD player complemented with a 512-watt 10-speaker stereo. To further appease rear passengers, the EX also provides a tri-zone climate control system with humidity control and air-filtration.
The top end Touring styles provide a level of customization that should keep most drivers happy, and adds equipment that is unique to this class. Front seat memory as well as heated exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals are both standard. Also, the liftgate is improved to a power liftgate that can be opened at the touch of a button. Most appealing, however, might be the addition of the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with Bluetooth connectivity and integrated rearview camera, exclusive to the Pilot Touring class.