Honda Engineers Break Down The Pilot Trailsport's Off-Road Upgrades

Off-Road / Comments

Some special sauce went into the development of the new SUV.

Honda has released a video chronicling the development of the new Pilot's Trailsport trim. Now, much of the video is marketing lingo and buzzwords, but at a certain point, some interesting technical insight is provided by Honda engineers.

That includes insight into how the crossover's drive modes were selected, its mechanical upgrades over the regular Honda Pilot, and a handful of other items. The Honda Trailsport trim is also available on other vehicles, but some special care went into the development of the Pilot's trim.

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Abhijith Sadananda, Honda Pilot Durability leader, says a particular focus went into creating a drive mode that worked well with v-ditches, something common on off-road trails across the US. The Trailsport, as we know from the debut, gets steel skidplates both front and rear. Sadananda says these are able to support the entire weight of the car.

According to him, this was a totally new requirement for the Trailsport. Special consideration was also given to crashworthiness, aerodynamics, and serviceability to ensure the added protection didn't impact other aspects of the car.

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To test the car, the team took to trails in Breckenridge, Sedona, and Moab - each are respected spots for off-roading in the US. According to Sadananda, the team also emphasized access to strong, usable recovery hooks at the front and rear of the Pilot. Each is able to pull twice the weight of the vehicle.

To get over the v-ditches we mentioned earlier, Honda uses something it calls "Trail Torque Logic." The Trailsport-exclusive tech can send up to 75% of available rear diff torque to the tractive tire. That, paired with the car's trail cameras, should make navigating much easier off-road, as the cameras automatically activate based on vehicle speed.

If Honda's engineers are to be believed, the Trailsport should be an incredibly capable off-roader. To find out, we'll have to wait until we get behind the wheel. The latest generation Pilot is the most powerful SUV the automaker has built to date, thanks to an all-new 3.5-liter V6 with 285 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. When equipped with AWD, standard on the Trailsport and Elite trim, the new Pilot has a towing capacity of up to 5,000 lbs with the added assistance of the also new Tow driving mode.

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