In the mid 1990s, Honda gave its upper echelon patrons a taste of luxury with its top-of-the-line sedan, the Legend. With 200 hp coming from a 3.2 liter V6 engine, it truly was Honda's sedan for the one who has been successful in his or her field of endeavor. Fast forward ten years, Honda redefines the luxury car market anew with the launch of the 2006 Accord and the Pilot.
The Pilot is Honda's Crossover SUV that has been making big waves in the world's main SUV venue: the USA. First launched last 2002, it has been Honda's most awarded brand, the recent of which was the Car and Driver's Best in Large SUV category, for the fifth consecutive year. Aside from other numerous recognitions, sales of the Pilot have been brisk, with more than 500,000 units sold from its launch until June 2006.
The Pilot's unitized body structure reinforces the car's stability, thereby resulting to sedan-like handling and drivability compared to its truck-based competitors. The attention-commanding exterior front fascia is composed of a massive front grill and bumper design, coupled with new design projector headlamps. 16" alloy wheels complete the overall imposing look that is genuinely Honda.
As an SUV, the Pilot naturally offers lot of space. While most SUV could only sit five to seven people at the most, the Pilot could accommodate eight buttocks in full comfort. Flat-folding second and third row seats allow for more cargo ingress. Multi-functional Center Console storage, rear cargo storage, and door pockets add a dash of convenience. The Pilot has an 8-way power adjustable driver's seat with manual lumbar support, leather steering wheel with Cruise Control and Audio Switches, 155 watt 6 CD in-dash audio systems with 7 speakers and subwoofer, in addition to the perennial power amenities.
The Pilot's heart is a 247ps 3.5 liter V6 engine with VTEC and Drive-by-Wire throttle system. Mated with 5-speed Automatic Transmission, gear ratio distribution is optimized for better fuel economy. The drive train on the other hand is called the VTM-4 of Variable Torque Management 4WD System. Akin to the one found in the CR-V, on most road conditions the Pilot is in front-wheel drive; if wheel slippage is detected, torque is automatically and variably (no preset torque ratio) transmitted to the rear wheels. Safety features are abounding in the Pilot. Aside from the front and rear crumple zones and side door impact beams, it is also equipped with VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist) with Traction Control. ABS and EBD are also standard. Airbags likewise are aplenty, such as front dual airbags, front side airbags and 3-row side curtain airbags. The Honda Pilot will be available by November 2006 with an introductory price of PHP 2.6 million, although reservations are already accepted.
Meanwhile, the 2006 Accord has been given a much needed visual upgrade, evident of which was the new rear end design with new design taillights and trunk lid taking center stage. The front end was made sleeker to improve road visibility and drag coefficient figures. New 16" wheels for both the 2.4 L and 3.0 L V6 variants are available to complement the over all facelift.
On the inside, a new shift lever has been incorporated in the already luxurious interior. The 2.4 liter Accord now hosts black leather interior while its V6 variant has ivory leather seats with wood-like panel accents. Dual Auto Climate Control is now standard, as well as a premium audio system option for the 3.0 V6 variant.
As mentioned, the 2006 Accord is powered by Honda's 2.4 liter i-VTEC engine and 3.0 V6 VTEC engines. The engines deliver 170 ps and 240 ps respectively, topping all other competitors in this segment. Aiding the sporty Accord is the VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist) and improved 5-link double wishbone suspension setup.
The 2006 Accord is priced at PHP 1.470 M for the 2.4 liter variant and PHP 1.69 M for the 3.0 V6 variant. A Brilliant White Pearl paint option is available for an additional PHP 15,000.
The two new vehicles are currently on display at the Honda World 2006 display at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati along with other Honda models. Also on display are the Honda WOW Concept, Honda Formula One racecar, and ASIMO.