Will the 2019 Honda Pilot ace TFL’s new all-wheel drive slip test?
How well can the 2019 Honda Pilot shift its power around when a wheel loses traction? Thanks to TFL’s Tommy Mica and our new all-wheel drive slip test, you need wonder no more. While you may expect all-wheel drive systems to perform more or less the same in every car, manufacturers take their own approaches into how their vehicles appropriate power when driving in slippery conditions.
Take Honda’s i-VTM4 system, for example. i-VTM stands for “Intelligent Variable Torque Management”, and it uses a pair of electro-hydraulically actuated clutches housed at the rear axle. That way, when the system thinks it needs to send power rearward, it can actually lock in each individual wheel independently. In dry conditions, it can also send torque to the outside wheel for better traction in the corners. As the 2019 Honda Pilot only sends power rearward when the front wheels lose grip, it functions differently to, say, Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. Subaru’s approach sends power to all four wheels all the time.
Engine and transmission
The 2019 Honda Pilot houses the same 3.5-liter V-6 engine as previous models. It puts out 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. On LX, EX and EX-L models, that power is routed through a six-speed automatic transmission. On Touring and Elite models, like the Elite in the video above, you get a nine-speed automatic instead.
In addition to the Pilot’s all-wheel drive system, the car also has multiple drive modes for slippery conditions. It runs in Normal mode by default, then there are Snow, Mud and Sand modes on top of that. In our off-road test, it functioned well as the system thought its way through obstacles. But what happens when we systematically limit traction to individual wheels?
With the rollers positioned on different wheels to simulate different traction conditions, the Pilot manages to send power rearward without much issue. However, once three wheels have lost traction, the Pilot struggled more to appropriate power to the one wheel that had traction. Check out the results in the video above. To find out more about the 2019 Honda Pilot, watch our first drive review below. Subscribe to TFLcar and TFLnow for more news, views and real-world reviews!