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    Smaller Honda Pilot on anvil to fight against the Hyundai Creta

    by Mahesh Yadav on Monday, Sep 11 2017

    It is known that Honda Motor is keen on bridging the gap that exists between its two key SUV models - the CR-V and the Pilot. As per the reports, the Japanese auto major is planning to bring in a slashed down version of the Pilot to sit between the CR-V and the current three-row Pilot SUV.

    It is known that Honda Motor is keen on bridging the gap that exists between its two key SUV models - the CR-V and the Pilot. As per the reports, the Japanese auto major is planning to bring in a slashed down version of the Pilot to sit between the CR-V and the current three-row Pilot SUV.

    Honda is working on the compact version of the Pilot SUV with a shrunk down wheelbase with two rows of seats, which will be sitting between the compact CR-V and the standard three-row Pilot. The smaller wheelbase Honda Pilot would offer a cheaper starting price of the Pilot lineup and let Honda directly compete with some of the popular models in the US. Once launched in the market, the reported Honda Pilot short-wheelbase is going to directly fight it out with crossover models such as the Ford Edge.

    Honda Motor is trying to make the most of the CUV sector in the U.S car market, and thus is reportedly going to introduce the short wheelbase (SWB) version of its Pilot. The Pilot is currently available only in its full-fledged three-row SUV or CUV version and its smaller SWB two-row version will help its maker expand the SUV range further and compete better in the highly competitive US car market.

    This strategy is similar to what the South Korean auto major Hyundai adopted for its Santa Fe SUV or midsize CUV. The standard Hyundai Santa Fe with 3 rows has a starting price tag of $30,800, while the 2017 2-row Santa Fe Sport version costs around $5,000 lesser than its larger avatar, at $25,350.  The 2017 Honda Pilot has a starting price range of o$30,595 for its entry-level front-wheel drive LX variant. The speculated short wheelbase Pilot with its considerable slashed down starting price is definitely going to expand its customer base.

    The SWB Pilot is going to slot above the CR-V which is 4,587 mm long and a wheelbase measuring 2,659 mm; and the full-size Pilot that is 4,940 mm long and rides on a wheelbase measuring 2,819 mm.

    When the launch timeline is concerned, everything is still based on speculations. However it is thought that the smaller version of the Honda Pilot will be produced in the company’s Lincoln, Alabama manufacturing facility which also manufactures the existing Pilot model. The Japanese carmaker has recently announced a big investment of $85 million in this plant to produce future models, and one of these future models is certainly expected to be the SWB Pilot.

    The slashed down Honda Pilot with two rows of seating is likely to come pretty soon and is likely to hit the production line at Honda’s Lincoln plant around September in 2018. When contacted, a Honda spokeswoman said that the company doesn’t comment on its future products (the usual response to such queries).

    The interesting bit is that the reported upcoming short-wheelbase Honda Pilot is also expected to be launched in many international markets outside the US, which includes India.

    If and when the compact avatar of the Honda Pilot launches in India, it would directly go against the likes of the Hyundai Creta.


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Mahesh is a fan of compact, quirky and underrated vehicles that punch above their weight. Multix, Nano, Strom R3 and Navi are his favorites.

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