Honda to Launch Turbo VTEC Engines, Next-Gen Pilot SUV in 2015
New Ridgeline pickup, additional hybrids also on the way.
Honda did not introduce any new vehicles at this year's Detroit auto show, but the company did give a bit more information on its future plans concerning turbocharged powertrains and impending redesigns for the Honda Pilot SUV and Honda Ridgeline pickup truck.
We learned plenty about these new, small turbocharged engines way back in 2013, and even got a chance to drive a Euro-market Honda Civic equipped with one of these powertrains (pictured above) at Honda's Tochigi test facility in Japan. Now Honda says that the engines will go into production later this year at the company's engine plant in Anna, Ohio. We don't yet know in which car the first small-displacement turbocharged four-cylinder will be used, but at least one turbocharged Honda vehicle will debut by the end of this year.
John Mendel, Executive Vice President of Honda's U.S. Automobiles division, also announced that the next-generation Honda Pilot SUV will debut shortly after the Honda HR-V goes on sale this spring. This might mean that we'll see the 2016 Honda Pilot at the New York auto show in April. All we know for sure about this new SUV is that it will still have 8-passenger seating capacity, though we can safely predict it will be powered by Honda's 3.5-liter V-6 engine paired with either front- or all-wheel drive.
The next-generation Honda Ridgeline will follow the Pilot, possibly before the end of this year. Honda already issued a teaser image for the new Ridgeline a few months ago, which gave away little about the truck other than its new overall profile which looks to adopt a more conventional, truck-like shape compared with the outgoing Ridgeline and its sloping rear bed. Like the current Ridgeline, which went out of production last year, we expect the new model to continue sharing its unibody platform with the Honda Pilot and Acura MDX SUVs.
Finally, Honda announced an increasing commitment to hybrids and electric vehicles, announcing that a new hybrid and a new all-electric would join the Honda lineup by 2018. The company also said to look out for more applications of the two- and three-motor gas-electric hybrid systems within the next few years. We expect that a next-generation Honda Civic Hybrid could be a prime candidate for Honda's new hybrid drivetrain.
Stay tuned for more news from Honda on all these fronts throughout 2015.