The 2016 Honda Pilots shared the same towing capacity ratings that some of the other later model Pilots exhibited, due to the same engine configuration, along with similar drivetrain and transmission options.
In this article, I gathered all of the information for the 2016 models and organized it in a sort of resource guide type of article that I think will help a lot of people out there. I hope you find it helpful!
Read through your owner's manual to get familiar with your vehicle and to ensure that you follow Honda's recommendations when it comes to towing or anything else related to your vehicle.
2016 Pilot Overview
Overall Towing Capacity: The overall towing capacity for the 2016 Honda Pilots range from 0-5,000 pounds. This depended on how many people you had in the vehicle, whether you had a two-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configuration, and if you had the optional automatic transmission fluid cooler installed.
Engine Options: There was only one type of engine available for these SUVs, and this was a 3.5 L engine (V6). This made the chart easy to read and weigh less confusing than some other vehicles out there, they have many different engine configurations, along with other varying elements.
Trim Levels: There we're five different trim levels available that you could choose from for this model year and these were listed as the: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and Elite trim levels. It is important to note that the trim level you had on your vehicle did not impact your towing capacity at all, other factors contributed to the differences and maximum weight specifications.
Assumed Weight: The chart that I have posted that contains all of the maximum trailer weight ratings breaks down the ratings according to the number of people in the vehicle, and if you look at the notes below the chart, you can see that Honda assumes that each passenger weighs 150 lbs. And has 15 lbs. of cargo, for a total of 165 lbs. per occupant in the vehicle.
The 2016 Honda Pilots had a pretty simple chart, as you can see below, and it laid out the maximum trailer weight ratings according to the number of occupants in the vehicle, which is located on the left side of the chart.
There are an additional three rows in the chart that list all-wheel drive models that have an automatic transmission fluid cooler, all-wheel-drive models without the cooler and two-wheel drive models.
The all-wheel-drive models without the cooler and the two-wheel drive models have the same exact specs, when you compare the data in the chart, which were quite a bit lower compared to the all-wheel-drive models that had the automatic transmission fluid cooler installed.
Tongue Weight Rating:
I was also able to find a tongue load weight rating chart that I posted below located in the owner's manual that lists some example maximum tongue load weight ratings, again, according to the number of occupants in the vehicle.
If you look at the numbers in the chart below, you can see that Honda used a 10% tongue weight in order to achieve the listed tongue load weight ratings, but if you read the text at the top of the chart, Honda recommends that 5-15% of the maximum trailer weight accounts for the tongue load for boat trailers and 10-15% tongue weight rating for all other types of trailers.
Using trailer brakes was also mentioned in the owner's manual and this was required by Honda if your trailer weighed 1,000 pounds or more. This is pretty common for all model year Pilots, as my research has proven that to be true. It is important to note that you will want to check with your local laws to see if that 1,000 pound rating is sufficient to satisfy those laws.
There were five different trim levels offered for the 2016 Pilots and in the brochure I found online, they were listed as the: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and Elite models. After looking at the chart, I didn't see any additional information that would indicate that the trim level you had for your vehicle changed the maximum trailer weight ratings, so it did not seem to have any effect on the overall numbers listed in the chart.
Only the number of occupants in the vehicle, whether you had a 2-wheel drive or all-wheel drive model, and the optional automatic transmission fluid cooler installed were the only things that affected the maximum trailer weight ratings.
GVWR, GCWR and GAWR Figures:
I was also able to find other information in the owner's manual that stated the maximum weight ratings for very important metrics like the gross vehicle weight rating, the gross combined weight rating and the gross axle weight ratings for both the front and rear axles.
I posted an image below that has a small chart and the specified maximum weights are divided into two-wheel drive models and all-wheel-drive models.
GCWR: The gross combined weight rating was listed at 8,025 pounds for two-wheel drive models and 9,755 LBS for all-wheel-drive models.
GVWR: The gross vehicle weight rating was listed as just "gross vehicle" in the chart below, but we can see that the two-wheel drive models had the maximum weight limit of 5,545 pounds, while the all-wheel drive models had a 5,842 lb limit.
GAWRs: The gross axle weight ratings were listed in the chart and they were highlighted in the darker gray areas and were separated for some reason. The front gross axle weight ratings for two-wheel drive models was listed at 2,734 lbs. while the all-wheel drive models had a 2,855 lb. maximum rating. For the rear axle weight ratings, we saw a 2,921 lb. limit for two-wheel drive models and the all-wheel-drive models had a 3,097 pound listing.
Do I Have A Transmission Cooler?
Only all-wheel drive model 2016 Pilots had the ability to have an optional automatic transmission fluid cooler installed and this is how you were able to achieve the highest ratings in the chart.
In order to see if you have one of these installed on your vehicle, you will either have to visually inspect for transmission fluid lines that run to the radiator or to an auxiliary cooler somewhere around the radiator area or you will have to take your vehicle into a dealership to see if they can verify whether you have one installed.
Other Notes I Found:
There were other notes and helpful information I found in the owner's manual that I thought was worth mentioning, along with all the other essential information that I have posted in this article. The first image I found talks a little bit about how your towing performance can be affected by certain things like higher outside temperatures, steep grades and higher altitudes, which you will need to compensate for and keep in mind that these extreme conditions can cause issues like overheating if you push the limits of your vehicle.
The other bit of information I found talks a little bit about using a weight distributing hitch. You do have the option of using one, but Honda recommends that you have it installed professionally to avoid any issues that you might have driving down the road from an improperly installed weight distribution hitch.
There were two main sources I used for the research in this article and these came from the owner's manual, of course and the 2016 pilot brochure, both of which I found online. I wanted to link to these two resources for those of you out there that want to dive a little bit deeper into the information yourself.