CINCINNATI -- In 2008, the second-generation Honda Pilot crossover came to market with all the style and curves of a shipping container.
The timing was unfortunate. The Pilot's design had been frozen several years earlier, when gasoline was cheap and brawny SUVs such as the Hummer H2 were in their heyday. But by the middle of 2008, oil prices were surging and an economic crisis was looming. Not only was the Pilot's styling off-putting, but its boxy shape hid the fact that it was one of the most fuel-efficient crossovers in its class.
Between the Pilot's conception and launch, said Karl Brauer, senior analyst at KBB.com, "the market literally went in the other direction."
The redesigned 2016 Pilot, which goes on sale June 18, is a chance for a major course correction.