- Honda’s latest 3.5-liter V-6 powering the new Pilot switches to a dual-overhead-cam design, the first naturally aspirated DOHC V-6 in any Honda or Acura since the first-generation NSX.
- Bore, stroke and compression ratios carry over, while peak power increases by 5 hp to 285 hp and torque remains steady at 262 lb-ft.
- The new V-6 is dramatically cleaner, with some pollutants reduced by 40 to 50 percent, which should keep it compliant until at least 2030.
Lurking inside the head of the 2023 Honda Pilot’s new V-6, codenamed J35Y8, is a dramatic change: additional camshafts for each bank. Every previous naturally aspirated V-6 from Honda or Acura except the first-generation NSX has been a single-overhead-cam (SOHC) design. Bore and stroke carry over (and therefore 3471cc displacement), as does the 60-degree bank angle, and 11.5:1 compression ratio. But this new engine that powers the Pilot (and almost certainly any future V-6-powered vehicle, like the Odyssey and Ridgeline) gets compact DOHC heads from the turbocharged Type S variants of the Acura TLX and MDX, where the bearing cap cam is inserted into valve cover, reducing head height by 1.2 inches.
Peak power increases by 5 hp to 285 hp at 6100 rpm, while peak torque is the same at 262 pound-feet at 5000 rpm; those peaks occur at slightly higher engine speeds, 100 rpm and 300 rpm, respectively. The hydraulic lifters are also new, which means no more valve lash adjustments, and their emphasis keeps the valves closed during three-cylinder mode. The DOHC V-6 continues to use a timing belt, which has the same 100,000-mile replacement interval as the SOHC engine before it.
In terms of emissions, this latest V-6 jumps to a SULEV30 rating, which amounts to a 40 to 50 percent reduction in particulate and NOx emissions. Fuel control is more precise, with injection system pressure increased by 50 percent to 30 MPa (or 4351 psi), along with smaller injector holes and the ability to perform up to three injections per combustion cycle. Another major enabler is the use of cam phasing to further adjust intake and exhaust timing versus the high-lift and longer-duration intake lobes of previous V-6s. But that means the new engine doesn’t have VTEC, and the smooth, linear pull to redline replaces the manic shift point that helped give VTEC its cult following. Based on today’s rules, these changes will ensure V-6 compliance until at least 2030.