2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport

2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport

After teasing audiences with videos of the vehicle in camouflage, Honda finally pulled the wraps off its redesigned flagship SUV. The 2023 Pilot will enter its fourth design generation next month sporting new exterior and interior styling, a brand-new V6 engine, and a revamped TrailSport trim level that the automaker is promoting as the most off-road-capable Honda SUV ever.

The original Pilot debuted for the 2003 model year, and it was an instant hit with both critics and the car-buying public. While not as popular overall as the compact CR-V, the midsize Pilot has remained a favorite of Honda loyalists and brand newcomers with calendar-year sales topping 100,000 for 18 of its 20 years on the market.

Exterior wise, the new Pilot adopts similar styling cues as the similarly redesigned 2023 CR-V with a large front grille and narrow headlights. The look is clean, but in general it doesn’t break any new ground. The revamped TrailSport is the most visually interesting of the lot with its available “Diffused Sky Blue” paint, chunky all-terrain tires, and additional ground clearance. The TrailSport also adds full underbody skid plates and a unique all-wheel-drive (AWD) system with what Honda calls “trail torque logic.” This feature is designed to help maintain traction in conditions where one of the wheels may lift off the ground.

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2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport

2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport

Under the hood, instead of moving to a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, Honda is sticking with V6 power for the 2023 Pilot. While it has the same 3.5-liter displacement as the outgoing model, the motor is otherwise completely new, producing 285 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. The previous 9-speed automatic transmission has been upgraded to Honda’s excellent 10-speed, too. Official EPA fuel-economy numbers weren’t available as of this writing, but we expect improvements of around 1-2 mpg across the board.

All 2023 Pilot models, which ascend through Sport, EX-L, TrailSport, Touring, and Elite grades, have a wheelbase that’s nearly 3 inches longer than their predecessors, which translates into more passenger and cargo volume. The 2nd-row and 3rd-row seating areas gain 2.4 and 0.6 inches of legroom, respectively. Touring and Elite models feature a unique 2nd row with a foldable middle section. It can act as a regular seat, folded flat to form a wide armrest for outboard passengers, or stowed under the floor to create a passageway to the 3rd row.  With the 2nd and 3rd rows folded, there’s now a massive 113.7 cubic feet of cargo room.

The rest of the Pilot’s interior also borrows much of its overall look from the new CR-V. The infotainment screen sits in tablet style atop the center of the dashboard. The base Sport model’s is 7 inches while the rest of the lineup, which ascends through EX-L, TrailSport, Touring, and Elite, gets a 9-inch unit. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto functionality are newly standard on all but the Sport. Elite models get a fully digital 10.2-inch instrument panel while the rest have a 7-inch display with an analog speedometer. The Touring and Elite come standard with a panoramic sunroof and 12-speaker Bose audio system.

Pilot also has an updated version of the Honda Sensing safety suite. The cameras and radar systems have wider files of view to help with potential collision detection. The blind-spot monitor has a longer range while the adaptive radar cruise control and lane-keep assist systems have been tweaked to react more smoothly.

Pricing and complete feature availability for the 2023 Honda Pilot will be announced immediately before the vehicle arrives at dealers in December.

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2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport

2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport

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