Redesign bolsters Honda Pilot for 2023
The family-friendly SUV gets a complete redesign
ROSEVILLE, CA – When it comes to midsize SUVs, the Honda Pilot He was always among the best choices.
Although competition has increased in recent years – and most notably Kia Telluride and its hypothetical twin, the Hyundai Palisades—the reliable and premium Aviator model remained a top runner-up for families looking for a three-row midsize SUV. It still delivers versatility, comfort and efficiency and retains Honda’s reputation for reliability.
The 2023 Honda Pilot has been completely redesigned and has slightly larger dimensions. New exterior and interior design helped refresh the Pilot, giving it a more muscular appeal with fewer curves. It remains an attractive, family-friendly SUV with plenty of storage space and above-average performance.
The Pilot enjoyed its best sales year ever with 143,062 sold in 2021, but fell to 99,567 one year later. That broke a 12-year stretch in a row where test sales reached or exceeded 100,000.
The latest Pilot has an attractive off-road model, the new all-wheel-drive TrailSport. Standard equipment includes higher ground clearance, steel skid plates, all-terrain tires, and off-road-tuned suspension. The TrailSport model previously appeared on the Honda Passport.
The TrailSport is one of six Pilot models (LX, Sport, EX-L, TrailSport, Touring and Elite), and it has 8.3 inches of ground clearance, an inch more than the standard Pilot. That’s still short of the 8.7-inch clearance of the Ford Explorer Timberline and Subaru Ascent, both three-row competitors with similar off-road packages.
Performance remains a strong selling point for the Pilot. The engine is a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 285 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is a small increase in horsepower (5 HP) for the Pilot, which also features a new 10-speed automatic transmission, replacing the 9-speed.
The front-wheel-drive Pilot (AWD is an option) goes from 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds and gets 19-27 mpg. It has seven driving modes—Normal, Eco, Sport, Snow, Trail, Sand, and Drag. Towing limit is 5,000 pounds when equipped with all-wheel drive.
What adds to the Pilot’s overall appeal is its ability to deliver a comfortable and quiet ride. It provides reasonably precise steering and gives the driver a feeling of confidence in all situations. This includes the ability to maneuver on difficult roads, where the pilot is stable and predictable.
The suite of driver-assist safety features includes automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlights. There’s also standard Traffic Jam Assist that allows the adaptive cruise control to come to a stop at the end while keeping the pilot in lane.
At a Glance – Honda Pilot 2023
- Performance: 3.5-liter, V6, 285 hp
- Mileage estimate: 19-27 mpg
- Estimated price: $39,200 to $52,100
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; Drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; Roadside assistance: 3 years/36,000; Corrosion: 5 years / unlimited
Honda has addressed some of the interior’s shortcomings with a redesign, but some issues remain. It comes standard with a small 7-inch touchscreen while some competitors have a 12.3-inch screen. Even the Pilot’s optional touchscreen is just 9 inches. Technology in general is also an experimental flaw.
Seating is comfortable in the first two rows. The second-row seats are greatly improved, thanks to an additional 2.4 inches of legroom. Even though the third-row seats have increased by 0.6 inches, they’re still an uncomfortable place to sit for adults. Space behind the third row has increased to 22.4 cubic feet, which is among the best in its class. With both rows folded to the floor, the Pilot offers a whopping 113.7 cubic feet of cargo space.
The redesign fixed several weaknesses, which resulted in a draw 2023 Honda Pilot closer to its main competitors. It’s still a solid choice among all three-row midsize SUVs.
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