The Honda Pilot crossover offers three rows of seats, V-6 power, and all-wheel drive, so it’s in the same class as the Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Toyota Highlander, and Ford Explorer.
It’s larger, roomier, cleaner, and has improved digital interfaces and a muscular design that’s a vast improvement over its blobby predecessor. It earns a TCC Rating of 6.8 out of 10, pending a safety score. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
It’s revamped, reskinned, and retooled, and just in time given the stunning success of its South Korean rivals. Honda bets the Pilot’s new shape and upgraded technology, not to mention a tougher TrailSport edition, will draw the spotlight back in its direction.
The new design attracts, with some classic Isuzu (!) in its rear end, and some Acura MDX across the front. It’s a pendulum swing away from the softly rounded Pilot of last year, more in line with the rectilinear model that preceded that one in the 2010s. A return to roots appears in the simplified cabin, though it’s flush with the latest technology and optimized to carry families and their stuff.
Honda developed a new 285-hp 3.5-liter V-6 that replaces the 280-hp V-6, and it upgraded to a 10-speed automatic transmission. These small changes reduce emissions by 40% versus the old V-6, but fuel economy in the larger, heavier 2023 Pilot slips by 1 mpg from the 2022 model. A stiffer structure shared with the Acura MDX as part of Honda’s new global light truck platform combines with a redesigned independent suspension for a smoother, more planted ride. A new all-wheel-drive system can shift up to 70% of the power to the rear end, which can then split it across the rear wheels for better distribution, Honda says. Ground clearance increases an inch to 8.3 inches on the TrailSport, and with all-terrain tires wrapped on 18-inch wheels as well as skid plates and built-in recovery points, the TrailSport model delivers genuine off-road capability, instead of just a look.
The new Pilot seats eight passengers with an available middle row seat that can be stowed under the cargo floor in back. With captain’s chairs, it seats seven passengers, but in any configuration, comfy front seats and roomier second- and third-row seats make the new Pilot feel almost minivan-ish inside.
No crash-test data has been released, but the 2023 Pilot has standard automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control.
How much does the 2023 Honda Pilot cost?
Starting at $37,295, including a $1,345 destination fee, the 2023 Pilot arrives in six trims: LX, Sport, EX-L, TrailSport, Touring, and Elite. All-wheel drive adds $2,100, except on the $49,695 TrailSport and $53,375 Elite grades, where it is standard. All but the base LX come with heated front seats with power adjustments; standard tech includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but most versions offer it wirelessly, along with wireless smartphone charging, and a 9.0-inch touchscreen. Bose audio, a 10.2-inch digital instrument panel, leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, and navigation are available.
Where is the 2023 Honda Pilot made?
In Lincoln, Alabama.
(With Inputs from highgearmedia)
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