The New Honda Pilot 2023 improves in everything and now it is much more Off Road
Such is the New 2023 Honda Pilot. For most automakers, a busy year includes one or two model refreshes and maybe that many mid-cycle refreshes. But Honda is taking a slightly different tack, reinvigorating all of its core offerings in one fell swoop.
The latest vehicle to get that attention is the all-new 2023 Honda Pilot, the fourth generation of the company’s popular three-row SUV. With seating for up to eight, if you heard that right 8, a cabin packed with cubbies and storage solutions, and the availability of front- or all-wheel drive, the new 2023 Pilot retains most of what made its great. predecessor. But its sculpted styling, redesigned architecture and rugged TrailSport trim level help it stand out from the outgoing model with a tough new look unlike any other Honda SUB, past or present.
Honda is forthright when it comes to the Pilot’s interesting history, stylistically speaking. The anonymous but handsome first-generation model gave way to a stout second-generation, whose bulging, boxy contours seemed aerodynamically inefficient and a bit cartoonish. But then the company went too far in the other direction with the 2016 Pilot, whose design was too rounded and egg-like. Comparisons to the Odyssey minivan were common (and justified).
The 2023 Honda Pilot attempts to rectify all of those mistakes, with a more traditional SUV-shaped design that sports a vertical grille, chunky fender contours, and the largest hood ever applied to a vehicle bearing that square H badge. The roofline still has some rake, and vertical bumper vents help channel air around the car to preserve aerodynamic efficiency. But there are details galore, namely the beveled window edges and convex C-pillar, reminiscent of the second-generation Pilot.
It’s gratifying to see the company’s largest SUB also stand out for its own design. There’s some resemblance to the CR-B up front, where narrowed headlamps meet a wide, angular grille. But for the most part, the Pilot has a look of its own, underscored by that decidedly unintegrated C-pillar that helps the car feel taller, boxier, and sturdier.
Inside, the Pilot again combines some cues from its predecessors with modernized Honda styling. Instead of the mid-century mesh that proliferated from the Civic to the HR-V and CR-V, the Pilot has more traditional air conditioning vents, as well as a wide storage slot that extends above the glove box. The infotainment system is also updated, more or less. The 7-inch screen on the base Sport model is actually an inch smaller than the 2022 Pilot Sport, but all other models have a larger 9-inch screen — the old Pilot maxed out at 8 inches. Beneath the screen are Honda’s tactile climate controls, bringing a touch of brightness to the interior.
That cabin hides a couple of pretty neat features that should make family road trips easier. In addition to that passenger storage shelf, the center console is larger than before, and there are a total of 14 cup holders (with eight that can hold 32-ounce water bottles). Heated front seats are standard across the line, with a heated steering wheel on TrailSport and Elite trims.
The 2023 Pilot is also roomier than ever, with more second- and third-row legroom. The middle seats recline 10 degrees and tilt further forward for easy access to the rear seats. With all seats up, the 2023 Honda Pilot offers an impressive 22.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the reconfigurable floor in its lowest position. Drop all the seats and you’re left with 113.7 cubic feet. Both numbers are ahead of nearly all of the competition: Only the Chevrolet Traverse has more room with the seats up.
The Pilot Sport, E X and E X-L come standard with a second-row bench for a total of eight seats, while the TrailSport has captain’s chairs and a seating capacity of seven. However, the Pilot Touring and Elite trims combine the best of both, with a removable and fold-flat second-row center seat that can be placed in three different positions.
In the upright position, it offers three-seater seating, but can also be folded down to provide two additional cup holders and an armrest for the outer positions. Finally, it can also be completely removed, providing a passage to the third row. And taking a page out of the Odyssey minivan’s book, the extra seat can be stored in storage under the rear floor when not in use.
Honda says the 2023 Pilot is the most capable and powerful SUB it has ever built. Namely, the Pilot gets the most powerful B6 engine in a Honda, though its output is still 285 horsepower and 262 pound-feet. Ford’s Explorer makes a healthy 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet from its turbocharged four-cylinder, while the Jeep Grand Cherokee L offers a B8 Hemi for the true power junkies. Still, the 2023 Honda Pilot’s new 3.5-liter engine has a simpler head design with fewer moving parts for greater reliability and efficiency, as well as more compact overall dimensions for better pedestrian safety.
Backing the engine is Honda’s impressive 10-speed automatic gearbox, which replaces a regular nine-speed in the outgoing Pilot. If it works in the same way as the Odyssey’s 10-speed transmission, it should be a good match for the B6 engine, sending power to the front or all four wheels; Elite and TrailSport have standard AWD.
The 2023 Pilot rides on a new pickup truck platform that we predict will eventually make its way to future versions of the Ridgeline and Passport. The lighter architecture provides 60 percent more lateral stiffness at the front and 30 percent more at the rear. Tread width has also increased from 1.1 to 1.2 inches at the front axle and from 1.4 to 1.5 inches at the rear, depending on the model. A retuned MacPherson strut front suspension joins an all-new multi-link rear, optimized for both the Pilot’s core family-hauling mission and the TrailSport’s rugged design brief.
Hablando de eso, mientras que el Pilot TrailSport actual es poco más que un paquete de estilo, el modelo 2023 incluye algunas actualizaciones de hardware legítimas para justificar el diseño resistente. Una combinación única de puntal y resorte le da al TrailSport una pulgada adicional de distancia al suelo, y las barras estabilizadoras delanteras y traseras específicas para el acabado mejoran la articulación y la comodidad de conducción todoterreno. Mientras que otras versiones de Pilot tienen rines de 20 pulgadas, los de 18 del TrailSport hacen más espacio en los guardabarros para un neumático todoterreno de perfil más alto; por cierto, es la primera vez que un auto diseñado por Honda tiene A/T.
El fabricante de automóviles dice que a medida que el TrailSport avanza lentamente (tanto a través del diferencial trasero con embrague como de la vectorización del eje delantero basada en el freno), una vez que la rueda que gira recupera la tracción, ya está en movimiento y puede aprovechar al máximo el agarre. El fabricante de automóviles dice que ayuda a mejorar la respuesta al atravesar nieve, rocas y surcos.
El Honda Pilot 2023 es el último participante en el impulso de producto del “Año del SUB” del fabricante de automóviles y llegará a los concesionarios en diciembre en Estados Unidos.
Sin embargo, el precio seguirá siendo una consideración clave, y para esos detalles, debemos esperar. La Pilot actual tiene un precio inicial de $39,375, y eso es para una versión Sport de tracción delantera. Parece poco probable que Honda reduzca los precios para 2023, lo que convertiría al nuevo Pilot en uno de los vehículos más caros de su clase, superando al Ford en alrededor de $3,000 y al Chevy Travers en casi $6,000 para comenzar. Aún así, el SUB de tres filas de asientos de Honda siempre es una opción popular para las mamás y los papás, y no vemos ninguna razón por la que el estilo más audaz y la cabina familiar de la Pilot 2023 cambien eso.