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2023 Honda Pilot Trailsport profile

2023 Honda Pilot Priced From $40,445

New fourth-gen SUV is roomier and more tech-focused

  • More passenger and cargo space
  • Larger size, more power, same fuel economy
  • Price is only a little higher than 2022 model

Honda has finally released on-sale details for the new fourth-generation Pilot. The 2023 Honda Pilot will be available on December 12 starting at $40,445. The redesigned Pilot gets a fresh look, more interior and cargo room, and for the first time, an off-road version. Available in five trims — Sport, EX-L, Touring, Elite and new TrailSport — the Pilot is longer, wider and stiffer than its predecessor, and it's powered by a revised V6 engine and new 10-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel-drive is available across the board, and fuel economy ranges from 20 mpg combined in the off-road-focused TrailSport to 22 mpg combined in the front-drive Sport, EX-L and Touring trims.

Closing the gap by expanding the space

The new Pilot’s updates help close the gap on rivals that include the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Volkswagen Atlas and Toyota Highlander. Notably, there’s more legroom in the rear, and second-row seats offer increased tilt angle for easier third-row entry and exit. Touring and Elite trims also offer a removable second-row middle seat that can be stashed in a cargo well when not in use. That seat is fairly lightweight at around 25 pounds and doubles as an armrest and dual cupholder when kept in place.

The Pilot’s expanded wheelbase — up nearly 3 inches compared to its predecessor — also provides more cargo room. The space behind the third row grows from 16.5 cubic feet to a substantial 22.4 cubes. That’s better than just about every other three-row SUV on the market. Folding both rear rows opens up a substantial 114 cubic feet of cargo capacity. You’d have to go with Honda’s Odyssey minivan, offering a cavernous 145 cubes, to get something much larger.

More power without much sacrifice

A revised 3.5-liter V6 under hood, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission that replaces an earlier nine-speed unit, help keep the new, larger Pilot right around its previous fuel economy ratings. Most three-row SUVs hover in the 22-23 mpg combined range, so the Pilot remains competitive. The V6 also gets a slight 5-horsepower bump to 285 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, and paddle shifters come standard, allowing drivers quick control of gear changes.

An updated all-wheel-drive system features a fortified rear differential that can handle more torque and more quickly deliver power to a tire in need of traction. In normal operation, the AWD system can send up to 70% of engine power to the rear wheels, while a trail-specific mode in the new TrailSport can send 75% of torque to the wheels with the most traction, useful on uneven terrain when a wheel has lifted from the ground completely. All Pilots also feature a hill descent control mode that drivers can set between 2 and 12 mph, and towing remains rated at 5,000 pounds with all-wheel drive.

Higher price, more features

With great improvements comes an understandable uptick in price. The new Pilot starts at $40,445 (including $1,295 destination charge) for the Sport trim, which is about $1,000 more than last year's Pilot Sport. This base trim comes standard with 20-inch wheels, LED headlights, heated front seats, three-zone climate control and a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also includes Honda Sensing, a bundle of driver aids such as blind-spot warning, adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assistance. That’s a higher starting price than a base trim Telluride, for example, but includes a few more features than the Kia. The Telluride's standard 12.3-inch touchscreen is hard to beat, though.

Moving up to the eight-passenger EX-L costs $43,245 (add $300 for second-row captain’s chairs) and adds a power liftgate, leather upholstery, a 9-inch touchscreen, wireless CarPlay/Android Auto and wireless smartphone charging. The Touring trim rings in at $47,745 and comes with the removable middle seat in the second row, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot and a 12-speaker Bose audio system. The TrailSport with all its off-road accoutrements and standard all-wheel drive costs $49,645, and the top-spec Elite adds AWD, upgraded leather, ventilated front seats, a 10.2-inch touchscreen, and a surround-view camera system for $53,325. Adding all-wheel-drive to Sport, EX-L and Touring trims costs an extra $2,100.

Edmunds says

A new look, more room and an off-road-specific model make the 2023 Honda Pilot a more appealing choice among some stiff competition.

2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport Front