2023 Honda Pilot Debuts With More Space, Rugged Looks

Following the debut of the new HR-V and CR-V, Honda’s “Year of the Crossover” is wrapping up with the reveal of the next-generation Honda Pilot.

The outgoing model had barely changed since launching in 2016 and it was definitely starting to feel old in a segment dominated by the Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander, not to mention the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride. The Nissan Pathfinder is refreshed, as well.

The all-new 2023 Honda Pilot naturally sports a more modern look. The oversized front grille is not unlike that of the CR-V. In the rear, the taillights are connected by a black panel featuring the SUV’s name in block letters, as seen on a growing number of vehicles these days.

Photo: Honda

Clearly, designers played it safe, but the end result is a pleasant one and it should help the Pilot make a more convincing case amid tough competition.

More Tech and Space

It’s a similar story inside. Nothing fancy, but Honda is keeping up with the times by offering a digital instrument cluster and a state-of-the-art infotainment system shared with the brand’s latest models. The Honda Sensing suite of advanced driver assistance features comes standard.

While still accommodating up to eight people, the family-friendly 2023 Pilot boasts more interior space than its predecessor including increased legroom in the second and third rows. The trunk is larger, too, now with a capacity of 635 litres. For the first time, the Pilot exceeds five metres in length.

Photo: Honda

Timid Powertrain Evolution

What doesn’t change is the choice of a naturally aspirated 3.5-litre V6 under the hood. Forget about a turbo-four, let alone a hybrid variant—at least for now.

For some reason, Honda is talking about an “all-new engine,” but displacement is the same and output is barely increased, going from 280 horsepower to 285 horsepower. Peak torque is 262 pound-feet once again. And unsurprisingly, maximum towing capacity remains at 5,000 pounds.

All Pilot models come standard with AWD, and the system can send up to 70 percent of torque to the rear axle, then 100 percent left or right depending on traction needs. Fuel consumption ratings have yet to be announced, but don’t expect any miracles. At best, the 2023 Pilot will be marginally more efficient than the previous one, which achieved a combined 11 L/100 km.

Photo: Honda

TrailSport for Adventure

The new, adventure-ready TrailSport model that was added for 2022 is obviously back with the next-generation Pilot, set to compete against the likes of the Explorer Timberline, Pathfinder Rock Creek, Acadia AT4 and Telluride X-Pro.

Setting the TrailSport apart from other Pilots are all-terrain tires, underbody skid plates and a raised suspension designed to tackle off-road conditions.

The 2023 Honda Pilot lineup in Canada also includes Sport, EX-L, Touring and Black Edition models. Pricing and on-sale date will be announced later. As with previous generations, production will continue to take place in Lincoln, Alabama.

Watch: 2023 Honda Pilot Makes Official Debut

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