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First Look: 2023 Honda Pilot

The fourth generation of Honda’s popular three-row midsize SUV gets bigger and boxier with a new V6 and an off-road-ready TrailSport trim.

The Honda Pilot has always been one of the most well-rounded midsize three-row SUVs. The 2023 model year is getting less… well… rounded. But it should keep its jack-of-all-family-trades character.

Honda has revealed an all-new, fourth-generation Pilot, redesigned in full. It’s boxier than the model it replaces and even more spacious. A new TrailSport trim also makes it off-road-capable in a way previous Pilots haven’t been.

"The Honda Pilot has been popular with Canadian families for decades, and this all-new Pilot and Pilot TrailSport have been further refined offering more space and comfort while substantially increasing their toughness and off-road capabilities," says Steve Hui, Assistant Vice President of Honda Canada. "The new Pilot can comfortably take your entire family and their gear on any road trip, whether it's to the city or on a rugged weekend adventure."

The new 2023 Pilot gets a more rugged look on the outside

Honda is leaning into a more rugged image with its recent SUV designs. So you knew its biggest SUV would emerge with a blockier look. The designers didn’t disappoint.

If the 2022 Pilot is a convincing minivan alternative, the 2023 model looks ready to play with more trail-oriented SUVs like the Jeep Grand Cherokee L or Subaru Ascent.

The Pilot's wheelbase has been extended to 2,891 millimetres for a smoother ride based on Honda's new light truck architecture. Honda says significantly wider tracks (+29 to 31 mm in the front and +35 to 38 mm in the rear) improves stability compared to the last generation. The Honda SUV also wears upright proportions and the sort of high, blocky grille we’ve come to expect from a modern SUV. Chunkier fender flares add to the effect, while a canted C-pillar lends a bit of Chevrolet Equinox to the rear.

Inside, the big Honda SUV receives a spacious and flexible cabin

Much of the 2023 Pilot’s extra length has been given to the second and third rows in the form of added legroom. Second-row legroom is up 60 mm, and the second-row seats feature up to 10 degrees of recline angle (+4 degrees) for increased comfort. Additional forward tilt range improves entry and exit to the more comfortable third row, which gains 16 mm of extra legroom.

The new Pilot has the most cargo room in the model's history, up to 3,219 litres behind the first row and 635 litres behind the third. That dwarfs what you get in some fullsize SUVs, like the Toyota Sequoia.

Three-row SUV shoppers are often left debating between second-row captain’s chairs for their comfort and a second-row bench seat for its additional capacity. Honda has devised a unique solution, trying to give buyers both.

The second row features a removable center insert in Touring and Elite trims. Take it out, and you have captain’s chairs offering easy access to the third row. Add it in, and you leave it up to create a center seat or fold it to act as a console between second-row passengers. It fits in a storage cubby under the cargo floor so you can change your seating configuration on the go.

The base Sport trim gets a seven-inch touchscreen, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Higher trims get a nine-inch screen, wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, and wireless charging.

Aesthetically, the new Pilot stays away from the sleek mesh dashboard look of other recent Honda designs. Instead, it gets a cushy, minivan-like design theme with a wide center console and high-mounted screens to keep the driver’s eyes near the road even when checking the navigation.

A new V6, and off-road TrailSport trim debut

Under the hood, a new 3.5-litre six-cylinder gas engine appears, good for 285 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Power goes through a 10-speed automatic transmission. All trims get Honda’s i-VTM4 torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system. It features trail, sand, snow, and tow modes.

The TrailSport trim is the other big news for 2023. Honda introduced the TrailSport name in 2022 with a package of light off-roading equipment. This year, it’s more serious about selling you a trail-ready Pilot.

The Pilot TrailSport features a retuned suspension designed for the trails, a higher ride height (though Honda hasn’t said how much ground clearance any model gets), reshaped front and rear bumpers for more capable off-road angles, and skid plates to protect the underside from the brush.

When does the new 2023 Honda Pilot go on sale, and for how much?

This latest generation of Pilot goes on sale this winter with five available trim levels: Sport, EX-L, TrailSport, Touring and a Canadian-exclusive Black Edition. 

Honda hasn’t revealed pricing for the 2023 Pilot. The 2022 model starts at $46,920.00, plus delivery fees.

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