05 2023 honda pilot trailsport

Broken Arrow Trail outdoors Sedona, Arizona, is like an off-road theme-park trip. Spanning 2.8 miles in and out, it rises over 400 toes and options the area’s iconic red-rock formations as a panoramic backdrop. It’s additionally the birthplace of Pink Jeep Tours, which has hauled folks up and down Broken Arrow since 1960. While the firm’s jacked-up pink-painted Wranglers are an on a regular basis sight, it isn’t day-after-day that they share the path with a caravan of mid-size three-row SUVs, particularly the 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport.

It prices a household of 4 greater than $500 to take the Jeep tour on the identical route the place we drove the new fourth-generation Pilot. We could not assist however chuckle at the shocked seems on folks’s faces as they handed what most likely regarded to them like the SUVs they’d arrived in. Some passengers smiled and snapped pictures with their telephones; others sat slack-jawed inside the open-air Jeeps, maybe questioning whether or not they may have pushed their very own automobile as a substitute of paying for the tour.

A reasonably troublesome path comparable to Broken Arrow cannot be conquered in most household SUVs—at the very least not with out damaging one thing. Honda hopes to vary that with the improved Pilot TrailSport, and our first experience at the wheel of a prototype confirmed it to be extra succesful than the fake off-roaders so widespread on this house (together with the previous Pilot TrailSport). By making a mannequin that is as succesful as marketed, Honda hopes the new Pilot will stand out in a hotly contested section.

The Outdoorsy Pilot

The TrailSport, which begins at $49,695, is the poster little one for the fourth-gen Pilot. Its ruggedness encapsulates the redesigned Pilot’s boxier look and grander proportions. Compared with its predecessor, the new TrailSport is 3.7 inches longer general—making it Honda’s greatest SUV ever—with entrance and rear tracks which might be wider by 1.1 and 1.3 inches, respectively. Unlike earlier than, the Pilot additionally will not be mistaken for a minivan, principally as a result of its square-jawed face and longer dash-to-axle ratio.

Although each 2023 Pilot seems brawnier and advantages from a brand new platform that Honda says is the most inflexible ever, the TrailSport stands out with unique off-road {hardware}. That features a 1.0-inch carry that provides floor clearance (for a complete of 8.3 inches) and a trim-specific suspension with retuned dampers with totally different valving, distinctive spring charges, and a thinner entrance anti-roll bar for improved flexibility. The new TrailSport is the first Pilot the manufacturing facility match with all-terrain tires, that are mounted on darkish 18-inch rims with an inset spoke design and a singular wheel flange to forestall injury. It’s additionally the solely mannequin with a full-size matching spare. Happily, we by no means wanted to repair a flat on Broken Arrow Trail, nor did we now have to make use of the TrailSport’s entrance and rear restoration factors.

The TrailSport’s Continental TerrainContact A/T all-terrain tires and torque-vectoring all-wheel drive labored collectively to keep up most traction. The 30.5-inch tires securely clung to Broken Arrow’s rocky purple terrain, which was slippery from snowfall the day earlier than. The all-wheel-drive system can ship as much as 70 % of the accessible torque to the rear axle, and one hundred pc of that may be despatched to a single wheel. As the Pilot clawed over the hardest obstacles in the new Trail mode, we may really feel Honda’s Trail Torque Logic working whereas we relaxed in the entrance seats, which are actually extra supportive.

Our comfortable reverie was sometimes interrupted by teeth-clenching scraping when onerous objects met the metal skid plates defending the engine, transmission, and gas tank. Still, no actual hurt was completed, and our convoy of Pilots confidently marched alongside. Our confidence was enhanced by the TrailSport’s helpful TrailWatch digicam system, which has entrance, facet, and 360-degree views which might be shortly accessed via a button on the tip of the windshield-wiper stalk. The entrance view was significantly helpful on steep hills when the view over the hood confirmed nothing however sky.

Improved On-Road Refinement

While the TrailSport mannequin attracts the most consideration, the common Pilot is considerably higher too. We frolicked in a top-of-the-line Elite, whose fancy options clarify its $53,375 beginning worth. Apart from the TrailSport’s enhanced off-road chops, the Pilot’s newfound refinement is the 2023 mannequin’s most compelling replace. The construction is stiffer, there are myriad sound-deadening measures, and Honda redesigned the suspension to enhance trip consolation and stability. The chassis additionally options larger entrance brake rotors (13.8 versus 12.6 inches) and shorter general brake-pedal movement. The steering is faster, and the wheel is barely wider and wrapped in nicer supplies.

Not solely do the enhancements assist make the Pilot a lot quieter inside, however driving this Honda SUV can be not a complete snoozefest. Granted, the Pilot does not nook or cease like a Civic Type R, but it surely does not really feel like a wobbly barge anymore both. The direct really feel of the steering is a giant leap over the outdated lifeless rudder, and it combines with improved physique management and extra responsive brakes for a driving expertise that is much better than its predecessor’s.

2023 honda pilot trailsport wheels


Every Pilot has Honda’s new double-overhead-cam 3.5-liter V-6, which has the identical displacement as the venerable single-overhead-cam V-6 it replaces with notable enhancements to the fuel-delivery system, internals, and packaging. The new engine nonetheless makes 262 lb-ft of torque, however horsepower rises from 280 to 285. The powerplant pairs with a brand new 10-speed automated transmission as a substitute of a nine-speed unit, and front- or all-wheel drive.

The new powertrain does not make the Pilot really feel discernibly faster, however the throttle is extra responsive at low speeds, and gearchanges principally go unnoticed. Maximum towing capability stays 5000 kilos for all-wheel-drive variants and 3500 for front-drivers. EPA-estimated gas economic system for front-wheel-drive fashions is 22 mpg mixed, whereas all-wheel-drive variations earn 21 mpg mixed (20 mpg for the TrailSport). Those mixed figures all are 1 mpg decrease than the outgoing Pilot’s.

Breaking the Old Mold

Although the 2023 Pilot does not have its predecessor’s apparent visible ties to the Honda Odyssey minivan, the new SUV’s bigger dimensions and 2.8-inch-longer wheelbase make it a extra sensible folks mover than earlier than.

The Pilot can comfortably match seven or eight folks, even when maneuvering round the cabin is less complicated in its sliding-door sibling. Still, second-row seats are extremely versatile, and some fashions have a detachable center seat that may be saved below the rear cargo flooring. However, the seat weighs greater than 30 kilos, so stowing it requires some muscle. When the underfloor storage is not occupied, it presents 3 cubic toes of house. The detachable load flooring panel can be reversible, with carpet on one facet and rubber on the different.

The Pilot’s roomier third row has a USB port on all sides and 4 cupholders (of the 14 complete). The cargo space is greater too, now with 49 cubic toes behind the second row and 19 cubes behind the third, in each instances a acquire of two. Folding all the rear seats creates a flat flooring and opens up 87 cubic toes of house. There’s additionally additional storage up entrance through a bigger center-center console bin and a helpful parcel shelf constructed into the dashboard.

Only the top-tier Pilot Elite encompasses a 10.2-inch digital gauge cluster and a head-up show. All variations besides the LX and Sport trims have a 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s all a part of a compelling package deal that features commonplace driver assists comparable to automated emergency braking, automated high-beams, adaptive cruise management, and lane-keeping help.

We’re impressed by the 2023 mannequin’s enhancements. It breaks the mould of the outdated technology, blossoming from forgettable to fascinating—particularly to everybody who noticed the TrailSport sustain with the pink Jeeps on Broken Arrow Trail.



2023 Honda Pilot

Vehicle Type: front-engine, front- or all-wheel-drive, 7- or 8-passenger, 4-door wagon


Base: LX, $37,295; LX AWD, $39,395; Sport, $40,495; Sport AWD, $42,595; EX-L, $43,295; EX-L AWD, $45,395; Touring, $47,795; Touring AWD, $49,895; TrailSport, $49,695; Elite, $53,375


DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct gas injection

Displacement: 212 in3, 3471 cm3

Power: 285 hp @ 6100 rpm

Torque: 262 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm

10-speed automated


Wheelbase: 113.8 in

Length: 199.9–200.2 in

Width: 78.5 in

Height: 70.9–72.0 in

Passenger Volume, F/M/R: 57–59/57–59/40 ft3

Cargo Volume, Behind F/M/R: 87/49/19 ft3

Curb Weight (C/D est): 4050–4700 lb


60 mph: 6.0–6.5 sec

1/4-Mile: 14.5–15.1 sec

Top Speed: 115 mph


Combined/City/Highway: 20–22/18–19/23–27 mpg

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