Honda's biggest model gets bigger for 2023. The Honda Pilot grows larger inside and out, gaining a more flexible cargo area, more rugged styling, and getting a slight bump in horsepower. The pilot will also have Honda's latest driver assistance tech and new seats designed to make even the longest drives more comfortable.
The 2023 Honda Pilot's footprint is up by 86 mm, making the three-row model now 5,077 mm overall. Inside that, the wheelbase grows too, up 71mm, meaning that most of the extra length goes to passenger space. Honda says second-row passengers get an extra 60 mm of kneeroom (to go with seats that can recline a few extra degrees) while third-row passengers will find an extra 16 mm along with a wider opening to get in and out of.
Pilot has 635L of cargo space behind the rear seats, up more than 20 percent from the model it replaces. Thanks to a second-row seat that can fold into the floor overall cargo space is up too. By 127L to 3,219 making it the most capacious Pilot yet. The second-row seat has one more clever trick in store. It can be removed completely as an optional feature, allowing for even more cargo space. Or to give third-row passengers a limo-like experience.
To help you store smaller items, Honda has expanded the centre console bin - it can now hold a full-size tablet. The passenger-side dash shelf returns, and eight of the 14 cupholders can hold 1L water bottles.
The cabin design uses the same inspiration as Honda's other current models, which is to say it looks like the new Civic but larger. A 7.0-inch digital dash with a mechanical speedometer alongside is standard, but top trims get a fully-digital dash and head-up display. The base trim gets a 7.0-inch centre screen, but all other models get a 9.0-inch version. Those with the larger screen also get the wireless versions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as wireless charging. Either way, Honda has packed in four USB charge ports with top trims getting six.
Honda says that the new Pilot is 60 percent stiffer in the front and 30 percent in the rear thanks to a new light-truck chassis. Honda has taken advantage of the new bones to stiffen the suspension as well, which it says improves handling and agility.
A 3.5L V6 Honda calls all-new brings 5 hp more for a total of 285, with torque the same as last year at 262 lb-ft. The new V6 has lower-profile cylinder heads and a new camshaft bearing design that makes the engine smaller and reduces the number of parts inside. The transmission is now a 10-speed, one more than last year, which should help improve fuel economy and performance.
The 2023 Pilot launches a new version of Honda's all-wheel drive system. It can now send up to 70 percent of engine torque to the stronger rear differential. All of that power can be sent to the left or right rear tire, depending on handling and traction needs.
TrailSport is what Honda calls its off-road trim. While we've seen the name already on Passport, this time it means more than cosmetics. It wears Continental all-terrain tires, for a start, to help boost its rough road capability. A new suspension setup is tuned for rough roads rather than pavement and offers a 25 mm lift over other trim levels.
Honda's Powersports engineering department was tapped for TrailSport's skid plates. The steel plates cover the oil pan, transmission, and gas tank, and Honda says they can hold the full weight of the Pilot when you crash down on a rock. Recovery points front and rear can handle twice the Pilot's GVWR if you manage to get stuck.
The Pilot's Honda Sensing suite includes adaptive cruise and other assists that have been updated for 2023 for a more natural response, and the blind spot system has more range. A new camera and wider angle for the radar sensors help collision prevention performance and Honda says they allow better spotting of bikes, pedestrians, and road signs.
Honda's 2023 Pilot means the automaker is close to the end of the short-term renewal that began with the 2022 Civic last year and saw the HR-V and CR-V replaced this year. Expect it on sale around the end of this year or early 2023, with pricing to follow.