(⏱🍿 21 minutes, 8 photos, 1 video)
Torrance, California, November 7 – The largest and most powerful SUV in Honda history, the all-new 2023 Honda Pilot is the ultimate family SUV with rugged new styling, more passenger and cargo space, and a class-leading combination of off-road capability and sporty on-road dynamics. The new Pilot TrailSport is the most off-road capable Honda SUV ever, engineered to get weekend adventurers even further off the beaten path with special off-road features including a raised off-road tuned suspension, all-terrain tires, steel skid plates and expanded all-wheel drive system capabilities. This fourth-generation Pilot goes on sale next month in five trim levels: Sport, EX-L, TrailSport, Touring and Elite.
“The Honda Pilot has been a family favorite for two decades, and now we’ve made it even better with more space and refinement inside, cool new rugged styling outside, and substantially increased off-road performance to back it up,” said Mamadou Diallo, vice president of Auto Sales, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “Topping it off, the new Pilot TrailSport is an authentic, off-road-capable SUV for true weekend adventures, without sacrificing comfort and on-road dynamics for daily driving.”
Pilot now belongs on the trail with all-new rugged styling that complements its trail-ready capability. The tough and aspirational design features a large upright grille and a powerful stance accentuated by flared fenders, wider tracks and larger tires. Under its new longer hood is Honda’s most powerful V6 ever, an all-new dual overhead cam (DOHC) 3.5-liter engine producing 285 horsepower.
Inside, Pilot’s all-new interior makes it the new flexible king of the carpool lane with unmatched comfort, versatile seating with an available removable 2nd row seat that can be conveniently stowed under the rear cargo floor. Complementing the interior flexibilty is the most passenger and cargo space in Pilot history, including a more comfortable third row, and Pilot boasts best-in-class overall passenger space and top-class cargo volume behind the third-row seats. The new modern interior is also more comfortable with new front Body Stabilizing Seats that help reduce fatigue on long drives. Sophisticated materials, premium touches and must-have tech features create the most upscale Pilot ever.
Standard class-leading safety features include a new and improved suite of Honda Sensing® safety and driver-assistive technologies, a next-generation front passenger airbag, improved front side airbags and new driver and front-passenger knee airbags.
New Pilot Features:
- Rugged exterior design
- All-new 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine is more powerful
- New available second-generation i-VTM4™ torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system improves off-road capability
- More modern and comfortable interior
- Class-leading overall passenger space
- First-in-class multi-function removable second-row middle seat provides three discrete seating options (Touring, Elite)
- Increased cargo volume
- Standard digital instrumentation
- 10.2-inch digital instrument display (Elite)
- 9-inch HD touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay® & Android Auto™ compatibility (EX-L, TrailSport, Touring, Elite)
- Standard 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay® & Android Auto™ compatibility (Sport)
- 7 available drive modes, including new Sport, Tow, and Trail modes
- Standard Honda Sensing® system with new wide-view camera and radar
- Standard Hill Descent Control
- Next-gen front passenger airbag designed to reduce potential for traumatic brain and neck injuries
- Standard driver and front-passenger knee airbags
- Trail torque logic optimizes off-road performance of i-VTM4 torque vectoring all-wheel drive system (TrailSport)
- TrailWatch camera system to help drivers navigate obstacles (TrailSport, Elite)
Tough-looking New Exterior
Designed in California, developed in Ohio and built in Alabama*, the all-new fourth-generation Pilot further advances the new rugged design direction of Honda light trucks with a tough new look and powerful stance. Complementing its off-road capabilities, Pilot’s all-new styling is tough, aspirational and adventure-ready with a large, upright grille, a strong horizontal beltline and aggressively flared fenders. Pulled back A-pillars and long hood create a longer dash-to-axle ratio for a sportier profile.
A strong horizontal beltline highlights its increased overall length (3.4 inches longer), while a longer wheelbase and wider tracks give it a stronger, more aggressive presence. A sleek body-color roof spoiler and new LED taillights make the fourth-generation Pilot instantly recognizable from the rear.
Sport features gloss black trim and grille bar, a chrome exhaust garnish, standard black roof rails, front fog lights and Shark Gray 7-spoke, 20-inch wheels. EX-L adds flash with chrome trim and grille bar, and machined 5-spoke, 18-inch alloy wheels.
Pilot Touring and top-of-the-line Elite feature an even more upscale design with premium exterior finishes, including a gloss black grille mesh and B-pillar, dual chrome exhaust garnishes and distinct 7-spoke, 20-inch alloy wheels with a machined finish.
For the first time, Pilot will be available with a new line of four post-production option packages, including a new HPD Package for those looking to take Pilot’s rugged new styling even further. Created in collaboration with Honda Performance Development (HPD), Honda’s U.S.-based racing company, it includes bronze-colored aluminum wheels, fender flares and HPD decals.
Modern, Spacious Interior
With clean surfacing, sophisticated materials and premium touches, Pilot’s all-new modern interior builds on the Honda design direction to create the most upscale Honda SUV ever. A clean, uncluttered instrument panel top reduces windshield reflections and improves outward visibility. Pilot is also more comfortable and spacious, with class-leading passenger space and notably more rear seat legroom in the second and third rows. New Body Stabilizing front seats reduce fatigue over long drives. Second-row legroom is up a generous 2.4 inches 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 0.6 inches of legroom..
On-demand 8-occupant flexibility gives Pilot Touring and Elite an extra level of versatility. In the second row, a first-in-class multi-function removable middle seat can be conveniently stored underneath the rear cargo floor instead of being left at home in the garage. Families then have the seat available if they need it later in their journey, providing owners three distinct seating options at any time:
- A traditional second row bench for 3-across seating and 8-occupant total capacity (middle seat up)
- A captain’s chair-style wide center armrest with additional drink holders (middle seat down)
- Wide pass-through for access to the third row (middle seat removed), particularly useful when child seats are installed in the outboard second-row seats.
Pilot is also the only vehicle in its class with 8-person seating and an opening panoramic sunroof, which is standard on Touring and Elite. Heated seats are standard across the lineup. TrailSport and Elite also feature a heated steering wheel. EX-L and Touring have soft leather upholstery and the top-of-the-range Elite gets exclusive perforated leather inserts and ventilated front seats.
The 2023 Pilot has the most cargo room in the model’s history, with up to 113.67 cu.-ft.¹ behind the first row, and up to 22.42 cu.-ft.¹ behind the third row. Expanded cabin storage includes a massive console bin that can swallow a full-size tablet, the return of Pilot’s clever passenger-side instrument panel shelf, and 14 large-volume cupholders throughout the cabin, including eight that will fit wide 32 oz water bottles.
Intuitive easy-to-use technology has been smartly integrated into Pilot’s new modern cabin, including a digital instrument display, standard Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ compatibility and an available, notably larger, touchscreen.
A standard 7-inch digital instrument panel features an all-digital tachometer on the left and a physical speedometer on the right side. The display also features user-selectable functions such as Honda Sensing® settings, vehicle information and more. Exclusive to Elite is a configurable 10.2-inch digital instrument display with multi-view camera system paired with a color head-up display.
A new 7-inch touchscreen audio system is standard on Sport with physical knobs for volume and tuning, and a simplified menu structure. Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ compatibility are standard. A large multi-use tray ahead of the shifter can accommodate two smartphones side-by-side and features two standard illuminated USB ports, a 2.5A USB-A and 3.0A USB-C port. For second-row passengers, two 2.5A USB-A charging ports are standard. EX-L, TrailSport, Touring and Elite feature Qi-compatible wireless charging and add two 2.5A USB-A charging ports in the third row.
All other trims, including TrailSport, get a larger 9-inch color touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ compatibility and a faster processor for lag-free performance. Pilot’s navigation system also has been simplified with new graphics and fewer menus. To make it easier to use when the vehicle is in motion, the screen is recessed slightly from the edge of the dash, resulting in a 0.8-inch finger rest that allows the user to steady their hand while making selections.
Touring and Elite models get a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system custom-engineered for the new interior. Featuring Bose Centerpoint technology, SurroundStage digital signal processing and a large 15.7-liter capacity subwoofer box, the new system places all occupants in the middle of the music, regardless of their seating position, with a clear listening experience.
More Power and Refinement
Pilot is one of the smoothest and most powerful SUVs in its class, and both the vehicle and the all-new 24-valve DOHC 3.5-liter V6 engine that powers it are made* at the company’s auto plant in Lincoln, Alabama. This is Honda’s most powerful V6 ever, producing 285 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque (both SAE net).
The all-aluminum V6 features a unique block and low-profile cylinder heads with high-tumble ports and a narrow 35-degree valve angle for better combustion. The low-profile design of the new DOHC cylinder heads also allowed a more compact rocker arm and hydraulic lash adjuster design. Honda engineers also did away with separate cam bearing caps and instead incorporated them directly into the valve cover itself. The result is a 30 mm reduction in overall cylinder head height. The new design also reduces the number of parts. Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM™) improves fuel efficiency and reduces emissions.
Performance is further enhanced by a refined and responsive 10-speed automatic transmission that has been tuned exclusively for Pilot. Paddle shifters are standard for manual control, making Pilot more fun to drive.
Pilot also introduces the second generation of Honda’s award-winning torque vectoring i-VTM4™ all-wheel drive system. Standard on TrailSport and Elite, the new and more capable i-VTM4 system features a stronger rear differential that can handle 40% more torque and provides 30% faster response, optimizing available traction in all driving scenarios, especially slick conditions and off-road. Up to 70% of the engine’s torque can be sent to the rear axle, and 100% of that torque can be distributed to either the left or right rear wheel.
Five standard selectable drive modes optimize the driving experience for various conditions: Normal, Econ, Snow, plus new Sport and Tow modes. TrailSport, EX-L (with all-wheel drive), Touring (with all-wheel drive) and Elite also feature an updated Sand mode and a new Trail mode that optimize Pilot’s capabilities off-road.
Pilot can tow as much as 5,000 pounds², which is more than enough for most boats, campers or “toy” trailers that serve as the key to adventure for many customers.
Sporty Yet Comfortable Dynamics
A sportier and more engaging driving experience was created through an all-new chassis and Pilot’s stiffest body structure ever. The extremely rigid platform was engineered with TrailSport’s true off-road capabilities in mind from the very beginning, which also benefits the ride, handling and overall refinement of the entire Pilot lineup with a 60% increase in front lateral rigidity and a 30% increase in rear lateral rigidity.
Based on Honda’s new light truck architecture, Pilot’s wheelbase has been extended to 113.8 inches (+2.8 inches) for a smoother ride, and significantly wider tracks (+1.1 to 1.2 inches in front, and +1.4 to 1.5 inches in the rear) improve stability.
Retuned MacPherson struts in front and an all-new rear multilink suspension make Pilot more fun-to-drive with confident, agile and precise handling, while simultaneously improving ride quality. Front vertical stiffness is increased 8%, rear longitudinal stiffness is up 29%, and overall roll stiffness climbs 12%.
Pilot’s confidence-inspiring dynamics are also enhanced by a revised variable steering ratio that quickens response and optimized front strut geometry for sharper handling and agility around town, and more fun on a twisty backroad. Steering feel and stability are now class-leading with a new, stiffer steering column and stiffer torsion bar enhancing communication with the driver.
Pilot’s stopping power is also increased with larger front brake rotors (from 12.6 inches to 13.8 inches) and larger calipers. A reduced overall pedal stroke and improved heat resistance improve driver confidence in all driving situations and conditions, especially in emergency situations and on wet or snowy roads and trails.
Honda’s first Hill Descent Control system debuted on the 2023 HR-V and 2023 CR-V earlier this year, and it’s now standard on every Pilot. The system increases off-road capability with more control on steep, slippery declines of 7% or more allowing drivers to select speeds between 2 and 12 mph.
Additional acoustical spray foam insulation, fender liners, thicker carpet and other sound absorbing technologies reduce wind, road and powertrain noise, for a more refined driving experience.
All-New Pilot TrailSport
With even more rugged design and exclusive off-road hardware, including a new trail torque logic off-road system and a new TrailWatch camera system, the all-new Pilot TrailSport (above) is an authentic, off-road capable SUV that has been tested on challenging terrain all over the United States–from the red rocks of Moab, Utah and the deep sands of Glamis, California to the challenging muddy trails in the hills of Kentucky and North Carolina.
Exclusive to TrailSport, an available new Diffused Sky Blue paint color highlights its rugged design and adventurous spirit. In the cabin, TrailSport stands out with rugged details including exclusive orange contrast stitching and head restraints embroidered with the TrailSport logo. Standard all-season floor mats with an exclusive TrailSport design add function and durability protecting the carpet from snow, mud and debris. A new sliding panoramic sunroof is standard.
The new Pilot TrailSport backs up its rugged design with top class off-road performance. TrailSport is the only Pilot with an off-road tuned suspension (which includes a one-inch lift for additional ground clearance and increased approach, departure, and break-over angles). Unique stabilizer bars are optimized for articulation and off-road ride comfort; spring rates and damper valve tuning are also exclusive to TrailSport.
Pilot Trailsport is also the first Honda SUV with all-terrain tires for improved off-road traction and robust skid plates to protect its underbody from damage on the trail. TrailSport’s standard Continental TerrainContact AT (265/60R18) tires are extremely capable in sand, mud, rocky terrain and snow, but still quiet and comfortable on the road. Unique 18-inch wheels with a rugged look are carefully designed with inset spokes to protect them from trail damage and the TrailSport logo cast in the thick, outer flange.
Designed in collaboration with Honda Powersports engineers, the thick steel skid plates protecting Pilot TrailSport’s oil pan, transmission and gas tank can support the entire weight of the vehicle crashing down on a rock. Stout recovery points rated at twice Pilot TrailSport’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) are cleverly integrated into the front skid plate and the tow hitch situated behind TrailSport’s full-size spare tire.
In Trail mode, TrailSport’s exclusive trail torque logic off-road system manages the i-VTM4 torque vectoring all-wheel drive system’s distribution of the engine torque based on available traction while simultaneously utilizing the front brakes individually to apply brake vectoring – reducing wheelspin and maintaining traction.
Trail torque logic also controls the amount of power going to the rear axle in certain situations, like climbing a tough off-road trail with V-ditches that can cause a tire to lose contact to the ground temporarily, as much as 75% of available power is routed to the individual tire with the most traction. For greater traction management and smoother progress up the trail, the remaining 25% torque potential is sent to the non-tractive wheel to allow immediate transfer of drive force once its tire contacts the ground.
Trail torque logic – how it works:
- One side of rear axle loses ground contact
- Trail torque logic control detects conditionRear axle torque increased
- Drive force transfers to the wheel with the most traction
- Low traction wheel maintains torque potential to allow immediate transfer of drive force once ground contact is made
A new TrailWatch camera system uses four exterior cameras and four camera views to help drivers navigate obstacles outside their natural line of sight by slope or proximity such as blind crests, deep ruts and the trail’s edge. When driving In Trail mode at speeds below 15 mph, the forward view camera automatically turns on and then deactivates when spees rise above 15 mph. For additional driver support, and unlike other similar trail camera systems, TrailWatch automatically reactivates if the vehicle speed dips below 12 mph.
To quantify target metrics and off-road performance, Honda engineers also developed a new proprietary off-road capability rating system in cooperation with the Nevada Automotive Test Center (NATC), a pioneer in off-road testing.
Class-Leading Safety Performance and Features
The fourth-generation Pilot is the class-leader in SUV standard safety features and performance thanks to advanced active and passive safety technology that includes the latest version of Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) architecture, world’s first airbag technology and an expanded Honda Sensing® suite of safety and driver assistive technologies.
ACE™ now features a new structure optimized and integrated into front sub-frame and side-frame that improves Pilot’s crash compatibility with smaller vehicles and occupant protection in oblique frontal collisions. Targeting today’s Top Safety Pick+ and NHTSA 5-star ratings, Pilot is designed to meet the new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety‘s (IIHS) Side Impact Crashworthiness Evaluation (SICE) 2.0 as well as anticipated future standards.
Pilot features eight standard airbags, including a next-gen passenger-side front airbag that uses a three-chamber design with the two outer chambers designed to cradle the head and minimize rotation to minimize the potential for severe brain trauma associated with oblique frontal collisions. Front knee airbags are also standard.
Pilot also features an updated Honda Sensing® suite of safety and driver assistive technologies enabled by a new camera with a wider 90-degree field of view and wide-angle radar with a 120-degree field of view. This wide angle improves collision prevention performance via improved ability to recognize attributes of objects, such as vehicles, bicycles or pedestrians, as well as white lines and road boundaries like curbs and road signs.
Blind spot information (BSI) has been expanded, now with 82 feet of radar range. Also new are Traffic Jam Assist (TJA), Low-Speed Braking Control and Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) which are standard. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow and Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS) have been updated to feature more natural responses.
Standard Rear Seatbelt Reminder and Rear Seat Reminder systems are also new to Pilot; the latter notifies drivers to check the rear seating area for children, pets or other precious cargo when exiting the vehicle.
The new fourth-generation Pilot and Pilot TrailSport will continue to be built in America*, exclusively at Honda’s Lincoln, Alabama, auto plant, continuing the 40-year legacy of Honda’s commitment to build products close to the customer. Since 2006, Honda has produced more than 2 million Pilots in the U.S.
* using domestic and globally-sourced parts
¹ Based on SAE J1100 cargo volume measurement standard plus, where applicable, floor space between seating rows, seats in their forward-most and upright position, and underfloor storage.
² AWD with related accessories