Honda on Monday unveiled a redesigned Pilot, one featuring more space and bolder styling than its predecessor.
The new mid-size SUV, which represents the fourth generation of the Pilot nameplate, goes on sale in December as a 2023 model. Pricing information will be announced closer to the on-sale date.
Overall length has grown to approximately 200 inches, up from the outgoing model’s 196.5 inches, making this Honda’s biggest SUV to date. The wheelbase has also grown 2.8 inches to a total 113.8 inches, and track width is also up front and rear. All of this translates to more space for passengers and storage.
The 2023 Pilot continues to offer eight seats split over three rows, and buyers can select a removable middle seat for the second row, which has been designed to fit in the floor of the vehicle when not in use. Storage space behind the third row is 22.4 cubic feet. Folding the second and third rows flat expands the space to 113.7 cubic feet.
Power comes from a newly developed 3.5-liter V-6 that generates a peak 285 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, numbers that are low compared to rivals. The engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic and drives the front wheels as standard. All-wheel drive is available and standard on higher grades. In some cases, up to 70% of the engine’s torque can be sent to the rear axle, and up to 100% of this can be sent to either the left or right rear wheel during hard cornering. The towing capacity is 5,000 lb.
On the outside, the 2023 Pilot has taken on a much more rugged design than the outgoing Pilot whose soft lines are more minivan than SUV. The rugged design is epitomized in the new Pilot Trailsport grade which adds off-road-tuned suspension, 1.0-inch higher ground clearance, steel skid plates, and all-terrain tires wrapped around 18-inch wheels. It is also available in a unique shade of blue paint.
Underpinning the 2023 Pilot is Honda’s Global Light Truck Platform, which made its debut in the 2022 Acura MDX. The platform is more rigid than the one it replaces and this should translate into better dynamics for the 2023 Pilot. The suspension consists of MacPherson struts up front and a new multi-link setup at the rear. In the Trailsport, there’s unique tuning of the stabilizer bars, spring rates, and damper valves, plus the aforementioned extra inch of ground clearance.
Technologies, either standard or available, include digital screens for the instrument cluster and infotainment systems, measuring up to 10.2 and 9.0 inches, respectively. There’s also a drive mode selector with seven modes, including new Sport, Tow, and Trail modes. There’s also Trail Torque Logic, a special mode for off-roading that precisely controls torque in order to direct it where it’s needed if one of the wheels should lift off the ground. Another new feature is the camera system which relies on four exterior cameras to help drivers navigate obstacles outside their line of sight.
Although it’s nowhere near as popular as its smaller sibling, the CR-V, the Pilot is still an important member of the Honda lineup. Last year the automaker managed to sell 143,062 units in the U.S. alone. Production is handled at Honda’s plant in Lincoln, Alabama.
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