If you are the adventurer type, one who’s juices start to flow when your vehicle leaves the pavement, the 2023 Honda Pilot AWD TrailSport SUV is right up your alley.
The largest Honda SUV ever, the all-new Honda Pilot is longer and wider than its predecessor and available in five unique trim levels: Sport, EX-L, Touring, Elite and TrailSport.
The mid-sized, three-row SUV is completely redesigned with a stronger and more capable platform that also provides more passenger and cargo space. Pilot’s new rugged exterior styling is tough and aspirational with a large upright grille and a powerful stance accentuated by flared fenders, wider tracks and larger tires. Available with a new opening panoramic sunroof, the new Pilot is also the only vehicle in its class to combine eight-passenger seating and this desirable feature.
TrailSport represents an important direction in Honda’s rugged light truck product lineup, resulting in a number of additional manufacturing challenges. Engineered to get weekend adventurers even further off the beaten path, the Pilot TrailSport’s special off-road features include a raised off-road tuned suspension with an inch more ground clearance, all-terrain tires, thick steel skid plates protecting the engine and fuel tank, and expanded all-wheel drive system capabilities.
My tester was powered by an all-new 3.5-liter, V6 engine with variable cylinder management. Paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, the combo delivers 285 horsepower, 262 lb-ft of torque, and 23 miles per gallon fuel economy down the highway.
For added versatility, Pilot comes with seven integrated drive modes: normal, economy, sport, snow, tow, trail and sand.
Based on Honda’s new light truck architecture, Pilot features an extremely rigid platform that was engineered for TrailSport’s true off-road capabilities, along with a longer wheelbase and wider tracks.
Pilot’s exterior looks the part, also. Pilot’s new rugged styling is tough and aspirational with a large upright grille and a powerful stance accentuated by flared fenders, wider tracks and larger tires. Other goodies include 18-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, rear privacy glass, power tailgate, and a “Diffused Sky Blue” coat of enamel that illicit a thumbs up from a passerby in the Kingston ferry line.
Since the TrailSport will spend more time on pavement that dirt, creature comforts are plentiful. Front and second-row passengers benefit from captain chairs seating. My favorites were the nine-speaker audio system, wireless phone charger, tri-zone climate control, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and nine-inch touchscreen with surround-view camera system.
An important new feature for Pilot is a first-in-class, removable second row middle seat that can be conveniently stowed underneath the rear cargo floor instead of left at home in the garage. With the third-row folding flat, this creates a cavernous cargo area large enough to transport small furniture.
Rounding out Pilot TrailSports long list of attributes is the Honda Sensing safety suite that adds adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation and traffic jam assist to other safety features.
The “other” features are not insignificant. The “others” include vehicle stability assist, anti-lock braking system, electronic brake distribution, ACE body structure, and a multitude of airbags protecting front, side and knees.
Base Price: $49,700
Price As Driven: $50,150
Destination charge is included in base price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.
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