Car News

2023 Honda Pilot Gets Rugged New Style, Removable Second-Row Seat

For 2023, the Honda Pilot will be bigger and built on a new platform. The SUV gets more powerful, looks more rugged, and the off-road TrailSport trim gets some extra off-road capability. At the same time, Honda is going more upscale, with finishes and features designed to add some luxury to this three-row crossover.

Thanks to an all-new light truck architecture, the Pilot is now 86 mm longer at 5,077 mm overall with a wheelbase that is up by 72mm. That gives the 2023 Honda Pilot a more comfortable third row and more interior space with 635 L of cargo capacity behind the rear seats and 3,219 behind the first row. If that cargo figure seems massive, it's because Honda has channelled some of the cargo storage tricks from the now-discontinued Fit. The Pilot's second row of seats can fold into the floor for more space, or you can take it out and leave it at home, giving you what is essentially a Honda Pilot cargo van.

A 7.0-inch digital dashboard display sits beside a traditional speedometer, but on Touring and Black Edition model, you get an all-digital 10.2-inch screen. The infotainment system is a 7.0-inch screen as well, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Step up to the EX-L or higher trim and you get a 9.0-inch screen that has wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, and wireless charging. Touring and Black Edition trims add navigation and a 12-speaker Bose stereo.

Honda's familiar 3.5L V6 is under the longer hood, but it has been tweaked for 2023. It now makes 285 hp (up by 5) and an unchanged 262 lb-ft of torque. Honda calls it its most powerful V6 ever, though the same engine installed in the Acura TLX makes more power and more torque.

A 10-speed automatic is part of the package, one more gear than last year. Honda has tweaked the all-wheel drive system as well, with a rear differential that can handle 40 per cent more torque and give you a 30 per cent quicker power transfer response. Now up to 70 per cent of torque can be sent to the rear and all of that can be distributed by the computer to either back tire.

The TrailSport model, Honda's entry in the growing off-road trim market, is enhanced versus the cosmetics-only version offered in the Passport. The Pilot TrailSport gets an off-road-tuned suspension with 25 mm more ground clearance and its own anti-roll bars. The TrailSport also gets Continental all-terrain tires and underbody steel skid plates to protect the oil pan, transmission, and gas tank.

The Honda Sensing safety suite has been enhanced for 2023. It gets a wider view for both the camera and radar sensor, which should improve object detection and improve collision performance. Blind spot monitoring now has 25 m of range, while traffic jam assist and low-speed braking are both new features and standard equipment. Honda says the adaptive cruise system should have more "natural" responses.

Expect the 2023 Honda Pilot at Honda stores early in the new year, and for pricing to be revealed just before the on-sale date.