2023 Honda Pilot Reveal: What's New, Photos, Specs, and More

Honda improves the redesigned 2023 Pilot in almost every way.

Capital One

Reveal QuickTakes:

What is the 2023 Honda Pilot?

The 2023 Honda Pilot is the redesigned, fourth-generation version of the automaker’s popular three-row, midsize SUV. It seats eight people and holds 87 cubic feet of cargo behind the front seats. When properly equipped, it tows 5,000 pounds.

Honda offers the new 2023 Pilot in five trim levels, each equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 engine, a 10-speed automatic transmission, and your choice between front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD). The lineup includes Sport, EX-L, Trailsport, Touring, and Elite trim levels. For 2023, the Pilot Trailsport will be more capable off-road.

To report on the redesigned 2023 Pilot, Honda invited me to a special preview of the SUV in a studio in Southern California. Honda provided lunch during the event.

2023 Honda Pilot Changes

  • First Pilot redesign since the 2016 model year
  • More rugged exterior styling
  • Larger interior with added cargo space
  • The most powerful V6 engine in the Honda brand’s history
  • Next-generation AWD system
  • Trailsport trim gets improved off-roading capability
  • Standard digital instrumentation
  • New infotainment systems
  • Upgraded safety features

2023 Honda Pilot Trailsport, Diffused Sky Blue, rear quarter viewChristian Wardlaw

How Does the 2023 Honda Pilot Look?

Honda wanted to make the Pilot look more rugged and capable with this redesign. So designers penned a bold grille, long hood, flared fenders, and modified proportions for a more traditional SUV appearance. As a result, the new Honda Pilot has a longer wheelbase, wider front and rear tracks, and is 3.4 inches longer than before. In addition, the Pilot EX-L and Trailsport have 18-inch alloy wheels, while Sport, Touring, and Elite versions have 20-inch alloy wheels.

2023 Honda Pilot Trailsport interior, dashboardChristian Wardlaw

2023 Honda Pilot Interior

The new Pilot’s interior design follows the theme established by the current-generation Honda Civic, CR-V, and HR-V models. The look is clean, uncluttered, and simple, rendered in quality materials. An available panoramic sunroof bathes the interior in natural light.

Based on my experience sitting in all three rows of seats, I can report they are more comfortable than before. The front seats feature new designs for improved long-distance comfort and support, while the second- and third-row seats offer more legroom than the old Pilot. Heated front seats are standard, while a heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats are options.

Another change for 2023 is the removable second-row center seat section, which stows in a rear underfloor compartment when not in use. It is standard with Touring and Elite trim and transforms the Pilot’s second-row bench seat into a set of captain’s chairs. Honda also added more sound dampening to quiet the SUV’s interior.

Cargo space also grows to 18.6 cu-ft behind the third-row seat, 48.5 cu-ft behind the second row, and a maximum of 87 cu-ft.*

2023 Honda Pilot infotainment system home menuChristian Wardlaw

2023 Honda Pilot Technology

Every 2023 Pilot has digital instrumentation, with the 7-inch display panel expanding to 10.2 inches in the Pilot Elite. In addition, the Pilot Sport uses a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, while all other trim levels upgrade to a 9-inch touchscreen.

Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and four USB charging ports are standard with Sport trim. In the Pilot EX-L and higher, the 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system adds faster processing speed, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a wireless charging pad, and USB ports in the third-row seat.

A 12-speaker Bose premium surround-sound audio system is standard with Touring and Elite trim, while the Elite boasts an exclusive head-up display.

2023 Honda Pilot safety featuresChristian Wardlaw

2023 Honda Pilot Safety

Honda constructs the 2023 Pilot around a new Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) architecture. The company claims it is more compatible with smaller and lighter vehicles in a crash while simultaneously doing a better job of protecting the Pilot’s occupants from serious injury. In addition, the Pilot gets a new front passenger airbag designed to limit brain injuries due to head rotation during a collision. Front knee airbags are also standard for 2023.

A new camera as well as new radar sensors enhance the standard Honda Sensing collection of driving assistance technologies. The automaker suggests they will enhance accuracy, add operational refinement, and improve overall performance. New features include Traffic Jam Assist and Traffic Sign Recognition, and Honda also adds new rear-seat reminder and rear seatbelt reminder systems.

2023 Honda Pilot Elite, Dark Blue, side viewChristian Wardlaw

2023 Honda Pilot Specs

Honda equips the 2023 Pilot with a new 3.5-liter V6 engine making 285 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters feeds the power to the Pilot’s front wheels unless the SUV has the new second-generation Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4) AWD system.

Pilot Sport drivers choose between Econ, Normal, Sport, Snow, and Tow driving modes. Other Pilot models add Sand and Trail settings. The i-VTM4 AWD system includes torque vectoring and can deliver up to 70% of the engine’s power to a single rear wheel. That figure is 75% in the Pilot Trailsport, thanks to its exclusive Trail torque logic system.

Trailsports also feature a 1-inch-higher off-road suspension with greater ground clearance, better wheel articulation, plus improved approach, breakover, and departure angles. All-terrain tires wrap around 18-inch wheels designed to resist damage while off-roading. Steel skid plates protect the Trailsport’s vital components, and recovery hooks are standard equipment. Trailsports also have a TrailWatch camera to help drivers see what’s directly in front of the SUV.

Additional mechanical improvements for all 2023 Pilot models include a revised variable steering ratio, larger front brakes, improved brake feel and performance, and a standard Hill Descent Control system. It allows the driver to choose a hill descent speed between 2 mph and 12 mph.

The 2023 Honda Pilot’s towing capacity measures 5,000 pounds, and Honda estimates that it will get between 20 mpg and 22 mpg in combined driving, depending on the drivetrain and trim level.

2023 Honda Pilot Trailsport interior, front seatsChristian Wardlaw

2023 Honda Pilot Price and Competitors

Honda set the 2023 Pilot price range from $39,150 for the Sport FWD to $52,030 for the Elite AWD, not including a destination charge of $1,345. The new Pilot faces numerous rivals, including the Chevrolet Traverse, Dodge Durango, Ford Explorer, Hyundai Palisade, Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Kia Telluride, Nissan Pathfinder, Subaru Ascent, Toyota Highlander, and Volkswagen Atlas.

*SAE J1100 measurement standard

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Christian Wardlaw
My first word was “car.” That’s what I’m told, anyway. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with them. The design. The engineering. The performance. And the purpose. I’m a car enthusiast who loves to drive, but I’m also most interested in the cars, trucks, and SUVs that people actually buy. Anybody can tell you that a sports car is fast. What you need to know is whether or not you should buy that new SUV, and why. My life purpose is to help you make that decision.