2023 Honda Pilot: Overview
The 2023 Pilot is Honda’s contender and an important product launch in the competitive midsize SUV segment. The category of three-row SUVs that can seat 7 people and carry a considerable amount of cargo for long drives is a crucial segment that no manufacturer can afford to neglect.
We tested the 4th generation, 2023 Pilot with the range-topping Black Edition trim.
The top trim level of the Pilot comes with a blacked-out grille, black wheels, and blacked-out exterior trim pieces. The most expensive Pilot has a panoramic sunroof, wireless charging pad, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row captain’s chairs, and a heated steering wheel as standard. The 10-speaker audio system and a rear-seat entertainment system add more comfort, especially for families with kids, the main customer segment for the Pilot.
Compared to the previous generation, the new Pilot has a more rugged and angular shape with a vertical grill. The design is based on the 2022 Acura MDX, the more luxurious corporate cousin and this is a reasonable and intelligent choice.
2023 Honda Pilot: Engine and Powertrain
Honda offers the newly designed, more advanced 3.5-litre V6 engine as the only option. The new engine replaces the old machine that Honda had been using for a long time not only for the Pilot but also for some other models such as Odyssey and Passport. This engine delivers 285 horsepower at a relatively high 6100 rpm and 262 pound-feet of torque at 5000 rpm. The engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The Variable Cylinder Management®(VCM®) system is designed to automatically switch between 6 and 3 cylinders, depending on the driving conditions.
2023 Honda Pilot: Interior
The interior is well equipped with USB A and C ports, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, and a nine-inch infotainment system (for the Black Edition trim, otherwise 7-inch) With 14 cupholders and storage bins, seatback pockets for phones and tablets, the 2023 Honda Pilot has no shortage of storage space inside and practical solutions for better functionality and room economy deserve applause. For example, The removable middle seat in the second row can be removed and stored undertray in the trunk. At least in the tested Black Edition trim, you can change the seating arrangement from 7 to 8 or vice versa.
For me personally, a bigger screen (at least 10 inches) at least for the top trim level would add to the functionality.
Honda keeps the push-button gear selectors like in the Odyssey and Passport. For some experts and users, it is still a point of criticism. To me, it is easy to get used to and saves some space in the centre console.
The new generation Pilot is bigger than its predecessor and the additional space enables more head and legroom for the third row. Release buttons on the second-row seats and the seat travel to access the third row is easy. But this doesn’t change the fact that the legroom for the second-row is generous at the expense of the third-row space.
When it comes to cargo volume, the new Pilot is not a class leader but has useful features for more practical use. Although there is no power-folding option, third-row seats are easy to release in 50/50 leading to a large space. Its high floor enables easy loading and unloading.
The new pilot got bigger than its predecessor in terms of cargo volume. The capacity behind the third, second and first row seats are 635/1702/3175 litres accordingly. The towing capacity is 5000 pounds (2.5 tonnes) is remarkable.
The driving is smooth and comfortable. The 10-speed transmission is tuned for fuel economy. To achieve that goal, frequent up and downshifting may disturb some sporty-oriented drivers who may have chosen the wrong vehicle. During our test drive, however, “downsizing to 3 cylinders”, a feature of The Variable Cylinder Management® (VCM®) system came rarely into play. Also worth noting is that We were five adults on board.
The average consumption of our mixed-used test drive was 12,4 litres, which is not the best in this class but normal.
The 2023 Honda Pilot is equipped with Honda’s second-gen i-VTM4 torque vectoring all-wheel drive system. This means a stronger rear differential which is capable of handling 40 percent more torque and has a 30 percent faster response. It can also deliver 70 percent of the torque to the rear axle and up to 100 percent of that to either rear wheel to help find traction. Honestly, a one-week drive in the summer is not long enough and ideal for testing the features of the powertrain and traction on different terrains and weather conditions.
With an excellent record of reliability and fuel economy, a new Honda vehicle in any category is a promise for success. But, this statement should not imply the perfectness of the product. From a broader perspective, it remains to be answered why the biggest SUV of Honda doesn’t offer a hybrid or plug-in-hybrid model or even a BEV. But, wait, we are at the beginning of the new Pilot’s lifespan and can expect these variants in the next few years.
For more information please visit: http://www.honda.ca