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Friday, December 1, 2023

2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport Is a Roads Scholar

From the June 2023 concern of Automobile and Driver.

When Honda birthed the TrailSport moniker on the previous-generation Pilot and Passport, it was an inauspicious second. With the trim providing virtually no purposeful upgrades, the automaker seemed to be cynically chasing the rising recognition of rugged model-line extensions. That modifications with the all-new 2023 Pilot. The TrailSport actually distinguishes itself from the remainder of the lineup, with all-terrain tires (and an identical full-size spare), an inch extra floor clearance (for 8.3 inches whole), beefy skid plates, a barely softer entrance anti-roll bar, and a torque-vectoring rear diff with 20 % extra torque capability. The off-road variant is now absolutely realized.

Driving the Pilot TrailSport

Talking of that rear diff, it is a torque-vectoring madman, rotating the rear finish round with slide-happy shenanigans on- or off-road. Three-row massive SUVs are by no means this impartial, however the Pilot will get all 4 tires absolutely engaged to ship 0.85 g on the skidpad—astonishing, contemplating the lowly T velocity–rated (118 mph) all-terrain rubber. The Continental TerrainContact A/T tires claw extraordinarily effectively on delicate sand and dirt however do not sing at freeway speeds on pavement, regardless of their knobby tread.

HIGHS: Legit off-road functionality, adult-size second and third rows, exuberant torque-vectoring rear diff.

The TrailSport does quit some on-road prowess relative to its siblings, with the tires and softer entrance anti-roll bar eroding some steering precision and permitting extra physique movement. The stopping distance from 70 mph is a longish 189 ft. Whereas the TrailSport is not as sharp as the opposite Pilot fashions on pavement, most rivals aren’t both.

The TrailSport has extra severe off-road chops than its friends however continues to be no mountain goat. Even with the extra floor clearance, the TrailSport’s 19.8-degree method angle means it might probably’t fairly clear the 20-degree ramp we use to check articulation. And any car with this a lot wheelbase is in danger for top centering. Additionally, Honda included the entrance tow hook into the ahead skid plate beneath the oil pan, which implies two issues: It will not work as a flag mount, and it’s possible you’ll want a snorkel to connect a snatch strap after getting caught in a water gap.

Bigger Exterior and Inside Dimensions

This fourth-gen Pilot debuts a revised and fortified light-truck structure that can even underpin the subsequent Odyssey minivan, Ridgeline pickup, and Passport SUV. Typically talking, the Pilot has grown in each dimension— the TrailSport particularly by 2.9 inches in wheelbase, 3.7 inches in size, and over an inch in observe widths, which makes for extra second- and third-row house, plus better cargo room. The third row isn’t just liveable however snug for adults, with the seat cushion now about two inches larger off the ground for extra stretch-out house. It’s not minivan grade, but it surely’s not far off. Mother and father of younger youngsters will recognize the buttons on the second-row seats that tilt and slide them out of the best way, making it simple for teenagers to self-embark for the again.

2023 honda pilot trailsport

Marc Urbano|Automobile and Driver

Greater and stiffer means heavier, and the TrailSport’s 4709-pound curb weight is a considerable 382 greater than that of the final Pilot we examined. However the construction feels about as strong as a bridge abutment, which advantages each experience and dealing with, and the Pilot steers with a lightness and veracity that belies its elevated weight. There’s extra sound-deadening materials to dam out the surface world too. The $49,695 TrailSport is the third-highest trim stage, beneath the $53,375 Elite and $200 lower than the Touring. It is effectively geared up however lacking a couple of of the highest fashions’ niceties, resembling ventilated entrance seats, heated rear seats, Wi-Fi, and Bose audio.

LOWS: Gas economic system takes a dip, not as fast as earlier than, forgettable styling inside and outside.

Visually, the 2023 Pilot marks a return towards boxy from the earlier jelly-bean form, though it isn’t almost as cubist because the second-gen mannequin. Considered from the facet or the rear, the brand new Pilot blends in with its friends. Arguably, its most noticeable visible is the $455 Subtle Sky Pearl paint accessible solely on the TrailSport.

Inside supplies are of fairly prime quality, and storage bins abound. Orange stitching on the seats and sprint is a contact of dress-up, however our take a look at car’s all-black shade scheme is bland, and it is the one selection on the TrailSport. We’re by no means followers of fingerprint-attracting piano-black trim, which sadly surrounds the shift buttons and local weather controls. The 9.0-inch middle touchscreen on EX-L and better fashions is small by at present’s requirements.

All-New V-6 Engine

Honda’s venerable 60-degree naturally aspirated V-6 sprouts twin overhead cams for the primary time, a part of a complete overhaul to scale back emissions. Displacement stays 3.5 liters, and a mix of extra exact gas management, larger injection pressures, and variable valve timing on each camshafts conspires to chop particulate and NOx emissions by as much as 50 %. That will get the V-6 to SULEV30 standing, which ought to maintain it emissions-legal by way of the top of the last decade. Peak energy is up a nominal 5 horsepower to 285 whole, and torque is unchanged at 262 pound-feet, with each peaks at barely larger rpm. The V-6 nonetheless has a lovely consumption honk, however Honda’s storied VTEC is gone, and with it the characterful high-lift-cam switchover level and ensuing pandemonium on the high finish of the tach.

VERDICT: That is your Pilot talking, now extra on to driving lovers, wherever they could enterprise.

Energy-to-weight math places the brand new mannequin 7 % behind the earlier one, so it’s no shock that acceleration is slower by related margins: 6.9 seconds to 60 mph and 15.4 seconds at 90 mph within the quarter-mile, versus 6.2 seconds and 14.8 at 94 mph earlier than. Gas economic system suffers too, with EPA mixed scores down 1 mpg versus comparable 2022 Pilots. The TrailSport lands at 20 mpg, which is 1 mpg worse than different all-wheel-drive Pilots. Though this SUV lags behind its best friends, some consumers will recognize that Honda is sticking with the V-6 relatively than switching to a turbo 4 like many rivals.

Delivering all of the anticipated practicality of a three-row mid-size SUV, the brand new Pilot expands the breadth of its lineup with the off-road-ready TrailSport. Its driving dynamics now carry it to the entrance of the pack, on- or off-road.

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2023 Honda Pilot Trailsport

Automobile Kind: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door wagon


Base/As Examined: $49,695/$50,150

Choices: Subtle Sky Pearl paint, $455

DOHC, 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and aluminum heads, direct gas injection

Displacement: 212 in3, 3471 cm3

Energy: 285 hp @ 6100 rpm

Torque: 262 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm


10-speed computerized


Suspension, F/R: management arms/multilink

Brakes, F/R: 13.8-in vented disc/13.0-in disc

Tires: Continental TerrainContact A/T

265/60R-18 110T M+S


Wheelbase: 113.8 in

Size: 200.2 in

Width: 78.5 in

Peak: 72.0 in

Passenger Quantity, F/M/R: 57/57/40 ft3

Cargo Quantity, behind F/M/R: 87/49/19 ft3

Curb Weight: 4709 lb


60 mph: 6.9 sec

100 mph: 20.3 sec

1/4-Mile: 15.4 sec @ 90 mph

Outcomes above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.4 sec.

Rolling Begin, 5–60 mph: 6.9 sec

Prime Gear, 30–50 mph: 4.0 sec

Prime Gear, 50–70 mph: 5.2 sec

Prime Velocity (gov ltd): 111 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 189 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.85 g


Noticed: 18 mpg

75-mph Freeway Driving: 22 mpg

75-mph Freeway Vary: 400 mi


Mixed/Metropolis/Freeway: 20/18/23 mpg


Headshot of Dave VanderWerp

Director, Automobile Testing

Dave VanderWerp has spent greater than 20 years within the automotive business, in assorted roles from engineering to product consulting, and now main Automobile and Driver‘s vehicle-testing efforts. Dave received his very fortunate begin at C/D by taking place to submit an unsolicited resume at simply the appropriate time to land a part-time street warrior job when he was a pupil on the College of Michigan, the place he instantly grew to become enthralled with the world of automotive journalism.

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