• Crisp new look
  • Strong V-6 powertrain
  • Comfy front seats
  • Roomy cabin
  • Capable TrailSport model


  • Some awkward angles
  • Still no hybrid edition
  • Base touchscreen skimps on pixels
  • Removable middle rear seat limited to top trims

Buying tip

The 2023 Honda Pilot EX-L balances value with a larger, better touchscreen and creature comforts like leather upholstery.

features & specs

EX-L 7-Passenger 2WD

EX-L 7-Passenger AWD

EX-L 8-Passenger 2WD

The 2023 Honda Pilot gains an edge in the three-row SUV niche with its muscular styling and optimized interior.

What kind of vehicle is the 2023 Honda Pilot? What does it compare to?

The Honda Pilot crossover offers three rows of seats, V-6 power, and all-wheel drive, so it’s in the same class as the Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Toyota Highlander, and Ford Explorer. 

Is the 2023 Honda Pilot a good SUV?

It’s larger, roomier, cleaner, and has improved digital interfaces and a muscular design that’s a vast improvement over its blobby predecessor. It earns a TCC Rating of 6.8 out of 10, pending a safety score. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2023 Honda Pilot?

It’s revamped, reskinned, and retooled, and just in time given the stunning success of its South Korean rivals. Honda bets the Pilot’s new shape and upgraded technology, not to mention a tougher TrailSport edition, will draw the spotlight back in its direction.

The new design attracts, with some classic Isuzu (!) in its rear end, and some Acura MDX across the front. It’s a pendulum swing away from the softly rounded Pilot of last year, more in line with the rectilinear model that preceded that one in the 2010s. A return to roots appears in the simplified cabin, though it’s flush with the latest technology and optimized to carry families and their stuff. 

Honda developed a new 285-hp 3.5-liter V-6 that replaces the 280-hp V-6, and it upgraded to a 10-speed automatic transmission. These small changes reduce emissions by 40% versus the old V-6, but fuel economy in the larger, heavier 2023 Pilot slips by 1 mpg from the 2022 model. A stiffer structure shared with the Acura MDX as part of Honda’s new global light truck platform combines with a redesigned independent suspension for a smoother, more planted ride. A new all-wheel-drive system can shift up to 70% of the power to the rear end, which can then split it across the rear wheels for better distribution, Honda says. Ground clearance increases an inch to 8.3 inches on the TrailSport, and with all-terrain tires wrapped on 18-inch wheels as well as skid plates and built-in recovery points, the TrailSport model delivers genuine off-road capability, instead of just a look. 

The new Pilot seats eight passengers with an available middle row seat that can be stowed under the cargo floor in back. With captain’s chairs, it seats seven passengers, but in any configuration, comfy front seats and roomier second- and third-row seats make the new Pilot feel almost minivan-ish inside. 

No crash-test data has been released, but the 2023 Pilot has standard automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control.

How much does the 2023 Honda Pilot cost?

Starting at $37,295, including a $1,345 destination fee, the 2023 Pilot arrives in six trims: LX, Sport, EX-L, TrailSport, Touring, and Elite. All-wheel drive adds $2,100, except on the $49,695 TrailSport and $53,375 Elite grades, where it is standard. All but the base LX come with heated front seats with power adjustments; standard tech includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but most versions offer it wirelessly, along with wireless smartphone charging, and a 9.0-inch touchscreen. Bose audio, a 10.2-inch digital instrument panel, leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, and navigation are available.

Where is the 2023 Honda Pilot made?

In Lincoln, Alabama.

The larger, longer 2023 Honda Pilot puts a modern spin on the Isuzu Rodeo.

Is the 2023 Honda Pilot a good-looking car?

Yes. The redesigned Pilot wears its larger dimensions well, with a wider stance, a longer body with a longer hood, and a longer wheelbase. The more defined shape earns it a point, and the smart no-nonsense interior earns another to a 7. 

The Pilot squares up with a patterned grille and slim, wedgy LED headlights set on C-shaped air intake pedestals. The grille’s in proportion with the related MDX, but veers into its own country down the sides, where an upkick in its rear roof pillars reminds us of the old Honda Passport/Isuzu Rodeo duo. 

Inside, the 2023 Pilot adopts a very clean dash capped with a 7.0-inch touchscreen on base models, upgraded to a 9.0-inch touchscreen on all other versions. Simple knobs and buttons reign over the dash, including the gear selector in the console. The dash sits higher than its predecessor, and the larger touchscreen isn’t as integrated, but those small concessions lead to huge gains in packaging and space. A new steering wheel design with buttons and dials finishes the approach to interior simplicity.

A new V-6 and 10-speed automatic make for a cleaner Pilot.

The V-6 and the handling both earn a point to a 7.  

Is the Honda Pilot 4WD?

It’s front-wheel drive, but can be upgraded to all-wheel drive that can shuttle up to 70% of the torque to the rear axle. Torque vectoring then directs up to 100% of that rear torque to the rear wheel with the most grip. The adaptable system and upgraded rear differential work well to keep all four tires on the pavement, as well as handle moderate off-road duty for TrailSport models. Standard hill descent on grades of at least 7 degrees controls speeds between 2-12 mph so the driver can focus on what’s ahead. In an afternoon of testing the TrailSport on slick rock and rutted trails, it exceeded expectations. It won’t be mistaken for a Jeep Wrangler, but Honda has made it capable enough on trails designated easy and moderate, which account for 52% of trails on public lands. 

Honda charges $2,100 for all-wheel drive, but it’s standard on TrailSport and Elite models. 

How fast is the Honda Pilot?

Despite the slight boost in power, the new V-6 still churns out 262 lb-ft of torque. It’s no sport model, but with five drive modes (seven on TrailSport and Elite) accessible via a toggle on the console there’s plenty of variance to suit most driver’s needs, and it never dawdles on passing moves. 

That’s mostly due to the excellent 10-speed automatic transmission. It flicks through the lowest gears nearly imperceptibly to access more power and, while cruising, it can downshift four gears at once for a hard passing move. Paddle shifters come standard, but there’s hardly a need for them with Normal, Econ, Snow, Tow, and Sport modes adjusting throttle response, shift timing, and even steering feel. It helps to keep the engine and cabin quiet. In Sport mode it can be a little jumpy on downshifts, but otherwise it’s far smoother than competitors’ 9- and 10-speeds that can dance uncertainly. 

Sport mode also amplifies the engine note from the speakers, which is a nice touch. The light steering feel is countered by responsiveness, giving the Pilot more of a connection with the road than a minivan. Tow mode helps to maintain the Pilot’s towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. 

Even with 18-inch all-terrain tires or on 20-inch wheels, the Pilot rides in quiet and comfort. Wind and road noise infiltrates at highway speeds, but it doesn’t disrupt the cabin’s sense of calm.  

Trail mode is not just a gimmick on the top grades. On an incline, a light touch of the throttle provides enough torque for the Pilot to crawl over uneven terrain without rocking backward or lurching forward. The 18-inch all-terrain tires on the TrailSport help, too, and recovery points built into the standard hitch and the front skid plate provide some reassurance, as does the surround-view camera system that can put eyes on what you can’t see.

Larger and roomier, the 2023 Honda Pilot marries the utility of a minivan with the style of an SUV.

The bigger footprint of the redesigned Pilot translates to more legroom in the second and third rows, plenty of space in seven- or eight-seat configurations, and storage areas for things both big and small. It earns a 9 out of 10. 

Honda redesigned the frames and cushions on the front seats for near luxury levels of comfort, and the Pilot ditches the armrest built into the seat that resulted in uneven positions with the door armrest. A deep, padded center console is a much better armrest. On all but the base trim, the fronts come heated and with power lumbar support. 

A tray above the glovebox deep enough for sunglasses or a smartphone, as well as a wireless charge pad or storage shelf big enough for at least two phones at the bottom of the stack reflect how well Honda has optimized the space in the new Pilot. Modular door pockets and 14 large cupholders fit everything from Hydroflasks to laptops.

A second-row bench with a 40/20/40 split comes standard on LX, Sport, and EX-L grades, but captain’s chairs can be swapped out on EX-L and come standard on TrailSport, Touring, and Elite to seat seven passengers. With the middle seat folded, it turns into an armrest with two cupholders. 

On the top two trims, Honda offers a removable middle seat weighing about 25 pounds that can be stowed in the rear cargo floor instead or left behind in the garage. It takes less than a minute to remove it and stow it. No matter the configuration, second-row riders benefit from an additional 2.4 inches of legroom over its predecessor, to 40.8 inches total. Even though the second row sits on a shelf about two inches higher, headroom is not compromised even with the panoramic sunroof. 

Push-button seats make it simple for anyone to access the third row, and with the sliding and reclining captain’s chairs, two adults under 6 feet tall can fit in the wayback. The raised floor makes for some awkward feet positions, but it’s reasonably roomy for hips, shoulders, and heads.  

Honda improved the cargo area behind row three as well, with up to 22.4 cubic feet of storage. A storage well below the floor in most models has partitions to organize items. Pull the strap on the seat backs to collapse the headrests and expand the cargo area to up to 60.1 cubic feet behind row two, or lay down both rows for more than 112 cubic feet, which is nearly a minivan feat. 

EX-L grades and above get leather upholstery, and top trims add cross-stitching and other flourishes, but the Pilot is more about practicality than pampering.

The 2023 Honda Pilot comes loaded with safety tech meant to mitigate or avoid crashes, yet it’s designed to withstand them.

How safe is the Honda Pilot?

The NHTSA and the IIHS haven’t crashed the redesigned Honda Pilot yet, but Honda is confident the family hauler will ace those tests. Until those are completed, we withhold a safety rating. 

The standard driver-assist features on the new Pilot aim to avoid crashes altogether, and Honda Sensing is one of the most complete and robust standard systems on the market. It includes adaptive cruise control down to a stop, active lane control, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, and a driver attention monitor. The base LX is the only one without blind-spot monitors, and parking sensors front and rear come on all but the LX and Sport models.

Skip the LX for a well-equipped 2023 Honda Pilot, or head to top trims that tilt toward luxury.

Honda changed its mind and brought back the base LX to market a Pilot below $40,000, but it’s limited with a small 7.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone compatibility, eight seats, power features, four USB ports, and dual-zone climate control. The touchscreen barely earns it a point, as does the value. The long options list adds another point to an 8. 

Honda’s 3-year/36,000-mile warranty trails rivals from Hyundai and Kia. 

Which Honda Pilot should I buy?

Skip the LX for at least the $40,495 Sport model for its heated front seats with power adjustments and tri-zone climate control, but most Pilot shoppers choose the EX-L. For $43,295, or $43,595 with second row captain’s chairs, the EX-L comes with leather upholstery, a 9.0-inch touchscreen, wireless smartphone compatibility and charging, a 9-speaker audio system, and a power tailgate. 

How much is a fully loaded 2023 Honda Pilot?

The $49,695 TrailSport tempts with its off-road upgrades and standard panoramic sunroof, and its $200 less than an AWD Touring, but the Elite crests the lineup. For $53,375, the Honda Pilot Elite builds off the Touring’s removable middle seat, 12-speaker Bose audio, navigation, 20-inch wheels, and wifi hotspot by adding cooled front seats, a 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster, a head-up display, and a surround-view camera system. 

An HPD package adds some flair such as fender flares, bronze wheels, and special graphics for $2,950 on all Pilot trims.

The 2023 Honda Pilot lacks an efficient hybrid option.

Is the 2023 Honda Pilot good on gas?

The new V-6 produces less emissions, but even with a more efficient 10-speed automatic transmission, it lags its predecessor by 1 mpg to 19 mpg city, 25 highway, 21 combined with all-wheel drive. That’s a 2 here. All-terrain tires on the TrailSport model lower its rating to 18/23/20 mpg. 

Front-wheel-drive models rate at 19/27/22 mpg. That’s on par with the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade, by trails most other three-row SUVs, especially hybrid versions of the Ford Explorer and the class-leading Toyota Sienna with its 35-mpg combined rating with AWD. 

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