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All-New 2023 Honda Pilot Gets New V6, Rugged Looks, Most Cargo Room Ever

A second-row middle seat can even be removed and stored under the trunk floor to improve cabin space.

It’s almost hard to believe there have only been three generations of the Honda Pilot SUV up to this point. It’s become such a staple of the midsize family crossover segment that it feels like it’s been around forever. However, the 2023 Honda Pilot enters its fourth new generation and brings with it more interior space, rugged new looks, and an all-new V6 engine. And as Honda calls it, it’s “the largest and most powerful Honda SUV ever produced.”

The new Pilot now shares the same design language as the new Passport and CR-V up front, with headlights that connect to the grille, which has a hexagonal pattern insert. It gets unique C-pillar and D-pillar designs, as well as a new rear end, but it’s clearly part of the same family.

Inside, the Honda Pilot packs more interior space—both passenger and cargo—than ever before, which now allows it to seat up to eight people. It also has a unique second-row bench seat, which can normally seat three people but the middle seat can be removed and stored under the trunk floor. That makes the standard second row surprisingly versatile, with three different configurations; a normal bench seat, two captain chairs (middle seat folded down), or two seats with an extra wide pass-through for easy third-row access (middle seat removed). Honda also says the new “Body Stabilizing” front seats reduce fatigue over long journeys.

It’s much more practical than before, too. Rear cargo space with the third row in place is 22.42 cubic feet, which is up from the 2022 Pilot’s 16.5 cubic feet. Total cargo space, with all seats folded down, is 113.67 cubic feet, up from 83.8 cubic feet.

As far as interior design goes, the new Pilot looks a lot like most other new Honda products. So it’s similar to the Civic and CR-V, borrowing their simple dashboard layout. That’s not a bad thing, though, as it’s a handsome interior design language that seems to work well for most Honda models. Specially when the tech has also been upgraded. So now the Pilot gets a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which can be upgraded to a nine-inch setup. There’s also an optional 10.2-inch digital gauge cluster. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both wireless now, too.

What isn’t similar to other Honda models is the engine. Honda gave the fourth-gen Pilot an all-new engine, even if it shares the same displacement and is barely more powerful. The new motor is a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6, which is the same as before, but with 285 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, instead of the old V6’s 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet. However, Honda claims the engine is all-new and, with 285 horsepower, it’s technically the most powerful naturally aspirated Honda V6 ever. To send that power to the ground, the new engine partners up with a 10-speed automatic transmission, which sends power to the front-biased all-wheel drive system.

Honda is also calling the new Pilot its most off-road capable vehicle in history. A big reason for that boast is its new i-VTM4 torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system. It’s capable of sending up to 70 percent of available torque to the rear axle and, because of a new limited-slip rear differential, 100 percent of the rearward torque can be sent to either rear wheel. The new diff is also said to have 30 percent faster responses and be capable of 40 percent more torque than before.

In addition to the off-road hardware, there’s also some helpful off-road software. Honda’s Trail Torque Logic optimizes the all-wheel drive system’s torque vectoring and its Trail Watch camera system gives drivers a full view of the car’s surroundings while off-roading. Those two systems are available on the Pilot TrailSport. And to deal with more rugged terrain, Honda’s also tweaked the steering and the suspension of the new Pilot.

Pricing for the new Pilot has yet to be released, but we know that there will be five different trim levels; Sport, EXL, TrailSport, Touring, and Elite. However, the new Pilot and Pilot TrailSport will continue to be built in the United States, at Honda’s Lincoln, Alabama plant.

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