2023 Honda Pilot Trail Sport: Jalopnik First Drive

picture: Honda

Honda Pilot It has undergone a transformation from an imposing suburban hauler to a light-duty off-road explorer. This fourth-The Pilot generation has a tougher, rougher look, and there’s legitimate material to back that style up. From steel skid plates and a full-size spare tire to a suite of off-road driving aids, the 2023 Honda Pilot Trail Sport It is equipped with tangible improvements that will come in handy on occasional off-road trips.

The growing popularity of off-road driving has led many manufacturers to offer rugged packages for their cars – think about that Subaru wild sub brand. Honda announced Trail Sport trim level for late 2021, but the company’s initial offerings were largely cosmetic additions to the existing vehicle lineup. On the other hand, the new pilot, Honda was offered the opportunity to make its TrailSport package a worthwhile off-road upgrade.

Full disclosure: Honda drove me to Phoenix, Arizona, then chauffeured me two hours north to a resort in a scenic, snow-packed area. Sedona, AZ. There, we got along with several other journalists to lead the 2023 Pilot Trail Sport through what could have been a “Visit Arizona” commercial.

I can't believe I didn't roll this pilot on a rock face.

I can’t believe I didn’t roll this pilot on a rock face.
picture: Ryan Eric King

The TrailSport has the same 3.5-liter V6 engine and 10-speed automatic transmission as every Honda Pilot 2023 Other. This engine produces 262 lb-ft of torque as well as 285 horsepower—5 horsepower more than its predecessor—and the transmission can be actuated via manual control paddle shifters. According to EPA fuel economy ratings, this iteration of the Pilot will get 18 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, similar to the 2022 Kia Telluride.

Passing hard

Photo for article titled The 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport is a light off-road family SUV

picture: Honda

In terms of off-road capabilities, the Pilot TrailSport achieves a lot of Honda firsts. It’s the company’s first SUV with all-terrain tires from the factory, and it features a range of 265/60R-18 Continental TerrainContact ATs. those tires wrap around 18-inch wheels with internal spokes to prevent them from scraping on bumpy roads. The Pilot also comes with a full-size rear-mounted kit.

This is also the first Honda SUV to be equipped with steel lower skid plates. The two Plates protect the oil pan, transmission and gas tank. The front skid plate is 4mm thick, and the gas tank plate is 2.8mm thick.

A set of steel skid plates used during the development of the Pilot TrailSport.  Better to scrape the skid plate than the fuel tank or oil pan.

A set of steel skid plates used during the development of the Pilot TrailSport. Better to scrape the skid plate than the fuel tank or oil pan.
picture: Ryan Eric King

Don’t be overly ambitious; These changes do not turn the Pilot into an off-road vehicle. The Trail Sport has 8.3 inches of ground clearance, an inch more than the standard Pilot, resulting in approach of 19.8 degrees, break-in of 19.6 degrees and departure angles of 19 degrees. This will make it a little easier to drive over obstacles on dirt tracks, but only marginally more than basic driving.

Off-road novice

Photo for article titled The 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport is a light off-road family SUV

picture: Ryan Eric King

The Pilot TrailSport comes standard with many features to make off-road driving friendly. The two most notable ones are TrailMode and TrailWatch.

TrailMode is an off-road torque logic function that manages the power distribution of the all-wheel drive system. This torque vectoring technology can send 75 percent of the available power to either rear wheel if the opposite tire loses contact with the ground. The remaining 25 percent remains with the inactive wheel to transfer power quickly after traction is restored.

Photo for article titled The 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport is a light off-road family SUV

picture: Honda

To help keep the ride smooth over rough terrain, the throttle is easy to adjust and encourages the gradual inputs required for crawling. Moreover, the electronic traction management system is not visible while it is in operation. There’s great communication through the steering wheel and pedals, which helps you judge the level of traction at each wheel.

If you aren’t sure of your exact wheel position, this is where TrailWatch comes in. TrailWatch is a four-camera system that will help you detect obstacles outside your field of vision. The camera system turns on automatically at the speeds below 15 mph when TrailMode is on, and it uses three low-best views and a 360-degree top view to convey the most information about Ocean as possible. This is very useful when navigating tight spaces.

Impressions and conclusions on the way

Photo for article titled The 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport is a light off-road family SUV

picture: Honda

The 2023 Honda Pilot Trail Sport is still very sophisticated on paved surfaces despite its off-road capabilities. Driving around Sedona, Arizona, the Crossover is smooth, stable and has minimal body roll along winding mountain roads, no matter how hard you push He. She. Honda’s usual range of driving aids, including adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and lane keeping assist, It comes standard, and there’s a new traffic sign recognition system that uses a camera to notice signs and project onto the side of the road This information is displayed on the pilot’s head-up display.

Honda Pilot Trail Sport 2023 is currently available at MSRP of $49,695, which includes a destination fee of $1,345. While avid off-roaders will likely splurge on a dedicated off-road vehicle, the Pilot TrailSport is a great SUV for buyers looking to play with their daily driver on the weekends.

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