The 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport gives the brand’s three-row crossover a rugged trim level for families who need a rig to take them off-road. In a new video, the automaker highlights the model’s development.
While testing the standard Pilot, the engineers realized that none of the existing driving modes were quite right for the type of off-roading they were doing. To solve this issue, they came up with a Trail setting for the system. Another tweak was tuning the all-wheel-drive system to handle situations where two wheels on opposite ends are in the air.
Entering Trail mode activates the Trailwatch camera system. It provides multiple views of the exterior, including the outer corners, the front, and a bird’s eye view.
Honda also added front and rear skid plates to the Pilot TrailSport. This wasn’t as simple as just bolting some metal panels underneath the vehicle. The engineers had to make sure the pieces didn’t affect things like crashworthiness or serviceability. The one in front has an integrated recovery hook.
When creating the TrailSport, Honda didn’t want to compromise the Pilot’s on-road ability. That’s where the vehicle is going to spend the vast majority of its time.
The TrailSport boasts a different suspension setup than other Pilot trim levels. A revised spring and strut setup adds an inch (2.54 centimeters) of ground clearance. Tweaked front and rear sway bars offer better articulation. It rides on 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires
The TrailSport has seating for seven people because of the second-row captain’s chairs. It and the Elite trim get a standard heated steering wheel.
All versions of the 2023 Pilot use a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 making 285 horsepower (213 kilowatts) and 262 pound-feet (355 Newton-meters). It hooks up to a 10-speed automatic gearbox. The Elite and TrailSport come standard with all-wheel drive. Lesser trim levels come with front-wheel drive.
Deliveries of the 2023 Pilot begin in September. The TrailSport starts at $49,645 after the $1,295 destination fee. For comparison, the base Sport trim is $40,445 with front-wheel drive or $42,545 with all-wheel drive.