With a roomier interior, an updated powertrain and available off-road hardware, theHonda Pilot 2023it is more versatile than its predecessor. If you choose the Pilot over other capable competitors like the Kia Telluride and Toyota Highlander, which trim level should you choose?
Honda offers its three-row SUV in six trim levels: LX, Sport, EX-L, Touring, TrailSport and Elite. To help you decide, our guide breaks down what you'll find and identify in each finishwhich version offers the highest feature value per dollar. Read on to find out what the best 2023 Honda Pilot trim is.
2023 Honda Pilot LX: Pros and Cons
Each Honda Pilot is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 285 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. In ourfirst unit, we noticed that the drivetrain is smooth and polished. While power has only increased by a modest 5hp over the previous generation model, the new transmission brings a vastly improved refinement to the driving experience.
The entry point into the Pilot range is the LX trim level. Front-wheel drive is standard and Honda's all-wheel drive system, capable of sending up to 70% of total torque to the rear wheels, is available. Honda equips the 2023 Pilot LX with four driving modes: Normal, Econ, Snow and Tow. The Pilot LX rides on 18-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires and comes standard with an active grille. Find yourself stuck halfway or perched on a steep hill, and all Pilot versions have you covered with Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist. The front-wheel drive trailer tops out at 3,500 pounds. That number goes up to 5,000 pounds with all-wheel drive.
All Honda Pilot LX models can accommodate eight passengers. Inside, a gray interior is standard and the steering wheel features paddle shifters. Standard equipment includes keyless entry to the front door and tailgate, a manually adjustable driver's seat, a seven-speaker audio system, dual-zone climate control and push-button-folding second-row seats.
Honda is putting a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on the Pilot LX's dashboard, paired with a similarly sized instrument cluster display. The first row gets a USB-A port and a USB-C port, and the second row has two USB-A ports. We wish the base model came with third-row USB ports like the Kia Telluride.
Safety technology includes Automatic Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Traffic Sign Recognition, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Traffic Alert and Lane Departure Warning.
The 2023 Honda Pilot LX starts at just over $37,000 front-wheel drive and just under $40,000 all-wheel drive. The standard equipment list is strong, and the Honda Pilot is similarly priced to rivals like the Toyota Highlander and Kia Telluride, but is undercut by the Subaru Ascent.
2023 Honda Pilot Sport: Pros and Cons
The Honda Pilot Sport brings more style and substance to the three-row SUV. Based on the LX trim level, the Pilot Sport gets 20-inch Shark Gray wheels with black lug nuts, Sport drive mode, leather steering wheel, heated front seats, 10-way power driver's seat and 2-way lumbar support, four-way power passenger seat, seatback bags for the front seats, gloss black roof rails, double chrome exhaust tips and black interior. Pricing for the Pilot Sport starts under $41,000 with front-wheel drive and just under $43,000 with all-wheel drive.
2023 Honda Pilot EX-L: Pros and Cons
The Honda Pilot EX-L is mechanically identical to the Pilot Sport with an equipment list that places more emphasis on luxury. Opting for the AWD model on this trim level and higher also adds Trail and Sand driving modes. Its 18-inch alloy wheels have more sidewall than the Sport's 20-inch wheels, which should offer a more comfortable ride but are less stylish. The Pilot EX-L 2023 also gets a power tailgate and acoustic glass windshield to keep outside noise intrusion to a minimum. Buyers who don't need eight seats can opt for the EX-L model's second-row captain's chairs for $300.
The 2023 Honda Pilot EX-L features leather-trimmed seats, power front seats with memory settings for the driver's seat, a nine-speaker audio system, a compass and sunshades on the second row. Depending on the exterior color, the interior can be either black or gray. The infotainment upgrades to a 9.0-inch screen. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as wireless phone charging, allow drivers to drive wirelessly. In addition to the Pilot Sport's charging ports, the EX-L gets two USB-A ports in the third row and an additional 12-volt socket in the cargo area.
Honda bolsters the Pilot EX-L's active safety suite with a low-speed brake control and front and rear parking sensors. Honda's CabinTalk in-car PA system and the so-called 'conversation mirror', useful for families with young children, also become standard on this trim level. The Pilot EX-L offers much more comfort than the Sport, which buyers will appreciate during ownership.
Honda is asking just over $43,000 for the Pilot EX-L with FWD and just over $45,000 for the AWD variant. At just $2,800 more than the Pilot Sport, this fairing offers great bang for the buck.
2023 Honda Pilot Touring: Pros and Cons
Honda equips the Pilot Touring with even more luxurious equipment than the EX-L. Mounted on 20-inch alloy wheels, this trim features twin chrome tailpipes, hands-free access to the power tailgate, acoustic glass side windows and a panoramic sunroof. All 2023 Honda Pilot Touring models seat eight passengers and cannot be fitted with optional captain's chairs. However, the center seat can be stowed in the trunk to free up space in the cabin.
The Touring trim level gets more technology in the form of Honda's integrated navigation system, connected HondaLink services including remote engine starting, Wi-Fi hotspot capability and a premium 12-speaker Bose sound system with audio multizone. It also extends keyless entry to the rear doors.
The jump from EX-L trim to Touring model is big. Honda is charging just under $48,000 for a 2023 Pilot Touring with FWD and just under $50,000 for AWD. However, there's enough extra gear to make it worth mentioning at this level, especially when a front-wheel drive Acura MDX is priced at just under $51,000. Independent badge buyers can make a strong case for the Touring finish; It's better equipped than its sister model from the luxury brand and costs less money.
2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport: Pros and Cons
While more expensive than the Touring trim, the Honda Pilot TrailSport builds on the EX-L's trim and doesn't come with most of the luxury features listed above. Instead, Honda equips the standard all-wheel drive with seven steering modes, specially painted 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, a tuned off-road chassis and its TrailWatch camera system. Other upgrades include skidplates, an integrated Class III hitch and recovery points. Whileour first trip, We rode an off-road course in a 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport and found it "equipped to handle family camping and some light landings when the need arises."
The TrailSport shares most of its other equipment with the Pilot EX-L but gets the panoramic sunroof for enjoying the great outdoors. Captain's chairs are standard and the seats are upholstered in faux leather with orange stitching. Honda equips a 110-volt outlet to power devices on a camping trip. A multi-view camera system gives the driver a 360-degree view of the vehicle's surroundings, which is arguably more useful in parking lots than on an off-road track.
We think the Honda Passport Trailsport strikes a happy medium between a typical three-row street crossover and a dedicated off-road SUV like the Toyota 4Runner. It has improved trail running capabilities over the previous generation model and bold cosmetics that help it stand out from its competitors. With a starting price of just under $50,000, this finish has enough to tempt adventurous buyers.
2023 Honda Pilot Elite: Pros and Cons
The top-of-the-line 2023 Honda Pilot is the aptly named Elite model. Picking up where Pilot Touring left off, this crew is loaded with gear. Four-wheel drive with seven riding modes is standard, and Honda equips its TrailWatch camera system with a full 360-degree view, although this model doesn't come with the TrailSport's off-road gear. The Elite exhibits a smooth, quiet ride compared to the beefier TrailSport.
Like the Pilot Touring, the Elite features dual chrome tailpipes, an acoustic windshield and laminated window panes on the front doors, keyless entry to all four doors, and a stowable second-row center seat. The Pilot Elite also takes a best-of-both-worlds approach, squashing the TrailSport's 110-volt outlet, heated leather steering wheel and heated wiper windshield zone.
Heated second-row seats and ventilated first-row seats are exclusive to the 2023 Honda Pilot Elite. A beautiful brown interior is also available. This is also the only model to get rear second-row bags, which seems to be a lack when many drivers serve as family vans. Buyers should also grab this last trim to get a head-up display, LED door lights, and a 10.2-inch all-digital instrument cluster. Honda forgoes a larger infotainment touchscreen; Even the highest configuration uses a 9.0-inch screen.
With an MSRP of just over $53,000, the Honda Pilot Elite is a bit pricey for the features you get. However, buyers with the resources to secure a fully loaded 2023 Honda Pilot Elite won't find their vehicle lacking many features.
What is the best finish for the 2023 Honda Pilot?
We think the Honda Pilot EX-L is the most affordable trim in the range. Covers most of the basesdreireihiger SUVBuyers expect some accessories like the PA system and passenger mirror that make the pilot unique. Updated infotainment technology and a few luxury touches make the EX-L even more attractive. We would definitely go for all-wheel drive to maximize the Pilot EX-L's capabilities.
Prices Honda Pilot 2023:
- Sport: $40.495*
- EX-L: US$ 43.295*
- Tour: $47.795*
- TrailSport: US$ 49.695**
- Elite: $ 53.375 **
* Add $2000 for 4WD.
**All wheel drive is standard.