2023/2024 Honda Pilot Trailsport - A SUV worth buying


Although the 2024s have been out for some time Honda has kept this 2023 Pilot TrailSport in the media fleet. Honda says the two years are virtually the same.

I think the Pilot is a handsome vehicle, maybe a bit similar to many other SUVs of this size (or they are similar to the Pilot) but you still know it is a Honda. I'm not keen on the "Diffused Sky Blue Pearl" paint color (a $455 option) but that's just me. 

There is only one engine available for the Pilot, a lively 3.5-liter, DOHC V6. It makes 285 hp @ 6,100 rpm, and 262 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm. Power goes through a 10-speed automatic transmission. Most models are FWD with AWD optional, the TrailSport and Elite are only available with AWD. 

I have to say more about the engine. I know Honda makes more powerful engines (the Civic Type R) but this V6 is so sweet. I just love the sounds it makes and the way the power comes on, the throttle is so responsive. It moves the almost 4,700 lb. Trailsport from 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds. It is rated at 23-mpg on the highway (not great but okay) and 18-mpg in the city. It's too bad the V6 is not in a car that weighs maybe 1,000 pounds less.

The 265/60R18 "Rugged Terrain" tires had aggressive looking tread but thankfully they weren't noisy. 

The gauges are straightforward and easy to read - nice.

The one area I feel Honda falls down on is the gearshift apparatus. I really hate multiple buttons. More often than not I had to look down to make sure I was pushing the correct button. Just use a gearshift lever!

It is getting difficult to find auto seating that isn't good looking and comfortable. Yes some are more comfy than others, like the TrailSport's. With multiple adjustments you can get the fronts "just right."

The middle row of two seats were almost as comfortable as the fronts and the occupants get their own climate controls.

Access to the third (rear) row is good but it still is best left to the smaller, more agile folks.

All the rear seats fold flat giving up to 87 cubic feet of cargo storage. There is 18.6 cubic feet of storage behind the third row, with 48.5 cu. ft. behind the middle row.

The Pilot TrailSport is not a huge SUV but it is about as big as I'd like to own. It is 200.2" long, 78.5" wide, and 72" tall. It has a respectable 7.3" of ground clearance.

I doubt that many Pilot TrailSports will ever see the rough and tumble of real off-roading. It used to be said that only around 5% of 4WD vehicles were driven off-road. I doubt that even that few AWD vehicles go anywhere that might scrape their underbelly. I don't count driving down a dirt road, or out onto the playa as off-road. You may think of yourself as Jeramiah Johnson when you're behind the wheel of your SUV but you're just dreaming. If your SUV makes you feel safe in the cut and thrust of modern life that's just fine, and if you drive over a rutted dirt road count that as a bonus. 

The 2024 Honda TrailSport starts at $48800 ($100 more than the 2023) as long as you opt for Crystal Black Pearl or Lunar Silver Metallic. Go for the three other exterior colors and add on $455. You can get a basic 2WD LX for $37,090. If you're in the market for an SUV in this size range you can't go wrong with a Honda Pilot.


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