LOS ANGELES – Honda’s fourth-generation Pilot takes the stage as the final act of what the Japanese automaker calls “the year of the Honda SUV,” and the baby dump truck has been reimagined to be more competitive for spectators in one of the industry’s most challenging but lucrative segments.

While the three-row Pilot is technically a full crossover, in its latest form it’s the closest thing to Honda must be true sports utility vehicle – even goes beyond the size and capabilities of the medium size Ridgeline pickup truck.

The 2023 Pilot is based on Honda’s new light truck architecture and has stretched 3.4 inches longer than the crossover it replaces. The wheelbase is now 113.8 inches (up 2.8 inches), and the front and rear tracks have been widened by more than 1 inch. The larger size will provide a smoother ride and added stability, Honda says, while adding more space in the second and third rows and in the rear trunk.

Also of note is the Pilot’s drivetrain, a new 3.5-liter V-6 engine mated to Honda’s second-generation 10-speed automatic transmission. Honda says it’s its most powerful engine yet, with 285 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. ​​​​​​While fuel efficiency ratings have not been certified, Honda expects mpg to show an improvement over the previous model.

U.S. sales of the Pilot, Honda’s third light truck after the CR-V and HR-V, fell 33 percent to 82,795 in the first three quarters as the company grapples with parts shortages and delivery delays that continue to hurt other automakers. . Pilot shipments peaked at 159,615 in 2018. The Toyota Highlander, with US sales of 182,413, up 19 percent through October, and the Ford Explorer, with 172,130 deliveries, up 4.8 percent, dominate the three-row crossover market.

The new Pilot reinstates the boxy silhouette of the second generation, which was replaced by a softer, more aerodynamic shape in the third iteration. A strong horizontal beltline and flared fenders help portray an aggressive driving style, unlike the crossover it replaces.

The Pilot’s vertical grille complements the rest of Honda’s light trucks.

The A-pillar has been pushed back and combined with the giant clamshell hood – the largest Honda has ever produced – creates a longer and sportier panel-to-axle ratio.


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