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05 Pilot Teaser 2 Climb Testing

2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport First Look: Off-Road Approved?

Honda’s mid-sized Pilot SUV has been around for twenty years now, and the third generation received a facelift in 2022 to keep it fresh. There’s also a variant called the TrailSport on the way, which is touted as an offroad-oriented trim, that allows this SUV to punch above its class when hitting the trails. In this article, we will check out what we know about the upcoming 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport, and find out what the TrailSport trim brings to the table.

If you’ve got a Pilot, or any other SUV or truck, we’ve got a world of choice for you to upgrade and enhance it with. Just browse online and you’re bound to find something for every need, want, and budget. Be warned, it’s easy to get sucked in, but we’ve got friendly experts on hand to offer the best advice and tips on what’s best for your vehicle.

04 Pilot Teaser 2 Descent Testing

Honda Pilot Basics

The third-generation Pilot debuted in 2016 and received a facelift in 2019, with incremental changes every year thereafter. Powered by a 3.5L gasoline V6 that puts out 280 hp at 6,000 rpm and 262 lb-ft of torque at 4,700rpm. It’s a naturally aspirated, single overhead cam design with VTEC on the intake valves only. Power is sent to the wheels via a ZF 9-speed automatic transmission on the latest models. The Pilot comes in at 194.5 inches long and 78.6 inches wide. Standard variants are 69.8 inches tall, but as we’ll read, the TrailSport does come with a mild lift, making it taller.  

Pilot TrailSport in Rebelle Rally Front Landscape 1

Increased Suspension for Off-Roading

A one-inch lift is facilitated on the TrailSport variant of the Pilot, thanks to springs and shocks that are specifically engineered for this model and offer extra cushioning when off-road without detracting from the generally good on-road manners that the Pilot is known for. Wheel articulation has also been marginally enhanced thanks to a softer sway bar.

06 Pilot Teaser 2 Front Testing

New Off-Road Modifications

There are quite a few off-road modifications for the 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport. First up, Honda has installed sturdy skid plates for the engine, transmission, and fuel tank, indicating that they expect TrailSport users to be a bit more adventurous. For the techies out there, the plate protecting the engine and transmission is 4mm thick, while the fuel tank has a 2.8mm thick piece guarding it. As well, the front skid plate is designed to maintain airflow to keep the drivetrain cool.

The TrailSport comes with four easily visible jacking points on the inside of each wheel, but each skid plate can also be used as a jacking point for extra versatility during recovery operations. There’s also a front recovery point that’s well hidden at the front of the engine/transmission skid plate, plus a rear recovery point in the shape of the rear trailer receiver.

The TrailSport comes from the factory with a fairly middle-of-the-road tire offering: Continental TerrainContact A/Ts, which are 3-Peak rated and sized at 265/60R18. Serious off-roaders will recognize this as a 30.5-inch tire which is maybe a little on the small side, but at 4 Wheel Parts, we can sort you out with our selection of tires and wheels. It’s also noteworthy that the Continentals come in at a relatively svelte 39lbs each, ensuring lower rotating mass, which is what you want, particularly for fuel economy.

01.1 Pilot Teaser 2 Front Vertical

New Direction For Honda Pilots

Honda’s Pilot TrailSport offers a new direction for Honda Pilot customers, and the goodies don’t just stop at the hardware tweaks we’ve described in the previous section. Let’s have a look at the traction control system. Honda has tweaked it for the TrailSport variant, with all-wheel drive always fully engaged and fully automatic. A wheel-torque display gauge allows you to see the exact proportioning of torque to each wheel if you’re interested, and enabling Trail Mode optimizes everything for low-traction conditions. Even the accelerator pedal response is dulled, meaning leadfoots can still exert fine control.

The TrailCam is another cool feature, which uses the 360-degree camera system to allow you to see the front, rear, and sides of your Pilot TrailSport, and the display includes helpful lines to indicate your pathway, depending on the direction in which your tires are pointing. A single function button on the end of a steering-mounted stalk means that you can pull up the camera system on the infotainment system screen with a single tap.

The rest of the Honda Pilot specs for the Trailsport are similar to other trims, with leather seating for seven, plenty of safety gear via the Honda Sensing suite, digital instrument cluster, decent infotainment system, 7-speaker 215-watt audio system, tri-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 4G LTE hotspot, Honda CabinControl mobile app connectivity, and a power tailgate. Optional features include the All Season Package, Cargo Protective Package, and a host of accessories. You can also spec an engine block heater to aid cold starts in frigid climates.

02.1 Pilot Teaser 2 Rear Vertical

Off-Road Approved Final Verdict

If you’re the sort who wants a family SUV that doesn’t look too off-roadish or brutish but can still dash across a mild to moderate trail without too much trouble, consider the 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport. It’s got a punchy gasoline V6, a smooth automatic transmission, and comes with a decent array of creature comforts to keep everyone satisfied. Not everyone will take a Honda Pilot off-road so you may turn some heads as well. Of course, if you want to mod it, we’re waiting to help you out.

Everything for Off-Roaders at 4 Wheel Parts

If you’ve been searching for a one-stop shop for everything off-road, we at 4 Wheel Parts can be your best friend. With over 100 stores strategically located nationwide and a huge selection online you can browse a range of thousands of SKUs from hundreds of the world’s best brands, catering to the A to Z of off-roading gear. We offer competitive prices, expert advice, and exceptional after-sales service. But don’t just take our word for it; check out our customer reviews, and the words of our loyal customer community.