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The Honda Pilot and the Toyota Highlander are longtime competitors in the midsize SUV segment. In recent years, the Highlander has dominated the rivalry, including being the best-selling midsize SUV in 2021. However, this dominance could come to an end for the 2023 model year. The 2023 Honda Pilot has one huge advantage over the 2023 Toyota Highlander: an excellent redesign.

Unlike the 2023 Toyota Highlander, the 2023 Honda Pilot has a redesign

Front angle view of blue 2023 Honda Pilot midsize SUV
2023 Honda Pilot | Honda

The fourth-generation 2023 Honda Pilot greatly impresses with its all-new design. Conversely, the Toyota Highlander hasn’t been redesigned in three years. If you’re the type of automotive shopper that enjoys the newest and freshest look for a vehicle, then the Pilot is a good midsize SUV choice for you.

Overall, the new Pilot has a more rugged exterior design, with a boxier shape and truck-like styling. Notable exterior design features include a large upright grille, flared fenders, and a strong horizontal beltline. Also, the long hood and pulled-back A-pillars create an element of sportiness. And at the rear, there are new LED taillights and a body-colored roof spoiler. 

Redesigned 2023 Pilot offers more interior space than the 2023 Highlander

Side view of white 2023 Toyota Highlander midsize SUV
2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

The all-new 2023 Honda Pilot is larger than the outgoing model. It’s 3.4 inches longer, with a wider track width and a longer wheelbase. Along with giving the midsize SUV a more aggressive presence, the increased exterior dimensions result in more interior space. 

Honda claims that the Pilot has class-leading interior space, including a generous amount of space for storage. It has a rear cargo capacity of 22.4 cu-ft and a maximum cargo capacity of 113.7 cu-ft, compared to 16.0/84.3 cu-ft for the 2023 Toyota Highlander. Additionally, the Pilot has useful storage compartments and many cup holders. 

Furthermore, the cabin of the Pilot is more modern, while the Highlander could use an upgrade. Also, the Pilot provides a more comfortable ride with new body-stabilizing seats that reduce fatigue on long excursions. 

Unlike the Toyota Highlander, the Honda Pilot offers an off-road model with the new TrailSport trim

Off-road SUVs are very popular these days, and the 2023 Pilot meets this demand with the new TrailSport trim. While the 2023 Highlander is a great family SUV for city driving, it doesn’t offer an off-road model.

The TrailSport features an even more rugged design than the standard Pilot model, along with off-road features to aid adventures into the wilderness. This includes a TrailWatch camera system, a trail torque logic off-road system, stabilizer bars, all-terrain tires, and unique 18-inch wheels with inset spokes to protect them from damage on rough terrain. Also, the Pilot TrailSport has an off-road-tuned suspension with a one-inch lift for extra ground clearance. 

The TrailSport, along with the rest of the Pilot lineup, is powered by a new 3.5-liter V-6 engine, which delivers 285 horsepower. In comparison, the turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four engine in the Highlander generates 265 horsepower, while its 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid powertrain produces 243 horsepower. Plus, for enhanced traction, Pilot offers the upgraded i-VTM4 torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system.

With its excellent redesign, the 2023 Honda Pilot has a huge advantage over the 2023 Toyota Highlander. We’ll have to see if the changes and upgrades will help the Pilot end the Highlander’s dominance in the midsize SUV segment.


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