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The Honda Pilot and the Subaru Ascent are rivals in the highly competitive three-row midsize SUV segment. Both vehicles have good points, but the 2023 Honda Pilot has one massive strength over the 2023 Subaru Ascent: an excellent redesign.

Unlike the 2023 Subaru Ascent, the 2023 Honda Pilot has a major redesign 

Blue 2023 Honda Pilot midsize SUV driving off-road
2023 Honda Pilot | Honda

In recent years, the Honda Pilot was starting to get outdated and lag behind the midsize SUV competition. However, this all changed for the 2023 model year. The next-generation 2023 Honda Pilot made a big leap forward with its pleasing design and multiple improvements. 

Conversely, while the 2023 Subaru Ascent has some small styling tweaks, such as for the grille, its changes for the new model year are relatively minor compared to the Pilot. It’s still in its first generation, which debuted four years ago.

The redesigned Pilot has a rugged new look — with truck-like styling and a boxier shape. Exterior design highlights include a large upright grille, a long hood, a strong horizontal beltline, and flared fenders. And at the rear section of the midsize SUV, there’s a body-colored roof spoiler and LED taillights. 

2023 Pilot has a new off-road model — but the 2023 Ascent doesn’t offer one

Rear angle view of black 2023 Subaru Ascent midsize SUV
2023 Subaru Ascent | Subaru

Another new addition for the 2023 Honda Pilot is the TrailSport trim, an off-road model that’s geared for outdoor adventures. However, the 2023 Subaru Ascent doesn’t have an off-road model. Other Subaru SUVs offer off-road versions with the Wilderness trim — but not the Ascent.

Along with upping the ruggedness factor with its exterior design, the Pilot TrailSport has an array of off-road features. This includes a TrailWatch camera system, a trail torque logic off-road system, stabilizer bars, and 18-inch wheels with inset spokes. 

Furthermore, the TrailSport comes equipped with an off-road-tuned suspension, which provides extra ground clearance for driving over challenging terrain. Also, for enhanced traction, it has an upgraded i-VTM4 torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system.

Other advantages of the Honda Pilot over the Subaru Ascent

The 2023 Pilot has some other advantages over the 2023 Ascent. This includes a roomier interior. Both SUVs can seat up to eight people, but the Pilot has a total passenger volume of 158.4 cu-ft, compared to 153.5 cu-ft for the Ascent. There’s also considerably more storage space in the Pilot. It has a maximum cargo capacity of 113.7 cu-ft, while the Ascent only offers up to 75.6 cu-ft. Plus, the cabin of the Pilot is more upscale, especially for the higher trims.

On the performance front, the Pilot’s 3.5-liter V-6 engine doles out 285 horsepower. In comparison, the turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine in the Ascent generates 260 horsepower.

Furthermore, the Pilot has a new complimentary maintenance plan. Good for two years or 24,000 miles, it provides free coverage for multi-point inspections, oil changes, topping off the fluids, and tire rotations. However, the Ascent doesn’t offer a free maintenance program.

With its thorough redesign, the 2023 Honda Pilot has a massive strength over the 2023 Subaru Ascent. If you’re making a choice between the two midsize SUVs, then the redesign is an element to keep in mind.

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