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Three-row SUVs are hotter than a $3 pistol these days. With consumer demand high and production numbers still low, there is a bit of a bottleneck happening with the most popular large SUVs. What’s strange is that Honda is one of the most popular carmakers in history, yet one of the best Honda SUVs, the Honda Pilot, seems to be underrated. 

The 2023 Honda Pilot is underrated. This newly redesign three-row SUV might be the best Honda SUV.
2023 Honda Pilot | Honda

Is the Honda Pilot better than the Honda CR-V? 

I know. The Honda Pilot isn’t objectively better than the CR-V. As a matter of fact, there might be any SUV that’s objectively better than the CR-V, but the Honda Pilot is most certainly better for many families for one reason; size. 

The Honda Pilot is Honda’s biggest SUV. Frankly, it doesn’t matter how good the CR-V is; if you have more than five people, it’s useless. This is where the Honda Pilot shines. Some reviewers have criticized the Pilot’s third row for being too narrow. Even still, with the third-row seats laid down, there is a massive 109 cubic feet of cargo space. Try getting that in a CR-V. 

At its most powerful, the 2023 Honda CR-V can only make 204 hp. This is plenty enough power for the small crossover. Meanwhile, the 2023 Honda Pilot makes an extra 5 hp from last year’s model, taking the total up to 285 hp. In fact, the Honda Pilot and the other unsung hero from Honda, the Ridgeline, share the same 3.5-liter V6. 

Is the Honda Pilot reliable? 

2023 Honda Pilot safety ratings
2023 Honda Pilot | Honda

Reliability has been brought up plenty of times around the Pilot. What’s the deal? Did Honda really make an unreliable vehicle? 

Consumer Reports dug into customer complaints about the 2022 Honda Pilot. The 2022 model got rated poorly on reliability. Owners report the drive system and transmission had some issues. Some owners also complained about in-car electronics struggling to work properly. Reports like this understandably can tarnish a model’s good name. Even a brand like Honda can see some issues. 

Is the 2023 Honda Pilot the Best Honda SUV?

That said, Car and Driver says the 2023 Honda Pilot is the first of a new generation of Pilots. Not only did Honda give the Pilot a new, more contemporary, boxy look, but it also got a new 10-speed transmission. So that covers the previously troublesome 9-speed. The nearly completely redesigned Honda Pilot can easily supplant the CR-V. Without the reliability concerns of old, the Honda Pilot could easily be the best Honda SUV. 

Honda not having a proper SUV that is more popular feels strange. The little CR-V, Odyssey, Civic, and Accord are some of the most iconic vehicles of all time. Honda is a superpower, and it feels weird for it to get no big SUV or pickup truck credit. 

The 2023 Honda Pilot has a great shot at being the best Honda SUV if the redesign proves to be well done. Either way, if the reliability concerns are addressed, then, if nothing else, I hope it at least gets its propers.