Skip to main content

The 2023 Honda Pilot SUV marks twenty years in the market. That says a lot about a midsize SUV that delivers a family-friendly drive and a leisurely ride on the road. The Pilot isn’t an exciting, performance-oriented vehicle, but it has qualities that make most owners smile. Whether you love its affordable price, impressive versatility, roomy cabin, or three rows of seats, the Honda Pilot continues to give consumers what they want, as it has done for the past twenty years.

2003 – the first Honda Pilot SUV arrives

This red 2003 Honda Pilot SUV is part of the first generation for this vehicle
2003 Honda Pilot | Honda

Looking back at the first version of the Pilot, something about this SUV was different from the rest. At that time, the Ford Explorer and Chevrolet Trailblazer were the top dogs in the midsize SUV class, but they utilized a body-on-frame construction. The Honda Pilot becomes unique in this space because of the unibody construction derived from the Odyssey minivan.

The unibody build of this first Pilot gave it a much better ride on the road. Add the standard AWD and the Honda Pilot became one of the most useful SUVs in the market. The original engine was a 3.5-liter V6 that produced 240 horsepower and was mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.

2009 – a redesigned Honda SUV goes on sale

2009 Honda Pilot SUV
2009 Honda Pilot SUV | Honda

The second generation of the Honda Pilot SUV began in 2009. This new model brings a boxier build and upright styling to move away from the minivan roots. The wheelbase of this model increases by 2.9 inches giving passengers more room in the cabin. The same 3.5-liter V6 engine finds its way under the hood but adds ten more horsepower to give owners a little more power.

Car and Driver used the 2009 Pilot as one of its long-term testing models, putting it through more than 40,000 miles of brutal testing. The cargo hold was so impressive in this Honda SUV that the Car and Driver team put a go-cart in the rear.

2016 – the third generation of the Honda Pilot SUV begins

This 2019 Honda Pilot SUV was refreshed during the third-generation of this midsize SUV
2019 Honda Pilot SUV | Honda

After a refresh in 2012, where many of the hard corners were shaved off in favor of rounded edges. The 2016 model gave us an SUV that looks even more like a minivan. The wheelbase increased once again to add an additional 3.5 inches, and the vehicle’s weight dropped by 309 pounds. This gave the new model a bit more agility on the road.

As this third generation began, the same stalwart V6 engine provided 280 horsepower to give this three-row SUV a bit more acceleration and power. Besides the body style change, the main focus for this new version was to bring increased levels of interior quality to the mix.

2023 – ushering in the fourth generation with some retro style

This 2023 Honda Pilot Testing Mule is still under wraps
2023 Honda Pilot Testing Mule | Honda

The 2023 Honda Pilot SUV marks the fourth generation of this three-row family-sized SUV. Thankfully, this midsize SUV will give us more hard edges than its predecessor, bringing back some of the SUV style we admire and desire.

This next-generation Pilot could bring more off-road chops with the TrailSport model, especially if it borrows some of the qualities found in the Passport. While we look forward to the new model of the Honda Pilot SUV, it’s fun to take a ride back in time to see where this vehicle came from bore stepping into the new model.

If you want to learn more about the new 2023 Honda Pilot SUV, continue reading to the next article.


Where Does the New 2023 Honda Pilot SUV Fit In?