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Lately, there has been talk about how Honda’s latest models have become more expensive. Honda offers six different trims for the 2023 Pilot. These trims range from $35,950 for the base LX to $52,030 for the fully-loaded Elite trim. Given the fairly substantial price gap between the most affordable and most expensive trim, let’s see what a difference of $16,080 makes on this. SUV.

A red 2023 Honda Pilot driving outdoors in the rain.
2023 Honda Pilot | Honda

The base 2023 Honda Pilot LX is surprisingly well-equipped

The 2023 Pilot LX is the least expensive option. It’s quite a bargain, too, being over about $3,000 cheaper than the Sport trim. Naturally, the base trim isn’t going to come with anything fancy, but the modern consumer has certain expectations when buying any new car.

One basic expectation the 2023 Pilot LX meets is the inclusion of Apple Carplay and Android Auto. We are incredibly grateful for this inclusion, given it means you get Honda’s latest infotainment screen. Gone is the weird touch-operated volume slider from a few years back, and here to stay are honest-to-goodness buttons and knobs.

Honda’s latest 7-in infotainment screen is quick, intuitive, and has the hard buttons needed to operate safely while on the move. The LX also includes tri-zone climate control and one-touch second-row seats. Perhaps most impressive is that Honda saw fit to include great safety features like the collision mitigation braking system, multi-angle rearview camera, and most surprisingly, adaptive cruise control with low speed follow.

For a base trim, adaptive cruise is a pretty nifty feature to have included. Unfortunately, the LX is equipped with FWD as standard, so you’ll need to fork up $2,100 to get all four wheels powering the car. It’s the same with all trims except the TrailSport and the Elite, which come with AWD as standard.

Ultimately, what you get with the LX is a pretty bare-bones package that includes a few essential luxuries to make it a very compelling package. 

The 2023 Honda Pilot’s Elite trim lives up to its name

For the additional $16,080 over the LX, Honda keeps the basics the same and adds a giant helping of luxury. The Pilot Elite slots above the $46,450 luxury-oriented Touring trim at a cool $52,030 (per Honda’s website).

The Elite has the same 285 hp 3.5L V6 as every other trim, with the same 10-speed automatic. Unlike the LX, which had five drive modes, the Elite has seven, including sand and trail modes.

The most significant changes from the LX come with equipment—you get a lot more of it. The Elite has 20” wheels, a hands-free power tailgate, roof rails, LED foglights, and even acoustic glass! Typically, that type of thing is more likely to be found on expensive German luxury vehicles.

The seats are leather as well as heated and ventilated. The second-row captain’s chairs are also heated and include a stowable second-row center seat allowing the Pilot Elite to seat eight people. In addition to the nicer materials, you also get a panoramic roof, second-row sunshades, and a Bose premium sound system.

The fun doesn’t stop there, though, because the Pilot Elite is loaded with excellent tech in addition to luxury features. The most notable difference between the LX and the Elite on the tech front will likely be the Elite’s 9” touchscreen display, complete with satellite-linked navigation and a multi-view camera system with TrailWatch.

The Elite continues its onslaught of features, including a heads-up display, wireless charging, and multi-zone audio. Unfortunately, despite its steep price, it is not offered with Honda’s LaneWatch. Honda seems to be phasing that system out in favor of traditional blind spot monitoring. The Elite may be more than you need, but it earns its premium over the LX.  

Honda offers lots of accessories and packages

In addition to offering the Pilot in six different trims, Honda also offers a ton of extra add-ons so you can spec your Pilot in a way that suits your needs. First, Honda has four packages that offer add-ons ranging from all-season floor mats to cargo trays, wheel locks, and seat back protectors.

The most expensive package is the $700 Cargo Protection Package, while the least expensive is the $358 Protection Package. Honda also offers accessories—lots of accessories. Some are as simple as black emblems, running boards, or a trailer hitch, but some are pretty extravagant.

Honda basically allows you to attach any type of adventure equipment to your roof. You can get a kayak attachment, a bike attachment, ski/snowboard attachments, and even a tent. Fun fact: the Pontiac Aztek could also be optioned with a tent, but thankfully the Pilot is far better looking. Honda seems to want this to be the most customizable three-row family SUV, and that’s pretty cool. 


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