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It’s been nine long years since the Honda Pilot had an update, and it’s been long overdue. This may actually be a good thing, however, as Honda has really gone above and beyond to address some of the factors that owners found irritating. Now J. D. Power has created a list of what owners love from the greatest to the least about their 2023 Honda Pilot, and the top favorites aren’t a major surprise.

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

Honda Pilot owners love the SUVs ‘driving feel’

The engine didn’t get a major upgrade from previous models. It’s a 3.5-liter V6 engine which can produce 285 hp at 6,100 rpm and 262 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm. Honda paired this with a 10-speed automatic transmission. To top it off, the 2023 Pilot can now tow up to 5,000 lbs.

This was the top feature that drivers really love. Several factors played into this, ranging from the ability to accelerate smoothly to the transmission, which J.D. Power referred to as ‘refined.’ 

There are several trims available that offer drivers a wide range of choices depending on what you can afford. For example, the LX makes a great daily driver for growing families. The TrailSpot is ideal for anyone who wants to have some off-road adventures, and the Elite justifies the staggering price of $52,030 thanks to the many upgrades.

Driving modes are plentiful, as Econ, Normal, Sport, Tow, and Snow come standard. Depending on the trim and add-ons you choose, Trail and Sand modes are an option. Hill-start assist and hill-descent control are standard on all models. 

Honda Pilot owners feel safe in their rides 

Watching shows like the Dukes of Hazard, in which drivers make daring leaps in their car, may look fun, but in reality, most people don’t want to drive like that. Even if they did, they couldn’t afford the repairs needed for their vehicle in order to do so. Because of this, many drivers are now taking advantage of advanced safety features, and Honda doesn’t hold out when it comes to the Pilot.

J. D. Power reports, “The new Pilot has a next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) vehicle architecture under the sheet metal, new airbag designs to better limit the potential for injury, and next-generation Honda Sensing technologies. These changes point to improved safety over the previous-generation model.”

The Honda Sensing offers a lot of tech which modern drivers crave such as forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, lane-centering assistance, adaptive cruise control, traffic-jam assist (combines adaptive cruise control and lane-centering assistance for semi-autonomous driving assist at lower speeds).

The NHTSA and IIHS have not completed their testing as of the time of this writing, but these scores will likely be made available at a future date. 

Exterior looks are an important factor to consider

We often say, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover.’ No one ever says this about a car’s exterior, and Honda noted some of the complaints that the Pilot looked like a minivan. That’s all changed now, and for the better.

The new exterior looks tougher, drives better, and sits higher. It doesn’t have the same off-road capability as other vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler, but it can handle lighter trails with no issues and looks good doing so.

Depending on your trim, you can get bigger tires, and improved ground clearance. You can also choose bright colors like a cheerful blue not readily available on rivals

Given that the Pilot ranges from an ideal family car to a fun off-roader, the results of J. D. Power’s survey aren’t that big of a surprise. It’s one of those rare vehicles that appeal to a wide range of drivers.


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