Video: I Take the 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport Where Most Won’t!

How well does Honda's ruggedized Pilot work off-road?

Image: TFLoffroad

The 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport brings lots of skid plates, beefier tires and suspension upgrades.

Checking out the ruggedized model in Arizona, Kase notes the 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport (importantly) comes with capable Continental TerrainContact ATs. This is a huge step in the right direction for crossovers that are built for more adventurous trails, but there’s more. The 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport trades some passenger space for more off-road useability. Being that it uses a full-size spare, the seating cannot exceed seven passengers. That spare tire takes up the space of where the center of the second row would normally stow.

Like the regular Pilot, the TrailSport has a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 285 horsepower, and 262 lb-ft of torque. It’s connected to a 10-speed automatic transmission. It 18 mpg city and 23 mpg highway ratings are a bit of a disappointment. The Honda Pilot starts at about $36,000, and this TrailSport model costs over $48,000.

2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport

There are seven drive modes which include Sport, Normal, Trail, Snow, Eco, Tow and Sand. Once in Tow Mode, you are rated to pull up to 5,000 pounds. If you go to Trail Mode, you can access several cameras which are strategically placed in locations that will help with off-road navigation. Not only that, they have a built-in squirter that will clean the lens when called upon.

Other features in our test vehicle include a panoramic sunroof, wireless phone charger and several dash-mounted cubbies. It also has hill-decent control, which is one of the better HDC systems we’ve tested.

The 2023 Honda Pilot Trailsport’s i-VTM4 system is outstanding.

The crown jewel of the 2023 Honda Pilot Trailsport package has to be its outstanding all-wheel drive system. This torque-vectoring system has been used on other Honda products in the past. We’ve sampled the Passport Trailsport and the Ridgeline using this system, both with excellent results.

In this setup, Honda claims that up to 70% of the torque can be sent to the rear axle. From there, it can send up to 100% of that power to either side. It’s mechanical at the rear, with the addition of the braking system halting spinning tires. The whole system makes the hefty family mover far more capable than many competitors.

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.