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Honda Teases 2023 Pilot Trailsport As Their Most Rugged SUV Ever

HotCars 9/26/2022 Nikia Hunt
© Provided by HotCars

Although Honda is not generally the first maker to come to mind when considering off-road vehicles, they are looking to change that with the 2023 Honda Pilot Trailsport, which they are boasting as their “most rugged SUV ever” in the teasers they have recently revealed. Initially shown in a very far-off shot on a narrow road on the side of a pretty intimidating rock wall in what appears to be a canyon, there was not much detail involved until the newest reveals.

Although known for being reliable, durable, and family-friendly, the new image Honda is projecting is a little more niche. The updated and more detailed imagery of the SUV shows a larger, three-row variant and is decidedly more rugged than many of the other, softer offerings from the Japanese manufacturer. More details will become available as we draw closer to the offering date, but the SUV appears to be a pretty close approximation to the Rugged Roads Concept shared earlier by the company.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes the 2023 Pilot Trailsport Honda’s most rugged SUV ever!

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The Rugged Roads Concept Carry-Overs To The 2023 Pilot Trailsport

Honda’s Trailsport trim package was initially announced in fall of 2021 with an anticipated arrival date of Trailsport badged Hondas arriving in production by the end of 2021. That extra level of off-road readiness launched in response to Subaru’s “Wilderness” trim package. However, when it came down to an actual introduction to the package, it was all aesthetic on the 2022 Passport Trailsport SUV, and disappointingly, no actual off-road upgrades were actually included.

After that announcement, though, the company dropped a concept for the Passport called the Rugged Roads Passport, which included the hardware everyone was waiting for. Since Honda has expressed their intention to have all the bells and whistles for off-road enthusiasts included in the Trailsport trim, much of what was on that concept has likely migrated to the 2023 Pilot Trailsport as well.

The concept included an increased clearance using a Jsport suspension lift kit that gives an increase of 1.5 inches in the front and .8 inches in the rear. Looking at the stance of the 2023 Pilot Trailsport, it is obvious that the clearance was similarly upgraded. A release from Honda does not completely confirm the same specifications, but hints at them with the note that the suspension has been “off-road tuned.”

The all-terrain tires on the prototype have also made their way onto the Pilot Trailsport, which features them as standard on the model. Prototype skid plates protecting the oil pan and fuel tank have also migrated in an all-steel version on the 2023 Pilot Trailsport. Although the fender flares do not seem to have made it onto the new model, there is still a chance for that alteration later on.

The off-road prowess of the new Pilot Tralisport has heavy competition as many other makers introduce sub-brands and trims that are ready for the best rock crawling and overlanding duties. Honda’s Trailsport line will be competing against not only Subaru’s Wilderness trim, but also Ford’s Timberline trim and Hyundai’s XRT package among other heavy hitters that are traditionally devoted to off-roading such as offerings from Jeep or Land Rover.

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New Details And Off-Road Features Of The 2023 Pilot Trailsport

The images released by Honda show the front and rear of the SUV (in a nice soft blue color) which makes the Pilot really pop against the natural backdrops. It gives much more to the eye than the original teaser, in which the camouflaged SUV was nearly invisible against the rocky vista. The new reveal does not give much away in the arena of off-road upgrades, but does give some insight into the newest design ideas for the Pilot overall.

The 2023 model years looks promising, although bulky with plentiful curves and lines. It is not unattractive and features new taillights, headlights, and a new grille design. Both the headlights and taillights are horizontally oriented, and the headlights have a slight upwards slope, giving the front a more “mean” look. Adding to that feeling is a bulky black grille with orange “trailsport” badging in the upper driver’s side corner.

Honda has shared that the SUV will have “expanded all-wheel drive system capabilities” and it just looks more able to take on rough terrain. The fascias are now metal and hint at the skid plates located just beyond them. Additionally, the bigger grille has a larger mesh than previous iterations. Working together, these aesthetic upgrades add to the rugged feeling of the new Trailsport.

Although it may not be the pick for all off-roaders, the 2023 Honda Trailsport is an offering that many weekend adventurers might find appealing. Knowing that they are getting the traditional offerings of a Honda including space, comfort, and resale value is a given, but adding the off-road upgrades pushes this SUV higher on the buy list for many looking for something to do dual duty as a daily driver as well as a capable off-road vehicle when desired or needed.

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