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2023 Honda Pilot Black Edition

Starting from CAD $53,784

The Pilot has gotten significantly better than the previous generation in every way. The Black Edition trim stands as the priciest option among the Pilot trims, equipped with every available feature, essentially making it a borderline luxury offering from Honda.

Competing in a competitive 3-row SUV segment alongside great offerings from other Japanese and Korean brands, the Honda Pilot secures a spot in our top 3 midsize SUV rankings. For those seeking a three-row midsize SUV, the Pilot stands out as one of the best options currently available, thanks to a comfortable ride, spacious cabin, and the latest tech.

Trip to Mont Tremblant

Honda Canada provided me with the perfect companion for my planned trip to Mont Tremblant — the Pilot. This adventure required not only ample seating for six people but also sufficient cargo space, and the Pilot delivered on both fronts. With three rows that can accommodate seven passengers and a spacious trunk, the Pilot effortlessly handled the challenge of fitting six passengers comfortably and their luggage for a six-hour journey.

Now, it’s essential to acknowledge the context. The Pilot had some significant expectations to meet, given that my previous road trip was a nine-hour drive to NYC in a 2022 Porsche Cayenne. While I’m not directly comparing the two vehicles, as they aren’t competitors or even in the same segment, I was intrigued to see how the Pilot would stack up against a luxury SUV. The results were pleasantly surprising.

In terms of performance, the Pilot was equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, producing 285 horsepower. The Pilot never felt underpowered throughout the trip, even with a full load of passengers and cargo. It remained consistently responsive to throttle inputs, providing ample power for merging onto highways from the on-route and overtaking other cars on the highway, even at higher speeds. The 10-speed automatic transmission played a significant role in delivering a smooth ride. Whether driving through bumper-to-bumper traffic or accelerating, the transmission excelled without any jerking or lurching issues. It consistently provided smooth and quick shifts, contributing to the overall comfort and enjoyment of the trip.

The ride quality of the Pilot stands out and adds to the overall appeal of this 3-row SUV. The suspension system handled road imperfections like bumps and potholes extremely well. Driving through Quebec’s notoriously pothole-ridden roads and streets, the Pilot consistently delivered a great ride without sacrificing comfort. While there was some noticeable road and wind noise at higher speeds, it wasn’t overly intrusive. When I tested the Pilot Trailsport a few weeks back, my biggest gripe was the tire noise, because of the off-road tires. Thankfully, the Black Edition trim felt noticeably quieter in comparison. The Pilot is also not on par with the Porsche Cayenne when it comes to cabin quietness, but that’s to be expected as these are different vehicles altogether. The Pilot did come with Bose speakers, which played a crucial role in drowning out any noise from the cabin, ensuring an enjoyable journey.

The Pilot’s interior is designed with practicality in mind, and it just feels right. There’s ample space, and everything is well-organized. Starting with the front, the 9-inch touchscreen powers the infotainment system. It not only looks good but is also responsive and has a user-friendly interface. I appreciate Honda’s UI for its straightforward and easy-to-use design something that’s not common among other manufacturers today. The wireless Apple CarPlay in the Pilot was great as well, eliminating the need to plug in the phone every time and keeping the front area clutter-free with only one wire being used by the passenger. Speaking of displays, the fully digital gauge cluster in the Black Edition trim was a significant improvement compared to the Trailsport trim of the Pilot that I tested previously, which came with a half-digital and half-analog speedometer that felt out of place. It was also decently customizable, allowing me to display all the important information I wanted right in front of me, making it easy to stay focused during long road trips. As for connectivity, all passengers had their set of USB ports scattered throughout the cabin which made sure all devices could be fully charged.

Honda made comfort a priority in the Pilot, and you could feel it in the cabin. All seats were comfortable, and the 10-way power adjustment in the front driver seat, along with power lumbar support, made it perfect for a long road trip. Even the second-row seats didn’t disappoint in terms of comfort and flexibility. They were adjustable, allowing for sliding back and forth and offering the option to recline. During our trip, we decided to leave the second-row removable middle seat at home. However, Honda does provide a dedicated slot for this removable seat in the trunk, but we needed the space for storage due to the amount of cargo we had with us. Removing the middle seat from the second row wasn’t just about creating a more spacious cabin; it also provided the passengers in the third row with the freedom to stretch their legs when needed. Regarding the third row, there’s a decent amount of space back there, even enough for some adults. While it may not be entirely comfortable and taller passengers might find it a bit snug, it’s not unbearable. We drove to Quebec with adults in the third row, and they never complained. Plus, the middle row seats can be adjusted a bit to enhance the comfort of those seated in the third row.

The Pilot Black Edition is rated at 12.7/9.4/11.2 L/100km (City/Hwy/Combined) by Honda. In our testing which included mostly highway driving and some city driving, we were able to get 10.6 L/100km which is great for an SUV of this size.

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