2023 Honda Pilot is nowhere near ready for its close-up


This is mostly just a public service announcement to let everyone know the all-new 2023 Honda Pilot, which we expect to include a more rugged Trailsport trim, is on the way. Honda parked a camouflaged prototype of its three-row crossover in a rocky canyon not far from the remains of the Donner Party, then drove to a neighboring state to capture the tableau. Honda’s press release for this very important vehicle — the brand’s second-best-seller last month — promised the future Pilot TrailSport “will get you there and back” by being “the most rugged and capable Honda SUV ever.” If this is true, we’re looking for a vehicle that can outdo the 1994-2002 Honda Passport, which was a badge-engineered version of the body-on-frame Isuzu Rodeo.

Fat chance of that, though. To go with the squarer looks of the grainy prototype in the photo, we’ll probably get a more rugged upgrade for the TrailSport trim introduced on the 2022 Passport and expanded to the Pilot lineup not long after. The Passport TrailSport involved almost entirely cosmetic revisions, the Pilot TrailSport got a whisper more rugged. Honda promised the trim would eventually turn into a range of hardcore factory-fitted and aftermarket equipment, so it’s possible the 2023 Pilot TrailSport will introduce some of the proper kit seen on the Passport TrailSport Rugged Roads Concept. That test of fancy got already available Honda accessories such as the fender flares, black 18-inch wheels and lug nuts, trailer hitch, roof crossbars and cargo tray. Honda R&D provided custom parts like stainless steel skid plates shielding the oil pan and fuel tank.

That’s asking a lot, so we’ll wait to see what’s on offer. The Pilot is expected to debut later this year before going on sale either late this year or early next.

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