Workers at the Honda Alabama Auto Plant celebrated today as the first 2023 Pilot rolled off the assembly line. It's the fourth generation of the popular SUV built at the Lincoln, Alabama facility, which has manufactured the Pilot since it was introduced for the 2003 model year.
The 2023 Honda Pilot is the largest SUV in the company's history. Built on an all-new platform, it's longer and wider, offering more interior room than its predecessor, including seating for up to eight people. It features more rugged styling and is available in five trim packages, including Sport, EX-L, Touring, Elite, and TrailSport.
The TrailSport is a departure for the Pilot. More than just a separate trim package, it provides more offroad capability than previous generations of the family-oriented SUV. Features include a raised off-road tuned suspension with an extra inch of ground clearance, all-terrain tires, thick steel skid plates to protect the engine and fuel tank, and enhanced all-wheel-drive system capabilities.
The new Pilot can also be equipped with a removable second-row middle seat that can be stowed underneath the rear cargo floor instead of left at home. Honda claims the stowable second-row seat is a first-in-class feature for SUVs and is available on the Touring and Elite models.
Under the hood, all models get a new version of Honda's familiar 3.5-liter V6 dual overhead cam engine, which is also assembled at the Alabama Auto Plant. Power output is up slightly to 285 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, fuel economy and performance are expected to be incrementally improved, although no performance numbers are available yet.
In addition to its assembly at the Alabama Auto Plant, the 2023 Pilot was designed and developed in the US. The Honda Design Studio in California was responsible for the styling, while Honda R&D engineers in Ohio performed the development work.
Since 2006, Honda has sold over two million Pilots in the US, which is the primary market for the large SUV.