• Home
  • /
  • 4WD
  • /
  • The Pilot TrailSport is the Most Off-Road Capable Honda SUV Ever

The Pilot TrailSport is the Most Off-Road Capable Honda SUV Ever

Honda may not be the first name that comes to mind when we think of overland vehicles, but there is a lot to be said for and expected from a motor company with a reputation for consistently producing solid, reliable vehicles. While Honda vehicles may not have the off-piste chops of cousins Toyota or Nissan, the company seems determined to make a dent in the SUV market with the most powerful and off-road capable Honda SUV ever produced.

The Pilot TrailSport features an all-new and powerful 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine producing 285 horsepower, a second-generation i-VTM4 torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system for improved off-road capability. It has seven available drive modes, including all-new Sport, Tow, and Trail modes. The TrailWatch camera system helps drivers navigate obstacles and is coupled with the standard Honda Sensing system with a new wide-view camera and radar. Also standard is Hill Descent Control and Trail torque logic, which optimizes the off-road performance of the i-VTM4 torque vectoring all-wheel drive system. The Pilot can tow as much as 5,000 pounds, which is ample for most boats, campers, or “toy” trailers. Performance is further enhanced by a refined and responsive 10-speed automatic transmission tuned exclusively for the Pilot; paddle shifters are standard for manual control.

The Trailsport is described by Honda as the most rugged Honda SUV ever, with standard all-terrain tires, steel skid plates, front recessed recovery point, higher ground clearance, off-road tuned suspension, a full-size spare tire, and a rugged exterior. While the bones of the vehicle have certainly been beefed up for off-piste travel, we do have to take issue with the claim that the exterior is indeed “rugged.” Compared to what, a hairdresser’s chair? Swathes of plastic dominate all four corners; the approach, departure, and break-over angles are just looking for trouble; and the ground clearance is less than impressive.

Perhaps “rugged” and “off-road” are the incorrect adjectives for a vehicle best suited to the occasional dirt road in the middle of a long road trip. The modern and comfortable interior offers class-leading overall passenger space, and a first-in-class multi-function removable second-row middle seat provides three discrete seating options and increased cargo volume. The vehicle also comes standard with not eight or ten but fourteen cup holders. Fourteen!

Mamadou Diallo, vice president of auto aales, American Honda Motor Co., Inc said,

“The Honda Pilot has been a family favorite for two decades, and now we’ve made it even better with more space and refinement inside, cool new rugged styling outside, and substantially increased off-road performance to back it up. Topping it off, the new Pilot TrailSport is an authentic, off-road-capable SUV for true weekend adventures, without sacrificing comfort and on-road dynamics for daily driving.”

As a daily runaround and weekend explorer taking a family for fun camping trips across the country, the Pilot TrailSport is perfectly equipped. Pricing and availability are to be confirmed.


Our No Compromise Clause: We carefully screen all contributors to ensure they are independent and impartial. We never have and never will accept advertorial, and we do not allow advertising to influence our product or destination reviews.

Graeme Bell is an author and explorer who has dedicated his life to traveling the planet by land, seeking adventure and unique experiences. Together with his wife and two children, Graeme has spent the last decade living permanently on the road in a self-built Land Rover based camper. They have explored 27 African countries (including West Africa), circumnavigated South America, and driven from Argentina to Alaska, which was followed by an exploration of Europe and Western Asia before returning to explore the Americas. Graeme is the Senior Editor 4WD for Expedition Portal, a member of the Explorers Club, the author of six books, and an Overland Journal contributor since 2015. You can follow Graeme's adventures across the globe on Instagram at graeme.r.bell