The 2023 Honda Pilot is all-new, heralding the fourth generation of Honda’s well-known three-row midsize SUV. For 2023, it’s been comprehensively redesigned and reengineered with a new powertrain and an off-road-oriented TrailSport trim. Honda has upped the game on the safety side as well, with the latest iteration of their Honda Sensing suite as standard.
The 2023 Ascent carries over from the previous model year. Assembled in North America like the Pilot, it’s Subaru’s contender in the best three-row SUV category and has been around since 2018. For 2023, it remains largely unchanged from the 2022 model year, which saw some incremental changes and upgrades.
Let’s compare the Pilot vs. Ascent to determine which one comes out on top in the three-row midsize SUV game. If you’ve got your eyes set on a 2023 Pilot, talk to the team at Manly Honda in Santa Rosa, CA. We’ll be glad to show you around a 2023 Pilot and answer all your questions.
With a comprehensive redesign, the 2023 Pilot’s interior looks positively futuristic. It can accommodate up to eight passengers and provides more space all around, particularly for the second and third rows. The 2023 Pilot offers a total of 158.4 cubic feet of passenger volume. With all three rows deployed, the cargo volume is an impressive 18.6 cubic feet.
In comparison, the 2023 Ascent cabin is starting to show its age. It’s still spacious for up to eight passengers but only offers a total of 153.2 cubic feet of passenger volume and 17.6 cubic feet of cargo volume with all three rows deployed.
The 2023 Pilot and 2023 Ascent both offer Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ capable infotainment systems, dual-zone climate control, and powered front seats as part of the standard features. The Ascent’s 11.6-inch touch screen is appreciably larger than the Pilot’s 9-inch touch screen. This comes at the cost of relegating the climate controls to the touch screen in the Ascent. Many users have found this irritating, which is why the 2023 Pilot’s physical climate controls are much welcomed.
The 2023 Pilot can also be specified with tri-zone climate control, a power moonroof, a premium Bose sound system, and ventilated front seats. These features are part of an extensive options list. The 2023 Ascent also offers some premium upgrades, but it’s nowhere near as comprehensive as the Pilot.
Honda has simplified the 2023 Pilot’s engine options to just one. A powerful 3.5-liter gasoline V6 provides an impressive 285 horsepower and deploys it to the front wheels through an equally impressive 10-speed automatic transmission. You can also specify all-wheel-drive if desired. Furthermore, the TrailSport trim brings some proper off-roading capability to the 2023 Pilot, with increased ground clearance, suspension upgrades, and off-road modes with terrain selector.
Subaru also offers the 2023 Ascent with just one engine option, a turbocharged 2.4-liter gasoline 4-cylinder that puts out 260 horsepower to all four wheels through Subaru’s LinearTronic CVT and symmetrical all-wheel-drive system. While the Subaru may seem to have the edge on paper in off-roading, the TrailSport variant of the Pilot will surprise you.
The 2023 Pilot can also tow up to 3,500 pounds, but the 2023 Ascent can only manage 2,000 pounds.
The 2023 Pilot and 2023 Ascent pack all the safety features expected from midsize SUVs. They have at least six airbags, stability and traction control, child safety locks, and a backup camera. However, Honda’s Sensing suite has the edge over Subaru’s EyeSight® driver-assist technology package and offers collision mitigation and blind spot information system as standard across all trims.
If you’re looking to compare the 2023 Pilot and 2023 Ascent, it’s hard not to choose the Pilot. For starters, it’s an all-new model, with a fresh design, better mechanicals, and a more spacious cabin. It’s also got the latest version of Honda’s Sensing safety suite on board, can carry more cargo, and tow a heavier load. It’s the ideal family vehicle. Why not stop by Manly Honda in Santa Rosa, CA, and check out the 2023 Pilot in person? You can chat with our friendly staff and test drive the new Pilot as well.