I Want the 2024 Honda Pilot Trailsport. Here’s Why

Quiet and spacious on the inside while outwardly rugged and efficient on the exterior, the 2024 Honda Pilot TrailSport is almost too perfect for a growing family.

2024 Honda Pilot Trailsport Suv
The versatile and comfortable 2024 Honda Pilot Trailsport SUV. Photo: Erica Mueller

So, you don’t want a minivan, but you’ve tried some of those 3-row SUVs, and they’re either giant trucks with horrible fuel economy or they seem too compact and tight, especially once you add child seats. If you’re looking for a perfect in-between, I suggest looking at the 2024 Honda Pilot. This family-friendly SUV, which starts at $48,800, made a big impression on us, and after just a week of driving it, the Pilot moved right to the top of our list of “wants” for our next vehicle. 

Related: The 2023 Honda Pilot Can Seat 7 or 8 with its Removeable Seat? Get Out!

Honda Pilot Trailsport

Car seats in the second row of the 2024 Honda Pilot TrailSport. Photo: Erica Mueller

Why the Honda Pilot TrailSport is Different

Billed as a mid-size 3-row SUV, with competitors like the Volkswagen Atlas, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Highlander, and Hyundai Santa Fe, the 2024 Honda Pilot is not just another crossover-like SUV. This family-friendly car has a taller, boxier frame that feels a lot roomier inside and allows for up to three passengers in the 3rd row, whereas the competitors usually only allow for 2 people in that 3rd row. Plus, the 3rd row has LATCH hooks in all three seating positions, which means you can position your child’s seats left, right, or center on that seat.

When it comes to the second row, some Pilots only have captain’s chairs, but others have a bench seat with a snap-in (or out) middle jump seat, which makes the Pilot an 8-passenger car! And you can put up to 3 car seats across the center row, too.

While the model I drove for this review only had the captain’s chairs in the second row (standard for the Trailsport), I have personally driven and installed seats in a Pilot with that center seat, and we easily got three infant seats across the second row. Another really cool feature is the one-touch button, which slides the bucket seat forward and tilts the back forward, too, to allow for easy entry to the 3rd row. 

Related: Best 8-Passenger SUVs

Honda Pilot Trailsport

The Honda Pilot TrailSport cargo space is impressive. Photo: Erica Mueller

The Honda Pilot TrailSport is Built to Haul Your Stuff

As if being able to seat up to 8 people and having all the car seat capabilities wasn’t enough, the cargo space behind the 3rd row is pretty impressive. Most of the time, I must stand my guitar up in a third row in an SUV, but I could lay it down flat in the Pilot. Then, when I laid the 3rd row down, I brought home over $1,000 in groceries from Costco. That’s a big haul. And the 3rd row seats were super easy to release and lay down, then put back up.

Whatever the seating configuration, I love that all the seats fold flat for an extended and roomy cargo area, and the extra under-the-floor storage cubby is just icing on the cake! My very tall husband and sons were very impressed with the roominess of the Pilot, and my 16-year-old declared he had a “slouch room” in the 3rd row when seated behind his little sister whose second-row seat had been slid forward a bit.

Related: Our Favorite 3-Row SUVs  — and One Minivan

Honda Pilot Trailsport

Car seats in the 3rd row of the Honda Pilot TrailSport. Photo: Erica Mueller

Driving the 2024 Honda Pilot TrailSport

The Pilot’s 3.5-liter V-6 engine produces 285 horsepower, which is plenty for a vehicle this size. It’s peppy and has multiple drive modes, including Eco, Normal, Sport, and some special ones for inclement weather. This engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, resulting in a very smooth drive. The Pilot is available as both a front-wheel-drive model, which can tow up to 3500 lbs, or an all-wheel drive model with a tow limit of 5000 lbs.

Regarding fuel economy, you’ll see a wide range with the Pilot, depending on whether you have the front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and whether you’re looking at city or highway mileage. Officially, the Pilot’s range is  19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. I drove the Trailsport model and got 19-20 MPG overall, but I expected this with its higher stance and beefier wheels and tires.

One of the things I noticed about the Honda Pilot was how quiet it was inside. There was very little road noise, and all of my passengers were able to converse without raising their voices. 

2024 Honda Pilot Trailsport Suv

You can see for miles and miles in the spacious 2024 Honda Pilot Trailsport SUV. Photo: Erica Mueller

Trim Levels and Pricing for the Honda Pilot TrailSport

The 2024 Honda Pilot starts at $38,485 and goes up to $53,875, depending on the trim and options.

The base LX can be had for $37,090. In this trim level, you’ll get things like cloth seats, a 7.0-inch multimedia touchscreen, and a 7.0-inch digital gauge for the driver, plus a 7-speaker audio system, power driver seat, and heated front seats.

The Pilot Sport starts at $39,600 and adds 20” wheels, roof rails, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, plus a blind-spot information system.

If you’re looking for a middle-of-the-road trip, the EX-L is where it’s at. Starting at $42,400, the EX-L trim adds everyone’s favorites, like leather seats, a larger 9.0-inch touchscreen, a 9-speaker audio system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless smartphone charging, and a power tailgate.

But it seems like most people choose the Touring package. When I looked up used Honda Pilots, I found this the most. The Touring costs $46,900 and comes with a 12-speaker Bose sound system.

More than just an appearance package, the Honda Pilot Trailsport offers more ground clearance, all-terrain tires, and underbody protection skid plates for those who want to take their pilot off-pavement. There are also Trailsport badged all-weather mats in all three rows, which we really appreciated during this rainy season. These features make the Pilot Trailsport a perfect SUV for those who like outdoor activities like camping, hiking, fishing, or even kayaking. This model starts at $48,800. It has 18” wheels, all-terrain tires, an off-road-tuned suspension, a trail-watch camera system, a class-3 trailer hitch, a 1” lift, underbody skid plates, and all-weather interior floor mats. 

But there’s still one more, top-of-the-line model known as the Elite. This luxurious Pilot starts at $52,480. It has a hands-free power tailgate, heated and ventilated front seats, and a stowable second-row center seat.

I loved my time with the 2024 Honda Pilot TrailSport, and so did my family. If you are looking for versatility and easy-feeling adventures with your kids, this one will surely please you.

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A web developer, digital marketing consultant, auto journalist, truck expert, photographer and lover of gadgets, Erica is a textbook... More about Erica Mueller