Should You Take the Honda Pilot Off-Road?

The Honda Pilot can go off-road in some circumstances, but it isn’t recommended for any rough terrain, especially if yours has rear-wheel drive.
Written by Joshua Levy
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
The Honda Pilot can handle some easy off-road trails, but it isn’t meant for rough terrain. If you’re still planning to take your Honda Pilot off the paved path, remember to look out for steep hills or sharp obstacles.
Heading off-road can be a fun experience, but unpaved roads are best left for offroad vehicles. Taking a typical road car off the highway could lead to trouble. That said, you should read up on your car’s off-road capabilities before you hit the trail.
We know how hard learning more about your car can be. That’s why we compiled everything you need to know about the
Honda Pilot
’s off-road capabilities. Here, we’ll cover everything from the Pilot’s drivetrain to some worthwhile alternatives. 
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Can the Honda Pilot go off-road?

In general, you shouldn’t take the Honda Pilot off-road. If you have to take the car to an unpaved street, make sure the path isn’t too steep or covered in tricky obstacles. So while the Honda Pilot can handle some simple off-roading, it shouldn’t be used for any real off-road exploration. 
With a base value of​​ $36,830, you might expect a little more out of your Pilot’s off-road performance. But the Pilot’s a highway car, intended for daily commutes and chores. 

Ground clearance

One of the most important features for offroading is your car’s ground clearance—the height from your undercarriage to the floor. Hitting the trail means dealing with obstacles like rocks and fallen branches. Low ground clearance means your car is more likely to get damaged by these obstacles as you make your way over the untamed path.
That said, the Honda Pilot’s ground clearance is only 7.3 inches—placing it in the lower end of clearance for off-road vehicles. While it’s fine for pebble driveways and dirt roads, it probably won’t do too well in an untamed environment.


While the Pilot isn’t winning any awards for clearance, it comes equipped with a fair amount of
at 262 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm. Given the lower-than-average rotations per minute and the relatively high torque, the Pilot has a decent amount of low-end torque, which is ideal for navigating off-road conditions.


Honda Pilots come equipped with standard All-Season 245/60 R18 105H Tires and a compact spare tire in case you blow one on the road. 
While all-season tires aren’t as good as
all-terrain tires
for off-road environments, they’re sturdy enough to handle basic trails or unpaved streets. If you’re set on taking your Honda Pilot off-road, consider changing out your standard tires for more off-road friendly alternatives. 


When you take your car off-road, you’ll want to make sure it’s equipped with either all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Front- and back-wheel drive don’t have the power or traction to handle steep slopes or loose earth. While many drivers opt for rear-wheel drive, you’ll want to go with the all-wheel-drive option on your Honda Pilot if you’re planning to take it off-road.


One of the easiest ways to understand your car’s off-road capabilities is to understand its angles. These are the two most important angles for offroading. 
  • Approach angle: The angle between your front wheels and bumper. This angle determines how steep of an obstacle your car can safely drive into. 
  • Departure angle: The angle between your back wheels and bumper. This angle determines how steep of an obstacle you can safely drive off without any risk of damage.
As a general rule, you’ll be able to overcome more challenging trails when your car has higher angles. Unfortunately, the Honda Pilot has relatively small angles at only 19.7-degrees for the approach angle and 20.8-degrees for the departure angle.
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Off-road rating: Rough and ready

To help you better understand the Honda Pilot’s off-road capabilities, we used Jerry’s DIRT rating system to assign it an off-road rank. Here’s a quick breakdown of the DIRT rating system:
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
All-in-all, the Honda Pilot gets an I ranking for off-road capabilities. While you can take it off-road in certain situations, it’s better off staying on the highway. It can probably hold its own in a pinch, but you shouldn’t take it on major off-road adventures.

The best off-road alternatives to the Honda Pilot

If you’re looking for a car with the feel of a Honda Pilot that can easily handle off-road conditions, look no further than the list below. Here, we’re breaking down three of the best off-road alternatives to the Honda Pilot:
Chevrolet Traverse
The 2022 Chevrolet Traverse is a solid midsize SUV that features enormous cargo space and a luxurious interior. The smooth ride and powerful V6 engine also give it a step up in off-road handling.
2022 Ford Explorer
The Ford Explorer features three rows of seats and can easily fit seven people. The standard engine comes with 300-horsepower and a 10-speed automatic transmission, which is more than enough power and handling for most off-road conditions.
Toyota 4Runner
The 4Runner is a pretty solid midsize SUV with off-road capabilities to match. With two rows of seats, a powerful drivetrain, and an enormous cargo space, the 4runner is a great option for any off-road adventures.

How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

Whether you go for the Honda Pilot or settle on a more professional off-road vehicle, you’ll need the right
car insurance
coverage before you hit the trail. Luckily, the
app makes finding the lowest available rates faster and easier than ever.
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