The redesigned 2023 Honda Pilot delivers on its mission to excel at safety. The IIHS on Tuesday bestowed its highest honors in the form of a Top Safety Pick+ on the three-row family vehicle.

It’s much harder to qualify for the award this year since the IIHS toughened its safety criteria to account for taller and heavier vehicles traveling at faster speeds on roadways. The new Pilot earned top “Good” ratings on all four crash tests, including a tougher side impact test that uses a barrier weighing 4,180 pounds and traveling at a speed of 37 mph. For the past 20 years, that test used a 3,300-pound barrier traveling at 31 mph.

To earn a 2023 TSP+, considered to be the most stringent crash-test safety criteria in the industry, the vehicle must also have a standard automatic emergency braking system that earns “Advanced” or “Superior” ratings in mitigating or avoiding crashes with vehicles as well as pedestrians at daytime or nighttime. Pedestrian fatalities spiked to record highs during the pandemic, accounting for 7,485 traffic fatalities, or 17.5%, in 2021. Of those pedestrian fatalities, 75% occurred at night.

The NHTSA’s NCAP five-star rating system currently does not evaluate driver-assist technology. It has not yet crash tested the 2023 Honda Pilot.

The 2023 Honda Pilot earned a “Superior” rating for its automatic emergency braking system. The standard driver-assist suite of features on the new Pilot, dubbed Honda Sensing, is one of the most complete and robust standard systems on the market. It includes adaptive cruise control down to a stop, active lane control, automatic high beams, and a driver attention monitor. The base LX is the only one without blind-spot monitors, and parking sensors front and rear come on all but the LX and Sport models.

Standard LED headlights also benefited the 2023 Honda Pilot with a top “Good” rating. They had to be at least “Acceptable” to qualify for the top award.

Less than half of the number of vehicles have qualified for a 2023 TSP+ compared to last year. The 2022 Honda Pilot didn’t earn a TSP+ or a TSP because of an “Acceptable” rating on the small overlap test and no rating on its braking system with pedestrian detection.

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