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A silver 2023 Honda Pilot for sale is shown parked near a building.

Nostalgic for the ’90s? Try Piloting This Honda

Those of us who grew up in the ’90s are now in our thirties, and though that isn’t quite middle-aged yet, the world has changed so much that many of us feel older than we really are—and the nostalgia has hit us hard. In a world where things are rapidly moving forward, sometimes it’s nice to take a look back and remember what we appreciated about the past and which parts we’d like to keep close.

Been looking for a new vehicle but feel the tug of a more nostalgic design? Look for a Honda Pilot for sale. It blends nostalgic features with new technology to create a one-of-a-kind vehicle that appeals not only to us ’90s kids but to older and younger generations as well. The Pilot is a roomy, fun-to-drive SUV that will have you remembering the good times while eagerly anticipating making more of them with the people you love.

A blue 2022 Honda Pilot EX-L is shown parked on a driveway.

History & Inspiration

Perhaps it comes as no surprise that the Pilot takes some cues from its predecessor, the Honda Passport, which retired in the early 2000s. The Passport was a family vehicle, first and foremost, and served its term from 1994 to 2002. The Honda Pilot took its place, and though some may have looked back with longing etched on their features, the Pilot also has endeared itself to Honda drivers who want something between midsize and large SUVs.

Competition for the Honda Pilot includes the likes of the Ford Explorer and the Toyota Highlander, but none have become the definitive family SUV, though they are all quite popular. Though wagons and pickups were more popular during the 1990s, people wanted something new once the early 2000s came around; they wanted a vehicle that could protect its passengers, and they wanted something versatile and durable. They wanted something more athletic, with more cargo space and modern features.

Looking to the Passport for inspiration, the Pilot straddled the line between a family vehicle and something of an adventurer, with the ability to transform from a daily commuter to an off-road pal in a flash. As more and more families began to explore the possibilities inside and outside their neighborhoods and cities, it became apparent that people needed their vehicles to do more, go farther, and have more modern amenities and features.

And so it was that the Honda Pilot began the next wave of Honda’s innovative vehicles. With the advent of SUV popularity, it was clear that Honda needed to step up its game, paving the way for a new generation of SUVs that took the lead for American families’ favorite type of vehicle. Now, over twenty years later, we’re looking back wistfully at those older SUVs, wondering if we can relive some of those memories again. The 2023 Honda Pilot says you most definitely can.

A blue 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport is shown off-roading.

Nostalgiac Exterior

It can be difficult to mesh nostalgia and modern sensibilities. Just take a look at some of the vehicles that have come out over the last twenty years attempting to bring in the nostalgic crowd. As a gimmick, it doesn’t work, and it becomes even more of a joke when paired with a mediocre or poor performance. That being said, the initial reaction to such vehicles is almost always a sort of fondness for the past, a longing to go back in time when things seemed simpler. It’s only when we look back that we see them in a different light—one of time and experience.

Fortunately for the Pilot, Honda takes inspiration from both the past and the future, both of which contribute to the Pilot’s air of nostalgia while moving Honda’s vision forward. When looking at the exterior of the vehicle, you can see elements of SUVs past in the lines of the body, the curved windows, and the elongated nose. 1990s vehicles that have the same sort of shape include the Ford Explorer, the Toyota Land Cruiser, the GMC Jimmy, the Isuzu Rodeo, and of course, the Honda Passport.

The issue with some nostalgia-fueled designs is that they also incorporate the nostalgia in ways that age rather than enhance a vehicle; some vehicles, for instance, take inspiration from early 1900s fare and keep or reinvent the things that didn’t work or don’t work as well as more modern features. This isn’t the case for our Honda, which sensibly kept the nostalgia on the outside and kept the inside modern with fresh tech and additional features—the likes of which our parents could only dream of. That’s why this particular strain of nostalgia works: it gives us a glimpse of the past with none of the bad parts.

The black interior and dash of a 2023 Honda Pilot is shown.

Modern Interior

Though the Pilot’s exterior may give you ’90s vibes, the interior will most definitely give you a peek into the future. The 2023 Honda Pilot comes equipped with only the best modern tech and safety features. Honda’s standard package of the latter includes adaptive cruise control, helpful for navigating the highway and downtown traffic; a collision mitigation braking system and road departure mitigation system, for those days with inclement weather or your explorations off-road; and a multi-angle rearview camera to ensure you don’t accidentally back up into a curb. But wait, there’s more! The Pilot also comes standard with warnings for forward collision and lane departure, a lane-keeping assist system, traffic jam assist, a traffic recognition system, a driver attention monitor, and automatic high beams.

Features available on select Pilots are the blind spot information system and parking sensors, which are not necessary for safe driving but are definitely helpful if you want a bit of extra protection. The Pilot’s safety package is beyond what we could have imagined in the 1990s, although engineers at the time might have taken inspiration from some of the popular science fiction of the time, from airbags to alertness monitors.

Technology-wise, the Pilot comes packed with features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a touchscreen infotainment interface, Bluetooth connectivity, HondaLink, a 12-volt power outlet, and USB ports. Available features offered are Wi-Fi capability, a Bose premium sound system, a CabinTalk In-Car PA system, a wireless phone charger, Sirius XM, and a 9.0-inch infotainment center. While everyone loves a nostalgic look, it’s better to have that look paired with the best of modern technology and safety. Now, instead of installing a car phone, you can charge your phone, stream your favorite podcasts, playlists, and news stations, and communicate from the front of the vehicle to the pack with a PA system that will help decide where you’re eating for lunch without all the yelling. What’s not to love?

A silver 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport is shown parked near a lake.

Rose-Colored Headlights

Honda’s legacy is one of innovation and quality, so even though the 2023 Pilot takes cues from the vehicles of decades past, it truly is a modern, forward-looking vehicle—one that will give you a good dose of nostalgia while impressing you with its focus on those amenities and features that you wouldn’t give up to go back.

It’s important to keep the best from the past while learning how to improve in the present so that the future unfolds in a way that works well for you. The Pilot is an excellent example of that ethic, driven by a desire to go beyond what anyone has done before. That’s where the best work happens. If you’re looking for a vehicle that can run with the best of the newest models while also giving off that classic 1990s vibe, you’ll want to check out the 2023 Honda Pilot.