Report: Honda Planning Smaller, 2-Row Pilot

2017 Honda Pilot

CARS.COM — Taking a page from rival Hyundai, Japanese automaker Honda is reportedly planning on starting production of a five-passenger, two-row version of the Pilot mid-size SUV in September of 2018. WardsAuto and AutoForecast Solutions are reporting that the new SUV will ride on a shortened-wheelbase version of the current Pilot, eliminating the third row from the SUV and likely dropping its price.

Related: 2017 Mid-Size SUV Driving Ranges

The move has been done before, with Hyundai successfully employing this two-mid-size-SUV strategy in its Santa Fe three-row crossover and Santa Fe Sport two-row model, and Nissan is about to attempt something similar with the Rogue and Rogue Sport down in the compact SUV category. Honda thinks there's room for such a model in its SUV lineup, and it's probably right — the 2017 Pilot starts at $31,535 including destination, while the next-size-down CR-V starts at $24,985, a $6,550 gap.

Hyundai employs a slightly different strategy, however. The Tucson that competes with the CR-V on size is less expensive than the Honda, allowing the Santa Fe Sport to slot in between the Tucson and Santa Fe more easily. How Honda might adjust pricing across the SUV range will be interesting, if it plans to be competitive.

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