SUVs

Honda preparing to debut Pilot plug-in hybrid SUV, report says

It could arrive alongside a midcycle refresh for Honda's three-row ute.

Electrifying the thirstiest cars first is a good strategy, so we're hopeful that this report isn't total bunk.

Honda

Honda wants electrified vehicles to comprise two-thirds of its global sales by 2030, but in order to do that, it needs to put those electrified vehicles in front of faces at dealerships. Another PHEV might be joining Honda's ranks sooner than later, according to a new report.

Honda is readying a plug-in hybrid variant of its three-row Pilot SUV, Automotive News reports. Its claim is based on spy photography, which shows a lightly camouflaged Pilot with what appears to be a second flap on the front fender, presumably hiding a charger for its PHEV powertrain. That's the same location as the charging port on the last-generation Accord Plug-In.

The plug-in hybrid Pilot will likely make its appearance as part of a midcycle refresh that will see additional changes to the entire Pilot lineup. AN claims that the freshened-up Pilot will receive new styling based on the 2018 Accord and Odyssey. That seems to jibe with the parts of the Pilot that were camouflaged in the aforementioned spy shot. 

Honda declined to comment.

Before Honda can reach its 2030 electrification goal, it's going to need to build its lineup beyond standard gas-electric hybrids. Right now, Honda's only PHEV is the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, which starts at $33,400. It has a standard hybrid variant of the Accord and a PHEV variant is likely, but hasn't yet been confirmed. The Insight is coming soon, but again, that's a hybrid and not a plug-in hybrid. A Pilot plug-in would do well, as the Pilot is one of Honda's thirstier cars and offering limited spurts of EV-only operation would be a welcome option for fuel-conscious big families.