After watching various videos about the 2023 Honda Pilot online, I got my hands on the Owners' Manual at a Canadian site. The major differences mechanically (Pilot Elite vs MDX Advance) which have already been well publicized are the use of a McPherson strut front suspension on the Pilot vs. Double Wishbones at the front on the MDX and the I-VTM4 vs the SHAWD. I am not exactly sure what noticeable difference any normal driver would observe regarding this suspension setups and my understanding is that the I-VTM4 and SHAWD are essentially the same. The Pilot actually has a newer 3.5 L engine which has a slight bump in power bringing it closer to the MDX. They both use the 10 speed automatic. In short, so far, I am not seeing, mechanically, any justification for the $10k+ price differential.
In terms of features, in several areas, the 2023 Pilot has, in my opinion, jumped ahead of the MDX.
1. I read that the HUD in the Pilot is in color vs. plain white in the MDX.
2. The front camera in the Pilot has a wash feature which the MDX does not have.
3. The front camera has an "Auto display when obstacle is detected" which the MDX does not have.
4. The Pilot's Traffic Sign Recognition System has a "Speed Limit Warning Threshold Setting" unlike the MDX
5. The Pilot appears to have more interior room than the MDX.
6. The Pilot uses the Bose sound system with 12 speakers vs. the 16 speaker ELS system in the MDX.
7. Of course, the Pilot uses regular gas vs premium in the MDX.
8. The Pilot has 7 drive modes including Sport, Snow, Trail, Tow, Sand (?) etc. vs 4 on the MDX.
9. There are vents at the third row which the MDX does not have.
10. Almost all the features I have on my 2022 MDX Advance, however, are to be found on the 2023 Pilot Elite.
11. But the killer app as far as I am concerned, is the ability to remove and store the middle removable 2nd row seat fully, completely out of sight behind the third row, in the Pilot. It is the same removable middle seat as in the MDX. Somehow those who engineered the Pilot figured out how to do this unlike the team that worked on the MDX.
The only thing I could find that the MDX has over the Pilot is the automatic temperature setting for the driver and passenger seats. It appears you have to turn those on manually in the Pilot.
Now, in fairness, I am unable to compare quality of build, quality of materials, sound level etc. and, I admit, I may have missed some key feature differences since I have not sat in or driven the Pilot but just looking at the pictures and from these feature differences above, I am left wondering where the MDX's $10k+ price premium comes from.