The Honda Pilot is one of the go-to choices when it comes to a family-friendly three-row crossover. It has a smooth and comfortable ride, room for up to eight passengers, decent performance, and lots of standard and available tech and safety features. But there are some new entries in this class that also deserve consideration, such as the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride, and driving enthusiasts will want to check out the Mazda CX-9, which I reviewed last week.
The 2020 Pilot is part of the third generation that was introduced in 2016. For 2017, Honda made Android Auto and Apple CarPlay available. For 2019, several driver assistance technologies became standard. For 2020, a top-of-the-line Black Edition is an added trim; otherwise there are no other major changes.
The Pilot comes in six trims: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, Elite and the new Black Edition. Starting prices range from $31,650 to $49,720. There’s room for eight passengers, or seven if you choose the captain’s chairs in the second row. Front-wheel-drive is standard and all-wheel-drive is available for $2,000, except for the Elite and Black Edition trims which come standard with AWD. The Black Edition also gets some black exterior accents and the interior gets some red trim.
There’s one powertrain: a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Lower trims get a six-speed automatic transmission while the Touring, Elite and Black Edition trims get a nine-speed.
The Pilot has plenty of power for everyday driving situations. No, it’s not sporty but it’s easy to drive and handles well, whether you’re running errands in the city or taking the family on a longer drive. Acceleration is smooth from a stop and the Pilot easily gets up to freeway speeds. Comfort is prioritized over performance, so if you do want more zip and athleticism, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
When properly equipped, the Pilot can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
Fuel efficiency is about average for the class. EPA ratings for my tester are 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway with a combined rating of 22. I got 21 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The interior is pleasant and quiet. The base LX trim is pretty Spartan, but other trims offer more amenities. Materials are mostly soft-touch with nice trim materials. Adults have plenty of room in the first two rows and will also be comfortable in the third row on shorter drives. With the push of a button, the second-row seats tilt and slide forward, making it easy to get in and out of the third row.
Standard features include push-button start, rearview camera, cloth upholstery, Infotainment system with five-inch display, seven-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, and two USB ports.
Standard driver assistance technologies include lane keep assist, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, and automatic high-beam headlights. Several of these are part of the Honda Sensing suite.
Available features include remote start, tri-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, second-row captain’s chairs, heated second-row seats, one-touch second-row folding seats, HondaLink infotainment system with eight-inch touch screen, navigation, 10-speaker audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, an additional USB port, an HDMI port, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, wireless phone charging, moonroof, rear-seat entertainment system, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and CabinTalk, a PA system that lets the driver talk to rear-seat passengers through their wireless and wired headphones.
Available driver assistance features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors.
The touchscreen infotainment system is user-friendly and responds quickly to voice and touch commands. Thankfully there’s a physical knob for volume.
Cargo space is a little less than many rivals but there’s still a decent amount of room. The Pilot has 16.5 cubic feet with all rows of seating in place, 46.8 cubes with the third row folded and 83.9 cubes with the second and third rows folded. There’s a compartment under the cargo floor that’s handy for keeping valuables out of sight. EX-L and higher trims have a standard power liftgate, and the Touring, Elite and Black Edition trims have a hands-free power liftgate. The cabin has plenty of spots for storing small items.
Smooth, comfortable ride
Pleasant to drive in the city and on the highway
Room for up to eight passengers
Lots of standard and available tech and driver assistance features
Lower trims have reasonable starting prices for the class
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard in all but the LX trim
Some rivals boast better handling and more modern interiors
Not as much passenger and cargo space as some rivals
Black Edition starts at just under 50-grand which is more than competitors’ top trims
My tester starts at $49,620. Destination fee is $1,095 bringing the grand total to $50,715.
The tried and true Honda Pilot is sure worth a look for large families. With room for seven or eight passengers, a comfortable ride, and lots of standard and available tech and safety features, the 2020 Pilot remains an appealing choice among three-row crossovers.