Since 2002, the Honda Pilot has been a great option for drivers who desire a great midsize SUV, making it one of the most successful vehicles in its class. The Pilot has gone through a number of changes during the last two decades, all leading up to the current third-generation Pilot. Today, the Pilot is a three-row midsize SUV with plenty of excellent safety and comfort features that helps set it apart from the crowded SUV segment. The 2021 Honda Pilot builds off the 2020 model with a number of changes, including a new trim.
Having that third row of seats comes in handy as the Pilot offers the ability to seat up to 8 passengers in most models comfortably. In addition, the 2021 Pilot continues Honda's tradition of building high quality, dependable vehicles that provide excellent luxury at an affordable price. The 2021 Honda Pilot exterior has the cool aerodynamic lines first introduced when Honda premiered the third-generation with the 2016 model. This design improved both fuel economy and overall performance. It also gave the Pilot a neater, more modern profile than the prior generations, which tended to be rather boxy. As you will see, the 2021 Honda Pilot has a great deal to offer you.
The 2021 Honda Pilot has a starting MSRP of $32,250, and has seven different trims available1 . The first available trim is the LX, and it features a number of standard Honda Sensing safety features and an infotainment system with a 5-inch color touchscreen.
The second trim, the EX, has an MSRP of $34,9301 . It adds the Hondalink infotainment system with an 8-inch color touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and One-Touch second-row seats that improves the ability to enter and exit the third row of seats with greater ease. Up next is the EX-L. The EX-L trim adds leather-trimmed seats and a one-touch power moonroof for an MSRP of $38,3601 .
For 2021, Honda added a new trim to the lineup called the Special Edition. The Special Edition has a low starting MSRP of $38,9601 . This one is extraordinary, with black roof rails, 20-inch black alloy wheels, a wireless phone charger, and hands-free access power tailgate to make it easier to load cargo and groceries into the Pilot's trunk.
With an MSRP of $42,920, the Pilot Touring lives up to its name with various features to make long road trips more fun with a rear entertainment system, 590-watt premium audio system, and heated front and rear seats for cold days1 . The Elite is one of the top-of-the-line trims for the Honda Pilot. It truly stands out from the crowd with a panoramic roof, heated and ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel. The Elite has an MSRP of $48,420 and replaces the standard second-row 60/40-split-bench seat with two Captain's chairs1 .
If you want a truly incredible Pilot, look no further than the Black Edition. The Honda Pilot Black Edition has an MSRP of $49,920 and features a trim exclusive red ambient LED lighting, special exterior trim and interior leather trim, as well as 20-inch black alloy wheels1 .
The engine on all trims of the 2021 Honda Pilot is a 3.5-liter 24-valve SOHC i-VTEC V6 gas engine. This direct fuel injection engine produces 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. The i-VTEC improves the engine's efficiency, allowing it to produce plenty of power despite a relatively small size. In addition, the engine has an Idle-Stop system to improve fuel efficiency. This feature automatically stops the engine when you press the brake pedal at a traffic light/stop sign, then automatically restarts the engine when you release your foot from the brake.
One of the improvements for 2021 is that Honda has made a 9-speed automatic transmission standard on all trims of the 2021 Honda Pilot. This transmission features shift-by-wire and paddle shifters to improve the overall responsiveness of the transmission to various driving conditions. It will also provide you with greater ease over shifting while driving your Pilot.
The 2021 Honda Pilot has front-wheel drive standard with all-wheel drive available as an upgrade on all trims except the Elite and Black Edition. In addition, the front-wheel drive Pilot features intelligent traction management to assist with driving in snow conditions, while those with an all-wheel drivetrain have this feature for snow, sand, and mud. The LX trim does not feature intelligent traction management. If you are looking to drive in a more temperate area, it may pay to get your Pilot with all-wheel drive to better handle snowy weather.
The Pilot has exceptional pickup due to its i-VTEC engine. This is in contrast to many other three-row midsize SUVs that can seem sluggish at times, especially when accelerating off of a traffic light. In addition, the Pilot has an exceptionally smooth ride courtesy of a MacPherson strut front suspension and a multi-link rear suspension. Finally, the Pilot has a very tight 39.4 ft turning diameter, giving you solid overall handling for a vehicle of this size. This will make it easier to drive your Pilot into and out of a spot when you are parallel parking on a street.
If you have a need for towing, the 2021 Honda Pilot will not let you down. The front-wheel drive Pilot has been rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds, while the all-wheel drive Pilot can tow up to 5,000 pounds.2
The engineers at Honda have done an exceptional job of providing plenty of passenger space in the 2021 Pilot. There is a full 152.9 cubic feet of passenger volume in the LX and EX trims, with 151.7 cubic feet in all other Pilot trims. This is because the EX-L, Special Edition, Touring, Elite, and Black Edition have a moonroof, which takes away just a little headroom.
The LX and EX have 40.1 inches of headroom in the first row, 40.2 inches in the second row, and 38.9 inches in the third row. The other trims have 39.5 inches of headroom in the first row, 39.9 inches in the second row, and 38.9 inches in the third row. This is a slight difference and shouldn't be noticeable to your passengers. Otherwise, all trims of the Pilot offer the same amount of legroom, shoulder room, and hip room. This is plenty of space for you and your passengers, even on long road trips.
One thing to keep in mind is that the LX, EX, EX-L, and Special Edition seat up to 8 passengers, while the Touring, Elite, and Black Edition only seat up to 7 passengers. This is because the higher trims replace the 60/40-split-bench seat with two Captain's Chairs in the second row of seats. You are trading more comfort for your passengers in exchange for the ability to accommodate one additional passenger.
Many three-row midsize SUVs represent a compromise between passenger capacity and the ability to carry cargo. Some have a good amount of cargo space in the trunk but end up with a third-row seat that is all but unusable except for small children. In contrast, others have a roomy cabin but provide little or no space in the trunk making the SUV impractical for a long road trip with six or more passengers since there is no place to store luggage. The 2021 Honda Pilot represents the happy medium, as it provides plenty of cargo space without cramping your passengers.
The trunk can hold up to 18.5 cubic feet of cargo. This expands to 55.9 cubic feet with the third row of seats folded down. To receive the maximum cargo capacity, you can easily fold down the second and third rows to get up to 109.2 cubic feet of cargo space. This is an astounding amount that is usually seen only in full-size SUVs.
All trims of the 2021 Honda Pilot come equipped with a full suite of standard safety features called Honda Sensing Technologies. These include a collision mitigation braking system, road departure mitigation system, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, auto high-beam headlights, and a multi-angle rearview camera. The only safety feature that is not standard on all trims of the Pilot is a blind spot information system with cross traffic monitoring. In order to get this on your Pilot, you will need to buy an EX trim level or higher.