SUVs are among the most popular vehicles on the road today, but not all of them are alike. There are sporty ones, luxury ones, and even economic ones, but there is only one Honda Pilot. The Pilot is currently in its third generation since it was first introduced to drivers in 2003. The current generation hit the roads in 2016, but that doesn’t mean that Honda has been content to stand pat with a successful model redesign. No, Honda has been making incremental changes to the Pilot, making great features even better so that the 2020 Honda Pilot stands out as the best version yet in the storied history of this midsize SUV.
From its aerodynamic lines to the maximization of interior space to improve the comfort of your passengers, the 2020 Honda Pilot is the epitome of the balance between aesthetics and utility found in midsize SUVs. Its rugged and dependable design makes it the choice for those of us in temperate climates, while it's handling on the road makes it the best option for folks who love the open road. Best of all, with six trim levels, there is a 2020 Honda Pilot for everyone.
The base MSRP on the 2020 Honda Pilot is $31,650, a very reasonable price for a vehicle of this high quality with this many features.1 You can choose from the base model LX, the EX, the EX-L that adds leather seats to the Pilot, the Touring, the Elite, and the mysterious Black Edition. Best of all, the prices range up to $49,720 MSRP for the Black Edition, so the price points are attainable for most drivers.1
The 2020 Honda Pilot features one engine, a 24-valve SOHC i-VTEC V-6 gas engine. This can produce up to 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. The Pilot LX, EX, and EX-L all feature a 6-speed automatic transmission. The Pilot Touring, Elite, and Black Edition have a 9-speed automatic transmission with shift-by-wire and paddle shifters that enhance the responsiveness of the engine. While this gives a decided performance advantage to the more expensive Pilot models, all six trims perform well, with a great deal of pep in the engine, excellent acceleration for a vehicle of this size, and good responsiveness in the transmission.
You can get the 2020 Honda Pilot in either two-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The handling is exceptional, with exceptional cornering for a three-row, midsize SUV. If your office or home has unusually tight parking spaces, you will have no problem maneuvering the Pilot into and out of spots without too much difficulty. This is helped by the excellent sightlines from the vehicle’s cockpit. In addition, the designers at Honda have used ergonomic placement of the vehicle information panel in a perfect spot aligned with the front dashboard, so you can glance at the speedometer, fuel gauge, and tachometer without taking your eyes off the road.
You would think with a vehicle of this size and weight (4,036 pounds for a two-wheel drive up to 4,319 pounds for some all-wheel drive models) would have poor fuel economy. This would seem to be the case, especially considering that the 2020 Honda Pilot does not offer alternative fuel engines or the leveraging of hybrid technology. However, the 2020 Honda Pilot gets sold fuel economy, with the EPA rating the two-wheel drive Pilot able to achieve an estimated 19 miles per gallon in the city, 27 miles per gallon on the highway, and 22 miles per gallon combined.2
Adding four-wheel drive to the equation does very little harm to these numbers, with 18 miles per gallon in the city, 26 miles per gallon on the highway, and 21 miles per gallon combined.2 All of these are as good as if not better than the fuel efficiency numbers of the gas-engine versions of the Pilot’s key competitors.
Unlike most other manufacturers, Honda has utilized “smart” technology to offer active safety features as standard to all trim levels of the 2020 Honda Pilot. This is what is referred to as Honda Sensing Safety and Driver Assistive Technologies. This shows that Honda has made it a priority to provide for the safety of you and your passengers.
Collision mitigation braking system (CMBS) helps detect objects in front of the system, and then automatically applies the brakes in an effort to mitigate the forces generated in a crash. CMBS will help lessen the damage to you, your passengers, and the vehicle in the unfortunate event of a crash. The road departure mitigation system (RDM) is designed to alert the driver if he or she drifts out of the lane. The RDM applies mild steering torque and brake pressure to slow the Pilot and keep it in the proper lane position.
If you are someone who finds themselves taking long drives on the highway, then you are going to appreciate adaptive cruise control. This will help you maintain safe following distance when you engage the cruise control system, by adjusting the speed and applying the brakes where necessary. The lane keeping assist system (LKAS), like the RDM, helps you maintain proper lane position by applying mild torque to keep you steering on the straight and narrow.
The lane departure warning also works in this regard by providing a sound if the car detects you are changing lanes without signaling. The forward collision warning will give you a similar sensor warning if the car detects you are too close to the car in front of you without proper stopping distance. Finally, the 2020 Honda Pilot includes auto high-beam headlights, which automatically engage and disengage the Pilot’s high-beam lights as needed at night.
The 2020 Honda Pilot has other vital safety features, including a multi-angle rearview camera, vehicle stability assist with traction control, an anti-lock braking system, electronic brake distribution, brake assist, a tire pressure monitoring system, and LED daytime running lights. All of these are standard on all 2020 Pilots.
Roominess and comfort are keys to the 2020 Honda Pilot's lasting success. All of the Pilots are configured to seat up to 8 passengers, except for the Elite and Black Edition, which each seat up to 7 passengers. The third row in all trims has a 60/40 split, flat-folding bench seat, providing ease in converting it to cargo space. The second row in all models is also a fold-down bench, except the Elite and Black Edition.
The designers at Honda have outdone themselves, providing fully 152.9 cubic feet of interior space for passengers. Front-row passengers will enjoy 40.1 inches of headroom, 40.9 inches of legroom, and 62 inches of shoulder room. Similarly, second-row passengers will have 40.2 inches of headroom, 38.4 inches of legroom, and 62 inches of shoulder room. Your third-row passengers won’t feel cramped, as they will have 38.9 inches of headroom, 31.9 inches of legroom, and 57.6 inches of shoulder room.
This space maximization carries over if you have the need to haul cargo in your 2020 Honda Pilot. You can have up to 109 cubic feet of cargo space with the second and third rows folded down. The task is made easier by push button fold-down second-row seats, and a special tether mechanism to lower the third-row seats. You will still have 18.5 cubic feet of storage space, even with the second and third rows occupied by passengers. This shows that the designers at Honda haven’t forgotten that there are utilitarian purposes in owning a midsize SUV like the 2020 Honda Pilot.