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$31,650 - 49,720 MSRP

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2020 Honda Pilot Review

The 2020 Honda Pilot finishes in the top half of our midsize SUV rankings. It's a capable, comfortable SUV, but the Pilot doesn't stand out from its competitors. 

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious, comfortable cabin
  • Enjoyable ride
  • Laid-back driving experience
  • Short list of standard infotainment tech
  • Rivals have more-modern interiors
  • Not overly agile

Rankings & Research

The 2020 Honda Pilot's #7 ranking is based on its score within the Midsize SUVs category. Currently the Honda Pilot has a score of 8.0 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 46 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 9.0
Performance: 7.4
Interior: 8.0
Safety: 9.4
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Honda Pilot a Good SUV?

Yes, the Honda Pilot is a good midsize SUV. It delivers a smooth ride, and fuel economy is good for the segment. Inside, the Pilot carries up to eight people on comfortable seats, uses plenty of quality materials, and comes standard with a fair amount of driver assistance technology. It also offers a long list of available tech features.

Still, the Pilot has its drawbacks. Several rivals have more-modern-looking cabins and provide more standard infotainment features. Additionally, while the Pilot’s cabin isn’t small, several rivals offer as much space or more.

Should I Buy the Honda Pilot?

For the reasons detailed above, the Honda Pilot makes a great choice for families who don't want a minivan. However, it doesn't really stand out in the class, and its midpack starting price means it doesn't scream "great value." We recommend you cross-shop rivals like the Toyota Highlander and Ford Explorer before buying the Pilot.

Compare the Pilot, Highlander, and Explorer »

Should I Buy a New or Used Honda Pilot?

The 2020 Pilot is part of a generation that began with the 2016 model year. There's only one notable change for 2020: The Pilot gets a new range-topping trim called the Black Edition.

For 2019, Honda made forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control standard. Wireless phone charging became available. There were no significant changes for 2018, but the 2017 Pilot saw Apple CarPlay and Android Auto became available for the first time.

Unless you're interested in the mostly cosmetic differences of the Black Edition trim, go with a 2019 Pilot to potentially save some money. If the availability of more safety features isn't a concern, look for a 2018 or 2017 Pilot to save even more money. If you are interested in a used model, check out our reviews of the 2017 Pilot, 2018 Pilot, and 2019 Pilot, and peruse our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicle.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Pilot »

We Did the Research for You: 46 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current Pilot generation, which runs from 2016 to 2020.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Honda Pilot Cost?

The Pilot sports a base price of $31,550. That's a reasonable starting price for the midsize SUV class. The range-topping Pilot Black Edition – which is an all-new trim for 2020 – starts at $49,620. That's more than you'll pay for most rivals' top trims.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Honda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Honda deals page.

Honda Pilot Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander?

The Toyota Highlander is fully redesigned for 2020. It comes standard with a 295-horsepower V6 engine. Like the Pilot, the Highlander seats up to eight people, though the Honda provides much more cargo space. Both SUVs come with plenty of driver assistance features, but the Toyota has more standard infotainment tech, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. These features are optional in the Pilot. The Highlander also offers some features the Pilot doesn't, like a large 12.3-inch touch screen.

Which Is Better: Honda Pilot or Ford Explorer?

The Ford Explorer comes standard with a turbo-four engine, while the Pilot comes with a V6. However, the Explorer's turbo-four makes more horsepower than the Pilot's V6, and it's more fuel-efficient. Ford also offers two optional V6 engines, and the Explorer handles better than the Pilot as well. Inside, the Ford looks pretty good. It has a bit more cargo space and more standard infotainment features than its Honda rival. The Pilot seats one extra person, however. There are plenty of reasons to like both of these SUVs, and the right choice boils down to personal preference.

Compare the Pilot, Highlander, and Explorer »

Pilot Interior

How Many People Does the Pilot Seat?

The Pilot seats eight people in its standard setup and seven if you get the second-row captain's chairs. The first two rows of seats provide plenty of space, as well as good support and all-day comfort. Visibility for the driver is excellent. The Pilot’s third-row seats are reasonably adult-friendly. Some rivals have more spacious interiors, but there's nothing to complain about regarding the Pilot's cabin space.

Pilot and Child Car Seats

The Pilot provides four full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors. This system earns the second-highest rating of Acceptable from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for its ease of use.

Pilot Interior Quality

This Honda looks pretty good inside, even if its design feels a little stale. There are plenty of premium materials throughout the cabin. Many rivals, however, use even better materials.

Pilot Cargo Space

Cargo space may not be class leading, but it's plentiful. You get 16.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats, which is enough room for several grocery bags. Max capacity tops out at 83.9 cubes.

Pilot Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features include an infotainment system with a 5-inch display, Bluetooth, two USB ports, and a seven-speaker audio system.

Available features include a moonroof, wireless phone charging, a rear-seat entertainment system, and the HondaLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, a 10-speaker audio system, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and navigation.

The Pilot's base infotainment system doesn't offer much, so you'll want the upgraded touch-screen version, which provides much more functionality. There are physical controls for some functions, and the system is user-friendly. There are more-intuitive systems out there, but this one won't drive you crazy.

Read more about interior »

Pilot Performance

Pilot Engine: You Get a V6 Whether You Like it or Not

All Pilot models come with a 280-horsepower V6 engine. It's mated to a six-speed automatic transmission in lower trims and a nine-speed automatic in higher trims. In each setup, you'll find that the V6 delivers more than enough power to move the Pilot whether you're driving around town or cruising down the highway.

Pilot Gas Mileage: In Line With the Competition

The Pilot's fuel economy ratings are similar to those of many class rivals. It gets 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway with the standard transmission and front-wheel drive. The nine-speed transmission bumps city mileage up to 20 mpg. In all-wheel-drive models, gas mileage drops to 18/26 mpg city/highway with the six-speed transmission and 19/26 mpg with the nine-speed.

Pilot Ride and Handling: Comfort First

The Pilot is fairly easy to drive around town, but it lacks the agility to take turns at speed on winding roads. However, it delivers a cushioned ride. Most road imperfections are absorbed with ease, and only really large bumps make their way into the cabin.

Pilot Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the Pilot can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Read more about performance »

Pilot Reliability

Is the Honda Pilot Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2020 Honda Pilot a predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five, which is below average.

Honda Pilot Warranty

The Honda Pilot comes with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Honda Pilot?

The cost of insuring a Honda Pilot will depend on a variety of factors, including your deductible, the level of coverage that you want, and the type of insurance that you choose. Your age, gender, location, credit score, and driving record can also have an impact on your insurance rates. Check out our car insurance guide to find the best policy for you.

Pilot Safety

Pilot Crash Test Results

The 2020 Pilot received a five-out-of-five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Pilot earned five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.

Pilot Safety Features

Standard active safety features include a rearview camera, automatic high-beam headlights, forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control. Some of these features are part of the Honda Sensing suite of active safety technology.

Available driver assistance features include blind spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, and rear cross traffic alert.

Read more about safety »

Pilot Dimensions and Weight

The Pilot is 16.4 feet long and has a curb weight of 4,036 to 4,319 pounds.

Where Is the Honda Pilot Built?

Honda builds the 2020 Pilot in Alabama.

Which Honda Pilot Model Is Right for Me?

You can choose from several Pilot trims, including the LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, Elite, and the all-new Black Edition. Every trim features a 280-horsepower V6 engine and an automatic transmission. You can add all-wheel drive to any trim for $2,000 (except the Elite and Black Edition, which come with standard AWD).

The EX makes a great choice for many shoppers. In addition to the Pilot's already ample standard features list, the EX adds several comfort and infotainment upgrades, and it's only a few thousand dollars more than the base trim.

Honda Pilot LX

The Pilot LX sports a base price of $31,550. It comes with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Standard features include push-button start, Bluetooth, two USB ports, a seven-speaker audio system, and a 5-inch display.

Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, automatic high-beam headlights, forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control.

Honda Pilot EX

The Pilot EX carries a starting price of $34,430. In addition to the LX's features, the EX comes standard with heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat, one-touch second-row seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, remote start, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and the HondaLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

Honda Pilot EX-L

The Pilot EX-L has a starting price of $37,860. The EX-L comes with a power liftgate, a moonroof, leather upholstery, and a power-adjustable passenger seat.

The EX-L Navi/RES package costs an extra $2,000 and adds navigation, an HDMI port, a 115-volt power outlet, and a rear-seat entertainment system.

Honda Pilot Touring

The Pilot Touring has a starting price of $42,620. This trim has a nine-speed automatic transmission. In addition to the lower trims' features, the Touring comes standard with a hands-free power liftgate, front and rear parking sensors, a 10-speaker audio system, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Honda Pilot Elite

The Pilot Elite starts at $48,120. The AWD Elite trim comes with heated second-row captain's chairs (which drops seating capacity to seven), ventilated front seats, and wireless phone charging.

Honda Pilot Black Edition

The new-for-2020 Pilot Black Edition starts at $49,620. It comes with a number of unique styling touches, but it's essentially identical to the Elite trim from a features standpoint.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Honda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Honda deals page.

See 2020 Honda Pilot specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Honda Pilot has a reputation as a minivan alternative, and the 2020 edition is unlikely to change that perception. This SUV has plenty of passenger and cargo space and a nice array of driver assistance technology. Still, even in the areas where the Pilot does well, it doesn't lead the class or do much to stand out from the crowd. That's why it finishes in the middle of our midsize SUV rankings.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "There are a lot of great choices available for a three-row midsize SUV, and we think it's wise to cross-shop the Pilot with its primary competition. … Overall, though, the improvements for 2019 make the Pilot even easier to recommend." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "Roomy, comfortable and surprisingly adept, the Honda Pilot is among the most recommendable midsize SUVs. … For 2019, Honda has revised the Pilot and addressed its few sticking points, including a hesitant 9-speed transmission on higher trims and the lack of a volume knob. This new Pilot also gets a freshened exterior design, newly standard safety systems, and revised technology, making an already highly recommendable SUV something of a no-brainer for busy families." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "With the Pilot's 2019 redesign, Honda managed to turn an already appealing three-row SUV into an even more desirable family hauler thanks to new standard safety tech like Honda Sensing and convenience features like CabinTalk. Competitors like the all-new Subaru Ascent are starting to erode Honda's lead in the family SUV segment, but the 2019 Pilot is still one of the best minivan alternatives on the market today." -- Left Lane News (2019)


Expert Advice

Last Updated: April 9, 2020

Slipping Sales: Compared to the same period last year, the Honda Pilot has sold poorly so far in 2020; dealerships have moved 27.5 percent fewer Pilot models. The Pilot is currently selling in the top third of the highly-competitive midsize SUV segment, though class-leading SUVs like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Explorer are outselling the Honda by more than 2 to 1.

Research more buying advice »
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2020 Honda Pilot

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