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2020 Honda Pilot Performance Review


Performance: 7.4

The 2020 Honda Pilot doesn't provide much in the way of athleticism, but that isn't its goal. This midsize SUV makes a great family vehicle. Its V6 engine never feels weak, and the Pilot delivers a smooth ride as well as decent fuel economy.

  • "The flip side to the Pilot's ungainly handling is a comfortable ride. This SUV's suspension smooths out bumps with composure. Some road imperfections will rock the Pilot from side to side, but overall a trip in the Pilot is uneventful." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
  • "It doesn't take long behind the wheel … to determine this might just be the best-riding, best-handling 3-row family transport under $40,000." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "We wouldn't go so far as to call a three-row crossover nimble, but for the segment, it's certainly one of the least cumbersome to drive, with a smooth, willing powertrain to boot." -- Edmunds (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The Pilot features a 3.5-liter V6 engine that puts out 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This V6 never feels short on power, though it isn't as strong as some rivals' engines. A six-speed automatic transmission comes standard in all but the Touring, Elite, and Black Edition trims, which come with a nine-speed automatic.

According to EPA estimates, the Pilot gets 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway with the standard transmission and front-wheel drive. With the nine-speed transmission you can expect 20/27 mpg city/highway.

Opt for all-wheel drive, and gas mileage drops to 18/26 mpg city/highway with the six-speed automatic and 19/26 mpg with the nine-speed. These are typical ratings for the class..

  • "We didn't experience the gear hunting [with the nine-speed auto] found in the 2016 model this time, so perhaps the shift map has been updated." -- Autoblog (2019)
  • "All models of the 2019 Honda Pilot use a 3.5-liter V6 engine. It's smooth and refined, and at 280 horsepower is quite robust, though not quite as powerful as the Toyota Highlander with its 295 horsepower." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "After taking some criticism for its operation, Honda says it made extensive hardware and software changes to the transmission for the 2019 Pilot, and routine driving is greatly improved. Nine-speed Pilots now accelerate smoothly from a stop, and part-throttle power demands are met with a crisp downshift. Still, it isn't perfect. Stomping the throttle on the highway often led to lazy feeling, two-step downshifts. …The engine to which both transmissions are strapped is a carryover—Honda's well-worn 3.5 liter V-6. Horsepower is 280, unchanged since 2016. It's adequate, to be sure." -- Automobile Magazine (2019)

Handling and Braking

The Pilot can't match the agile handling of some class rivals. This Honda prioritizes ride comfort, and it remains composed and comfortable even over rough pavement. Front-wheel drive comes standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • "The 2019 Honda Pilot favors a comfortable, quiet ride. It has a sport mode that tweaks throttle mapping and the transmission, but it can't keep the Pilot from protesting when thrown hard into a corner. This is no canyon carver." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "… on highways the Pilot is blissfully quiet. The suspension conveys just the right amount of information while remaining compliant for a smooth ride quality. Around town, these traits blend with nimble handling to make the sizable Pilot easy to maneuver and a pleasure to drive." -- New York Daily News (2019)
  • "… Honda's family SUV is actually quite nice to drive with a comfortable suspension, light and accurate steering, and plenty of power from the 3.5L V6." -- Left Lane News (2019)
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2020 Honda Pilot

MSRP: $31,650 - $49,720

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