2020 Honda Pilot Review

The 2020 Honda Pilot delivers an incredibly smooth ride.  And when well-equipped, it makes you forget you’re driving a non-luxury vehicle.

Although the 3-row midsize crossover sport-ute was refreshed last year, Honda manages to dance-up the 2020 model.  And they’re doing that in two key ways.

First, the practical way, by adding Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance and safety features to all trim levels.

And second, the enticing way, by adding a sexy new top-tier trim level – the Black Edition.

2020 Honda Pilot Top-3:

  1. Ride
  2. Interior
  3. Driver-assist tech

As always a huge thanks to my dear friends at Rock Honda in Fontana, CA for giving me a 2020 Pilot for this review.

2020 Honda Pilot driver profile

111-inch wheelbase / 196.5-inch length

2020 Honda Pilot Midsize Crossover SUV

So, if you’ve checked out my reviews in the past, then you know I have a ‘thing’ with vehicle class-sizes.  Because often, they’re quite confusing.

For example, the 2020 Honda Pilot is technically a midsize crossover SUV.  But that’s by EPA class-size definitions which make little sense.

2020 Honda Crossover SUV Lineup:

Because Honda’s smaller Passport is also a midsize crossover SUV.  And the Passport is smaller, has only 2-rows of seating and can carry no more than 5-passengers.

Whereas the Pilot is Honda’s largest crossover sport utility vehicle, has 3-rows of seating and can seat up to 7 or even 8-passengers.

Pilot Trim Configurations And Prices

Too bad for me that I wasn’t able to test drive the new 2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition – because it’s a very good looking ride.

But, with that said, they’re pretty tough to come by.  And frankly, the Black Edition tacks another $1,500 onto the MSRP.

And it only delivers a few enhancements over the former top-tier trim level – the Elite.  So with the Black Edition, you get black wheels, red interior ambient lighting and Black Edition badging.  That’s all cool, but I’m good with the Elite.

2020 Honda Pilot Trims & MSRPs:

  • LX $31,650
  • EX $34,530
  • EX-L $37,960
  • Touring $42,720
  • Elite $48,220
  • Black Edition $49,720

I provide current manufacturers suggested retail prices for reference only.  You need to get your Pilot equipped to your specifications.

 

And I highly recommend you go see my friends at Rock Honda in Fontana.  Because you’ll get the best price, from a giant selection and your purchasing experience will be exemplary.

Engines, Transmissions, AND Fuel-Economy

Regardless of the trim configuration, you wind up with the same engine.  But there are two different transmissions.

So, fuel economy varies a bit.  Especially when you factor in available all-wheel drive.

2020 Honda Pilot shifter buttons

6 or 9-speed automatic transmissions

For starters, the engine is a V6 that delivers 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque.  And, that’s matched with either a 6-speed or 9-speed automatic transmission.

2020 Honda Pilot steering wheel

Available paddle shifters

And the Touring trim that I test drove had the push-button 9-speed automatic transmission.  Which, BTW, comes with paddle shifters too – adding to it’s fun-to-drive-ness.

2020 Honda Pilot MPG Range:

  • City 18/19
  • Highway 26/27

Overall, very solid fuel-economy.  As you’d expect from a vehicle bearing the Honda badge.

What Does The 2020 Honda Pilot Look Like?

It’s a chameleon!  So, here’s where other car-writers and I disagree.  Because many criticize the Pilot’s minivan-esque appearance.  And sure, I get what they mean by that.

However, like so many vehicles, it really depends on how you equip your Pilot.

2020 Honda Pilot driver front

70.6-inch height / 7.3-inch ground clearance

For instance, if you go with a base-model LX and do nothing to it then, sure it will take on a more subdued appearance.

2020 Honda Pilot driver rear

3,500 to 5,000 lb towing capacity

But if you go with an upper-tier trim level or if you accessorize a lower-tier trim configuration then fuhgettaboutit.

What is the 2020 Honda Pilot's curb weight?

Between 4,036 and 4,217 lbs.

Because a few minor, yet highly functional tweaks, and you have a head-turning ride.  And one that aesthetically rivals any of its competitors in the non-luxury or even luxe segments.

2020 Honda Pilot Exterior Measurements:

  • Wheelbase 111.0
  • Length 196.5
  • Height 70.6
  • Width 78.6
  • Track:
    • Front 66.3
    • Rear 66.3
  • Ground clearance: 7.3

*All inches 

Interior – 2020 Honda Pilot

Inside the 2020 Honda Pilot is super-comfortable.  Here too is another area where, when you go with a top-tier trim it’s easy to forget you’re not in a luxury vehicle.

2020 Honda Pilot front seats and dash

152.9 cu-ft passenger volume

Again, I test drove the Touring trim.  And with the addition of this year’s Black Edition, the Touring trim becomes the 3rd from the top.  Even so, the inside was spacious and the surfaces were very high-quality feeling.

2020 Honda Pilot 2nd row backseat

38.4 inches 2nd-row legroom

Optional second-row captains chairs limit the 3-row Pilot to 7-passengers.  Because you need the bench seat in the second-row to raise your seating capacity to eight.

2020 Honda Pilot Interior Measurements:

  • Headroom: 40.1/40.2/38.9
  • Legroom: 40.9/38.4/31.9
  • Shoulder room: 62.0/62.0/57.6
  • Hiproom: 59.1/57.3/44.6

*All inches, 1st/2nd/3rd-row

And I like both options. So, whether you go with the 2nd-row bench or captain chairs is really dependent on your personal needs.

2020 Honda Pilot 3rd row seat access

31.9-inches 3rd-row legroom

Either way, accessing the 3rd-row seating is easy from the outside.  Of course, getting back there from the 2nd-row is much easier when you opt for the captain chairs.

2020 Honda Pilot cargo area with backseats partial down

Up to 109.2 cu-ft of cargo space

Moreover, when it comes to cargo space the Pilot is a bit of a monster.  Because with both rows of backseats down you are left with a whopping 109.2 cubic-feet of space to put your stuff!

And this is another reason the 2020 Honda Pilot can be referred to as a full-size vehicle.  It has up to five (5) more cubic-feet of cargo space than a Ford Expedition which is undeniably a full-size SUV.

2020 Honda Pilot cargo area floor compartment

Out-of-sight storage compartment

Plus there’s even subfloor storage.  And I love that for keeping valuables completely out of sight.

Infotainment And Technology

When it comes to creature comfort technology and infotainment Honda totally delivers.

Infotainment and climate controls

Available CabinControl app

Of course Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available.  In fact, they’re standard on all trims except the base-model LX.  And the same goes for tri-zone climate control.

Are We There Yet

Are we there yet?

But I really love some of the additional technology Honda offers up in the 2020 Pilot.  Including the rear infotainment screen with ‘How Much Farther? ‘ trip monitoring for the kids and child-like adults riding in the back. :0)  It syncs up with your navigation to keep everyone apprised of the road trip situation.

CabinTalk

CabinTalk

And backseat drivers can download Honda’s CabinControl app to manage music and climate controls in the rear of the vehicle.  But, touche, CabinTalk allows drivers to override all infotainment and talk to passengers through the vehicle’s speakers.

Driver Assistance And Safety Tech

And, as I mentioned at the top of this article, kudos to Honda for giving all trims Honda Sensing technology features.  Because this suite of driver assistance and safety features go a long way in keeping everyone safer on the roads.

 Honda Sensing Technologies:

  • Collision mitigation braking
  • Road departure mitigation
  • Forward collision warning
  • Lane departure warning
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane keep assist

Plus, all trims get auto high-beam headlights.  Additionally, all trims except the LX receive blindspot monitoring, with cross-traffic monitor.

2020 Honda Pilot Top-3

And that brings us back to my Top-3 for the 2020 Honda Pilot.

  1. Ride: The Pilot is a pleasure to drive as well as be driven in.  It’s smooth, quick and when you go with Touring or above you get the 9-speed automatic trans with paddle shifters.
  2. Interior: Inside the Pilot is so big, comfortable and functional that it really does rival a minivan.  But without being a minivan, which is important to many buyers.
  3. Driver-assist tech: Other carmakers really need to follow Honda’s lead in this arena.  Because this level of safety technology is better for everyone.
white Touring

Courtesy of Rock Honda

And a final shoutout of thanks to my friends at Rock Honda in Southern California’s Inland Empire.  If you’d like to be introduced to them I’m happy to connect you.  Just send me an email – tom [at] iDriveSoCal [dot] com.