Overview

   

The 2021 Honda Pilot, always a big hit with families, offers abundant interior space with three rows of seating. It fits seven or eight passengers, depending on whether the second row has captain's chairs or a bench seat, and one-touch sliding seats mean easy access to the third row. For this new model year, a Special Edition trim has been added, and the nine-speed automatic transmission is now standard on all versions (the six-speed automatic has been dropped).

   
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The Basics

   

The 2021 Honda Pilot has quite an array of trim levels, with seven: the LX, EX, EX-L, Special Edition, Touring, Elite, and Black Edition. The Elite and Black Edition both come standard with captain's chairs in the second row (these are optional on the Touring), which brings the passenger capacity to seven. The other trims have a second-row bench instead, allowing them to fit eight. The powertrain for all of them is a 280 horsepower V6 with a nine-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Front-wheel drive is the standard for all models except for the Elite and Black Edition, both of which are all-wheel drive (AWD is available on the other trims). With front-wheel drive, the '21 Pilot is rated for 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway; all-wheel drive versions get 19 city/26 highway.

   

Standard features on the base LX include dual-zone automatic temperature control, push-button ignition, and Honda Sensing, a suite of active safety technologies. The EX gets LED fog lights, heated exterior mirrors, heated front seats, and a third zone for the auto climate control. The EX-L adds a moonroof, leather seats, and a power tailgate. The Special Edition is an all-new trim that is indeed special with its extra amenities: a wireless phone charger, a hands-free liftgate, 20-inch black wheels, and convenient rooftop rails. Buyers of the Touring trim will get LED headlights, blue ambient interior lighting, heated second-row seats, and parking sensors (front and rear). The Elite receives a panoramic roof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power folding side mirrors (with auto-dimming feature), ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel. The Black Edition is equipped similarly, but it has some unique aesthetic touches: red ambient interior lighting and blacked-out exterior elements.

   
   
   

Safety and Technology

   

The aforementioned Honda Sensing bundle of active safety technologies is standard on all 2021 Pilots, but some trims get more than others. The base version of Honda Sensing contains collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning. All trims also get automatic high beams, and all but the LX receive a blind-spot information system with cross-traffic monitor and an upgraded backup camera with dynamic guidelines (the LX's rearview camera has basic guidelines).

   

All '21 Pilots get USB ports, 12V power outlets, and a well set-up infotainment system, with a few additional features on the more expensive trims. The LX's system has a 5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, and a seven-speaker audio system. The EX and EX-L move up to an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HondaLink, SMS text messaging, SiriusXM satellite radio, and high-definition radio. The Touring, Elite, and Black Edition load up with ten speakers, a navigation system, voice recognition functionality, a Blu-Ray rear entertainment system with a pair of 10.2-inch screens, a 115-volt power outlet, a Wi-Fi hotspot, multi-zone audio, and a Cabin Talk public address-type system to facilitate communication among all three rows.