Coming off of a 2019 update, the 2020 Honda Pilot sees only one major change. That’s the debut of a new special-edition trim, the aptly named Black Edition. Based on the range-topping Elite trim, the Black Edition is about styling more than anything mechanical.
Choosing Your Honda Pilot
The new trim brings the Pilot family up to an overwhelming six trims: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, Elite, and Black Edition. Prices start at $32,645 including destination for a base LX and climb to $50,715 for a Black Edition.
Despite the plethora of trims, the Honda Pilot comes with only a single engine. Luckily, it’s a good one: a 3.5-liter V6 producing 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque.
It’s the transmissions that separate the trims. The lower three all get a six-speed automatic, while the top three use a button-operated nine-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard on all except the Elite and Black Edition trims. Those get all-wheel drive, which is a $2,000 addition elsewhere.
Fuel economy checks in at 19 miles per gallon city, 27 mpg highway, and 22 combined for six-speed models with FWD, or 18/26/21 mpg (city/highway/combined) with AWD. Fuel economy increases slightly with the nine-speed transmission to 20/27/23 mpg with FWD, or or 19/26/22 mpg with AWD.
Passenger and Cargo Capacity
The Pilot can seat either seven or eight passengers, depending on whether the second row is a bench or captain’s chairs. The latter are available only on Touring trims and above.
Cargo space starts at 16.5 cubic feet behind the third row. Folding the rear seats expands capacity to 46.8 cubic feet, and most trims get 83.9 cubic feet with everything folded.
The Pilot has a strong safety record, as befits a family-hauler. As of last year, active safety features like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and lane keeping assist are standard on all trims. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are standard on EX trims and above.
The base Pilot LX is a little behind the times with a 5-inch screen running audio duties. The EX trim and above add an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which is much more modern. The system comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility along with USB charging.
Touring trims and above add navigation, a Blu-ray rear entertainment system, and a wi-fi hot spot capability, while Elite trims and above get wireless charging.
Other than the active safety tech and 18-inch alloy wheels, the Pilot LX doesn’t get much in the way of luxuries. Still, it has push-button start, Bluetooth connectivity, power features, and all the essentials for family duty.
There isn’t much for options, either. Gray cloth seats are the only choice, and the exterior only comes in black, silver, or white. Buyers can add backup sensors for $500 or a CD player for $310, but that’s about it outside of wheel choice.
Most buyers will bump up to at least the Pilot EX trim. EX Pilots and above get the 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, blind-spot monitoring, heated seats, a power-adjustable front seat, and Honda’s “One-Touch” adjustable second row.
Gray cloth remains the only upholstery choice, but at least EX buyers get more exterior color choices. A wireless phone charger can be added for $225, but otherwise options remain minimal.
Pushing close to the $40,000 mark, the EX-L trim adds leather upholstery and a moonroof. A power liftgate and power-adjustable passenger’s seat are also included.
Navigation is available, but it requires the $2,000 Advanced Navi and RES package, which also includes a rear seat entertainment system.
Starting at the Touring trim, all Pilots use the nine-speed automatic transmission. LED headlights are also standard at this trim, along with premium sound, navigation, the rear entertainment system, 20-inch wheels, and a hands-free liftgate. The second row is heated, too.
A very notable option opens up at this trim: second-row captain’s chairs. They come perforated and heated for $300.
The Elite trim adds all the luxury features Honda can muster. This means perforated leather, ventilated front seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a panoramic moonroof, wireless charging, auto-folding side mirrors, and illuminated cup holders. On this trim, all-wheel drive comes standard.
New for 2020, the Pilot Black Edition is a fashion-focused trim based on the Pilot Elite. Mechanically, it has all the same features. The extra $1,500 buys black exterior trim, a black leather interior, 20-inch black alloy wheels, and red LED ambient lighting.
Many 2020 Honda Pilot trims offer solid value, but we would opt for the EX or EX-L. Unless you want the captain’s chairs, that is, in which case you’ll need to bump up to the Touring (or shop elsewhere).