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2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition review: Embracing the darkness

This SUV is getting old gracefully.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Residing up to its identify, the 2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition is, perfectly, black. Giving this 3-row SUV its murdered-out appearance is unique Crystal Black Pearl paint, black-concluded 20-inch wheels and a blacked-out grille. There is certainly black headlight and aspect trim, plus the door handles and fog-gentle accents are rendered in this pitch-dark hue. Black Edition badges are identified on the grille and liftgate, plus the entrance bucket seats are embroidered with the exact text, stitched with black thread as a result of the black leather-based. You get the place Honda has gone overboard with black. But even if you like far more visually lively cars, you can find nevertheless a great deal to enjoy about this Pilot.


  • Respectable comfort and ease in all 3 rows
  • Supple trip excellent
  • Crisp steering sense
  • Snarling VTEC V6

Will not Like

  • Transmission could be far more responsive
  • Inside beginning to seem dated
  • Homely instrument cluster

It may possibly not be the most fascinating design in its course, but Honda’s venerable loved ones hauler is nevertheless handsome and cleanly designed. Its entrance finish is helpful and approachable though the rear is a basic, no-nonsense affair. Far too undesirable its wheelbase is towards the scaled-down-finish of the 3-row crossover SUV section. In profile, this helps make the Pilot seem a little bit awkward, like its entrance and rear overhangs are far too very long. 

A comfortable inside that is demonstrating its age

But what’s inside of is far far more crucial and this 3-row utility is beginning to clearly show its age. No, you can find practically nothing inherently completely wrong with the Pilot’s cabin — perfectly, apart from its awkward foot pedal-operated parking brake that appears to be like something pulled from a vehicle created in the nineteen seventies. It is really actually fairly pleasant inside of, spacious, perfectly created, snug and loaded with engineering. It is really just other automakers are going earlier mentioned and over and above these times.

The new Toyota Highlander, for occasion, has a classy inside that is far more upscale than the Pilot’s. The Subaru Ascent’s cabin trimmings have an edge as perfectly, but the types that have really raised the bar for inside excellent equally hail from South Korea. 

The Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride sense far more top quality than something else in the 3-row crossover section, with beautiful layouts, considerate touches and prime-notch supplies. Despite its age, the Pilot nevertheless has an edge over the new Explorer. This Ford’s inside is disappointingly slapdash, with a fairly abnormal layout and a great deal of minimal-hire supplies.

2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition

A basic total structure and high-excellent supplies are hallmarks of the Pilot’s inside.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

My check-design Pilot’s leather-based seating surfaces are fairly pleasant, delicate and clean, plus the plastics applied on the dashboard and door panels are squishy to the touch and attractively grained. 

As for comfort and ease, the Pilot is suitably coddling. Its entrance seats are supportive, no problems there, but the next-row is fewer than ideal. These buckets are far too flat for very long-length comfort and ease and their lower cushions are tipped forward at an odd angle.

Remarkably, this vehicle’s third-row seat is far more adult helpful than what you get in some rivals. There is certainly sufficient headroom in the Pilot’s way-back again and even decent amounts of legroom, that means grownups will not endure undue hardship if seated there. 

Lowering the gymnastics required to obtain that third-row seat, this Honda’s next-row buckets tilt and slide forward at the force of a button, giving a somewhat broad pathway.

When it is time to haul freight in its place of folks, individuals backseats fold easily, opening up a generously portioned cargo keep. Driving the third row, you get up to 16.5 cubic feet of space. Fold individuals backrests down and that figure grows to all-around 47. Fall the next-row seats and the Pilot tops out at just shy of 84 cubic feet. These figures evaluate quite favorably to most rival types.

Checkin’ the tech

When it comes to engineering, you can find a great deal in the Pilot, nevertheless the Honda Sensing suite of advanced driver support devices is the headliner. Graciously, it is normal throughout the design variety. This bundle incorporates things like automated crisis braking, lane-trying to keep support, street-departure mitigation and adaptive cruise handle with lane centering. That very last merchandise is particularly useful. Not only does it immediately alter vehicle velocity centered on site visitors conditions, it also helps keep the Pilot locked in the middle of its lane, lowering the amount of money of input required and aiding control driver worry on very long trips. In addition, Honda has done a far better work utilizing this engineering than many other automakers. Not only is it swift to reply, it is extremely clean, as perfectly.

The Pilot’s infotainment process is vibrant and mostly pleasant, with a crisp, 8-inch touchscreen mounted high on the dashboard. The principal menu has a variety of substantial, finger-helpful icons that can be easily rearranged. The total responsiveness of this process is mostly praiseworthy, nevertheless a cleaner user interface with a tuning knob could be pleasant. Of study course, Hd and Sirius XM radio are involved in the Pilot Black Edition, ditto for Apple CarPlay, Android Automobile, a wi-fi cell phone charging pad and an in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot.

Among many other attributes, force-button start and a gigantic heart console are normal in every edition of the Pilot, nevertheless my tester also attributes 3-zone weather handle and a leather-based-wrapped steering wheel, plus heated and ventilated entrance chairs. There is certainly even a rear-seat enjoyment process with a ten.2-inch display screen and a Blu-Ray participant to keep the kiddies occupied on very long drives.

2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition

This is not my most loved infotainment process, but it will work perfectly plenty of.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

VTEC electric power to the folks

Honda is arguably most famous for its engines, from high-winding 4-bangers to single-cylinder industrial illustrations applied in moveable turbines and lawn mowers. I signify, “motor” is appropriate in the company’s formal identify. True to type, the Pilot’s powertrain is a charming piece of perform.

All versions of this loved ones hauler function a 3.5-liter V6. With single overhead camshafts, i-VTEC variable valve timing and immediate gas injection, it pumps out a healthier 280 horsepower with a course-aggressive 262 pound-feet of torque. Assisting lower gas usage, it also attributes cylinder deactivation as perfectly as equally sounds cancellation and energetic motor mounts to quell unwanted sounds and vibration when it is running on fewer than a 50 percent-dozen cylinders. 

Curiously, Honda gives two transmissions in the Pilot. Increased-quantity trims which includes the LX and EX loved ones variants soldier on with a six-velocity automated, but Touring, Elite and Black Edition types function a highfalutin’ 9-ratio cog-swapper. A common ZF-sourced device, I’ve actually professional this transmission in 3 unique applications a short while ago. In addition to Honda, equally Chrysler and Land Rover use this transmission. Unexpectedly, I identified it shifted the smoothest and was most responsive in the Pacifica I a short while ago reviewed, nevertheless the effectiveness, though nevertheless Alright, was the very least fascinating in the Discovery Sport I also analyzed a couple months back. The Pilot falls someplace in between, trending far more towards the minivan than that SUV. This transmission feels a small sluggish to go into equipment when you find a single, and downshifts can be a little bit lethargic as perfectly. At the very least it is moderately clean.

On the flip aspect, the  Pilot’s acquired a great deal of mojo, scooting when you nail the accelerator. In usual Honda vogue, the motor sounds far better than competitors’ offerings, emitting a healthier snarl, particularly as the tachometer needle sweeps previous the 5-grand mark and VTEC switches over to far more intense camshaft profiles. Pushed in a far more reasonable fashion, that V6 continues to be hushed and is nearly totally free of vibration. 

Boosting traction in a broad variety of conditions, all-wheel push is normal on Pilot Black Edition types. It comes with 4 selectable modes which includes Normal, Snow, Mud and Sand, so you can tailor the vehicle’s response to several driving predicaments. 

2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition

You can simply call this the corral mainly because it is wherever the horses stay.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Resist the temptation to wind that V6 motor out and the Pilot is estimated to return 26 miles per gallon on the freeway. Around city you can count on 22 mpg. Mixed, it is rated at 19 mpg.

Of study course, if you program on towing with your Pilot, individuals figures go appropriate out the window. All-wheel-push versions of this SUV can drag up to 5,000 pounds, a course-aggressive figure. Front-push types can only deal with 3,500 pounds. 

Shielding proprietors from unexpected troubles, the 2020 Honda Pilot comes with a 3-calendar year/36,000-mile restricted warranty. In the US, Puerto Rico and Canada, 24-hour crisis roadside help is involved for the duration of that time period. As for the powertrain, it is guaranteed for 5 years or sixty,000 miles, whichever comes initial.

Over-the-street refinement

Despite rolling on generously portioned 20-inch wheels, the Pilot’s trip is shockingly limber. Impacts are nicely absorbed, with small harshness from the street felt by passengers. Suspension tuning is on the softer aspect, as evinced by a little bit of float when driving over substantial bumps or heaves in the street. 

Provided its unexpectedly supple trip, you would probably believe the Pilot’s managing would be sloppy and ponderous, but this isn’t the case. Its steering is gentle and fairly crisp, with abnormal accuracy for a vehicle in this section.

Matching its trip excellent, this Honda’s inside is perfectly insulated towards wind and tire sounds. Even at freeway speeds, the cabin continues to be pleasant and peaceful.

2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition

There is certainly a ton to like about the Honda Pilot.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Back in black

The Black Edition design is the pinnacle of the Pilot variety and it is priced accordingly. My tester rang up at $50,840, which includes $one,a hundred and twenty in desired destination and managing service fees. That is comparable to prime-finish versions of the Toyota Highlander, Volkswagen Atlas and Kia Telluride, nevertheless a Ford Explorer Platinum is drastically pricier. Of study course, if that is far too wealthy for your blood, you can constantly seize a Pilot LX, Honda’s entry-stage design. Including shipping and delivery prices, it starts at appropriate all-around $33,000. 

There is certainly no lack of 3-row crossovers available now. Despite its advancing years, in the facial area of withering levels of competition, the Honda Pilot continues to be an fantastic choice. Of course, its inside could be a little bit snazzier and I wish that 9-velocity transmission had been a small far more attentive, but it drives perfectly and is equally roomy and shockingly snug in all 3 rows. What far more could you request for in a substantial crossover?