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2020 Honda Pilot Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2020 Honda Pilot Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: LX vs EX vs EX-L, Touring, Elite & Black Edition

What 2020 Honda Pilot Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

For many years now, SUVs and crossovers have dominated the market, particularly those with three rows of seating. The Honda Pilot is a popular option by a brand most people know and trust. With the ability to seat up to eight, the Pilot will be worth checking out for many families.

The 2020 model is part of the third generation of this vehicle, which started in 2016. After multiple changes in 2019, Honda pretty much left the Pilot alone this year. The one major exception to that is the addition of a brand new top-of-the-line trim known as the Black Edition.

There are a total of six different trim levels for the 2020 Pilot. The price jumps between trims can be pretty steep, making it important to know what your priorities are before heading down to the dealership. In this guide, the differences between the trims are laid out to help you determine which option is ideal in your situation.


Compare the 2020 Honda Pilot LX vs the EX Trims. What is the difference?

First, it is worth noting that all models of the 2020 Pilot have the same engine. It is powered by a V6 that produces a respectable 280-horsepower as well as 262 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel-drive is standard on both the LX and EX models, but you have the option of upgrading to all-wheel-drive. You do get LED low beams, brake lights, and reverse lights on this trim.

The entry-level version of the Pilot is pretty straightforward. It is the only trim level to have a 5" touchscreen. It lacks smartphone integration using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto but does give you Bluetooth capabilities. That, and steering-wheel-mounted illuminated controls, are pretty much the only tech-savvy features you will find here.

Where the LX shines, however, is in standard safety features. It gets the complete Honda Sensing Suite. This means you get a long list of aids that are designed to help avoid collisions, such as forward collision warning and lane departure warning. You also get adaptive cruise control, a popular feature that can adjust your speed by sensing the distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of it.

Moving up to the EX version of the Pilot makes the vehicle significantly better and will be worth the price jump to most consumers. You get those smartphone integration features that are lacking in the LX, as well as an 8" touchscreen for your infotainment system. The EX also adds HD and satellite radio capability. Additionally, this trim gets the only advanced safety feature that the LX lacks, which is the blind spot monitor with cross traffic monitor.

As for comfort, the EX adds heated front seats and tri-zone automatic climate control. The driver's seat gains 10-way power adjustment, including lumbar support. This alone will make the jump up to this trim level worth it for anyone who struggles to get comfortable on long journeys. This trim level and up also features one-touch 2nd-row seats, something designed to make getting in and out of the back of the Pilot much easier.

If you go with the EX trim or above, you may enjoy using the CabinControlĀ® Remote Compatibility feature. This is Honda's way of turning compatible smartphones into remote controls for the Pilot. Passengers in the back are able to adjust the climate control settings as well as the audio. Up to seven phones can be connected to the system. If this sounds like a recipe for massive arguments, know that you can always turn this feature off.

Finally, the EX trim adds an extra 12-volt power outlet in the cargo area. The LX model only has one in the front and one in the center console. While the LX trim certainly leaves quite a bit to be desired, the EX comes in as a strong contender when it comes to the 2020 Pilot.

Compare the 2020 Honda Pilot EX vs the EX-L Trims. What is the difference?

The next trim level up is the EX-L. While it does add some new standard features, some people may be drawn to this trim by its available features instead. This is the first trim level to offer navigation, 115-volt power outlet, and the rear-seat Blu-ray entertainment system. Rear passengers can kick back and watch movies on a 10.2" high-resolution screen and comes with built-in streaming apps. There is even an in-vehicle PA system available so you do not have to shout to be heard by the passengers in the third row. If you take a lot of road trips, especially with kids, these features can be life-savers.

There are some standard upgrades you get for moving up in trim levels as well. You get a leather-trimmed interior, for one. The front passenger seat gains four-way power adjustment. The driver's seat also gets the ability to remember two preset positions. This is particularly handy if you and your significant other have a significant height difference. Rear passengers get the added bonus of extra charging USB ports and integrated second-row sunshades. These shades are great for keeping the sun out of little eyes and save you the hassle of buying and installing your own.

The EX-L and up give drivers the HomeLink Remote System. This system utilizes radiofrequency waves to communicate with compatible devices. You can program it to open your garage door, open your gate, and even turn on compatible RF lights. Initial programming can be a bit tricky, but once that's done this feature can really be quite convenient.

Taking a look outside the EX-L trim, you will find a handy power liftgate. The side mirrors also get memory as well as turn signal indicators. The one-touch moonroof is also added for the EX-L. This trim level uses acoustic glass in the windshield. This may seem like an insignificant detail, but it can greatly reduce the amount of road and wind noise making its way into the cabin. Overall, this trim gives you a bit more luxury and more options. Whether or not it would be better to just go with a higher trim level that includes some of those options as standard features depends on what exactly you are after.

Compare the 2020 Honda Pilot EX-L vs the Touring Trims. What is the difference?

The Touring trim level represents a pretty significant bump in price. It does, however, add the navigation and rear-seat entertainment system as standard features. You also get Wi-Fi hotspot capability, which is another feature that can be handy feature on a long road trip. The sound system gets an upgrade as well. All trims up until this point have had a seven-speaker audio system. The Touring trim upgrades this to a 590-watt premium system and adds three more speakers.

Busy families may appreciate the hands-free power liftgate, which becomes standard on this trim. This is also the first trim to give you roof rails. Parking sensors in the front and rear are also included, as are LED headlights with an auto on/off feature. Inside the cabin, you may choose to have the second-row bench seat replaced with two heated captain's chairs. This will reduce your seating capacity from eight to seven, however. Heated front seats are standard either way.

Mechanically speaking, this is also the first model to feature the nine-speed automatic transmission. Lower trims utilize a six-speed instead. The nine-speed automatic does give you slightly better fuel efficiency, which is something to consider. The Touring with FWD has a combined MPG rating of 22, compared to the six-speed FWD models, which rate at 21 MPG. As for AWD models, they both have a combined MPG of 22.

You get more lighting features when you go with the Touring trim. It gives you stylish blue ambient lighting for the cabin. You also get illuminated beverage holders in the front, which while not particularly useful, certainly looks cool. If you decide to go with the captain's chairs, the second-row beverage holders are illuminated also. The front doors gain courtesy lights as well, which can make getting into the Pilot easier after dark.

The Touring trim also has acoustic glass in its windshield and also adds it to the front window. This will further isolate the cabin from unwanted outside noise. Thanks to all of these little touches, the Touring trim level may represent a decent compromise between affordability and luxury for some consumers.

Compare the 2020 Honda Pilot Touring vs the Elite Trims. What is the difference?

The Elite used to be the very top trim in the Pilot line and it shows when you look at the list of standard features. This trim is the first that comes standard with all-wheel-drive and the heated second-row captain's chairs. As a result, those who regularly need room for eight people will want to stay at the Touring trim or lower.

Not only does the Elite trim have the one-touch moonroof, but it also adds a panoramic roof to let more light into the back. The second-row seats are a bit more sophisticated because they are made from perforated leather. In the front row, the seats add ventilation, plus you get a heated steering wheel. You also get a wireless phone charger, which can be very handy as long as your phone is compatible. The final upgrade to the cabin is the edition of LED map lights.

The Elite trim continues to up the Pilot's game by giving you rain-sensing windshield wipers as well as power-folding and auto-dimming side mirrors. Overall, the Elite trim has a fancier feel. Whether or not the significant price jump is worth it depends mainly on whether or not you need those little extras that come along with it.

2020 Honda Pilot Elite vs the Black Edition. What is the difference?

The Black Edition is essentially the Elite with a bit of a makeover. It has all of the same features, both inside and out. The difference is that on the outside you have Black Edition specialized trim and 20" black alloy wheels. Inside, you have unique black leather upholstery as well as red ambient lighting. That's it. Whether or not that is worth the approximately $1,500 price bump is up to you.


Which Trim to Choose?

Unless you are looking to spend as little as possible, you should probably skip right over the LX trim when deliberating between the different models. Going from it to the EX trim definitely adds the most amount of features and is not too hard on the wallet. The EX-L also is a reasonable choice if you prefer leather interior.

There can also be a lot said for going up to the Touring trim, especially if you plan on taking a lot of family trips in it. The standard navigation is bound to come in handy and the rear-seat Blu-ray player can help keep the peace. It also is the first trim with the more efficient nine-speed automatic transmission and to offer the second-row captain's chairs.

Essentially, your best bet with the 2020 Honda Pilot is to stick to the middle of the pack with the trim levels. The LX is simply lacking what you would expect out of an SUV in this day and age, while the Elite and Black Edition seem a bit over the top.
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Compare the 2019 Honda Pilot Trim Levels