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2020 Honda Pilot Pros vs Cons

Why Buy a 2020 Honda Pilot?
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

Are You Considering a 2020 Honda Pilot? Here Are Some Reasons For and Against

Those who are in the market for a shiny new third-row SUV will likely want to check out the 2020 Honda Pilot. Out of all the vehicles in its class, the Pilot reigns supreme for a number of very good reasons. From its cozy cabin to the lengthy list of standard infotainment and safety features, the 2020 Pilot is sure to be a top seller.

What's New for 2020?

There have not been any serious changes made to the line-up for the 2020 Honda Pilot. The one noteworthy alteration is the addition of the stunning Black Edition trim level. The Pilot was last revamped for the introduction of the third generation back in 2016, and not a lot of changes were needed after that.

Ten Reasons You May Like the 2020 Honda Pilot – The Pros

1. An Impressive Fuel Economy

Honda is all about efficiency, and this certainly rings true in how they approach fuel economy. The 2020 Honda Pilot outperforms many of its competitors in terms of miles per gallon. With all-wheel drive and the 9-speed transmission equipped, the Pilot garners 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. On a front-wheel drive model, you can get about 24 mpg combined, which is definitely a decent number for a large third-row SUV.

2. Well-Designed Storage Areas

Honda knows how to cleverly craft a practical, utilitarian interior. There are 16 cubic feet of cargo space when you have all seats in the upright position, and this number tops out at 84 cubes when all seats are folded down. This isn't as much space as many competitors, but the way Honda designed the load floor to hold items underneath is quite smart. You can also find plenty of small item storage areas throughout the cabin that are appropriately sized. Even the cup-holders feel like they were designed for all sizes of cups.

3. A Powerful Standard V6 Engine

The standard V6 engine musters up enough strength to get the 2020 Honda Pilot moving quickly on the highway. This 3.5-L engine gets 280 hp. It also happens to get a solid 262 lb-ft of torque, and a 6-speed automatic transmission is standard issue on most trim levels. If you want the 9-speed, you will have to opt for the Touring trim or higher. On the 9-speed, you get a zippy acceleration speed (going from 0 to 60 mph) of 7 seconds flat. This is a great time for a vehicle in this segment.

4. Easy-to-use Brakes

Speeding up is easy, and so is coming to a stop. The brakes have a natural feel, and they are easy to modulate in everyday driving scenarios. A panic stop from 60 mph can be made in roughly 129 feet, which is pretty normal for a third-row SUV. The vehicle will track straight on if you have to press down hard on the brakes, and you won't feel any scary thrusting or wobbling while doing so.

5. Precise Steering and Handling

The 2020 Honda Pilot has remarkably precise steering and handling capabilities. You won't get a ton of road feel from the steering column, but it does have a natural vibe to it, and steering requires only modest effort. The vehicle handles turns well and has a light feeling to it since it does weigh less than other third-row SUVs. Overall, this aerodynamic design makes getting around on winding roads simple.

6. A Comfortable Ride Quality

Small bumps, large dips, and any other road imperfections are quickly smoothed out by the Pilot. Very little road or wind noise makes its way into the cabin, even at highway speeds. Also, the engine purrs like a kitten, so you will not have to worry about it overpowering your music or conversations with passengers. The interior is designed with comfort in mind, so you and your passengers can enjoy long rides in plush, supportive seats.

7. An Excellent Tri-zone Automatic Climate Control System

Some third-row SUVs haven't nailed down the proper design for tri-zone automatic climate control, but Honda has. The 2020 Honda Pilot has a system that delivers air flow to all three rows. If you want cold air, the system quickly pushes it into the cabin. Same with the heat. The controls for it are easy to use, too.

8. A Comfortable Driving Position is Easy to Find

Most drivers will have no problem finding a comfortable driving position. The driver's seat is power-adjustable, and its upright position allows the driver to see more clearly through the front windshield. The slender roof pillars make visibility fore and aft quite clear, and there is a standard rear-view camera in case you need to see what is behind you while backing out of a tight parking space.

9. A User-friendly Touchscreen Display

In the past, Honda's touchscreen display has been nothing short of frustrating. After making some adjustments for the 2019 line-up, Honda's system is more user-friendly than it used to be. The 2020 Honda Pilot has an 8-inch touchscreen on the EX trim level and above. Its graphics are clear, and the buttons are fairly easy to push. There is still a learning curve, but it is a lot shorter than it once was.

10. High-quality Interior Materials

For being a moderately-priced vehicle, the Pilot's materials are high-quality. The soft-touch materials have a pleasant feel, and the panels flow together seamlessly. Nothing can be heard rolling around while driving, and the matte finishes and high-gloss trim give the Pilot a hint of luxury.

Reasons You May Not Like the 2020 Honda Pilot – The Cons

1. Overly-Sensitive Driver Aids

One of the things Honda really needs to improve are several driver aids - in particular, adaptive cruise control and collision warning. They are both overly-sensitive, which can prove to be a hazardous distraction. Adaptive cruise control only works when you are driving above 20 mph, so this feature is ineffective when you are in slow, stop-and-go traffic. Lane keep assist can also be a bit obnoxious.

2. The Third Row is Difficult to Access

Getting to the third row can be difficult if you are a bigger adult. There is a button you can press that will slide the second row forward, but only smaller adults and children will really benefit from this. The access path is just too narrow for larger adults to quickly get through.

3. It Isn't Meant for Off-roading

The 2020 Honda Pilot is not meant for off-roading adventures. Its ground clearance is too low, and the vehicle lacks off-roading essentials like hill descent control. The AWD system is solid on slick road surfaces, but it was not designed with uneven dirt roads in mind. Keep the Pilot on the beaten, paved path.

4. The Steering Wheel Doesn't Adjust Enough for Taller Drivers

Taller adults might find that the steering wheel does not adjust to a high enough position for them to feel comfortable. It will not be a huge deal for anyone else, but there could be more adjustment options available for those of us with longer legs. It is a minor gripe, sure, but it is an area where Honda could improve.

How it compares to the competition:

2020 Honda Pilot vs. 2020 Toyota Highlander

The 2020 Honda Pilot faces strong competition from the 2020 Toyota Highlander. The Highlander is similarly priced and comes with a ton of standard infotainment and safety features. It also gets good fuel efficiency from its standard V6 engine. However, the Highlander's base 4-cylinder engine is incredibly weak, and the touchscreen display is an absolute mess. To top it all off, Toyota does not offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto on the Highlander while Honda has standardized them across their entire fleet. It is definitely something that makes buyers scratch their heads and mutter "Huh?"

2020 Honda Pilot vs. 2020 Acura MDX

The 2020 Acura MDX is a luxury vehicle, unlike the Pilot. Therefore, you can expect to find a lot more leather and glossy surfaces. You will also be paying a little bit more, even though the MDX is well-priced for a luxury SUV. Its V6 is powerful. Additionally, the ride quality is also considerably smooth. The biggest downside to owning the MDX is that the two-touchscreen infotainment system is difficult to use. It is more of a distraction than it is helpful. The controls are not intuitively designed. Also, adaptive cruise control is incredibly sensitive on the MDX.


For the price, you get a lot of great features and functionality on the 2020 Honda Pilot's EX trim level and higher. A lot of people will likely skip the base LX trim, even though it is a decent base for its class. The Pilot offers good fuel economy, a cozy interior, and controls that are intuitively laid out. If you can cope with the false alarms from collision warning and adaptive cruise control's touchy-ness, then you will likely find the Pilot to be suitable for your everyday needs.

Previous Honda Pilot Buying Guides:

Why buy a 2019 Honda Pilot? w/ pros vs cons