The current-generation Honda Pilot is getting on in years, but it is hardly showing its age. That’s because Honda makes frequent small updates to the roomy and practical three-row SUV, including a styling refresh the year before last. For 2021, the Pilot receives a special edition trim and comes standard with the nine-speed automatic transmission across the line (previously it reserved for upper trim levels, while lower-spec models used a six-speed).
For its extra three forward speeds, the entry-level 2021 Honda Pilot LX sees a price increase of $725, to $33,370. It is more expensive, therefore, than the base Chevrolet Traverse (which also is much larger) but still less expensive than the more similarly sized Toyota Highlander. Prices on the mid-level EX and EX-L trims have swelled by $525, while the Touring, Elite, and new-for-2020 Black Edition see negligible price increases of $325.
While it’s nice that every Pilot now comes standard with Honda’s nine-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the six-speed unit on the LX, EX, and EX-L, we’ve had our gripes about the nine-speed. Even after Honda tweaked the transmission for the 2019 model year, it still remained not quite as smooth as we’d like it to be.
There is a new trim level for 2021, too. The new SE (that’s “special edition”—we know, original) slots between the EX-L and the Touring trims. It blends luxurious features from the EX-L (leather seats, second-row sunshades, a power driver’s seat with two-position memory, a foot-activated hands-free tailgate and a wireless phone charger) with blacked-out 20-inch wheels, roof rails, grille, and skid plate garnishes. You’ll pay at least $40,080 for an SE.
Other updates throughout the 2021 Pilot range include newly standard dual-zone automatic climate control on the LX, and a Platinum White Pearl paint option for the Black Edition, which also continues to offer black and red design accents and perforated leather seating.
We have the rest of 2020 and 2021 to tell if these small changes keep the Pilot fresh in an extremely competitive segment filled with increasingly new or redesigned competitors. You can now configure the 2021 Honda Pilot on the automaker’s consumer website.
2021 Honda Pilot Prices
- Honda Pilot LX 2WD: $33,370
- Honda Pilot LX AWD: $35,370
- Honda Pilot EX 2WD: $36,050
- Honda Pilot EX AWD: $38,050
- Honda Pilot EX-L 2WD: $39,480
- Honda Pilot EX-L AWD: $41,480
- Honda Pilot SE 2WD: $40,080
- Honda Pilot SE AWD: $42,080
- Honda Pilot Touring 2WD: $44,040
- Honda Pilot Touring AWD: $46,040
- Honda Pilot Touring w/Rear Captain’s Chairs 2WD: $44,340
- Honda Pilot Touring w/Rear Captain’s Chairs AWD: $46,340
- Honda Pilot Elite AWD: $49,540
- Honda Pilot Black Edition AWD: $51,040