2020 Honda Pilot Black Version assessment: Embracing the darkness

2020 Honda Pilot Black Version assessment: Embracing the darkness

Honda Pilot Black


2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition

This SUV is getting old gracefully.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Residing as much as its title, the 2020 Honda Pilot Black Version is, nicely, black. Giving this three-row SUV its murdered-out look is particular Crystal Black Pearl paint, black-finished 20-inch wheels and a blacked-out grille. There’s black headlight and aspect trim, plus the door handles and fog-light accents are rendered on this pitch-dark hue. Black Version badges are discovered on the grille and liftgate, plus the entrance bucket seats are embroidered with the identical textual content, stitched with black thread by means of the black leather-based. You get the purpose; Honda has gone overboard with black. However even if you happen to want extra visually vibrant automobiles, there’s nonetheless lots to like about this Pilot.


  • First rate consolation in all three rows
  • Supple trip high quality
  • Crisp steering really feel
  • Snarling VTEC V6

Do not Like

  • Transmission might be extra responsive
  • Inside beginning to look dated
  • Homely instrument cluster

It will not be probably the most thrilling mannequin in its class, however Honda’s venerable household hauler continues to be good-looking and cleanly designed. Its entrance finish is pleasant and approachable whereas the rear is an easy, no-nonsense affair. Too dangerous its wheelbase is towards the smaller-end of the three-row crossover SUV phase. In profile, this makes the Pilot look a bit awkward, like its entrance and rear overhangs are too lengthy. 

A snug inside that is exhibiting its age

However what’s inside is much extra essential and this three-row utility is beginning to present its age. No, there’s nothing inherently fallacious with the Pilot’s cabin — nicely, except for its awkward foot pedal-operated parking brake that appears like one thing pulled from a automobile constructed within the 1970s. It is really fairly good inside, spacious, nicely constructed, comfy and loaded with expertise. It is simply different automakers are going above and past today.



The brand new Toyota Highlander, for example, has a classy inside that is extra upscale than the Pilot’s. The Subaru Ascent’s cabin trimmings have an edge as nicely, however the fashions which have actually raised the bar for inside high quality each hail from South Korea. 

The Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride really feel extra premium than the rest within the three-row crossover phase, with enticing designs, considerate touches and top-notch supplies. Regardless of its age, the Pilot nonetheless has an edge over the brand new Explorer. This Ford’s inside is disappointingly slapdash, with a considerably uncommon design and loads of low-rent supplies.

2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition  

A easy general structure and high-quality supplies are hallmarks of the Pilot’s inside.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

My test-model Pilot’s leather-based seating surfaces are fairly good, gentle and easy, plus the plastics used on the dashboard and door panels are squishy to the contact and attractively grained. 



As for consolation, the Pilot is suitably coddling. Its entrance seats are supportive, no complaints there, however the second-row is lower than very best. These buckets are too flat for long-distance consolation and their decrease cushions are tipped ahead at an odd angle.

Surprisingly, this automobile’s third-row seat is extra grownup pleasant than what you get in some rivals. There’s ample headroom within the Pilot’s way-back and even first rate quantities of legroom, which means grownups will not endure undue hardship if seated there. 

Decreasing the gymnastics required to entry that third-row seat, this Honda’s second-row buckets tilt and slide ahead on the push of a button, offering a comparatively large pathway.

When it is time to haul freight as a substitute of oldsters, these backseats fold simply, opening up a generously portioned cargo maintain. Behind the third row, you rise up to 16.5 cubic toes of house. Fold these backrests down and that determine grows to round 47. Drop the second-row seats and the Pilot tops out at simply shy of 84 cubic toes. These figures examine very favorably to most rival fashions.

Checkin’ the tech, Honda


In terms of expertise, there’s lots within the Pilot, although the Honda Sensing suite of superior driver help programs is the headliner. Graciously, it’s commonplace throughout the mannequin vary. This bundle contains issues like computerized emergency braking, lane-keeping help, road-departure mitigation and adaptive cruise management with lane centering. That final merchandise is especially helpful. Not solely does it robotically alter automobile velocity based mostly on visitors circumstances, it additionally helps maintain the Pilot locked in the course of its lane, decreasing the quantity of enter required and serving to curb driver stress on lengthy journeys. Moreover, Honda has achieved a greater job implementing this expertise than many different automakers. Not solely is it fast to reply, it is extraordinarily easy, as nicely.

The Pilot’s infotainment system is colourful and principally nice, with a crisp, 8-inch touchscreen mounted excessive on the dashboard. The principle menu has a spread of enormous, finger-friendly icons that may be simply rearranged. The general responsiveness of this method is usually praiseworthy, although a cleaner person interface with a tuning knob is likely to be good. In fact, HD and Sirius XM radio are included within the Pilot Black Version, ditto for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a wi-fi cellphone charging pad and an in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot.

Amongst many different options, push-button begin and a big heart console are commonplace in each model of the Pilot, although my tester additionally options three-zone local weather management and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, plus heated and ventilated entrance chairs. There’s even a rear-seat leisure system with a 10.2-inch show and a Blu-Ray participant to maintain the kiddies occupied on lengthy drives.

2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition  

This isn’t my favourite infotainment system, however it works nicely sufficient.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

VTEC energy to the individuals

Honda is arguably most well-known for its engines, from high-winding four-bangers to single-cylinder industrial examples utilized in transportable turbines and garden mowers. I imply, “motor” is true within the firm’s official title. True to kind, the Pilot’s powertrain is a beautiful piece of labor.

All variations of this household hauler characteristic a 3.5-liter V6. With single overhead camshafts, i-VTEC variable valve timing and direct gasoline injection, it pumps out a wholesome 280 horsepower with a class-competitive 262 pound-feet of torque. Serving to scale back gasoline consumption, it additionally options cylinder deactivation in addition to each noise cancellation and lively engine mounts to quell undesirable sounds and vibration when it is operating on fewer than a half-dozen cylinders. 

Curiously, Honda affords two transmissions within the Pilot. Greater-volume trims together with the LX and EX household variants soldier on with a six-speed computerized, however Touring, Elite and Black Version fashions characteristic a highfalutin’ nine-ratio cog-swapper. A well-known ZF-sourced unit, I’ve really skilled this transmission in three totally different functions lately. Along with Honda, each Chrysler and Land Rover use this transmission. Unexpectedly, I discovered it shifted the smoothest and was most responsive within the Pacifica I lately reviewed, although the efficiency, whereas nonetheless OK, was least fascinating within the Discovery Sport I additionally examined just a few weeks in the past. The Pilot falls someplace in between, trending extra towards the minivan than that SUV. This transmission feels slightly gradual to enter gear when you choose one, and downshifts could be a bit torpid as nicely. Not less than it is moderately easy.

On the flip aspect, the  Pilot’s bought loads of mojo, scooting whenever you nail the accelerator. In typical Honda vogue, the engine sounds higher than opponents’ choices, emitting a wholesome snarl, significantly because the tachometer needle sweeps previous the five-grand mark and VTEC switches over to extra aggressive camshaft profiles. Pushed in a extra cheap method, that V6 stays hushed and is sort of freed from vibration. 

Enhancing traction in a variety of circumstances, all-wheel drive is commonplace on Pilot Black Version fashions. It comes with 4 selectable modes together with Regular, Snow, Mud and Sand, so you may tailor the automobile’s response to numerous driving conditions. 

2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition  

You possibly can name this the corral as a result of it is the place the horses stay.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

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

In fact, if you happen to plan on towing together with your Pilot, these figures go proper out the window. All-wheel-drive variations of this SUV can drag as much as 5,000 kilos, a class-competitive determine. Entrance-drive fashions can solely deal with 3,500 kilos. 

Defending house owners from sudden points, the 2020 Honda Pilot comes with a 3-year/36,000-mile restricted guarantee. Within the US, Puerto Rico and Canada, 24-hour emergency roadside help is included throughout that interval. As for the powertrain, it is assured for five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Over-the-road refinement

Regardless of rolling on generously portioned 20-inch wheels, the Pilot’s trip is surprisingly limber. Impacts are properly absorbed, with little harshness from the highway felt by passengers. Suspension tuning is on the softer aspect, as evinced by a little bit of float when driving over massive bumps or heaves within the highway. 

Given its unexpectedly supple trip, you’d in all probability assume the Pilot’s dealing with can be sloppy and ponderous, however this is not the case. Its steering is mild and fairly crisp, with uncommon accuracy for a automobile on this phase.

Matching its trip high quality, this Honda’s inside is nicely insulated in opposition to wind and tire noise. Even at freeway speeds, the cabin stays good and quiet.

2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition  

There’s loads to love concerning the Honda Pilot.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Again in black , Honda

The Black Version mannequin is the head of the Pilot vary and it is priced accordingly. My tester rang up at $50,840, together with $1,120 in vacation spot and dealing with charges. That is similar to top-end variations of the Toyota Highlander, Volkswagen Atlas and Kia Telluride, although a Ford Explorer Platinum is considerably pricier. In fact, if that is too wealthy to your blood, you may all the time seize a Pilot LX, Honda’s entry-level mannequin. Together with supply prices, it begins at proper round $33,000. 

There is no scarcity of three-row crossovers out there in the present day. Regardless of its advancing years, within the face of withering competitors, the Honda Pilot stays a wonderful possibility. Sure, its inside might be a bit snazzier and I want that nine-speed transmission have been slightly extra attentive, however it drives nicely and is each roomy and surprisingly comfy in all three rows. What extra may you ask for in a big crossover?


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