2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition review: Embracing the Darkness – CNET


This SUV ages gracefully.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

The 2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition lives up to its name and is black. This three-row SUV is given a special Crystal Black Pearl paint, black painted 20-inch wheels and a black grille. There are black headlights and side panels, as well as the door handles and fog light accents are reproduced in this pitch-dark color. There are Black Edition badges on the grille and tailgate. The front bucket seats are embroidered with the same text and embroidered with black thread through the black leather. You understand the point; Honda went overboard with black. But even if you prefer more visually lively vehicles, there is still a lot to love about this pilot.

To like

  • Decent comfort in all three rows
  • Smooth ride quality
  • Crunchy steering feel
  • Growl VTEC V6

I do not like it

  • The transfer could be more responsive
  • The interior looks dated
  • Homely instrument cluster

It may not be the most exciting model in its class, but Honda’s venerable family carrier still looks good and is neatly designed. The front end is friendly and accessible, while the rear is a simple, factual affair. It’s a shame that the wheelbase points to the smaller end of the three-row crossover SUV segment. The pilot’s profile is somewhat uncomfortable because the front and rear overhangs are too long.

A comfortable interior that shows its age

But what’s inside is far more important and this three-tier utility is gradually showing its age. No, there is nothing inherently wrong with the pilot cabin – apart from the cumbersome foot pedal parking brake, which looks like something that was pulled out of a vehicle built in the 1970s. It’s actually quite nice inside, spacious, well built, comfortable, and full of technology. It’s just that other automakers go far beyond that these days.

The new Toyota Highlander, for example, has a stylish interior that is of higher quality than that of the pilot. The Subaru climb Cabin equipment also has an advantage, but the models that have really raised the bar for interior quality both come from South Korea.

The Hyundai palisade and Kia Telluride Feel better than anything else in the three-row crossover segment with attractive designs, well thought-out details and first-class materials. Despite its age, the pilot still has an advantage over the new one Researcher. The interior of this Ford is disappointingly sloppy, with a somewhat unusual design and lots of materials with low rent.

2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition

The interior of the pilot is characterized by a simple overall layout and high-quality materials.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

The leather seats of my Pilot test model are very beautiful, soft and smooth, and the plastics used on the dashboard and door panels feel mushy and are grained attractively.

When it comes to comfort, the pilot pampered appropriately. The front seats are supportive, no discomfort, but the second row is less than ideal. These buckets are too flat for long-distance comfort and their lower cushions are tilted forward at a strange angle.

Surprisingly, the seat in the third row of this vehicle is friendlier for adults than some of its competitors. There is plenty of headroom on the pilot’s return and even decent legroom, which means that adults don’t experience excessive harshness when sitting there.

The second row buckets of this Honda reduce the gymnastics required to access this third row seat and tilt and slide forward at the push of a button. This offers a relatively wide path.

When it’s time to move cargo instead of people, these rear seats fold up easily and open up a generously sized cargo hold. The third row gives you up to 16.5 cubic feet of space. Fold these backrests down and that number grows to about 47. Drop the seats in the second row and the pilot reaches a height of just under 84 cubic feet. These numbers are very cheap compared to most competing models.

Check the technique

When it comes to technology, there is a lot in the pilot, although the Honda Sensing Suite of advanced driver assistance systems is the headliner. Fortunately, it is standard across the range. This package includes things like automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, departure reduction and adaptive cruise control with lane centering. This last point is particularly useful. It not only automatically adjusts the vehicle speed to the traffic conditions, but also helps to keep the pilot in the middle of his lane, reduces the input required and helps to reduce driver stress on long journeys. In addition, Honda has implemented this technology better than many other automakers. Not only does it react quickly, it is also extremely fluid.

The pilot’s infotainment system is colorful and largely pleasant. A razor-sharp 8-inch touchscreen is located high on the dashboard. The main menu contains a number of large, finger-friendly icons that can be easily rearranged. The overall responsiveness of this system is mostly commendable, although a cleaner user interface with a voting button might help. Of course, HD and Sirius XM radio are included in the Pilot Black Edition, as well as for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a charging station for mobile phones and a WiFi hotspot in the vehicle.

In addition to many other functions, push button start and a gigantic center console are standard in every version of the pilot. However, my tester also has three-zone climate control and a leather steering wheel, as well as heated and ventilated front seats. There’s even an entertainment system in the back seat with a 10.2-inch display and a Blu-Ray player to keep the kids busy on long drives.

2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition

This is not my favorite infotainment system, but it works well enough.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

VTEC power for people

Honda is probably best known for its engines, from tortuous four-prongs to single-cylinder industry examples for portable generators and lawnmowers. I mean, “Motor” is in the company’s official name. The pilot’s drive train is a nice piece of work.

All versions of this family carrier have a 3.5 liter V6. With single overhead camshafts, variable i-VTEC valve timing and direct fuel injection, it pumps healthy 280 horsepower with a competitive torque of 262 pound-feet. It helps reduce fuel consumption, and also offers cylinder deactivation, noise cancellation, and active engine mounts to suppress unwanted noise and vibration when operated with less than half a dozen cylinders.

Oddly enough, Honda offers two transmissions in the pilot. High-volume fairings, including the soldier versions of the LX and EX family with a six-speed automatic, but the Touring, Elite, and Black Edition models have a high-falutine gear swapper with nine ratios. As a well-known ZF device, I have recently experienced this transmission in three different applications. In addition to Honda, both Chrysler and Land Rover use this transmission. I unexpectedly found that it shifted most smoothly and reacted fastest Pacifica I checked recently, though performance, although still ok, was the least desirable Discovery sport I also tested it a few weeks ago. The pilot falls somewhere in between and tends more to the minivan than to this SUV. This gearbox feels a little slow when you choose one, and the downshift can also be a bit sluggish. At least it is reasonably smooth.

On the other hand, the pilot has a lot of mojo that shoots when the accelerator pedal is pressed. In typical Honda fashion, the engine sounds better than what the competition offers and gives a healthy growl, especially when the tachometer needle exceeds the five-giant mark and VTEC switches to more aggressive camshaft profiles. Driven more sensibly, the V6 remains quiet and almost vibration-free.

Four-wheel drive improves traction in a wide variety of conditions and is standard on Pilot Black Edition models. It has four selectable modes, including normal, snow, mud and sand, so you can customize the vehicle’s response to different driving situations.

2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition

You can call this the Corral because that’s where the horses live.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

Avoid the temptation to turn off the V6 engine and it is estimated that the pilot will return 26 miles per gallon on the highway. In town you can expect 22 mpg. Combined, it is rated at 19 mpg.

If you are going to tow with your pilot, these numbers will of course go straight out the window. Four-wheel drive versions of this SUV can pull up to 5,000 pounds, a class-rival number. Front-wheel drive models can only handle 3,500 pounds.

The 2020 Honda Pilot protects owners from unexpected problems and offers a 3 year / 36,000 miles limited warranty. 24-hour roadside assistance is included in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada during this period. The drivetrain is guaranteed for 5 years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Street refinement

Despite the taxi on generously portioned 20-inch wheels, the pilot’s ride is surprisingly smooth. The effects are well absorbed and passengers feel little hardness on the road. The suspension tuning is a bit softer, which is shown by a slight hover when you drive over large bumps or bumps on the road.

Given his unexpectedly smooth ride, you’d probably think the pilot’s handling would be sloppy and sluggish, but that’s not the case. The steering is light and crisp, with unusual accuracy for a vehicle in this segment.

In keeping with the driving quality, the interior of this Honda is well insulated against wind and tire noise. The cabin remains nice and quiet even at motorway speeds.

2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition

The Honda pilot has a lot to offer.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

Back in black

The Black Edition model is the highlight of the pilot series and has a corresponding price. My tester called $ 50,840, including $ 1,120 in destination and processing fees. This is comparable to top-end versions of the Toyota Highlander, Volkswagen Atlas and Kia Telluride, although a Ford Explorer Platinum is significantly more expensive. If that’s too rich for your blood, you can of course always grab a Pilot LX, Honda’s entry-level model. Including shipping costs, the price starts at around $ 33,000.

There is no shortage of three-row crossovers today. Despite its advancing years, the Honda pilot remains an excellent option given the fading competition. Yes, its interior could be a little fancier, and I wish the nine-speed gearbox would be a bit more attentive, but it drives well and is spacious and surprisingly comfortable in all three rows. What more could you ask for in a big crossover?