Specifications of Honda Pilot III (facelift 2019) 3.5 V6 (280 HP) AWD SBW
General characteristics of Honda Pilot III (facelift 2019) 3.5 V6 (280 HP) AWD SBW
The 2021 Honda Pilot is classified as a midsize SUV in terms of dimensions, measuring in with a total length of 196.5 inches and rolling on a 111-inch wheelbase. It stands 70.6 inches tall and is 78.6 inches wide. The track is 66.3 inches front to back, and there's a useful 7.3 inches of ground clearance, enough for most suburban obstacles. Since it's an SUV, it would be worth mentioning its approach and departure angle of 19.7/20.8 degrees. The lightest Pilot is the 2WD LX, which weighs in at 3,982 lbs, while the heaviest is the Black Edition at a weighty 4,321 lbs.
As if the exterior styling of the 2021 Honda Pilot wasn't dreary enough, the range of paint colors is just as drab. We understand that the Pilot was never meant to be a fashionista, but when you consider the exciting designs coming out of South Korea and elsewhere, Honda could have spent some time considering its paint offerings. In base trim, the Pilot is offered in four colors, namely Crystal Black, Modern Steel, Lunar Silver, and Platinum White, which is a $395 option. Fortunately, more colors become available higher up in the range. The mid-range EX-L is offered in a total of eight shades, with standout options being Obsidian Blue, Steel Saphire, and Deep Scarlet ($395). The Black Edition is offered exclusively in Crystal Black or Platinum White, while the new Special Edition gets five colors, including Modern Steel and Steel Sapphire ($395).
The Honda Pilot will spend most of its life trudging around the suburbs picking up kids from school, going to the grocery store, and perhaps going on a few extended family holidays, so those who buy these cars expect a reliable workhorse. With that in mind, Honda has gone with the traditional and trusted combination of an automatic transmission and a large capacity naturally-aspirated engine which delivers predictable power. The engine under the hood is a 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V6, which sends all 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque to either the front or all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission. We are impressed with how perky this combination feels: the engine offers plenty of low-down torque but doesn't mind exploring the upper reaches of the rev range either. We did, however, note that the transmission could get bewildered from time to time.
The general rule of thumb when it comes to handling is that if it doesn't look sporty, and it's an SUV, it's most likely going to handle like a moose on ice. That is not entirely true with the Pilot, but there's no hiding the fact that it's a large car. Out on the open road, the Pilot feels stable, even above the speed limit, and in town, the suspension is well sprung for a comfortable driving experience. It's when you start flinging the Pilot through the corners that it starts to show its shortcomings. Flick the Pilot into a bend, and its weight and ride height become immediately apparent. It doesn't like being flung around, yet retains its composure as well as can reasonably be expected for a three-row family crossover. The 20-inch rims that come on higher trims detract from the otherwise pleasant ride quality and we would suggest avoiding them if possible. It should perform relatively well off-road, but we wouldn't put that theory to the test as it is not 4WD enabled.
Big V6, big curb weight, and a big body don't bode well for the 2021 Honda Pilot in terms of gas mileage, but we were pleasantly surprised by how little fuel this midsize SUV uses. The secret lies in the refined V6 engine that uses variable valve timing and other tech advancements to deliver good power and decent fuel economy all at once. According to the EPA, the 2021 Honda Pilot will use 20/27/23 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycle in FWD configuration, while the AWD cars will manage 19/26/22 mpg. The FWD Kia Telluride manages to offer a comparable figure of 20/26/23 mpg. With a 19.5-gallon fuel tank on board, the Pilot should offer a total mileage range of around 429 and 448 miles when filled up.
The Pilot is all about maximizing interior space; after all, its primary purpose in life will be to cart youngsters and teenagers to school and back. It also helps that Honda is a master at configuring interiors for maximum practicality with the Touring able to seat 7 passengers or 8 passengers. The majority of trim levels offer a three-across second-row bench and come in an 8-seater configuration, but higher up in the range, this setup is ditched in favor of two captain's chairs. As with most midsize SUVs, the front and second row is prioritized in terms of overall space, and the 3rd row is best left to kids and small adults. The headroom comes in at 40.1 inches in the front for the lower two trims and is 39.5 inches for the rest, 40.2 inches in the middle (or 39.9 for the upper trims), and 38.9 inches in the rear. Legroom is measured at 40.9 inches in the front, 38.4 inches for the second row, and 31.9 inches in the back.
Ask anyone who drives a Honda Pilot or Fit what one of their favorite features of these cars are, and they're most likely going to tell you that it's the practical trunk and overall cargo space. The 2021 Pilot continues this legacy of superior practicality by offering a cavernous cargo area and a bunch of small storage nooks for added convenience. The Pilot is amongst the most spacious in its class. Cargo capacity varies between 7-seater and 8-seater cars, as the Elite and Touring models have a second-row console that cannot be removed. The Pilot's party trick is its adjustable cargo floor that can be configured to offer maximum storage space or to create an underfloor storage compartment. Cargo volume behind the third row is 16.5 cubic feet but drops to 16 cubic feet on seven-seater models. Behind the second row, you get 46.8 cu ft, dropping to 46 for seven-seaters. With all the seats folded, you get a spacious 83.8 cu ft (83.9 for the base model), dropping to 82.1 for seven-seaters. There's a myriad of small-item storage spots scattered around the interior, with the main ones being the large center console storage bin in the front, and the glove compartment. There are two cupholders in the front.