For nearly two decades, the Honda Pilot has been one of the most popular midsize SUVs in America. Praised for its reliability, comfort, and safety, the Pilot grew larger and more luxurious when the third-generation model debuted in 2016. Over the last five years, the Pilot has continued to add amenities like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 4G LTE hotspot, and a hands-free tailgate to make the Pilot even more appealing to buyers in the popular segment.
The 2021 model year will see the Pilot undergo yet another change—with an all-new Special Edition model debuting for the first time situated between the Pilot’s EX-L and Touring trims.
More Standard Features and Capability
The Pilot Special Edition builds off the EX-L’s impressive list of standard features that includes power leather seats with driver’s memory settings, a one-touch power moonroof, integrated second-row sunshades, and a power tailgate for more convenient day-to-day use. Other notable features include a HomeLink remote system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and side mirrors with memory and LED turn indicators for greater visibility.
In EX-L configuration, the Pilot is already well equipped and a borderline luxury SUV. But the Special Edition pushes it over the edge with striking 20” black alloy wheels, roof rails, front and rear skid garnishes, a wireless phone charger, and a foot-activated power tailgate.
While roof rails are included standard on the Pilot Special Edition, crossbars will have to be purchased separately for $236 if you plan to carry items on the roof. A roof basket, fork and frame mount bike racks, kayak attachment and ski/snowboard attachment can all be purchased directly through Honda for all of your outdoor adventure needs.
Impressive Powertrain and Fuel-Economy Ratings
The 2021 Pilot Special Edition comes standard in FWD, but AWD can be added for only $2,000 extra. The standard powertrain is Honda’s 3.5L V6 engine that delivers an impressive 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission that’s now standard on all Pilot models. Compared to the six-speed automatic used from 2016 to 2020, the new transmission does a better job at keeping the engine in the sweet spot of the power band, which results in better overall efficiency.
This enables the Pilot to achieve impressive fuel economy ratings for an SUV in this segment. The Pilot is rated at 20-mpg city and 27-mpg highway for FWD variants and 19-mpg city and 26-mpg highway in AWD configuration.
Honda Pilot Standard Safety Equipment
The Pilot Special Edition also comes standard with Honda Sensing—a suite of technology and driver assistance features designed to keep you and your family safer on the road. Honda Sensing includes Road Departure Mitigation, Lane Keeping Assist System, Collision Mitigating Braking System, and Adaptive Cruise Control.
Honda Pilot Pricing and Colors
The 2021 Honda Pilot Special Edition starts at $40,080 after destination and delivery—a mere $600 more than the EX-L trim. Considering the sportier styling, increased functionality and additional technology included with the Special Edition package, it provides excellent value for very little additional cost.
The Honda Pilot Special Edition is offered in five striking exterior colors—Crystal Black Pearl, Lunar Silver Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic, Platinum White Pearl, and Steel Sapphire Metallic.