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New Honda Pilot Black Edition Is Gorgeous But We Wouldn’t Buy It

This week we drive the new-for-2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition trim. See why it's not the best Pilot trim option for 3-Row shoppers.

Three-row SUV shoppers will definitely want the 2020 Honda Pilot on their list. The Pilot has the interior space for growing families; it comes with all-weather capability, seating flexibility, and cargo-carrying ability. The popular Pilot is a must look for families needing an eight-passenger vehicle.

What’s new for 2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition?

There are no major changes for 2020 but the new top-line Black Edition trim level is a new model in the Pilot stable. The 2019 Honda Pilot received minor styling updates and a smoother-shifting nine-speed transmission the carryover for the 2020 model change. The Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety features is standard for all trims.

2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition

Features & Options

The top-trim, 2020 Honda Pilot AWD Black Edition ($49,620) comes equipped like the Elite trim and comes loaded with heated mirrors, remote start, keyless entry, tri-zone automatic climate control, heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row captain’s chairs, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and one-touch slide-and-fold second-row seats. Through an eight-inch touchscreen, HondaLink and CabinControl integrate features like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The Wi-Fi hotspot, satellite radio, and 10-speaker premium audio system are among the most useful infotainment features. The terrain management system, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors are among the most useful features while driving.  

Our Pilot came with a power liftgate, universal garage door opener, rear-seat window sunshades, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, and second-row USB charging ports. Other features include LED fog lights, 20-inch wheels, roof rails, automatic wipers, power-folding mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, and a wireless charging pad.

Black Edition comes with black exterior accents and red interior trim. Total MSRP including destination: $50,715. By comparison, the well-equipped 2020 Honda Pilot EX-L AWD starts at $40,995.

2020 Honda Pilot Interior Highlights

The first thing we noticed was the all-black interior that looks rich with all-leather trimmings. The front is roomy and comfortable, and when you get the memory functions set, you will always have the ideal driving position. The view from the front is commanding, even for shorter members of the family with its high seating position. The seats are well-bolstered, with a good definition on the top Black Edition trim. 

The push-button shift lever is a space-saver and gives more room for the deep cupholders. There’s also a shallow bin for a smartphone right next to a high-power USB port. A sliding lid covers the deep center console.

Second-row seating is a pair of comfortable captain’s chairs with a floor-mounted tray in-between with cupholders. A one-touch power button moves the second-row seats and slides them forward. The floor is low enough for kids to easily climb back to the third row, although it might be a tight climb for tall adults. Once you are back there, however, there’s an amazing amount of head and legroom due to the exterior design.

Behind the third row, there’s 18.5 cubic feet of cargo-carrying ability, plus a reversible cargo panel for muddy shoes after the soccer game. Behind the second row, there are 55.9 cubic feet, as much as many SUVs have behind the first row; and behind the first row, there are a massive 109 cubic feet to carry cargo.

Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs

The 2020 Honda Pilot is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a nine-speed transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters. All-wheel drive is standard on the Black Edition.

EPA fuel mileage ratings come in at 19/26 city/highway and 22 combined mpg. When compared to similar vehicles, the 2019 Honda Pilot Elite is near the top in terms of fuel economy. 

2020 honda pilot black editionDriving Dynamics of the 2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition

The 2020 Honda Pilot feels confident on the road and will keep families safe with all the standard safety technology. The V6 engine is powerful enough for even mountain driving at altitude. Press on the pedal and there’s plenty of juice for all driving situations, even loaded with people and cargo.

We took the 3-Row SUV up I-70, into the mountains on the way to Blackhawk, and it was remarkably agile on the dirt roads and around the tight curves. With the standard all-wheel drive, this SUV is a winner on mountain roads and slippery surfaces. It can even manage light towing and mild off-road trails for more adventurous families.

Honda improved the nine-speed automatic, and it now has less low-speed indecision and offers smoother shifts at low speed and low load. At full throttle going uphill, it shifts decisively, but you can also manually control shifts with the steering wheel paddle shifters.

Like most SUVs, the Pilot is no sports car, but it feels more nimble than most. In the city, Pilot will change lanes confidently as handling is above average for the segment. It’s also easy to see cars around you with its large side mirrors. 

2020 honda pilot black editionConclusion

The 2020 Honda Pilot offers a comfortable, luxury interior and roomy enough for growing families who need to move lots of stuff. Fuel economy is better than many rivals and the driving dynamics are superior, especially if you drive rougher roads. The all-new Black-Edition looks the part of a top-trim model.

We do like the Honda Pilot and recommend it be on your 3-Row SUV shopping list. We would choose the well-equipped 2020 Honda Pilot EX-L AWD starting at $40,995. It’s $10,000 less than the Black Edition and you get many of the same luxury amenities. The Black Edition is gorgeous but we would buy the EX-L AWD with leather seats, or you can choose the EX AWD trim ($37,525) with cloth seats.

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Denis Flierl has invested nearly 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our TN Honda page and be sure to follow Denis on FacebookTwitterInstagram. Check back tomorrow for more Honda news and updates.

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Denis Flierl has invested nearly 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our TN Honda page and be sure to follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Check back tomorrow for more Honda news and updates.


DeanMcManis (not verified)    November 17, 2019 - 12:53AM

Over a year ago the press was buzzing with the news of an upcoming 2019 Pilot plug-in hybrid, with spy pics showing the new PHEV model. Even now after Honda has announced their own 2020 hybrid CR-V, there has been no announcement for the Pilot PHEV. The Toyota Highlander hybrid and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV are out, and the 2020 Ford Explorer hybrid and importantly Toyota RAV4 PHEV have also been announced as well. Hopefully Honda is just being conservative, and that they have not gotten cold feet for the growing PHEV market. With their weak support for BEVs so far, they really need to step up their EV game.

BOB JERRIER (not verified)    December 6, 2019 - 8:42AM