The 2021 Honda Pilot Is Consumer Reports’ Top Midsize Three-Row SUV

Three-row SUVs are family-friendly. They have loads of passenger and cargo space. As an added bonus, their size makes them safer in a crash with a smaller vehicle. You don’t have to sacrifice style for safety and comfort, either. Consumer Reports ranked all of the three-row SUVs out there. The 2021 Honda Pilot is the best midsize three-row SUV.

A blue 2021 Honda Pilot parked at a lake.
2021 Honda Pilot | Honda

What criteria does Consumer Reports use to rate cars?

Consumer Reports focused on three-row SUVs with a good, usable third row. Many three-row SUV shoppers really want a usable third row. 

All of the top midsize SUV choices have a Consumer Reports recommended badge. This means that they scored well in the road test, and also have a really good reliability rating. Consumer Reports prioritizes safety features, so the best three-row SUV has to have the most important safety features. The best three-row SUV must also have good crash test ratings.

Road test ratings and safety equipment make the Honda Pilot the best midsize three-row SUV

The 2021 Honda Pilot gets a four out of five for its acceleration. It can go 0 to 60 in 7.5 seconds. Its transmission is excellent, at a five out of five. The transmission is measured in part by its shifting smoothness and response.

Both the routine and emergency handling in the 2021 Honda Pilot are just okay, at a three out of five. Routine handling is measured by how agile Consumer Reports finds the SUV to be, and emergency handling is rated by several factors, including its max avoidance speed. 

Braking is also just okay, at a three out of five. The 2021 Honda Pilot can stop from 60 mph on dry pavement in 136 feet and on wet pavement in 153 feet. 

The 2021 Honda Pilot comes with a whole bunch of advanced safety systems. The Pilot comes with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking at city and highway speeds, and pedestrian detection. 

The 2021 Pilot also comes with lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, a rearview camera, anti-lock breaks, and traction and stability control. It also comes with daytime running lights, but you’ll have to pay extra for blind spot warning and rear cross traffic warning.

The IIHS gave the Pilot mostly good ratings, except for the front small overlap, passenger side. This is just acceptable. 

The NHTSA also rated the 2021 Honda Pilot, and it gave it mostly five stars. However, the overall frontal-crash, overall frontal-crash: passenger, and 2WD rollover ratings are only four stars. The 4 WD fared even worse, at three stars. 

The reliability and owner satisfaction contribute to the 2021 Honda Pilot being one of the best  midsize three-row SUVs

Every year, Consumer Reports sends reliability and owner satisfaction surveys to people who have bought previous versions of the Honda Pilot. Then they combine this data with what they know about the current model. This helps them predict how reliable a vehicle the newest Pilot will be. 

The reliability score for the 2021 Honda Pilot is a three out of five. Consumer Reports notes that there are currently three recalls on the 2021 Honda Pilot.

The overall owner satisfaction score for the 2021 Honda Pilot is a three out of five. Consumer Reports collects data from owners to determine how happy they are with the vehicle. Pilot owners are pretty happy with the driving experience, giving it a 64 out of 100. Comfort gets a 74 out of 100, and styling gets a 69. However, the value is only a 48 out of 100. 

Overall, Consumer Reports thinks the 2021 Honda Pilot is the best midsize three-row SUV out there. It’s important to remember that when ranked against other midsize SUVs with better safety ratings and reliability scores, the Honda Pilot has a spacious third-row. If you’re looking for a midsize three-row SUV, check it out. 

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