3rd Row Seating Is Where the 2021 Honda Pilot Shines

If you transport a big family, then you want lots of space and lots of safety. Today’s three-row SUVs are able to provide both, although some do it better than others. The 2021 Honda Pilot stands out for its roomy third-row seating, but it also has excellent safety as well.

The spacious third row in the 2021 Honda Pilot

The 2021 Honda Pilot has a “spacious interior,” describes U.S. News. It has 40.9 inches of legroom in the front seats, 38.4 inches in the second-row seats, and 31.9 inches in the third-row seats, says Honda. The Toyota Highlander has just 27.7 inches in the third row. The Mazda CX-9 has 29.7 inches of legroom in the third row.

The Pilot can seat up to eight people. With captain’s chairs in the third row, it seats seven. The seats are quite comfortable, and there are 15 cupholders available. It also has a good amount of cargo space. It has 18.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, 55.9 cubic feet behind the second row, and 109.2 cubic feet with both the second and third rows folded down.

The Pilot pairs all this space with a nice ride and a strong V6 engine with good fuel efficiency. It doesn’t have the most agile handling though.

Excellent safety in the 2021 Honda Pilot

Black Honda Pilot SUVs go through final inspection on the assembly line at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC in Lincoln, Alabama, U.S.
The Honda Pilot | Luke Sharrett for Bloomberg via Getty Images

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In addition to lots of space, the 2021 Honda Pilot has great safety ratings and features. The 2021 Pilot earned a stellar 9.1 out of 10 for its safety score from U.S. News. That goes along with its 8.4 out of 10 overall score.

It comes standard with a long list of advanced safety features. That includes a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, road departure mitigation, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams.

A few more safety features are available, including LED fog lights, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2021 Pilot five out of five stars for its overall safety rating. It also got four out of five stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests and five out of five stars in the side crash test.

The 2021 Pilot earned the highest rating of Good from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in five out of six of its crash tests. It earned an Acceptable, the second-highest rating, in the passenger-side small overlap front crash test.

One negative of note

Along with the positives comes a negative. U.S. News describes the standard infotainment system in the 2021 Honda Pilot as having a “bare-bones” interface. It has a 5-inch display, and it isn’t compatible with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. It does come with a seven-speaker stereo system, Bluetooth, and two USB ports.

Luckily, only the base trim of the seven available trims comes with the standard system. There is an upgrade option for the other trims that is easy to use and does provide Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. This system has an eight-inch touchscreen and also provides satellite radio, HD Radio, and HondaLink.

The upgrade comes with wireless device charging, a 10-speaker stereo system, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a rear entertainment system. It also includes knobs to adjust the audio as well as the climate.

In addition to its lackluster infotainment system, the Honda Pilot has a very low predicted reliability rating as well. It also has fewer standard features (aside from safety ones) and a less updated interior than other midsize SUVs.

The predicted reliability ratings may cause some concerns for buyers, but the 2021 Honda Pilot shines in other areas. This midsize SUV stands out for its spacious seating in all three rows and its safety features and ratings.