The 2021 Honda Pilot ‘Isn’t Exactly a Joy to Drive’

The Honda Pilot is a staple among three-row SUVs. However, Honda‘s largest SUV is only No. 10 of 26 mid-sized SUVs. While it’s still in the upper half of the bunch, the 2021 Honda Pilot ranked considerably lower on Consumer Reports‘ list than one might think.

The Pilot is quick, comfortable, and refined, but it’s not exactly a joy to drive.

Consumer Reports

Is the Honda Pilot a good SUV?

The 2021 Honda Pilot is a good three-row SUV. It’s not at the top of the list, as it’s been a few years since any significant redesign. While the 2021 model year did gain the standard 9-speed automatic transmission and a new mid-level SE trim, it’s otherwise virtually unchanged. Most critics agree that newer class contenders like the Kia Telluride and the Hyundai Palisade easily outrank the Honda Pilot.

A silver 2021 Kia Telluride in the desert
2021 Kia Telluride | Kia

That said, the 2021 Honda Pilot is a three-row SUV with plenty to offer. Consumer Reports remarks on its “versatile interior.” The Pilot also features a cool push-button folding seat that allows impressively easy access to the third row. As we can typically expect from a Honda machine, the engine is strong and smooth enough for the challenges presented by daily driving.

A black 2021 Hyundai Palisade parked on display
The 2021 Hyundai Palisade on display | Photo via Hyundai

Overall, the 2021 Honda Pilot is a comfortable SUV with a pretty quiet cabin. With seating for up to eight, this is a three-row SUV designed with families in mind. Especially when you throw in standard features like forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.

Kelley Blue Book also rates it low but speaks well of the Pilot

Kelley Blue Book ranked the 2021 Honda Pilot No. 8 in its class. But the publication still doesn’t project much negativity in the direction of the Pilot. Kelley Blue Book also appreciates the safety features included in the standard equipment. Plus, it’s commended for having “a roomy and versatile cabin.”

A 2021 Honda Pilot on display
The 2021 Honda Pilot on display | Photo via Honda

Another positive for the 2021 Honda Pilot is its strong resale value. Like Consumer Reports, Kelley Blue Book also likes the Pilot’s V6 power that’s standard on all trims. It’s a generally liked and well-respected SUV. There are merely others in the class like the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade that outshine the Pilot.

There are some reasons not to love this three-row SUV

Both Consumer Reports and Kelley Blue Book agree that the 2021 Honda Pilot lacks agility. When it comes to driving the Pilot, this just isn’t a three-row SUV that is super fun to drive. It’s not bad, but nothing to get very excited about.

2021 Honda Pilot Black Edition

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Kelley Blue Book also notes that the 2021 Honda Pilot only tows 5,000 pounds. While this is about the same as several of its competitors like the Kia Telluride and the Hyundai Palisade, it pales in comparison to others like the Dodge Durango. Still, in spite of the reasons not to love the Pilot, this is a versatile and well rounded three-row SUV.

It may not exactly win praise like “fun to drive.” But the 2021 Honda Pilot is respectable. Both simplicity and utility keep the Pilot relevant in its class.