The 2021 Honda Pilot Received a Harsh Backhanded Compliment From Consumer Reports

When automotive reviewers compliment a vehicle, that’s usually a sign they’re impressed. But sometimes, a review can leave you scratching your head, wondering if you detect a little sarcasm. That happened in a recent Consumer Reports review of the 2021 Honda Pilot.

CR experts took the SUV for a road test and evaluation. And as with many vehicles the CR team samples, this three-row crossover has notable pros and cons. But one paragraph in the review stands out like a sore thumb. It’s one part compliment and one part backhanded slap. 

The 2021 Honda Pilot review with a side of sarcasm

The opening line of a Consumer Reports review of the 2021 Honda Pilot might seem like a compliment: “The Pilot is an extremely functional and pleasant vehicle.” But it’s followed with the backhanded “as long as you don’t expect excitement.”

CR’s experts go on to suggest the Honda Pilot is like a mundane minivan. They suggest there’s not much about this SUV that screams SUV. It seems the Pilot has shed any vestiges of excitement for the staid trustiness of a reliable “Mom-mobile.”

Other so-so aspects of the Honda Pilot

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The Consumer Reports team pointed out a few of the 2021 Honda Pilot’s other flaws. For example, the handling in the drive felt disconnected, a stark contrast to Honda models of years past.

They used terms such as “cumbersome” and “vague steering” to describe how this SUV handles corners. They were also unimpressed with the Pilot’s wet pavement braking and lagging infotainment system.

On the other hand, it’s a gem of an SUV

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Despite the sarcasm and a few points of disappointment, the remainder of the Consumer Reports review of the 2021 Honda Pilot seems favorable. The handling may be off, but the ride is overwhelmingly comfortable. The cabin is super-quiet, too, with an abundance of sound-dampening materials.

The 3.5-liter V6 engine earned praise for its smooth acceleration and the all-wheel-drive 20 mpg. Visibility is great, and this SUV delivers every functional family-ride need. Consumer Reports says the Pilot “does a commendable minivan impression,” citing its flexibility and versatility for seating eight, along with a “feature-filled interior.”

So, is this a positive or negative review?

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The opening lines might feel like a backhanded compliment. But Consumer Reports’ overview of the 2021 Honda Pilot isn’t all that bad. The team suggests the best trim level is the EX-L, offering the best value. It’s also the model that’ll allow you to add extras such as navigation, rear seating entertainment, and one-touch folding second-row seats. In the end, the Honda Pilot is a reliable, quality SUV despite the few jabs at its minivan likenesses.

Consumer Reports ultimately gave the 2021 Honda Pilot 72 out of a possible 100 points. Of the 26 midsize SUVs in CR’s evaluation, the Pilot landed tenth. The backhanded compliment might seem harsh, but it’s all in jest. And at the end of the day, this comparison offers exactly what you need to know before buying a midsize crossover. The Honda Pilot is still a winning choice for many families.