Trucks & SUVs

What Is the Best Honda Pilot Trim Level to Buy?

If you’re in the market for a three-row SUV, then the Honda Pilot is an outstanding choice. In addition to great safety and reliability ratings, Honda’s largest SUV provides ample seating for up to eight passengers along with enough equipment to keep them entertained and enough room for all their stuff. And while Honda has gone to great lengths to value package the Pilot and make it easy for you to choose the right one, you might still be wondering which trim level is the best one to buy.

Honda Pilot trim levels

A photo of the Honda Pilot SUV outdoors.
Honda Pilot | Honda

For the 2021 model year, there are seven different Honda Pilot trim levels to choose from. Fortunately, even if you choose the base model, you’ll be in good hands as the Pilot comes well-equipped with all of the features that you and your family will need to get from point A to B with relative ease. However, if you want more luxurious and convenient amenities, you’ll need to step up in the trim levels.

2020 Honda Pilot Elite center console
2020 Honda Pilot Elite center console | Honda

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The 2021 Honda Pilot trim levels are as follows:

  • LX trim: The Pilot LX is the base model, which has a starting price of $32,250 (excluding destination). This trim level is great for budget-minded buyers but it still comes equipped with the necessities including a multi-angle rearview camera, push-button start, full LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, and the Honda Sensing suite of driver-assist features.
  • EX trim: If you don’t mind spending a couple thousand more, then you’ll get a little more with the EX trim level. This model comes with additional amenities including Apple Carplay and Android Auto, one-touch second-row seats, a 10-way power driver’s seat, blind-spot indicators, a smart key entry with remote engine start, tri-zone auto climate control, and a larger 8-inch infotainment display.
  • EX-L trim: If you want a leather-upholstered interior, then you’ll have to spring for the EX-L trim level as the “L” stands for leather. Aside from the fancier material, you’ll also get a one-touch power moonroof, second-row sunshades, two-seat memory settings, and a power tailgate.
  • Special Edition: If you want a little of everything, then the SE trim has your back. Going with the Special Edition model adds on a wireless phone charging dock, roof rails, 20-inch black alloy wheels, and a hands-free power tailgate.
  • Touring trim: If you like your Pilot to be more plush and fun for the family, then the Touring trim level will have what you need. It comes with a rear-seat entertainment system, available heated second-row captain’s chairs, navigation, and a premium 590-watt sound system.
  • Elite trim: But if you need the top-trim amenities, then the Elite is what you need the most as it’s equipped with a panoramic roof, heated second-row captain’s chairs, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, multi-zone audio, and an all-wheel-drive system with Intelligent Variable Torque Management.
  • Black Edition: The Black Edition is a special trim that includes a black leather interior, black exterior trim, 20-inch black alloy wheels, and red ambient lighting.

While the Honda Pilot starts in the low $30,000 range, it can easily top out at around $48,000 to $49,000 for the Elite and Black Edition trim levels, respectively.

2021 Honda Pilot Elite
2021 Honda Pilot Elite | Honda

RELATED: How Reliable Is the Honda Pilot?

Which Pilot trim level is the best one to buy?

Choosing the right Pilot trim level for you and your family is relatively simple as you only need to pick whichever trim level that has the features you need and want. However, the only issue with the Honda Pilot’s value package model is that if you just want a panoramic moonroof, for example, then you’re forced to automatically choose the top-level Elite trim.

Unlike many luxury brands, you can’t choose option a la carte in order to equip your Pilot the exact way that you want it, so you might end up buying a higher trim level than you expected.

If it were up to us, we would opt for the Special Edition trim as it’s priced well for what you get at $38,960 and comes with necessary features like the larger infotainment screen and a power tailgate. We think the black wheels are a nice touch as well. Ultimately, it’s up to what you and your family need out of a Pilot, but luckily, you can’t wrong with a Honda.