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2021 Honda Pilot Commits to 9-Speed Automatic Transmission, Adds Special Edition and Content to Base Model

honda pilot special edition 2021 OEM 01 jpg 2021 Honda Pilot Special Edition | Manufacturer image

Honda is updating its flagship Pilot SUV for the 2021 model year with some mild tweaks. The base trim level, called the LX, features additional creature comforts. There’s also a new mid-level Special Edition trim, and all models across the Pilot lineup will now come with the brand’s nine-speed automatic transmission. Previously, the Pilot only offered the nine-speed on Touring models and above, with other Pilots using a six-speed auto.

Related: 2020 Honda Pilot Review: Showing Its Age

Shop the 2020 Honda Pilot near you

2020 Honda Pilot AWD EX
43,644 mi.
2020 Honda Pilot EX-L
67,388 mi.

Base Model Now More Comfortable

New for 2021, LX models get dual-zone automatic climate control. Like before, all Pilot models come standard with the Honda Sensing suite of safety technologies that includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control. 

New Special Edition

A new SE trim level joins the Pilot lineup, slotting between the EX-L and Touring models. It builds on the EX-L’s standard features including leather upholstery, power front seats and more by adding wireless device charging, 20-inch black wheels and a black grille, roof rails and lower garnishes.

New Year, New Prices

Elite and Black Edition versions of the Pilot, the two highest trim levels, come equipped with standard all-wheel drive. All lower trim levels offer buyers a choice of standard front-wheel drive or AWD for an additional $2,000.

The front-drive 2021 Pilot LX will be priced from $33,370 (including $1,120 destination), an increase of $600 over the 2020 model.

The rest of the prices for 2021 Pilots are as follows:

  • FWD EX: $36,050 (up $400)
  • FWD EX-L: $39,480 (up $400)
  • FWD SE: $40,080
  • FWD eight-seat Touring: $44,040 (up $200)
  • FWD seven-seat Touring: $44,340 (up $200)
  • Elite: $49,540 (up $200)
  • Black Edition: $51,040 (up $200)

The 2021 Pilot is at dealerships now, according to Honda.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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Road Test Editor Brian Normile joined the automotive industry and in 2013, and he became part of the Editorial staff in 2014. Brian spent his childhood devouring every car magazine he got his hands on — not literally, eventually — and now reviews and tests vehicles to help consumers make informed choices. Someday, Brian hopes to learn what to do with his hands when he’s reviewing a car on camera. He would daily-drive an Alfa Romeo 4C if he could. Email Brian Normile

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