Honda’s staple three-row Pilot aims to keep things interesting for the 2021 model year with a new Special Edition (SE) trim, a nine-speed automatic across the board and additional standard and available content, the automaker confirmed Wednesday. All of this helps to justify a modest $600 price increase.
Slotting between the EX-L and Touring trims, the new SE sets itself apart with special visual upgrades like 20-inch black wheels, roof rails, a redesigned grille and front and rear skid garnishes. Based on the midlevel EX-L trim, the SE also includes features like leather seats, a foot-activated hands-free power tailgate and wireless phone charger.
All 2021 Pilots are powered by Honda’s trusty 3.5-liter V6 matched to a ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters — replacing the six-speed unit found in previous higher-volume trims like the LX and EX. Other convenience features like dual-zone automatic climate control and stop/start are now standard equipment. Top-dog, blacked-out Pilot Black Editions also add a new, not-so-black, Platinum White Pearl color option.
The 2021 Honda Pilot is on sale now and comes with the standard Honda Sensing suite of driver-assistance and safety tech, including automatic emergency braking and a lane-keep assist system. An entry-level, two-wheel drive LX will set you back $33,370, while the new Pilot SE starts at $40,080 — both figures including a $1,120 destination fee.