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Honda Pilot: Which Should You Buy, 2021 or 2022?

Most significant changes: The bottom two trim levels are being dropped in favor of a single new base model that won’t be available until fall 2021. Otherwise, little has changed on the model-year 2022 Pilot.

Pricing: The 2022 model starts at $40,285 (with destination) for the upper trim levels, all of which are priced $400 higher than 2021. The new entry trim level due this fall will offer a lower price.

Which should you buy, 2021 or 2022? Look for a deal on a close-out 2021 model if you are interested in the EX-L or higher trim levels. If you are looking to spend less, it’s worth waiting a few weeks to see the features and pricing for the new model-year 2022 entry model.

The news for the 2022 Honda Pilot three-row SUV is that the automaker is dropping the two least expensive trim levels (LX and EX) in favor of a single new base version that it says will be “aimed at younger buyers and active lifestyles.” The reconfigured base model won’t be available until this fall, and Honda has not offered details or pricing.

It did, however, say that all 2022s will have an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, so it seems we’ve seen the last of the dinky non-touchscreen display and lack of smartphone integration that seemed stingy in the 2021 LX base model, given that such capability is common in many economy-minded cars. These updates alone should make budget-oriented Pilot shoppers want to wait and see the new 2022 base model.

On sale now are 2022 versions of the EX-L and higher trim levels. They carry over with little change from 2021, other than an across-the-board $400 price increase. The price to add all-wheel drive is unchanged at $2,000 and captain’s chairs for the Touring trim level remain $300. For now, the least-expensive 2022 Pilot is the EX-L with front-wheel drive starting at $40,285 (including $1,225 destination). That escalates through Special Edition, Touring and Elite trim levels to the top-of-the-line Black Edition with standard AWD starting at $51,845.

The current generation of Honda’s flagship SUV dates to the 2016 model year. It was significantly freshened for model-year 2019, and upgrades for 2021 included a new Special Edition middle trim level, the addition of the nine-speed automatic transmission and automatic climate control across all trim levels.

A 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 remains the only engine. All Pilot models also continue to have the standard Honda Sensing suite of driver-assist features that includes forward collision warning with brake assist, lane departure prevention, lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control.

The Pilot continues to be strong on space and value, but is showing its age; a full redesign is expected for the 2023 model year. The SUV’s interior design and materials, as well as its multimedia technology, lag many newer rivals in the competitive category of three-row family haulers. The Pilot finished last in Cars.com’s 2020 comparison testing of three-row SUVs.

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