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A light gray 2024 Honda Pilot Trailsport is shown near a building.

2024 Honda Pilot Trim Guide: Which Pilot Works Best For Your Family?

Drivers with families gravitate to the Honda brand for many reasons, including the automaker’s reputation for building safe, reliable vehicles that last for decades, but today’s buyers want more than just practicality—they want advanced technology, performance, and impressive styling that sets them apart from their neighbors. Throw in some extra elbow room in the back and a third row of seats with room left over for backpacks and hockey sticks, and the number of choices shrinks dramatically.

The 2024 Honda Pilot carves out a niche as an ideal family SUV, earning an 8.5/10 rating from Car and Driver for its impressive ride handling and upgraded in-vehicle technology. Seating for up to seven passengers makes the Pilot an efficient people-mover, and a diverse six-trim lineup lets buyers hone in on a version that works for both their wallet and lifestyle. Honda offers the popular Pilot in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive and equips it with up to 5,000 lbs. of towing capability, a bonus for families with a boat or RV.

Fresh off a redesign in 2023, the newest Pilot embraces advanced technology in several key areas: safety, infotainment, and connectivity. Though the base trim Pilot doesn’t offer many of the available high-tech features, it does come with a very affordable price tag, which many budget buyers will appreciate. A standard V6 and traditional boxy SUV styling contribute to the Pilot’s universal appeal, but it’s the details that matter in this family-friendly SUV. Which trim works best for your family?

Best Trims for Penny Pinchers

Honda structures its trim lineups to capture the most possible buyers, which creates an exciting opportunity for budget-conscious drivers who want to keep their monthly payments as low as possible. Opting for the base Honda Pilot LX keeps the starting MSRP under $40k without stripping the SUV bare. Standard features include a 280 hp V6 engine, 18-inch wheels, and a suite of driver-assist technologies. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are also included.

For buyers looking to optimize handling, Honda’s capable i-VTM4 all-wheel drive system is available for an extra cost. The LX also includes a drive mode system with four modes: Normal, ECON, Snow, and Tow. A ten-speed automatic transmission and a set of practical all-season tires contribute to the Pilot’s smooth ride. Additional standard features on the Pilot LX include a seven-speaker audio system and tri-zone automatic climate control, which will come in handy when you’re hauling the kids, and everyone wants the cabin set to a different temperature. Also handy are the standard one-touch second-row seats, which facilitate easy access to the third row.

Because the Pilot LX leans into affordability, the cabin offers nice but not over-the-top amenities. Moving up to the Pilot Sport adds a few extra creature comforts and keeps the price under $40,000. This trim adds standard heated front seats and a power driver’s seat. Also included are LED fog lights, roof rails, and larger 20-inch wheels. Both the Pilot LX and Pilot Sport offer standard Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, a system that automates speed adjustments so you won’t have to manually pump the brake and then reset the cruise control every time traffic slows down or speeds up.

A dark gray 2024 Honda Pilot is shown towing a trailer uphill.

Best trims for adventurers

Honda understands that a subset of today’s families value adventure and prefer to spend their weekends camping, hiking, and staying active. For them, the 2024 Honda Pilot TrailSport offers a few extra capabilities not found on the other Pilot trims. Strategically placed skid plates protect critical components from rocks and mud when you traverse backcountry trails and uneven road surfaces. Your journey into the woods is also aided by a set of all-terrain tires and Hill Descent Control, which uses low-range torque to keep the vehicle’s speed manageable.

Practical “leather-like” synthetic seating surfaces up the durability factor and contribute to easier post-adventure clean-up. With standard all-wheel drive and seven drive modes (Sport, Trail, and Sand are the three additional drive modes found on the TrailSport), drivers can count on Honda’s throttle, braking, and torque settings to be calibrated for each specific road condition. Choosing the TrailSport also gets you a trim-exclusive off-road-tuned suspension and a set of tow hooks in case the mud gets too deep to escape from on your own.

The Pilot TrailSport’s larger nine-inch infotainment touchscreen is ideal for optimizing the TrailWatch camera system, which provides a crystal-clear live feed of the terrain surrounding the vehicle, making it easier to navigate ruts and boulders in your path. Thanks to an extra inch of ground clearance, Pilot TrailSport owners can relax when the path gets rocky. Best of all, this off-road-ready trim comes with a standard trailer hitch and up to 5,000 lbs. of towing capability, so you can capably haul your RV to your favorite campsite in any weather.

Best trims for luxury seekers

If your budget permits a trip to the upper end of the 2024 Honda Pilot’s trim range and you love a little luxury, you’re in luck. The Pilot Touring and the top-of-the-line Pilot Elite incorporate so much luxury and high-end technology that you’ll wonder if you accidentally drove home in an Acura or a much more expensive German import. Both trims offer seating for eight, glossy black roof rails, and LED headlights, taillights, and fog lamps.

The ultimate expression of luxury is found on the Pilot Elite, which comes with a heated and ventilated front seat and heated second-row captain’s chairs that the kids will love after a day of snowboarding or tubing. Buttery soft, perforated leather seats transform the cabin into an oasis, as does the 12-speaker Bose premium audio system. If a scuffle erupts in the way-back, parents can use the CabinTalk PA system—which taps into the speakers—to issue cease-and-desist orders without raising their voices.

Rounding out the premium benefits awaiting Pilot Touring and Pilot Elite buyers is a larger nine-inch infotainment touchscreen with wireless smartphone connectivity and connected navigation that displays directions with real-time traffic updates. Everyone gets their own device charger, too, thanks to Honda’s engineers including two USB ports in the second row and two more in the third row, as well as two 12-volt power outlets: one in the front console and one in the cargo area.

The black and gray dash of a 2024 Honda Pilot is shown.

The Well-Balanced 2024 Honda Pilot

Regardless of which Honda Pilot trim you choose, your family will still find plenty of helpful features. All trims benefit from Honda’s legendary reliability and durability. With both rows of seats folded flat, the cargo area expands to accommodate 87 cu.ft. of gear. The Pilot’s fuel-sipping manners keep ownership costs low, with a combined 22 MPG of fuel economy for the two-wheel drive version and 21 MPG if you opt for all-wheel drive. All-wheel drive isn’t reserved only for more expensive trims, either, which is a benefit for budget buyers who need extra capability.

While it’s no secret that Honda is famous for building family-friendly SUVs with practical features and affordable starting price tags, no vehicle embodies this value proposition more than the 2024 Honda Pilot. V6 power is standard across the trim range, eliminating the need to spend more for optimal performance and output. For those seeking a high-end midsize SUV that’s not excessively expensive, the Pilot Touring and Pilot Elite offer fully loaded versions that rival fancier imports. These days, sure things are hard to come by, so if your plans include buying a midsize family SUV, you can bet on the 2024 Honda Pilot giving you the most bang for your buck.