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Honda Pilot Towing Capacity [2015-2021]

We are a double Honda Pilot family. One in silver metallic (his), another in blue pearl (hers) we love how the roomy, smooth-driving Pilot perfectly fits the needs of our growing family. It hits that sweet spot between the road-hogging GMC Yukon and the more compact Honda CR-V crossover. 

Something we didn’t quite appreciate at first is the powerful Honda Pilot Towing capacity. As avid outdoorspeople, our vehicles must be able to tow our essentials for a weekend escape. 

So, just how much can a Honda Pilot tow? The official 2021 Honda Pilot towing capacity is 3,500 pounds for the standard Front Wheel Drive (FWD) trim and a whopping 5,000 pounds in the All Wheel Drive (AWD) package.[1]Official Honda Specs  If you are looking for the towing capacity chart, you can jump to it right here. 

Below we will answer the following questions to help you decide if the Honda Pilot Tow capacity is enough for your needs:  

  • What is the official Honda Pilot towing capacity for model years 2015-2021?
  • Do all Honda Pilot models have the same tow capacity?
  • What is the tow capacity of Honda Pilot competitors? 
  • What can you tow with a 3,500/5,000lbs tow capacity? 
  • What Honda Pilot towing safety features are available?

So, are you thinking about towing with a Honda Pilot? Before you do, let’s jump in and learn more! 

Honda Pilot Towing Capacity [2015-2021]

We won’t get into the nitty-gritty of towing terminology, but the term “tow capacity” basically means the maximum weight a car can tow safely and legally.  You should always reference and observe the official manufacturer’s towing capacity – it can be dangerous and unlawful to exceed the limit.

It’s important to know that there is a difference in towing capacity between the Honda Pilot’s standard Front Wheel Drive drive package and the All Wheel Drive packages. 

All Honda Pilots come standard with front-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive is where the engine’s power is routed to the front wheels. Front-wheel drive designs are cheaper to manufacture and tend to be more space-efficient than AWD systems. [2]Consumer Reports. While FWD will not handle as well on slippery, muddy or snowy surfaces, they do get better traction while climbing hills because the engine’s weight is poised over the front wheels.  

Honda Pilot
The Honda Pilot. Wikimedia licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Honda Pilots with the upgraded All Wheel Drive system deliver power to both the front and the rear wheels at the same time. AWD provides increased power, control and traction during acceleration and while driving on less-than-perfect surfaces. [3]See Consumer Reports above All Wheel Drive especially comes in handy in wet, sloppy road conditions and can keep you moving through ice, snow and muddy surfaces.  

In short, the AWD Honda Pilot towing capacity is greater than the FWD models. AWD comes standard on upgraded trim packages or can be upgraded for an additional cost on all other packages. 

Honda Pilot Towing Capacity Table

Below is the table where you can find the Honda Pilot tow capacity for each year from 2015-2021. Please note the two separate towing capacities for Front Wheel Drive (FWD) and All Wheel Drive (AWD) models. You should always check with the manufacturer and/or dealership to find out the Honda Pilot tow capacity for your particular make and model

Table 1: Honda Pilot Towing Capacity [2015-2021]

Honda Pilot Model Year Honda Pilot Tow Capacity (lbs)
2015 2,000 (FWD) / 4,500 (AWD) [4]Honda
2016 3,500 (FWD) / 5,000 (AWD) [5]Honda 
2017 3,500 (FWD) / 5,000 (AWD) [6]Honda
2018 3,500 (FWD) / 5,000 (AWD) [7]Honda 
2019 3,500 (FWD) / 5,000 (AWD) [8]Honda 
2020 3,500 (FWD) / 5,000 (AWD) [9]Honda  
2021 3,500 (FWD) / 5,000 (AWD) [10]Honda 


What Equipment Does the Honda Pilot Require for Towing? 

The Honda Pilot requires the addition of the Honda accessory towing kit, trailer harness and hitch ball in order to be able to tow. The Honda accessory towing kit comes with the following items [11]Honda

  • Trailer Hitch Receiver — Includes Ball Mount Receiver, retaining pin and clip
  • Trailer Hitch Harness — 7-Pin round-style connector
  • Trailer Hitch Locking Pin — For added security
  • Trailer Hitch Ball — Available in 1 7/8 inches or 2 inches

If you plan on towing with your Honda Pilot, you can choose to have the towing kit installed at the time or purchased or at a later date. 

Honda Pilot Towing Capacity vs. Competitors

Now that you know how much the Honda Pilot can tow, let’s take a look at some of its competitors in the crossover/SUV space. We’ll take a look at the following makes/models of vehicles to see how the competition shakes out:  

  • Toyota Highlander towing capacity
  • Chevrolet Traverse towing capacity
  • Jeep Gladiator towing capacity
  • Jeep Cherokee towing capacity
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee towing capacity
  • Jeep Compass towing capacity
  • Kia Sorento towing capacity
  • GMC Acadia towing capacity
  • Acura MDX towing capacity
  • Toyota Sienna towing capacity

Honda Pilot Towing Capacity vs. Competitors

Make/Model (2021) Max Towing Capacity (lbs)
Acura MDX  5,000 [12]Escondido 
Chevrolet Traverse   5,000 [13]Leman 
GMC Acadia 4,000 [14]Auto
Jeep Gladiator   7,650 [15]Jeep 
Jeep Cherokee   4,500 [16]Driver 
Jeep Grand Cherokee   7,200 [17]Car & Driver
Jeep Compass  2,000 [18]Car Indigo 
Jeep Wrangler  3,500 [19]Garavel Jeep
Kia Sorento  3,500 [20]Kiefer Kia  
Toyota Highlander   5,000 [21] 
Toyota Sienna  3,500 [22]Toyota SLO 
The above specs are for the maximum towing capacity on the highest rated towing capacity models. Always check with the manufacturer or your dealership to get the specs of your specific vehicle. 

As you can see from the chart above, the Honda Pilot towing capacity performs admirably against its competitors. The 5,000lb. max in the Honda Pilot AWD is comparable to the Toyota Highlander, Chevy Traverse and Acura MDX. 

What Can The Honda Pilot Tow at 3,500 & 5,000 Pounds?

Now that you know the Honda Pilot towing capacity, the next question is “so what does this all mean for me?” 

This is not the place to give you a technical breakdown of towing terms or tell you exactly what you can and cannot tow. Towing any cargo is serious business and you must always check with the manufacturer or your dealership to confirm your vehicle’s towing capabilities.  

What we will do here is give you a rough idea of what you can you expect the Honda Pilot will tow in both the FWD and AWD package: 

Honda Pilot FWD (3,500lbs Towing Capacity)

The good news is that even the standard front wheel drive package has some serious towing capabilities. At 3,500lbs towing capacity you can expect to tow: 

  • Small family trailers (no kitchen/bathroom)
  • Small toy haulers with one “toy” 
  • Small pop-up tent trailers
  • Light, aluminum boats (canoe, kayaks, row boats) 
  • Compact Utility Trailers
  • Small Outboard Boats
  • ATVs

In this category you will be looking at towing smaller trailers or shelters – oftentimes with soft sides and no kitchen or bathroom plumbing. The standard FWD Honda Pilot tow capacity will also allow you to tow a (small) toy hauler with a “toy” or two. 

Obviously, the devil is in the details when it comes to towing and it all depends on the size and weight of your trailer, the cargo (equipment, food, gas, # of people, etc.) and the rating of your towing kit. 

Honda Pilot AWD (5,000lbs Towing Capacity)

At 5,000lbs towing capacity, the Honda Pilot AWD package will upgrade your towing capabilities. Here is what you can expect to tow: 

  • Small travel trailers (14-19 foot range) with kitchen
  • Pop-up trailers that can fit 4-6 people 
  • Toy haulers with 2-3 “toys” (motorcycle, jetski, canoe, etc.)
  • Small boats

While you won’t be able to tow a Fifth Wheel or other larger RV, the 5,000lb Honda Pilot towing capacity for the AWD model will allow you to tow a larger travel trailer and equipment for a family outing. 

Honda Pilot Towing and Safety Features

Along with its best-in-class towing capacity, the Honda Pilot offers innovative safety features that gives drivers peace of mind when towing. These are some of the Honda Pilot towing and safety features you can expect in newer models [23]Honda of Lincoln:

  • Sensing Suite: A suite of driver-assist features, which includes collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assist.
  • Multi-Angle Rearview Camera with Guidelines: A wide-angle rearview camera with guidelines makes towing safer than ever before.
  • Intelligent Variable Torque Management AWD System: Improves the Honda Pilot’s towing capacity and ability to handle loose, wet and slippery terrain. 
  • HondaLink: Allows drivers to remotely monitor the vehicle maintenance and start car from the phone. 
  • Hill Start Assist: Honda Pilot sensors detect when you’re on a hill and will apply brake pressure as you move your foot from the brakes to the gas. Very useful for towing on steep downhill inclines. 

In crash tests conducted by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2021 FWD Honda Pilot earned very high marks [24]Honda of Toms River:

Table 3: 2021 Honda Pilot NHTSA Safety Rating 

Frontal Crash 4 Stars
Side Crash 5 Stars
Rollover 4 Stars
Overall Rating 5 Stars


If you are in the market for a sleek, comfortable and powerful family SUV the Honda Pilot should be near the top of your list. It’s All Wheel Drive capabilities, variety of high-end safety features and robust towing capacity make this an amazing car for families who love the Great Outdoors.  

We hope you enjoyed this article about the Honda Pilot. We are so happy to share our knowledge with you about this powerful and reliable family vehicle. If you have any questions, please give us a shout! We love to hear from our loyal readers. 

Until next time, stay safe, stay strong and …

    Easy Travels,

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