The 2020 Honda Pilots were pretty capable when it came to their overall towing capacity, just like other late model years, and was able to achieve a respectable 5,000 lb. rating, if you had the proper equipment installed on the vehicle.
On the flip side, if certain circumstances were met, then you forfeited all the capacity that was listed in the charts, so you do have to know what those circumstances are in order to get the most out of your SUV. I go into all of that in this article and organized all of my research the best I could. I hope someone out there finds it helpful!
Always read through your owner's manual to get familiar with your vehicle and to make sure you adhere to Honda's recommendations when it comes to towing or anything else regarding your vehicle.
2020 Pilot Overview
Overall Towing Capacity: The towing capacity for the 2020 Honda Pilots ranged from 0-5,000 pounds based on a few different factors, but primarily the number of occupancy had in the vehicle, whether you had an ATF cooler installed and whether you had an all-wheel drive or two-wheel drive model.
That capacity was reduced to 3,500 lbs. for vehicles that did not have the ATF cooler.
Engine Options: There was only one engine available for the 2020 model, like most other model year Pilots and was primarily why the chart was so easy to read. The only engine that was available with a 3.5 L V6 engine and this was the engine that was offered for all model your Pilots.
Trim Levels: There or five different trim levels available as well, but the trim level you had equipped on a vehicle did not affect the maximum trailer weight ratings whatsoever. In other words, the specified weight ratings change based on other factors, not the trim level you had equipped on your vehicle.
Assumed Weight: Since Honda specified specific trailer weight rating metrics depending on the number of occupants in the vehicle, then there should be an assumed wait for each occupant in the vehicle. If you look towards the bottom of the chart I have posted, you will see that Honda specifies 150 lbs. per occupants with an additional 17.6 lbs. of luggage per occupant, giving us an overall total of 167.6 lbs. per occupant.
The 2020 Honda Pilot chart looks a lot like the 2021 and 2022 model years and in fact shares the same specs. If you look at the chart, you can see that Honda lists the number of occupants on the left hand side of the chart, along with three other columns that list all-wheel drive models that had an ATF cooler installed, all-wheel-drive models that did not have the cooler installed and two-wheel drive models.
The two-wheel drive models and the all-wheel-drive models that did not have the ATF cooler installed shared the same specs, having a maximum trailer weight rating of 3,500 lbs. In order to achieve anything over that 3,500 lb. capacity, you would have to have the ATF cooler installed, which would give you an additional 1,500 lbs. of capacity.
Tongue Weight Rating:
The maximum tongue weight ratings were also provided via a chart and if you look down below at the screenshot I posted, the maximum limits were listed in the chart seem to indicate a 10% maximum trailer weight, based on the maximum trailer weight rating capacity in the charts.
You can also find (above the chart portion) the recommended tongue weight ratings for boat trailers and all other types of trailers, which is how Honda lays out the information. For boat trailers, Honda recommends a 5-15% tongue weight rating on your vehicle and for all other types of trailers a 10-15% tongue weight rating is advisable.
With the additional weight being pulled behind your vehicle, you will have to have trailer brakes installed on your trailer that are separate from your vehicle's brakes in order to be compliant.
Honda requires that any trailers that weigh 1,000 lbs. or more have their own braking system installed, which may satisfy your local law enforcement agencies requirements but if it does not, you will have to accommodate them, if need be.
Five different trim levels were available for the 2020 Honda Pilots, which I was able to find in the brochure and these were listed as the: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and Black Editions.
The trim level you had equipped on your vehicle did not affect the trailer weight ratings, instead of other factors came into play that determine how much you can pull behind your vehicle.
GVWR, GCWR and GAWR Figures:
The gross vehicle weight rating, gross combined weight rating and both gross axle weight rating Figures were also listed in the owner's manual, again, via a chart which I have posted below. These are important metrics for not only your vehicle, but your trailer as well and can help when making certain calculations for your loads.
GVWR: The gross vehicle weight rating was listed for two-wheel drive models at 5,545 lbs. and for all-wheel drive models it was listed at 2,855 lbs. In the chart, it is not listed under gross vehicle weight rating but rather just gross vehicle, which I wanted to point out to avoid any confusion.
GCWR: The gross combined weight rating was listed at 8,025 lbs. for two-wheel drive models and 9,755 lbs. for all-wheel-drive models and again the label was shown as gross combined, which seems to be a shorter version, maybe because they needed to fit it in the chart.
GAWRs: Both of the gross axle weight ratings were also listed and for the front axle, the two wheel drive models had a maximum rating of 2,734 pounds, while the all-wheel-drive models had a 2,855 lb. rating. Moving on to the rear axle, we can see that a 2,965 lb. limit was listed for two-wheel drive models and the all-wheel-drive models had a 3,142 lb. limit.
Do I Have A Transmission Cooler?
I know that there are some people out there that are wondering if they have an ATF cooler installed on their vehicle , so they can achieve those higher ratings that were listed on the charts. To answer this question, we have to take a look at the owner's manual again and we can see that only all-wheel-drive models had the optional cooler accessory as an option, so that leaves out two-wheel drive models.
There really is no definitive way to know whether you have one of these installed on your vehicle, so my suggestion would be to take it into a dealership to see if they can verify if you have one of these installed. If you're more mechanically inclined, you can climb under the vehicle to see if your transmission has any lines going to the radiator or to an auxiliary cooler that is located somewhere around the radiator.
The Trailer Package Includes...
If you were interested in towing with this vehicle, it did have the option of having a factory installed trailer package that included the following items that were posted below. This is just the basic things that you need, in addition to that ATF cooler, which only applies to all-wheel drive models.
Other Notes I Found:
There we're a couple of other notes I found in the owner's manual that talks a little bit about weight distribution hitches and what type of fuel you should use if your trailer weighs over 3,500 lbs., along with how the performance of the vehicle can be affected by certain elements that you might encounter on the road during your journey.
I wanted to include links to the resources I used when gathering all of the information for this article, just in case you wanted to look up some of the information for yourself, you have a quick resource where you can find that quickly.
I used the owner's manual for most of the research and is where I found all of the images I have posted in this article, but I also went ahead and link to the brochure for the 2020 models because it was helpful in some aspects.