The Pilot was introduced into Honda’s lineup as a mid-size crossover SUV in 2002 and remains popular ever since. Honda vehicles are known for their reliability and for having the features consumers expect from today’s SUVs, including towing. But what is the towing capacity of a Honda Pilot?
The Honda Pilot has a towing capacity of 2,000 to 5,000 pounds depending on the configuration, with most recent model years having a 3,000 to 5,000 lb max tow capacity.
There’s a bit more to know about Honda Pilot towing capabilities which we’ll cover in today’s guide.
Honda Pilot Towing Capacity By Year
As we covered earlier, the current Honda Pilot can tow a maximum of 5,000 lbs when properly equipped.
The Pilot has been in production from 2002 through the present. We’ve listed out the maximum tow capacity by year below for reference.
Note that for each model year, there are many variables that affect the total towing capability of each vehicle year, so we recommend checking your specific Pilot model year and trim level in the links below for an in-depth guide and to get the most accurate information for that year.
Here’s the maximum Honda Pilot towing capacity by year:
2023 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 5,000 pounds
2022 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 5,000 pounds
2021 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 5,000 pounds
2020 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 5,000 pounds
2019 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 5,000 pounds
2018 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 5,000 pounds
2017 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 5,000 pounds
2016 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 5,000 pounds
2015 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 4,500 pounds
2014 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 4,500 pounds
2013 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 4,500 pounds
2012 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 4,500 pounds
2011 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 4,500 pounds
2010 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 4,500 pounds
2009 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 4,500 pounds
2008 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 4,500 pounds
2007 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 4,500 pounds
2006 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 4,500 pounds
2005 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 4,500 pounds
2004 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 4,500 pounds
2003 Honda Pilot Tow Capacity: 4,500 pounds
You can also read our guide on what makes a vehicle towing capacity to learn all the aspects that go into it.
Here’s a video showing the Honda Pilot being put to a real-world off-road and towing test:
Honda Pilot Braked Vs. Unbraked Towing Capacity
All vehicles have different towing capacities based on whether or not you’re towing a trailer that has trailer brakes installed.
Trailer brakes allow the trailer to stop faster than if only the vehicle is using its brakes, allowing the vehicle to tow more weight, so braked towing capacity will always be higher than unbraked towing capacity.
Honda Pilot Braked Towing Capacity: 2,000 – 5,000 lbs.
Honda Pilot Unbraked Towing Capacity: 1,000 lbs. (or braked towing capacity, whichever is lower).
Honda Pilot Towing Capacity Factors
There are a few factors that affect the Honda Pilot tow capacity.
2WD vs AWD
The drivetrain can affect how much weight a Honda Pilot can tow.
Typically, Honda Pilot AWD models can tow more than the 2WD versions.
Some years and trim levels of Honda Pilots had an ATF cooler installed as an option, which usually added at least 1,000 lbs of additional towing capacity.
Number of Passengers
A big factor in calculating your vehicle’s towing capacity is how many passengers you’re carrying, which directly calculates into the vehicle’s GCWR.
This is true of all vehicles, not just the Honda Pilot, so always take into consideration the total load of your passengers and gear in addition to what you’re towing.
Honda Pilot Engine Specs
The current generation Pilot has a single engine option.
4.0 Liter V-6 Engine
All trim levels of the Pilot have a single engine option which is an SOHC 24-valve 3.5 Liter V-6 engine.
This engine has 2800 hp and 262 lb.-ft of torque, paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.
This engine can pull up to 5,000 pounds if the Pilot is an All-Wheel drive model, and up to 3,000 pounds if the Pilot is a Two-Wheel drive model.
Honda Pilot Tow Packages
Does The Honda Pilot Have A Tow Package?
Honda offers a trailer hitch that is available all trim levels of the Pilot.
The Honda Pilot towing package includes the following:
- Trailer Hitch Receiver with Retaining Pin and Clip
- 7-pin Round-Style Wiring Harness
- Ball Mount Receiver (Available in 1-⅞” or 2”)
- Trailer Hitch Locking Pin
Can You Install A Trailer Hitch On a Honda Pilot?
If you plan on towing anything with your Honda Pilot, you’ll need a tow hitch and wiring harness.
Depending on what you’re towing, you’re going to need a ball mount (aka a trailer ball hitch) so you can attach items for towing.
Make sure to get the right trailer ball size that matches your hitch and trailer.
Honda Pilot Tow Hitch
Trailer hitches come in different hitch classes, which are rated for different vehicle sizes and weight limits.
The Honda Pilot uses a Class 3 hitch.
Here’s a great option for a Honda Pilot trailer hitch:
- Designed to complement today's trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles, attach directly to the frame with no drilling or welding necessary
- 2 inch square receiver tube opening and solid all-welded construction for maximum strength and durability
- The A-Coat base with black powder coat finish is resistant to adverse weather conditions and corrosion, ensures an attractive appearance for years to come
- Computer-Aided design and fatigue stress tested to ensure perfect fit and top towing performance, backed by Draw-Tite's Nationwide Limited Lifetime Warranty
- Rated at 900/6,000 lbs. (TW/GTW) weight carrying (WC) and 900/8,000 lbs. (TW/GTW) weight distributing (WD), always consult your vehicle's owner's manual for actual weight capacities
Here’s a great ball mount option so you can hook up different types of trailers for towing with your Pilot:
- DEPENDABLE STRENGTH. Rated to tow 3,500 pounds gross trailer weight and 350 pounds tongue weight, this ball hitch offers dependability for your towing setup (weight capacity may change if trailer ball is removed).Fit Type: Universal Fit
- VERSATILE USE. This trailer hitch ball mount comes with a 1-1/4-inch shank to fit virtually any industry-standard 1-1/4-inch receiver. The ball mount has a 3-1/4-inch drop, 2-inch diameter ball, 1/2-inch hitch pin hole and 7-1/4-inch overall length
- READY TO TOW. Hitching up your trailer is easy with this ready-to-use trailer hitch ball mount. It comes with a pre-attached tow ball for ready coupling and a trailer hitch pin to securely mount onto your hitch receiver
- CORROSION-RESISTANT. For long-lasting use, this ball hitch is protected with a durable black powder coat finish, and the trailer ball has a polished chrome plating. These finishes resist damage from rain, dirt, road salt and other corrosive threats
- EASY TO INSTALL. To install the trailer hitch ball mount on your vehicle, simply insert the shank into your vehicle's 1-1/4-inch hitch receiver. The rounded shank makes installation easy
Honda Pilot Tow Hitch Installation
If you’re considering having a tow hitch added to your Pilot, expect to pay between $100 and $200 to have a tow package professionally installed (excluding the cost of the tow hitch and wiring harness).
If you’re handy and looking to save money, you can install the trailer hitch and wiring harness yourself.
Always follow the manufacturer’s directions and use proper safety precautions.
Here’s a great video walkthrough on a Honda Pilot trailer hitch installation:
Hitch Receiver Vs Rear Step Bumper Towing
Some vehicles allow for bumper towing, which means you can mount a tow hitch ball directly on the bumper instead of installing a tow hitch to the vehicle’s frame.
Can I Bumper Tow With A Honda Pilot?
The Honda Pilot does not allow for bumper towing, so you’ll need to use a frame-mounted hitch.
How Do I Know If My Honda Pilot Has A Tow Package?
You can start by looking under the rear bumper of your Pilot to see if you notice a trailer hitch or trailer ball.
That will give you a good indication of if you have a tow hitch already installed on your Pilot.
Another way to research this is by checking the paperwork that came with your vehicle or taking it to a local dealer to see what’s installed.
Make sure to have your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) handy if you call the dealer so they can look up the exact specs and whether or not your vehicle has any towing packages or features installed on it.
How Do I Know If My Honda Pilot Has An ATF Cooler?
Look through your vehicle’s grill underneath the front bumper, and if your Pilot has an ATF cooler installed, you’ll see it in front of the radiator.
If you don’t see a cooler in front of your radiator, then your Honda Pilot does not have an ATF cooler installed.
We’ve gathered all data represented here from the official Honda Pilot Owner’s Manuals on Honda’s site and have checked all data thoroughly for accuracy.
Having said that, we still recommend you refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual yourself before towing with a 2023 Honda Pilot.