New Model News

2021 Honda Pilot gets special edition, new standard features

Honda has debuted a new trim level for the 2021 model year, the Pilot Special Edition.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

As the current generation Honda Pilot begins to sunset, the automaker is offering a new Special Edition trim level for the 2021 model year. Additionally, a long fresh list of standard features and transmission come on the model.

The Pilot is facing increased competition as it ages from the redesigned-for-2020 Toyota Highlander, Subaru Ascent, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, and Mazda CX-9. Kia's redesigned 2021 Sorento will be out later this year and Volkswagen has refreshed the Atlas for 2021 as well. The Chevrolet Traverse remains popular with buyers and will be refreshed for the 2022 model year.

In the Honda stable, the Pilot slots at the top of the SUV lineup. Below it are the Passport, CR-V, and HR-V. The company recently added a CR-V Hybrid model.

2021 Honda Pilot Elite The Pilot lineup sees a bit of a price increase for the 2021 model year. The Pilot Elite, shown here, remains at top-tier offering.Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Starting today, dealerships will have 2021 Honda Pilot Special Edition (SE) models in stock. Those models build on the Pilot EX-L trim and offer, in addition to what is on the EX-L roster, leather seats, second-row sunshades, and a power-adjustable driver's seat with two-position memory. Blacked out features include 20-inch wheels, roof rails, grille, and front/rear skid garnishes. There's a foot-activated hands-free tailgate and wireless phone charger. The model is available in two- or all-wheel drive. Two-wheel drive models start at $38,960 and AWD versions have a $40,960 price tag.

Honda is also making its nine-speed automatic transmission standard across the model line adding paddle shifters to each model. Dual-zone climate control is now standard. Buyers now have the option to choose the Platinum White Pearl paint job for their Pilot Black Edition.

The price of the Pilot has gone up for the 2021 model year, but only slightly. It now starts around $600 more than the 2020 edition. The 2021 Pilot LX with two-wheel drive starts at $32,250 adding AWD to that trim level bumps the price up to $34,250.

The 2021 Honda Pilot is made at the company's Lincoln, Alabama plant alongside Odyssey, Passport, and Ridgeline. Its engine is also manufactured in Alabama.

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The 2022 Audi Q5 Sportback has debuted but Americans will have to wait around six months to get one.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The Audi Q5 Sportback takes the traditional dimensions of the Audi Q5 and shaves some off the back of the roof to creating a more sloping design. The result is a model that fits right into Audi's lineup.

At the front of the new all-wheel drive model is an octagonal Singleframe grille that is flanked by large air inlets. The car's headlights feature daytime running lights with the buyer's choice of LED or matrix-design LED technology. At the rear are taillights that feature OLED lighting technology split into three ties of six segments each.

2022 Audi Q5 Sportback

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Like the roof, the car's windows taper as the design of the vehicle flows backward. Its rear bumper appears to be high-mounted.

Base Audi Q5 Sportback models are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with a 12-volt mild-hybrid system to to deliver 261 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Buyers can upgrade to the 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 349 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.

The SQ5 will come standard with adaptive dampers and has an available air suspension and dynamic steering capability.

Each model has Audi's new MIB 3 infotainment system, which can be optioned to include a 12.3-inch digital display in front of the driver as well as virtual cockpit and head-up display technologies. At the center of the dashboard is a 10.1-inch infotainment touch screen with navigation. The system allows for multiple user profiles.

The Audi phone box and a Bang and Olufsen sound system with 3D sound are available.

Inside the cabin, the car has a rear bench seat the can be shifted laterally as well as forward and aft. The seat also reclines.

Each Q5 Sportback comes with a standard hands-free power tailgate.

Buyers can option their model to include numerous driver assist systems including adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, standard Audi Side Assist and Audi Pre Sense Rear, lane departure warning, and Parking System Plus.

The 2020 Audi Q5 starts at $43,000. Expect the Sportback model to be slightly pricier when it arrives in the U.S. in the first half of 2021. It will be assembled at the San José Chiapa plant in Mexico.

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The Jeep Gladiator Rubicon is made to be trail-ready

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

If you want to go off-roading but you’re apprehensive behind the wheel? Jeep is introducing the Jeep Adventure Academy, a program that provides hands-on, off-road driving instruction to Jeep 4x4 owners.

"Off-roading is a rite of passage for Jeep 4x4 owners and the new Jeep Adventure Academy will provide key knowledge every off-roader can use for hitting the trails," said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand, FCA - North America. "The new Jeep Adventure Academy underscores the Jeep brand's commitment to delivering Jeep 4x4 vehicles that provide owners with a sense of capability, safety and security to handle any condition or adventure with confidence."

2021 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Jeep Trailhawk models are trail-tested ahead of their retail salePhoto courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Academy kicks off this October and will take place at select locations nationwide. Instructors from Jeep Jamboree USA will lead the program alongside off-roading experts.

Each Academy session will focus on several essential areas of off-roading instruction, including 4x4 system basics, driving techniques, trail etiquette, vehicle preparation and equipment, how to properly read terrain and challenging obstacles, safety tips and more.

The Jeep Adventure Academy will take place during the first three weeks in October at the following locations:

  • Holly Oaks Off-road Vehicle Park, Holly, Michigan: October 2-4
  • Southern Missouri Off-Road Ranch, Seymour, Missouri: October 9-11
  • Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area, Hollister, California: October 16-18

Registration is available at jeepadventureacademy.com. A one-day session starts at $99 and requires Jeep 4x4 vehicle ownership. The academy sessions will be led by professional staff from Jeep Jamboree USA, an organization that has been conducting off-road adventures since 1953.

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