Honda Pilot vs Competitors



The three-row SUV segment is understandably in demand, and not just with people who need seating for seven or eight. If you’ve been itching to get behind the wheel of a solid and great-looking utility vehicle with ample space and towing ability, now is the time to look at the 2019 Honda Pilot. With the 2020 models coming out in full force, you can catch a remarkable deal on an outgoing 2019 model. Despite the competition from others in its segment – such as the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Mazda CX-9, Hyundai Santa Fe, and Subaru Ascent – the ’19 Pilot manages to rise to the top in significant ways. Read on to see exactly how it does this.

View Inventory

Performance and Transmissions

With its 280 horsepower 3.5-liter V6, the Pilot beats its rivals in base horsepower, beating the output of the entry-level trims of the Highlander (185 hp), CX-9 (277 hp), Santa Fe (185 hp), and Ascent (260 hp). While you could opt for one of the more powerful engine options with the other models, you’d have to upgrade to another trim level and spend thousands more. The Explorer is only slightly more powerful than the Pilot, but its starting MSRP is nearly $1,000 higher ($32,365 versus the Pilot’s $31,450). The Pilot’s Touring and Elite trims also get better acceleration thanks to their nine-speed automatic transmission. The Highlander provides an eight-speed tranny, but the other competitors only offer six-speed transmissions.

Passenger and Cargo Space

Over the Explorer, CX-9, and Santa Fe, which can only seat up to seven passengers, the Pilot can seat up to eight when it’s set up with a second-row bench seat instead of a pair of captain’s chairs. The Pilot also has 1.4 inches more in front hip room, 1.7 inches more in rear shoulder room, and 2.6 inches more in third-row headroom than the Subaru Ascent. Compared to the Toyota Highlander, the Pilot has 8 more cu. ft. of overall passenger volume (152.9 vs. 144.9). The Pilot’s cargo capacity is also quite stellar at 83.9 cu. ft. when the seats folded down. In contrast, the Highlander (83.7 cu. ft.), Explorer (80.7 cu. ft.), and CX-9 (71.2 cu. ft.) are less accommodating. Although the Ascent is slightly more spacious with 86.5 cu. ft., its MSRP is a few hundred dollars higher ($31,995).

Renowned Reliability

The Honda name has always been synonymous with quality and long engine life. U.S News & World Report named the 2019 Pilot “Best 3-Row SUV for Families.” Edmunds ranked it in their Best Midsize SUV, Best Family SUV, and Best Gas Mileage SUV categories for the same model year, and the J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year old vehicles reflected evidence that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Ford, Mazda, and Subaru. Consumer Reports also said in their April 2018 Issue that Honda is more dependable as a brand than Hyundai.

*Based on 2020 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on driving conditions, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, battery-pack age/condition and other factors.