2019 Honda Pilot vs The Competition
Mid-sized sport utility vehicles are some of the most popular vehicles on the market due to their practicality and emphasis on families, passenger comfort, safety, and versatility. Honda’s ever-popular Pilot is one of the class-leading vehicles in this segment thanks to its reputation for being exceptionally reliable and efficient. The Pilot, however, does have some serious competition, which includes the Chevy Traverse, Dodge Durango, Ford Explorer, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-9, Subaru Ascent, Nissan Pathfinder, and Toyota Highlander.
Potential buyers in this segment have come to expect more in terms of comfort, reliability, and overall safety, and so the manufacturers make a good effort to keep up with each other by packing in the features. Even though these vehicles can get expensive, the Pilot is moderately priced, with a starting MSRP of $31,450 (plus Destination fee of $1,045) for its base LX trim. The base Highlander is a tad more at $31,530, the Ascent starts at $31,995, and the base Ford Explorer trim clocks in at $32,365.
Fuel Economy and Performance
While three-row SUVs are not typically known for their impressive fuel economy, the Honda Pilot manages to upend this common stigma. Front-wheel-drive versions of the LX, EX, or EX-L trims, for example, are rated by the EPA to achieve an estimated 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. Compare this to the Ford Explorer’s base trim, which only gets an EPA-estimated 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. The Chevy Traverse comes in close to the Pilot with an EPA-estimated 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, while the Ascent is rated for 21 city/27 highway.
In regard to performance, the Pilot’s standard 3.5-liter V6 engine produces 280 horsepower and 262 pounds-feet of torque, whereas the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine shared by the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe only generates 185 horsepower and 178 lb.-ft. of torque. Even the Santa Fe’s optional turbocharged 2.0-liter engine only produces 235 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque.
*Based on 2019 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.
Safety and Reliability
It is no secret that over the years Honda has maintained its reputation for making some of the safest and most reliable vehicles out there, which has translated to strong sales and high resale value. Time and again, the Pilot has been awarded a five-star safety rating by the NHTSA. While most of the others compared here have also earned five stars, the Nissan Pathfinder was only awarded a four-star safety rating. The Honda Pilot was also voted Kelley Blue Book’s 2019 Best Buy Award Winner, in part for its great standard safety equipment, which comes bundled in the excellent Honda Sensing technology suite. The Pilot also offers an electronic parking assist system for its base LX trim, whereas the base trims of the Ford Explorer and Chevy Traverse do not have this option.
When the highest-trim editions of the Honda Pilot and the rival Toyota Highlander are compared for their standard technology features, Honda comes out ahead. For example, the Pilot Touring includes Android Auto integration, mobile hotspot capability, a rear entertainment system, and road departure mitigation, whereas the Highlander Limited does not.