Honda Pilot vs Competitors


Overview

The three-row SUV class is in high demand for the 2020 model year, leaving automakers with the challenge of manufacturing the best possible vehicle to grab the majority of the market share. The popularity of midsized SUVs stems from their accommodating size, state-of-the-art amenities, and ability to handle a decent amount of towing. Buyers also want good value for their money, plus the latest technology for connectivity and active safety. The practical, efficient, and roomy 2020 Honda Pilot delivers a convincingly superior package deal, but it must contend with the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Nissan Pathfinder, and Subaru Ascent. Let’s examine who the leader of the pack is in this booming automotive segment.

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Fuel Efficiency

Even with the 2020 Honda Pilot’s fairly powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine, its fuel efficiency is better than most of its competitors’. Front-wheel drive versions of the Pilot are EPA-rated to return 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. On the other hand, with the Traverse (18 city/27 highway), Palisade (19 city/26 highway), and Telluride (20 city/26 highway), trips to the gas station will be a little more frequent. The Highlander gets slightly better fuel efficiency at 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, but it’s close to $3,000 more. Part of the secret behind the Pilot’s great mpg factor is that its engine uses a proprietary control system called Eco Assist that boosts fuel economy by smartly adjusting the engine’s performance, climate control system, and cruise control for prime efficiency. Naturally, not one of its rivals has this Honda technology.


Cargo Space and Towing

The Pilot offers quite a bit more cargo space than its competition. Behind the first row, it presents 109 cubic feet of space, beating its closest competitor in interior volume by nearly 11 cu. ft.: the Chevy Traverse offers 98.2 cu. ft. Those who frequently travel with heavier cargo will be happy to know that the 2020 Honda Pilot can haul a fair amount of weight. The Pilot, Highlander, Traverse, Palisade, Telluride, and Ascent are each able to tow up to 5,000 pounds. While the Explorer and Pathfinder can tow a max of 5,600 and 6,000 lbs., respectively, they’re more expensive.


Transmission

The 2020 Pilot has a nine-speed automatic transmission for the Touring and higher trims. With more gears, your vehicle will be able to accelerate faster in lower gears while conserving fuel and reducing emissions in the higher ones. The Highlander, Palisade, and Telluride each have an eight-speed automatic, while the Ascent and Pathfinder use a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Keep in mind that some drivers take issue with CVTs for various reasons—they tend to hum loudly during acceleration, they are difficult to repair and expensive to replace, and they aren’t compatible over a certain level of horsepower.