Toyota Highlander vs. Honda Pilot

By

Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - February 24, 2020

There’s no shortage of three-row SUVs on the market these days, but that’s not stopping automakers from introducing new models or heavily updating old ones to stay relevant. For 2020, Toyota has completely redesigned the Highlander, which features a more powerful V6 engine, more space for passengers, and a more upscale look.

Honda also has a three-row SUV with the Pilot. One of the older options in the class, the Pilot sticks to its guns to be a well-rounded vehicle. A large cargo area, generous seating space, and an affordable price tag all make the Pilot a good option, despite its age.

If you’re in the market, should you spend your hard-earned money on the newer Highlander or the tried-and-true Pilot? Keep reading to find out.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Highlander & Pilot »

What the Pilot Gets Right

The Pilot immediately takes a lead over the Highlander in one crucial area: pricing. Honda’s largest three-row SUV starts at $32,645 including destination, while the Highlander carries a starting price of $35,720. The $3,075 difference could be used toward getting all-wheel drive on the Pilot, which is an extra $2,000, and still, save over $1,000 from a base front-wheel-drive Highlander.

When it comes to passenger space, the Pilot bests the Highlander by a wide margin. The Pilot has 152.9 cubic feet of passenger space, while the Highlander is rated at 141.3 cubic feet of space. For consumers expecting to ferry up to eight on a regular basis, the extra room in the Pilot should prove to be more comfortable.

In addition, the Pilot has a more spacious cargo area when all of the seats are in place. Behind the third row, the Pilot can hold 16.5 cubic feet of cargo. That figure is better than the Highlander's 16 cubic feet.

What the Highlander Gets Right

For 2020, the Highlander now comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine as standard. It makes 295 horsepower, which is better than 280 hp offered by the Pilot's 3.5-liter V6

Despite making more power, the Highlander is more fuel-efficient. It’s rated to get up to 24 miles per gallon combined by the EPA, while the Pilot is slightly behind with up to 23 mpg combined.

While the Highlander costs more than the Pilot, the Toyota comes with more standard features. It gets a larger 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wi-fi hot spot, and five USB ports. Comparing standard infotainment features reveals a big advantage for the Highlander.

Toyota offers the Highlander with a hybrid powertrain, which isn’t the case for the Pilot. The hybrid variant offers the same amount of passenger volume and cargo space while delivering 36 mpg combined. Although, it is $3,600 more than the base Highlander.

Better Where it Matters

In nearly every category, the Highlander pulls ahead of the Pilot. Consumers on a budget will find that the Pilot is a great value, but for those wanting the latest features, the Highlander is a better overall vehicle. The extensive changes for the 2020 model year have made it one of the best midsize SUVs on the market.

Our Verdict: Toyota Highlander

With a more powerful standard V6 engine, more standard tech features, and an available hybrid model, the Toyota Highlander is the clear victor in this comparison. Despite it costing more than the Honda Pilot, consumers will find that the Highlander gives them a lot more for their money.

Take a closer look at the Honda Pilot »

Take a closer look at the Toyota Highlander »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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