The Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander often appear on different lists of the best third-row SUVs of 2022. They’re also in a similar price range for people on a budget of $35,000 to $55,000. But how do the two Japanese SUVs compare? JD Power believes that the Honda Pilot only has one advantage over its counterpart.
The only advantage of the Honda Pilot
According to JD Power, the 2022 Honda Pilot is superior to the Toyota Highlander in terms of comfort and utility. It offers enough space for adult passengers in the first and second row of seats. Plus, legroom for kids in the third-row seats is better than most alternatives.
There’s triple-zone climate control, and passengers get more than enough storage space. Cargo space starts at 16.5 cubic feet in the SUV’s default seating configuration, but if you fold down the second- and third-row seats, it can go as high as 83.9 cubic feet. Plus, having second-row sunshades on most models is sure to come in handy.
The Toyota Highlander has the same cargo space at 16 cubic feet and 84.3 cubic feet, respectively, but falls behind in most other areas. For example, passenger space is a bit more limited than in the Pilot. Also, while the first and second row seats are easy to get into, the third row is a pain.
Finally, the 2022 Toyota Highlander has a clunky-looking dash and the storage areas in the cabin are relatively small.
Areas where Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander tie
Performance and efficiency are one of two areas in which neither third-row SUV excels. The V6 engine in the 2022 Honda Pilot makes 280 hp. Additionally, it produces 262 pound-feet of torque and is paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission.
The AWD configuration offers a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. and Honda’s fuel efficiency is 21 mpg combined.
The Toyota Highlander’s V6 puts out slightly more impressive performance numbers at 295 hp and 263 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission that isn’t as smooth as Honda’s, and you get two AWD system options.
Despite the Highlander’s added power, the Honda offers quicker acceleration. Additionally, the Highlander’s combined fuel efficiency is 23 mpg.
Those who opt for the hybrid Highlanders get a system rated at 243 hp with a rowdy four-cylinder engine. Its 3,500-pound tow rating isn’t nearly as impressive as what you get with the V6. But on the upside, buyers get significantly better fuel economy.
JD Power also considers the two vehicles to be evenly matched with respect to the infotainment systems and technology provided. Features are pretty similar, with basic configurations coming with 8-inch touchscreens on both models. However, the Highlander has a widescreen for higher-end models, and for competition, the Honda Pilot offers a rear entertainment system.
Areas where the Toyota Highlander is better than the Honda Pilot
While both vehicles performed fairly well in their respective NHTSA and IIHS safety tests, the Highlander comes out slightly ahead. It achieves the highest safety rating from the IIHS, Top Safety Pick+, while the Honda Pilot does not. That being said, the NHTSA rates the two SUVs equally, giving both 5-star overall safety ratings.
The Highlander was then ranked in the top three best upper midsize SUVs during the 2021 Initial Quality Study for reliability and quality. Comparatively, the Honda Pilot did not make the top three of the 2021 IQS or 2022 JD Power vehicle reliability study.
Plus, for buyers who choose hybrid variations of the Highlander, their warranties last much longer than those available with the Honda.
The Toyota SUV even offers more standard features and services than the Pilot.
Since the price range is also lower than Honda’s at $35,405-$47,560 compared to $37,580-$51,370, JD Power argues that it offers better value for money.
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