When it comes to three-row SUVs, the market is flooded with options that offer smooth performance, ample space, and advanced features. Two standout contenders in this fiercely competitive market are the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot. Both have all-wheel-drive options, and the latest model comes equipped with a V6 engine.
Although both the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander are excellent, there are some differences between them, and they are best suited for different situations. If you are the kind of person who likes rigorous camping, Highlander is a safer choice. But, if you prefer quick trips to the lake or the woods, go for the Pilot instead.
Honda released the current version of the Pilot in 2016, while Toyota’s last major redesign was in 2020. Both of these redesigns uphold a reputation for excellence, but which one is best for you? Let’s compare the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander statistics to know which suits you better.
Honda Pilot Vs. Toyota Highlander: A Detailed Comparison:
Let’s have a look at the distinguishing features of both vehicles:
The 2023 Honda Pilot is available in six trim levels: LX, Sport, EX-L, TrailSport, Touring, and Elite. You can choose between FWD and AWD in the LX, Sport, EX-L, and Touring trims. The Pilot TrailSport, designed for off-roading, and the Elite, a super luxury Elite trim, are AWD-only.
The Toyota Highlander of 2023 offers a wide range of options. The Japanese carmaker offers the conventional Highlander in six trim levels: L, LE, XLE, XSE, Limited, and Platinum. All six have the option of FWD or AWD. The 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid comes in five levels: LE, XLE, Limited, Platinum, and Bronze Edition.
The base 2023 Honda Pilot LX costs $37,295, including the $1,345 destination charge. $43,295 is the starting price for a front-wheel-drive EX-L grade. The Touring includes luxuries like a panoramic sunroof, a Bose premium audio system, and a power-operated liftgate.
With FWD, it has a starting MSRP of $47,795. The TrailSport with all-terrain wheels, tires, and suspension costs $49,695. The AWD-only Pilot Elite, with perforated leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, and a 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster, costs $53,375.
In the case of the Highlander, the Platinum trim with AWD is the most expensive variant. It costs $52,360, which includes the $1,335 destination fee. With an MSRP of $37,755, the FWD Highlander L is the least expensive trim. It is the most affordable Highlander.
Mid-level models account for the majority of sales. The popular Highlander LE costs $40,155, while the XLE costs $43,155. Hybrid-powered Highlanders cost more. The fully equipped AWD Platinum Hybrid starts at $53,760. The unique Bronze Edition hybrid has a starting price of $47,115 with FWD and $48,715 with AWD.
The Pilot picks up speed very swiftly. A 3.5-liter V6 engine with 285 horsepower is standard on all versions. The throttle response is immediate, and the shifts from the 10-speed automatic transmission are well-timed. Despite the frequent gear changes, the engine and transmission work seamlessly together.
On the other hand, the 2023 Highlander introduces a standard 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 265 horsepower, replacing the previous V6 powertrain. Toyota pairs this engine with an improved eight-speed automatic transmission. However, as the speedometer climbs, the Highlander’s engine can feel somewhat lacking in power and tends to produce a droning sound during intense acceleration.
Overall, the Pilot’s setup provides a smoother and more energetic driving experience than the Highlander’s, giving the Honda model the advantage.
If prioritizing fuel efficiency, the Highlander surpasses the Pilot. When equipped with front-wheel drive, the Pilot achieves 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. However, its highway fuel economy drops to 25 mpg with all-wheel drive, except for the TrailSport models, which get 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway with all-wheel drive.
In comparison, the Highlander models with front-wheel drive offer better fuel economy, reaching up to 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Opting for all-wheel drive slightly decreases those numbers to 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.
Furthermore, the Highlander offers the added benefit of being offered as a hybrid variant, which significantly boosts its fuel efficiency. The Highlander Hybrid achieves approximately 35-36 mpg in the city and 34-35 mpg on the highway.
The towing capacity of the Pilot and Highlander varies depending on their respective configurations. The towing capacity for the Honda Pilot ranges from 3,500 pounds to 5,000 pounds, depending on the trim level and equipment.
As for the Toyota Highlander, non-hybrid models typically have a towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds, while the hybrid version has a slightly lower towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds.
The all-new interior of the Honda Pilot boasts clever seat configurations, including a center section between the optional second-row captain’s chairs that can be folded into the floor. The Touring and Elite trims offer a unique and innovative “on-demand” eight-occupant flexibility feature.
Additionally, higher trim levels provide the option for a 12-speaker Bose stereo system and a panoramic moonroof. In terms of infotainment, the Pilot offers a 7.0-inch touchscreen on the base trims and a larger 9.0-inch touchscreen on the EX-L and higher trims.
Toyota has upgraded the materials used in the Highlander’s cabin this year, using SofTex and leather materials. The higher trim levels now feature a new 12.3-inch infotainment display (with lower trims equipped with an 8.0-inch screen) and a newly introduced 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. Additionally, the Highlander offers an 11-speaker JBL audio system, enhancing the overall audio experience within the cabin.
In the competitive midsize SUV segment, Toyota and Honda have drawn inspiration for the design of the Highlander and Pilot. While they both share a cookie-cutter SUV shape, each vehicle has its own unique touches. The Pilot has undergone a complete redesign this year, featuring a more truck-like appearance with the addition of a thick, body-colored C-pillar.
On the other hand, the current-generation Highlander was introduced in 2020, and the 2023 model maintains its attractive front end, resembling the previous year’s design. Despite the similarities in shape, both SUVs manage to incorporate distinctive elements that set them apart in terms of appearance.
The Pilot offers a generous amount of cargo space, providing 18.6 cubic feet behind the third row of seats and 48.5 cubic feet when the second row is folded. When both the second and third rows are folded, the Pilot boasts an impressive maximum cargo capacity of 87 cubic feet, making it one of the largest cargo holds in its midsize SUV class.
In comparison, the Highlander offers 16 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, 48.4 cubic feet with the second row folded, and 84.3 cubic feet when both the second and third rows are folded down.
According to J.D. Power, the 2023 Highlander and the 2023 Pilot have commendable reliability ratings. The Highlander receives a J.D. Power reliability score of 81 out of 100, indicating good reliability. It is backed by a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile warranty on the powertrain.
Similarly, the 2023 Pilot also achieves a J.D. Power reliability score of 81 out of 100, suggesting strong reliability. It offers a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile warranty on the powertrain, providing customers with peace of mind.
Both vehicles demonstrate a solid level of reliability and are supported by competitive warranty coverage, ensuring that owners are well-protected against potential issues during the initial ownership period.
The Toyota Highlander has been recognized by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) as a 2023 Top Safety Pick+, the highest safety award given by the organization. While the Honda Pilot also received good ratings from the IIHS, the Toyota Highlander performs better overall in terms of safety.
Both the Highlander and Pilot come equipped with a comprehensive set of standard safety features, including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning. Additionally, both models offer optional features such as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, further enhancing the safety capabilities of the vehicles.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Here are some frequently asked questions about Honda Pilot Vs. Toyota Highlander:
Which SUV offers better off-road capabilities?
Toyota Highlander offers an available all-wheel drive system and higher ground clearance, which may provide slightly better off-road capabilities than the Honda Pilot.
Related: 15 High Ground Clearance Cars | SUVs, Sedans & Hatchbacks
What is the ground clearance of the Honda Pilot compared to the Toyota Highlander?
All trim levels of the Highlander offer a ground clearance of 8 inches. In contrast, the Honda Pilot has a ground clearance of 7.3 inches.
How many passengers can both vehicles accommodate?
Both the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander are available in configurations that can accommodate either seven or eight passengers, depending on the seating configuration chosen.
The competition between the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander has reached new heights for the 2023 model year as both models strive to outshine each other in the market. Both manufacturers have made significant improvements and enhancements to their respective models, aiming to capture the attention and loyalty of customers.
We have explained all the distinguishing features of both vehicles, making them unique and different. We hope it will serve as a good guide for you to choose the vehicle that best suits your needs.