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Honda Pilot vs Toyota Highlander

Midsize SUVs like the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander are the family-car of choice for many buyers, and with good reason. Midsize SUVs have the comfort and convenience of a minivan in a more stylish and rugged package. The Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander are two of the most popular midsize family SUVs on the market, but which one is right for you and your family? Let’s find out.

[See full midsize SUV rankings]

2014 Honda Pilot LX 2WD

2014 Toyota Highlander LE Plus V6 2WD

250 horsepower

Power

270 horsepower

$2,500

EPA-Estimated Annual Fuel Cost

$2,500

153.7 cubic feet

Passenger Volume

144.9 cubic feet

87 cubic feet

Total Cargo Space

83.7 cubic feet

3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty, 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty

Warranty

3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty, 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty

Bluetooth, rearview camera, 3 12-volt power outlets, USB and auxiliary input ports

Standard Features

Bluetooth, rearview camera, 3 12-volt power outlets, USB and auxiliary input ports

18

Current Rank

11

$29,870

Base Price

$32,740

We’re comparing base models of the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. The standard engine on the Pilot is a V6 that makes 250 horsepower. That’s 20 horsepower less than what the Highlander’s V6 makes, but the two have identical estimated annual fuel costs. The Pilot has more overall passenger and cargo space than the Highlander, and the two have similar standard features. The Pilot also has a lower price than the base V6 Highlander.

[See Honda Pilot pictures and Toyota Highlander pictures]

All of that begs the question: if the Pilot is so good on paper, why does the Highlander outrank it?

The difference comes down to safety, cabin comfort and convenience, as well as performance.  The Highlander has a better safety score than the Pilot, which helps it in the rankings. After all, the Highlander and Pilot are used primarily as family SUVs, so safety is paramount. Reviewers downgrade the Pilot for interior materials that they say look cheap, but they praise the Highlander for its high-quality interior. The Highlander earns praise for its performance, with reviewers noting its smooth and comfortable ride and powerful engine. The Pilot, on the other hand, gets knocked by reviewers for numb-feeling steering and excessive nosedive when braking. 

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Despite its higher ranking, the Highlander’s price might hold some buyers back when comparing it to the Pilot. Keep in mind however, that the Pilot only offers a V6 engine. If you want the safety and high-quality interior of the Highlander and don’t care about power, you can get a four-cylinder Highlander LE for $29,215.

[Compare the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander for yourself]

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