2016 Honda Pilot vs. 2016 Ford Explorer

2016 HONDA PILOT vs 2016 FORD EXPLORER
3.5 V6 ENGINE 3.5 L V6
280 hp HORSEPOWER 290 hp
262 lb-ft TORQUE 255 lb-ft.
12.4 L/100Km city, 9.3 L/100 km hwy FUEL ECONOMY 7.22/100 km city, 9.3L/100 km hwy
39.4 TURNING RADIUS 38.9

If you’re in the market for a full-size SUV with three rows of seats, there’s good reason to consider your options! Honda’s top-of-the-line trim for the Pilot is the Touring model. At lower trims the Pilot clearly pulls ahead of the Highlander in terms of value for its long list of standard features at this higher level, it’s a full-on battle. The Pilot is all-new for the 2016 model year. While lesser trims get a six-speed automatic, the Pilot’s Touring trim has an exclusive nine-speed auto box to pair with the 3.5-litre V6 that comes with steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters. That, plus engine auto stop-start technology and with greater fuel efficiency in city driving. Of these two SUVs, the Honda Pilot feels more car-like to drive: it’s lighter in handling and has a slightly tighter turning radius.

The Pilot has a well-designed cabin storage area. But it does have a no-slip tray for a smartphone, plus the multi-tiered door storage is nice and the push-button gear selector keeps the center console space feeling airy. The Honda is the clear winner for cargo capacity, delivering up to 717 liters more space than in the Toyota when all of the rear seats are folded. The differences between the two vehicles are subtle on this point. Both have a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row bucket seats, and three-zone climate control. I found the Pilot’s third row significantly more usable, especially for adults.

Honda’s automatic emergency response system uses a connected phone to instantly dial 911 if the car detects a crash. This offering comes standard on every Pilot model and doesn’t require a subscription service. The Pilot also has adaptive cruise control and forward collision mitigation at almost every trim level, which contribute to its IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating.

The Pilot and the Explorer are equally matched in many regards while still being completely different in others. A large crossover needs to be an easy-to-use, passenger friendly transportation device first and foremost, even when outfitted with every toy in the box. Here the Pilot holds the advantage. Comfortable, practical and as easy to drive as an Accord, the Pilot makes the most sense in large, premium three-row crossovers. A lower as tested price and better fuel economy is just outstanding. The Pilot is our current favorite among the biggest family-focused crossover SUVs. It can seat up to eight, has a smartly upgraded powertrain and luxury features—and it doesn’t hurt that it’s completely walked away from faux-off-road looks and has focused on its core strengths. Both are better than ever, but we’re betting the confirmation of upcoming crash-tests scores will put even more daylight between these two, and will nudge the Pilot’s scores to the top of Honda’s ratings.

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