2016 Honda Pilot vs 2016 Hyundai Santa FE XL

3.5 L V6 ENGINE 3.3 L V6
280 hp HORSEPOWER 290 hp
262 lb-ft TORQUE 252 lb-ft.
12.4 L/100Km city, 9.3 L/100 km hwy FUEL ECONOMY 12.9 L/100 km city, 9.4 L/100 km hwy

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 2016 Santa Fe XL comes in seven trims, ranging from the base FWD version to the range-topping Limited trim with six seats. In addition to offering seating for seven people, the Santa Fe XL lives up to its XL name with its generous 2,265 litres of cargo capacity. On demand all-wheel-drive is available on all trims above the base FWD.

For 2016, the Santa Fe XL gets two new interior colours, Beige and Grey leather. As well, the XL receives a new 4.3-inch touchscreen with rearview camera on the Premium AWD trim as well as a new available exterior colour (tan brown).

Test drive the 2016 Honda Pilot at Formula Honda feel the difference.

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