2016 Honda Pilot vs. 2016 Toyota Highlander

3.5 V6 ENGINE 3.5 L V6
280 hp HORSEPOWER 270 hp
262 lb-ft TORQUE 248 lb-ft.
12.4 L/100Km city, 9.3 L/100 km hwy FUEL ECONOMY 13.0 L/100 km city, 9.8L/100 km hwy
18.0 cubic feet REAR CARGO 13.8 cubic feet

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 Toyota Highlander’s range-topping trim is the Limited version. It was most recently overhauled for the 2015 model year. Unlike the Pilot, the Highlander is available as a hybrid, but we’re looking at the gas model.

In the rear cargo area, the Highlander finishes a distant second to the Pilot in outright capacity.

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