2020 Honda Pilot vs. Ridgeline – Do You Really Need a Truck Bed?

The Honda Pilot and Honda Ridgeline are curiously similar. So much so that buyers often get stuck between the two. Both the Pilot and the Ridgeline are versatile enough to be family cars and offer convenient storage space. But which one best suits your needs?

Driving the 2020 Honda Pilot vs. 2020 Honda Ridgeline 

A blue Honda Pilot SUV outdoors.
2020 Honda Pilot | Honda

The Pilot and the Ridgeline share the same platform. Both vehicles have a 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 280-hp and 262 pound-feet of torque. However, the Pilot gets a nine-speed automatic while the Ridgeline gets an eight-speed auto. The Pilot has an EPA rating of up to 23 mpg overall; the Ridgeline’s rating is a point lower.

Critics recognize the Pilot and the Ridgeline as comfortable rides that are never short on power. The drawback to both is that they aren’t particularly agile. That said, you’ll appreciate these Hondas for their smooth ride quality; road bumps aren’t a problem in either vehicle. However, the Ridgeline feels more responsive on the road, as Consumer Reports notes. 

A gray 2020 Honda Ridgeline towing a boat through sand.
2020 Honda Ridgeline | Honda

The Pilot can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped, which is about average for the midsize SUV class. The Ridgeline has the same tow rating, but this figure is unimpressive for the compact truck realm. One clear advantage the Ridgeline has over the Pilot is that it’s better suited for hitting the trails. But neither of these Hondas are designed for hardcore off-roading.

Comparing seating and storage

2020 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E Crew Cab Pickup Dashboard
2020 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E Crew Cab Interior | Edmunds

The Pilot and the Ridgeline look alike on the outside, and the similarities only continue inside their cabins. Like, their cabin styles are identical. Honda fitted both models with upscale trimmings and standard cloth upholstery. You can upgrade either one with leather trim. The Pilot offers a few more frills than the Ridgeline does, such as heated and cooled front seats.

Front seats of the Honda Pilot with beige upholstery.
Front seats of the Honda Pilot | Honda

If you stick with the Pilot’s standard setup, it can carry up to eight people. Opting for the Pilot’s available captain’s chairs reduces seating seven. The Ridgeline only has one seating configuration, which accommodates five.

Both Hondas are great options for flexible storage space. The Ridgeline is the better choice for tailgate-inspired activities since it has an in-bed bin with drain plugs. But if you want your items confined, for the most part, the Pilot makes more sense.

Can’t forget about tech

The 2020 Honda Pilot driving down the countryside.
2020 Honda Pilot | Honda

The Ridgeline and the Pilot come with many active safety features, including adaptive cruise control and forward-collision warning. The Pilot has a slightly longer list of equipment in this department. On the flip side, the Ridgeline will give you more standard infotainment features, including a touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. These gadgets are upgrades for the Pilot. 

So, should you get the Pilot or the Ridgeline?

A custom white Honda Ridgeline has had some offroad upgrades, like fender flares, a roof rack, and a lift kit.
Custom 2017 Honda Rubicon TRX500 | Fox Marketing

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The MSRP range for the 2020 Ridgeline is $33,900 to $43,520; the Pilot’s is between $31,650 and $49,720. These Hondas truly blur the lines of what you’d expect from a truck and an SUV. The Pilot wins out for extra interior space and convenience features. But if you like the idea of an SUV with a truck bed, the Ridgeline fills the niche.