Trucks & SUVs

2021 Toyota Highlander vs. 2021 Honda Pilot: The Better Choice Is Obvious

If you’re shopping for an SUV that’s as reliable as it is safe, you’ve probably got the 2021 Toyota Highlander and the 2021 Honda Pilot somewhere on your list of vehicles to check out. But, when it comes to actually choosing between these SUVs? The Toyota Highlander makes for a much better choice than its Honda competition. Let us tell you why.

2021 Toyota Highlander parked
2021 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

The 2021 Honda Pilot boasts a cheaper base price

First things first, let’s talk about how much each of these SUVs costs. Because, if you’re shopping with a strict budget in mind, this could make choosing between the 2021 Honda Pilot and the Toyota Highlander pretty easy. Why’s that? Because the Honda Pilot is cheaper than this year’s Highlander. While the Highlander boasts a base price of $34,910, this year’s Pilot will only have you spending $32,550 on a base model. 

But, it should be noted that if you’re set on a fully-loaded model, the Toyota Highlander is actually the cheaper option. The range-topping Toyota Highlander Platinum will cost you $47,065. But a fully-loaded 2021 Honda Pilot? That will cost you just over $50,000 to get into.

RELATED: 2021 Toyota Highlander vs. Hyundai Palisade: The Student Conquers the Teacher

But the 2021 Toyota Highlander has the edge in terms of reliability

When it comes to reliability, it’s the 2021 Toyota Highlander that has the edge. According to Consumer Reports, this year’s model earned a four out of five predicted reliability rating. Meanwhile, Consumer Reports gave the 2021 Honda Pilot a disappointing reliability rating of three out of five. 

Unfortunately for the Honda Pilot, its low-reliability rating is pretty on point too. According to Consumer Reports, multiple model years earned a two or three out of five reliability rating. Fortunately for the Highlander, reliability hasn’t been much of a concern. Most model years earned either a four or five out of five reliability rating, which is pretty hard to argue with.

RELATED: The 2021 Honda Pilot Barely Lost to the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade

For a fuel-efficient ride, choose the 2021 Toyota Highlander over this year’s Pilot

Who wants to be stopping at the gas station regularly? I know I don’t. And if you don’t either? Then you’re going to want to consider the 2021 Toyota Highlander. According to the EPA, this year’s Highlander can deliver an EPA-estimated 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Opt for the Highlander Hybrid, and those numbers jump up to an impressive EPA-estimated 36 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. As for the Honda Pilot? The EPA says this year’s model could only manage an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

RELATED: Deciding Between the 2019 Toyota Highlander and the 2019 Mazda CX-9 Is Easy

The 2021 Toyota Highlander is a safer bet than the Honda Pilot

The Toyota Highlander isn’t just more fuel-efficient than its Honda competition. It’s also safer. This year’s model comes standard with a wealth of safety features, including a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, lane tracing assist, and road sign assist. The IIHS also recognized it as a Top Safety Pick+, which is the highest safety rating that the organization gives out.

While the Honda Pilot is also standard with plenty of safety features, it didn’t receive quite as high marks from the IIHS as the Toyota Highlander did. In fact, its safety scores were downright disappointing. It earned an ‘Acceptable’ rating in the IIHS’ small overlap front: passenger-side tests. It also earned an ‘Acceptable’ rating for its LATCH ease of use and its headlights.

RELATED: Is the 2021 Toyota Highlander Safe?

Choosing between these SUVs doesn’t have to be difficult

When it comes to choosing between these two SUVs? The choice is pretty clear. For a reliable, safe ride, you’re going to want to stick with the 2021 Toyota Highlander. But if you’d rather save a few bucks? You can’t go all that wrong with the 2021 Honda Pilot.