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The Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander are often featured in different lists of the best third-row SUVs of 2022. They’re also in a similar price range for people with a $35,000 to $55,000 budget. But how do the two Japanese SUVs compare? J.D. Power thinks the Honda Pilot only has one advantage over its counterpart.

The Honda Pilot’s only advantage

A blue 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport.
2023 Honda Pilot | American Honda Motor Co., Inc

According to J.D. Power, the 2022 Honda Pilot is superior to the Toyota Highlander in terms of comfort and utility. It offers sufficient passenger space for adults in the first and second-row seats. Also, the legroom for the kids in the third-row seats is better than what you get in most alternatives.

There’s triple-zone climate control, and passengers get more than enough storage space. Cargo space starts at 16.5 cu-ft in the SUV’s default seat configuration, but if you fold the second and third-row seats, it can be as much as 83.9 cubic feet. Also, having second-row sunshades in most trims is bound to be handy.

The Toyota Highlander has just as much cargo space at 16 cubic feet and 84.3 cubic feet, respectively, but falls behind in most other areas. For instance, the passenger space is slightly more limited than the Pilot’s. Also, while the first and second-row seats are easy to get into, the third row is a hassle.

Finally, the 2022 Toyota Highlander has a clunky-looking dash, and the storage areas in the cabin are relatively small.

Areas where Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander tie

Performance and efficiency are one of two areas where neither third-row SUV comes out ahead. The 2022 Honda Pilot‘s V6 engine puts out 280 hp. Also, it produces 262 lb-ft of torque and is matched with a 9-speed automatic transmission.

The AWD setup offers a 5,000 lbs maximum towing capacity, and the Honda’s fuel efficiency is a combined 21 mpg.

The Toyota Highlander’s V6 generates slightly more impressive performance figures at 295 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission that isn’t as seamless as the Honda’s, and you get two AWD system options.

Despite the extra power of the Highlander, the Honda offers faster acceleration. Also, the Highlander’s combined fuel efficiency is 23 mpg.

Those who opt for the hybrid Highlanders get a 243-hp rated system with a noisy four-cylinder engine. Its 3,500-lbs tow rating isn’t as impressive as what you get with the V6. But, on the upside, buyers get significantly better fuel economy.

J.D. Power also considers the two vehicles tied regarding the infotainment systems and technology provided. Features are pretty similar, with base configurations coming with 8-inch touchscreens on both models. Nevertheless, the Highlander has a widescreen display for the higher-end trims, and to compete, the Honda Pilot provides a rear entertainment system.

Areas where the Toyota Highlander is better than the Honda Pilot

While both vehicles performed pretty well in their respective NHTSA and IIHS safety tests, the Highlander comes out slightly ahead. It achieves the IIHS’s highest safety rating, the Top Safety Pick+, while the Honda Pilot doesn’t. That said, the NHTSA ranks the two SUVs equally, giving both 5-star overall safety ratings.

Next, the Highlander ranked among the top three Upper Midsize SUVs during the 2021 Initial Quality Study for its reliability and quality. Comparatively, the Honda Pilot didn’t make it to the top three of the 2021 IQS or the 2022 J.D. Power vehicle dependability study.

Furthermore, for buyers who pick hybrid variations of the Highlander, their warranties last much longer than what’s available with the Honda.

The Toyota SUV even offers more standard features and services than the Pilot.

Given that the price range is also lower than the Honda’s at $35,405-$47,560 compared to $37,580-$51,370, J.D. Power argues it offers more value for money.


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