2022 Toyota Highlander vs. 2022 Honda Pilot: Which Midsize Crossover Is the Best Off-Road?

Midsize crossovers are great for those that want a spacious family vehicle while offering the utility and capabilities for various excursions. If properly equipped, midsize crossovers can be a good choice for off-road use and heading out on far-flung wilderness adventures. Regarding this, two crossovers that you may want to consider are the 2022 Toyota Highlander and the 2022 Honda Pilot. Check out this off-road comparison to determine the best choice for you.

All-wheel drive system for the Highlander and Pilot

Silver 2022 Toyota Highlander parked next to a tree
2022 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

When encountering bumpy and uneven surfaces, it is vital to have a high-quality all-wheel drive system. On this front, the 2022 Toyota Highlander offers three different options. The Highlander Hybrid has an electronic on-demand all-wheel drive system. This system is appealing to those that want to maximize efficiency. In normal driving situations, the all-wheel drive system is disengaged. When extra traction is needed, the all-wheel drive system fully engages. For the gasoline-powered Highlander model, the most advanced option is the all-wheel drive with a sophisticated torque vectoring system for surface-gripping traction. The base-level gasoline-powered Highlander has an all-wheel drive system, but without torque vectoring.

The 2022 Honda Pilot offers midsize crossover buyers the choice of either a front-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive system. Given that an all-wheel drive system is a necessity when going off-road, it’s advisable to avoid models with the front-wheel drive system. This means that you’ll have to pay extra for the all-wheel drive. In comparison, the Highlander comes standard with all-wheel drive for all of its models. 

Highlander and Pilot engine spec comparison

Dark blue 2022 Honda Pilot with mountains in the background
2022 Honda Pilot | Honda

Whether charging up steep hills or trudging through a field, it’s critical to have plenty of engine power. For this concern, the Highlander offers two powertrain choices. The Highlander Hybrid channels power from an electric motor and a 2.5-liter engine. Its output is 186 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. The gasoline-powered Highlander model comes equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 engine. It delivers 295 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque. 

All Pilot models are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine. It churns out 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. In comparison, the gasoline-powered Highlander provides an additional 19 hp and 1 lb-ft of torque.

Ground clearance and cargo capacity for the Highlander and Pilot

When heading off-road, it’s important that an SUV has enough ground clearance. This is especially critical when driving on surfaces with rocks and other protruding debris. For ground clearance, the Highlander has the advantage. It provides 8.0 inches of clearance, compared to only 7.3 inches for the Highlander.

Another important consideration for off-road use is cargo capacity. You want to make sure that you have plenty of space to load up your gear. The Highlander has a slight advantage on this front. It has a maximum cargo capacity of 84.3 cu-ft. In comparison, the Pilot offers up to 83.8 cu-ft.

Overall, the Highlander comes out on top for this midsize crossover off-road capability comparison. This is especially the case if opting for the gasoline-powered Highlander model. Unlike the Pilot, all of its trims come standard with an all-wheel drive system. It provides more maximum engine output. The Highlander has a greater ground clearance. Also, it provides more storage space. 

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