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Two of the most highly regarded and respected three-row midsize SUVs are the 2023 Honda Pilot and the 2023 Toyota Highlander. These two have battled for decades with excellent reliability scores, impressive family-friendly usefulness, and advanced technology. If you’re stuck between these two impressive SUVs, let us show you what the Honda Pilot offers that the Toyota Highlander doesn’t include.

The 2023 Honda Pilot has a much more useful cabin than the Toyota Highlander

2023 Honda Pilot Elite with Middle Seat Removed from the Second Row
2023 Honda Pilot Elite with Middle Seat Removed from the Second Row | Honda

The biggest difference you’ll find between the midsize Honda and Toyota SUVs is found in the cabin. The Pilot offers an “on-demand” eight-passenger seating configuration in the Touring and Elite trims. This feature allows owners to remove the middle seat in the second row and store it under the rear cargo floor.

With this middle seat removed, the second row has a pass-through to the rear, making it much easier to use the Honda midsize SUV in a seven-person vehicle. You don’t have this option in the Toyota Highlander. Whatever seating configuration is purchased is the one you’re stuck with.

Does the midsize Honda SUV have more cargo room than the midsize Toyota SUV?

2023 Honda Pilot Cargo Area with All Rear Seats Folded
2023 Honda Pilot Cargo Area | Honda

The 2023 Honda Pilot offers cargo room that measures:

  • 22.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats
  • 59.5 cubic feet with the third row folded
  • 113.7 cubic feet with rear two rows folded

Comparatively, the 2023 Toyota Highlander cargo measurements are:

  • 16.0 cubic feet behind the rear seats
  • 48.4 cubic feet with the third row folded
  • 84.3 cubic feet with rear two rows folded

As you can easily see, the 2023 Honda Pilot offers quite a bit more cargo room than the Toyota Highlander.

Which midsize three-row SUV has more speakers?

Heading to the top trim levels of these two midsize SUVs, we find the Honda Pilot has more speakers than the Toyota Highlander. The Touring and Elite trims of the 2023 Honda Pilot include a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system with Bose CenterPoint technology, SurroundStage digital signal processing, and a 15-7-liter subwoofer.

The Limited and Platinum trims of the 2023 Toyota Highlander come with an 11-speaker JBL premium audio system. That sounds pretty good, but the sound system in the Honda SUV is just a bit better.

The Honda Pilot TrailSport changes the game

2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport on a Rugged Wilderness Trail
2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport | Honda

Most three-row midsize SUVs forgo the idea of an off-roading variant. These SUVs are made for families, but some families like to adventure into the wilderness. The new 2023 Honda Pilot adds a TrailSport trim with off-road equipment and capabilities.

This new trim includes an off-road-tuned suspension, higher ground clearance, and hill-descent control, to name a few of the great features of the new Pilot TrailSport.

Is the 2023 Honda Pilot more affordable than the 2023 Toyota Highlander?

2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport Kicking up Dust on a Dirt Trail
2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport | Honda

The price ranges for these two midsize SUVs are extremely similar. J.D. Power tells us the starting price for the Honda Pilot L is $37,295, while the Toyota Highlander L starts at $37,755. Heading to the top trims, we see the Pilot Elite with a price of $53,375, while the Highlander Platinum Hybrid costs a little more at $53,760.

It’s not a huge difference, but the Pilot is slightly more affordable than the Highlander.

When you’re looking for the differentiating factors between two similar vehicles, you have to take a deeper dive. The 2023 Honda Pilot has a few advantages over the Toyota Highlander, namely price, sound system, cargo room, seating versatility, and an off-road trim.


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