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The midsize SUV segment is very competitive, but the 2023 Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot are almost always the leading choices for most drivers. Both cars have been around for quite a while and can serve various automotive needs. However, compared to one another, one SUV is more affordable long-term. Find out which.

2023 Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer similarities

The 2023 Honda Pilot and the Ford Explorer base trims are almost too similar. Both cars are designed for comfort for families, with three rows of seating and ample cargo space. The Pilot has 87 cu-ft of cargo space behind the front seats, 18.6 ccu-ft of space behind d the third row, and 48.5 cu-ft of cargo space behind the second row.

On the other hand, the Explorer offers up to 87.8 cu-ft of cargo space behind the front seats, 47.9 cu-ft of space behind the second row, and 18.2 cu-ft of cargo space behind the third row. Both SUVs feature top-of-the-line infotainment systems with Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

The only difference is that the Pilot has a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 7.0-inch digital gauge cluster, while the Explorer has an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen. Since these are family-oriented vehicles, the base trims of both SUVs both have safety features, including rearview cameras, traction and stability control, automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control.

2023 Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer: prices and cost to own

The Honda Pilot comes in six trims; the LX which is the base trim, Sport, EX-L, TrailSport, Touring, and Elite. The Ford Explorer, on the other hand, has eight trims; the base, XLT, ST-Line, Limited, Timberline, ST, Platinum, and King Ranch. The base trim of the Honda Pilot costs around $37,675, while the Explorer’s base trim costs around $38,355.

Straight out the gate, the 2023 Pilot takes the cake for affordability. Regarding long-term affordability, we would have to look at the five-year cost to own. A vehicle’s true cost of ownership involves a wide range of expenses beyond the initial buying price. It includes the costs incurred over the course of vehicle ownership, such as depreciation, fuel costs, insurance, and maintenance and repairs.

According to Edmunds, the Pilot’s true cost to own over five years is $46,298. This includes $3,743 for insurance, $5,043 for maintenance, $601 for repairs, $2,375 for taxes and fees, $8,438 for financing, $13,607 for depreciation, and $12,491 for fuel.

Conversely, Edmunds notes that the Explorer’s true cost to own is $57,324. This includes $4,027 for insurance, $4,028 for maintenance, $840 for repairs, $2,876 for taxes and fees, $10,758 for financing, $23,347 for depreciation, and $11,448 for fuel.

Based on these estimates, the Pilot appears to be more affordable in the long term.

The Pilot’s primary advantages

While the 2023 Ford Explorer has dominated the sales charts over the Pilot, the latter found its edge with one advantage, flipping the script. The Pilot recently got a redesign that makes it much better. The new redesign includes updates to the overall look, with Honda opting to give the Pilot a more rugged look than its outgoing model.

The car also has a long hood and pulled-back A-pillars. For the rear section, the 2023 Honda Pilot has new LED taillights and a body-colored roof spoiler. Additionally, the midsize SUV has body stabilizing seats making long rides less tedious. The EX-L trims and above have a CabinTalk feature that amplifies your voice, so you don’t need to speak louder for the rear passengers to hear you.


2023 Ford Explorer Is Better Than Honda Pilot in 1 Huge Way