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The 2021 Honda Pilot and the 2021 Ford Explorer are two of the most well-known models in the SUV segment. And why not? Both have been around for quite some time and can satisfy a wide variety of automotive needs. But, when compared to one another, which SUV comes out on top? Unfortunately for the Honda Pilot, it’s no match for the 2021 Ford Explorer.

2021 Ford Explorer parked
2021 Ford Explorer | Ford

The 2021 Ford Explorer can be had any way you want it

The 2021 Ford Explorer is the kind of SUV that can be had virtually any way that you want it. Powered by a 300-hp 2.3-liter turbo I4 engine, Kelley Blue Book says that this year’s Ford Explorer “offers a more premium driving experience” than in years past. That’s not the only engine that the 2021 Ford Explorer can be had with either.

This year’s Explorer is also available with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine or a 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine. And if that isn’t enough to choose from, the 2021 Ford Explorer can also be had with a fuel-sipping hybrid powertrain. 

As for the 2021 Honda Pilot? This year’s model comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 with 280-hp and 262 lb-ft of torque under its hood. Unfortunately, that’s the only engine option available. So, if you enjoy the luxury of choice when it comes to engine options, the 2021 Ford Explorer is probably the best pick for you.

It’s also faster than the Honda Pilot and delivers better fuel economy ratings

The 2021 Ford Explorer doesn’t just offer more engine options than the 2021 Honda Pilot does. Compare its base 2.3-liter turbo I4 engine to that of the Honda Pilot’s, and you’ll find that the Ford Explorer is also faster than its Honda competition. While the Ford Explorer can churn out a full 300-hp, the Pilot can only manage 280-hp. 

And if you’re on the hunt for a fuel-efficient SUV? Then look no further than the 2021 Ford Explorer. According to the EPA, the Explorer’s base engine delivers an EPA-estimated 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Opt for the Explorer’s available hybrid engine, and those numbers jump to an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

As for the 2021 Honda Pilot? According to the EPA, this year’s Pilot earned itself an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. And while those numbers may not be drastically different from that of the Ford Explorer’s, they may be a dealbreaker for some SUV shoppers.

But is the 2021 Ford Explorer the right fit for you?

If you’re the kind of person that enjoys the luxury of choice when shopping for a new SUV, then we recommend choosing the 2021 Ford Explorer over its Honda competition. Not only can it be had with your choice of engine under the hood, but the Ford Explorer is also available in a long list of well-outfitted trim levels. As for the Honda Pilot? While it does make for a decent pick among its segment, it certainly lacks when it comes to things like engine choices and horsepower.


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