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The 2023 Honda Pilot brings three spacious rows of comfortable seating, a powerful V6 engine, and modern technology to the midsize SUV market. While an impressive specimen, some models in this class could outshine the Pilot in some particularly important categories. Here are five you might consider when searching for the right three-row midsize SUV.

Toyota 4Runner

Red 2023 Toyota 4Runner midsize SUV in a forest
2023 Toyota 4Runner | Toyota

The 2023 Toyota 4Runner isn’t as refined, smooth, or comfortable as the Honda Pilot, but it outshines the Honda SUV in two important areas. The 4Runner delivers much better off-road capability and includes a more user-friendly standard infotainment system. Although the Pilot now has the off-road TrailSport trim, the Toyota 4Runner is an off-road midsize SUV through and through.

Ford Explorer

Front angle view of 2023 Ford Explorer, showing if American cars are less safe than vehicles from foreign brands
2023 Ford Explorer | Ford

The Honda SUV delivers more luxury and space in the cabin than the venerable 2023 Ford Explorer, but the Ford SUV delivers in other areas. Ford gives drivers a choice of two powertrains for the Explorer. The base system is a 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder model that makes 300 horsepower. If that’s not enough, the upgraded powertrain includes a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that delivers 400 horsepower.

Ford also offers eight trims for the Explorer compared to seven for the Pilot. The Explorer has a higher J.D. Power predicted reliability score of 83 out of 100 compared to the 2023 Honda Pilot at 79 out of 100.

Acura MDX

Red 2023 Acura MDX SUV
2023 Acura MDX | Acura

You might shout “foul on the play” when we bring the luxury arm of Honda into the mix but hear us out. The 2023 Acura MDX delivers a long list of standard tech features, and it’s a great family SUV. The MDX’s greatest advantage over the Honda SUV is the center-row flexibility. In the MDX, the center seat in the middle row can be removed, leaving an open passage to the rear and a set of captain’s chairs. Of course, the Acura MDX is priced much higher than the Honda Pilot, which is certainly worth consideration.

Toyota Highlander

Front angle view of white 2023 Toyota Highlander, second-best-selling midsize SUV in 2023 so far
2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

If you think the 4Runner isn’t a fitting challenger to the Honda Pilot, maybe you’ll accept the 2023 Toyota Highlander instead. The Pilot has more third-row space than the Highlander, which limits the usefulness of the Toyota. Still, the Highlander offers better gas mileage and towing capacity than the 2023 Honda Pilot.

The Toyota SUV offers 21 city/28 hwy mpg and a 5,000-pound towing capacity compared to the 20 city/27 hwy mpg and 3,500 pounds of towing for the Pilot.

Subaru Ascent

Blue 2022 Subaru Ascent midsize three-row SUV on the road
2022 Subaru Ascent | Subaru

Stepping back a year, the 2022 Subaru Ascent outshines the 2022 Honda Pilot in many areas. U.S. News & World Report tells us the Subaru SUV offers a lower starting price, a more welcoming cabin, more off-road capability and tech, and a more user-friendly infotainment system compared to the Honda SUV. The 2022 Ascent also won the Best New Car for Teens award from U.S. News.

Could one of these five three-row midsize SUVs be a better alternative for you than the Honda Pilot? Each has its merits and is worth consideration.