Because a midsize SUV has so many different uses (road trips, hauling boxes, carrying half a dozen passengers), it can be difficult to compare them to each other. A vehicle that excels in one particular use case might not shine in another.
What might be the best vehicle for one consumer could not even be an option for another. But in the case of the 2020 Honda Pilot and the 2020 Toyota 4Runner, one option is so far ahead that it makes sense to choose it in most cases.
The 2020 midsize SUV roundup
U.S. News recently published its roundup of 2020 midsize SUVs, a list that ranked both the Honda Pilot and the Toyota 4Runner. At the top of the list, U.S. News ranked two Hyundai vehicles (the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Hyundai Palisade).
The Palisade turns heads as an all-new model chock full of shiny features, and the Santa Fe tops the list due to its extreme value for its low price. But if you’re willing to spend up just a little, the 2020 Pilot delivers everything the Santa Fe does, along with Honda’s trademark reliability.
On the lower end of the list (#21 of 22 vehicles ranked) sits the 2020 Toyota 4Runner. Whereas the Honda Pilot starts just above $30,000, the most affordable 4Runners come in at over $36,000. And unfortunately, it just doesn’t do enough to justify the price.
The Honda Pilot doesn’t necessarily stand out in the midsize SUV list, but if you’re looking at purchasing a Honda you know that’s probably a good thing. Good price and reliability are what Honda focuses on, and the 2020 Pilot is simply the most recent example.
Where the 2020 Honda Pilot scores high
New to the 2020 model of the Honda Pilot is a Black Edition trim, along with some minor updates to the cabin and interior. Since its redesign in 2016, the Honda Pilot has been seen as the midsize equivalent to a minivan and unless Honda announces another redesign in the future, this will likely continue.
But for many consumers, that’s not a bad thing. The 2020 Pilot doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not, and it fulfills its duties reliably for a reasonable price. It seats up to eight and puts up 280 horsepower when it needs to.
On the other hand, the 2020 Toyota 4Runner falls short in plenty of categories. At over $5,000 more than the Honda Pilot, it needs to make up a lot of ground to be competitive and it simply doesn’t.
The area where the Toyota 4Runner excels is off-road, where its build delivers a powerful, gripping experience that the Pilot (and most other midsizes) can’t match. But that’s a niche use for a vehicle that should do more than just tear up rough trails.
Where does the 2020 Toyota 4Runner excel?
As stated, the 2020 Toyota 4Runner is one of the best vehicles in its class when it comes to off-roading. Its rugged body and restricted seating (only five!) leave a lot of room for cargo and leg room.
If you’re looking to take your midsize SUV off-road with fewer than 4 passengers, the 2020 Toyota 4Runner might be perfect for you. However, the 2020 Honda Pilot is better for nearly every other category.
The Pilot isn’t perfect. However, it’s a durable, comfortable vehicle that seats eight and gets you where you need to go. Along with legendary Honda reliability and a smooth ride, the 2020 Honda Pilot outscores the Toyota 4Runner in nearly every other category.
Midsize SUVs are a category that gets bigger and bigger each year, and Honda and Toyota both put a lot of work into 2020’s offering. But between them, the Pilot is the better value.