Skip to main content

The Honda Pilot and the Toyota Highlander used to have more in common. They both used to be a little boring with looks that reminded us of their minivan siblings, like the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey. But the 2023 Honda Pilot had a glow-up, and it would be nice if the 2023 Toyota Highlander did the same thing. 

2023 Honda Pilot vs. 2023 Toyota Highlander 

The 2023 Honda Pilot just got a total redesign, and we think the 2023 Toyota Highlander should take notes. The Highlander was last remodeled in 2019 and could use a mid-cycle refresh soon. 

The Pilot used to be a little lackluster because it was shaped like the Honda Odyssey and felt really similar. The 2023 Highlander has a curvy shape with sidelines that are similar to the Toyota Sienna’s. 

But now the Pilot has a more rugged and confident boxy shape. The beefier look is certainly more attractive and helps it stand out against the competition. The current Highlander blends in with wagons and vans. 

Does the Pilot or Highlander have more power? 

The 2023 Honda Pilot and 2023 Toyota Highlander both received powertrain updates. The 2023 Pilot has a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 285 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. It can tow up to 5,000 lbs and accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under seven seconds. 

With the 2023 Highlander, you get a turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four engine with 265 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The Highlander Hybrid uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors to generate 243 hp. It can also tow up to 5,000 lbs. 

However, the Pilot received a nine nine-speed automatic transmission for a smoother power delivery. The Highlander could benefit from being a little sportier and more engaging. 

But Edmunds doesn’t think it will be able to reach 60 mph any faster than the 2022 model’s 7.5-second time. The Highlander is a little slower. 

It’s perfectly fine for merging into traffic and passing others on the highway. It’s a relaxing, low-effort daily driver. It just needs a little extra spice to be more fun. 

Also, we’re impressed by the amount of torque that the Highlander has for off-roading. But it only has a Trail mode that provides more torque and control at lower speeds. Also, the undercarriage has components that hang down without protection. 

The Pilot TrailSport has a suspension lift, seven off-road modes, an off-roading tuned suspension, steel skid players, tow hooks, 18-inch wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires, and a TrailWatch camera system. 

Does the Pilot or Highlander have more space? 

2022 Toyota Highlander pros and cons
2022 Toyota Highlander | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

The 2023 Honda Pilot got a little wider and longer to provide passengers with about 2.5 inches of extra legroom. The second-row seats recline and slide forward. Plus, two adults can comfortably fit in the third row. 

The 2023 Toyota Highlander still has a cramped third row that’s impossible for adults to sit in. I’m 5’1” and couldn’t fit. We aren’t sure who those seats are designed for. 

With the Pilot, you get 22.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row with up to 113.67 cubes total. The Highlander provides 16.0 cubic feet of cargo room in the rear and 84.3 cubes overall. 

We enjoy driving the Highlander and appreciate its value. But we think it could have even more success if it follows the Pilot’s tracks. 

The Toyota Highlander would benefit from a more attractive body shape, more off-roading chops, and increased passenger and cargo space.


The 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport Delivers on Being Incredibly Capable