Son's Automotive Group Compares 2017 Honda Pilot VS 2017 Toyota Highlander Near Buford, GA

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2017 Honda Pilot

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2017 Honda Pilot

VS
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2017 Toyota Highlander

Safety Comparison

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 5 points, IIHS rates the Collision Mitigation Braking System optional in the Pilot as “Superior.” The Highlander scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

Both the Pilot and the Highlander have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Honda Pilot is safer than the Toyota Highlander:

 

Pilot

Highlander

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

149

195

Neck Injury Risk

28%

47%

Neck Stress

189 lbs.

509 lbs.

Neck Compression

46 lbs.

73 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

46/243 lbs.

409/517 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Honda Pilot is safer than the Toyota Highlander:

 

Pilot

Highlander

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.6 inches

.6 inches

Hip Force

269 lbs.

348 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

304 lbs.

440 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

15 inches

16 inches

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Pilot its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2017, a rating granted to only 44 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Highlander was last qualified as only a “Top Pick” in 2016.

Reliability Comparison

The engine in the Pilot has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the Highlander have dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

Engine Comparison

The Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 95 more horsepower (280 vs. 185) and 78 lbs.-ft. more torque (262 vs. 184) than the Highlander’s standard 2.7 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Honda Pilot is faster than the Toyota Highlander V6:

 

Pilot

Highlander

Zero to 60 MPH

6.5 sec

7.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.5 sec

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Pilot’s fuel efficiency. The Highlander doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Pilot has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Highlander doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Pilot stops shorter than the Highlander:

 

Pilot

Highlander

 

70 to 0 MPH

180 feet

186 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

128 feet

131 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The Pilot Touring/Elite’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Highlander SE/Limited’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Pilot Touring/Elite has standard 20-inch wheels. The Highlander’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

The Pilot has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Highlander doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Pilot has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Highlander doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Pilot (except LX)’s optional drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Highlander doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Pilot’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the Highlander (111 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Pilot is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 2.1 inches wider in the rear than on the Highlander.

The Pilot Elite 4WD handles at .83 G’s, while the Highlander LE pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Pilot Elite 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Highlander LE (27.8 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

The Pilot uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Highlander doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Pilot has 8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Highlander (152.9 vs. 144.9).

The Pilot has 1.9 inches more front hip room, 2.7 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, .2 inches more rear hip room, 2.4 inches more rear shoulder room, 3 inches more third row headroom, 4.2 inches more third row legroom and 2.6 inches more third row shoulder room than the Highlander.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Pilot’s cargo area provides more volume than the Highlander.

 

Pilot

Highlander

Behind Third Seat

18.5 cubic feet

13.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

55.9 cubic feet

42.3 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

109 cubic feet

83.7 cubic feet

The Pilot has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Highlander doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Pilot EX/EX-L/Touring/Elite has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Highlander doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Pilot Touring/Elite’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Highlander doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

If the windows are left down on the Pilot the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Highlander can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Pilot’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Highlander’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

When the Pilot Touring/Elite is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Highlander’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Pilot has a standard center folding armrest for the middle row passengers. A center armrest helps make middle row passengers more comfortable. The Highlander doesn’t offer a middle row seat center armrest.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Pilot is less expensive to operate than the Highlander because it costs $216 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Pilot than the Highlander, including $46 less for a water pump, $525 less for an alternator, $189 less for fuel injection, $491 less for a fuel pump, $434 less for front struts and $1515 less for a timing belt/chain.

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