Honda Pilot vs. Ford Explorer


Are you looking for a new family car? SUVs are a practical and comfortable choice for families looking for a vehicle with three rows. The good news is that there are a lot of competing SUV models on the market that are practical and reliable family cars. Two of the top brands you've probably come across during your car search are Honda and Ford.

These brands have competing models–the Honda Pilot vs. Ford Explorer. Both models are equipped with standard safety features and offer a comfortable riding experience for the driver and passengers. With so much in common, it can be difficult to choose between them. 

However, there are slight differences between them that could influence your car-buying decision. We'll go over some of the main features of each one, as well as compare them in important categories, like fuel efficiency, technology, design, and price. 

Honda Pilot (2023)

The current model year Honda Pilot is available in five trims–the Sport, EX-L, TrailSport, Touring, and Elite. The Sport is the base trim and is available for $39,150. If you are interested in purchasing the highest trim level, the Elite, it will cost you $52,030. 

The Pilot has been redesigned to be larger and more rugged than the previous model. Along with its new dimension, the Pilot also comes equipped with a lot of high-quality technology with features that come standard even on the base trim. You can enjoy all of the Honda Sensing safety features, including a blind spot information system, a traffic sign recognition system, and a forward collision warning. 

The interior cabin of the Pilot is upscale. Every trim higher than the base trim comes with amenities like leather-trimmed seats, a nine-inch touchscreen, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities.

Ford Explorer (2023)

The current model year Ford Explorer is available in eight trim levels–the Explorer, XLT, ST-Line, Timberline, Limited, ST, King Ranch, and Platinum. The Explorer's base trim is available for $36,760. The highest trim available is significantly more expensive than the base. It costs $54,020. 

The Explorer is a versatile and comfortable SUV that comes packed with convenient and high-quality features. In the lower trim levels, you can expect a touchscreen infotainment display center, standard safety features, a power liftgate, and rear parking sensors. 

In some of the higher trims, the cabin can be decked out with even more upscale features like a twin-panel moon roof, ambient lighting, a ten-inch touchscreen, and massage options in the front seats.

How Do They Compare?

The Ford Explorer Has More Affordable Base Trim Levels Than the Honda Pilot

If you have a strict budget for your next car purchase, or you just don't care about any extra amenities, then you will probably be most interested in the base trims of each model. The Ford Explorer's base trim is over a couple of thousand dollars less expensive than the Honda Pilot. Additionally, the Explorer has another trim level available that's still less than the Pilot's base trim. Overall, the Explorer has more budget-friendly options than the Pilot.

The Honda Pilot Can Seat More People Than the Ford Explorer

Overall, if you think you can benefit from more seating, then you'll prefer the design of the Honda Pilot vs. the Ford Explorer. Though each SUV has three rows of seating, the Pilot is able to seat eight people. The Explorer is only able to seat seven people. 

The Pilot is able to seat more people due to a clever and versatile design option. The middle seat on the second row can be stored in a compartment when not in use. You can simply pull it out of storage when you need to seat eight people in your car. 

The Ford Explorer Is More Fuel Efficient Than the Honda Pilot

SUVs are not known for their fuel efficiency. Still, many people want to go with the option that can save them slightly more at the gas pump. The Explorer is more fuel efficient than the Pilot due to its hybrid powertrain engine options. The Explorer is estimated to have a 27 City/29 Highway mpg. In comparison, the Pilot has an estimated 19 City/ 27 Highway mpg.

The Honda Pilot Has More Space Than the Ford Explorer

Overall, the Pilot has more passenger space and cargo capacity than the Explorer. Since extra space is often important to growing families, you may prefer the Honda Pilot vs. the Ford Explorer. 

The Pilot's rear cargo area measures to be around 22.4 cu-ft. In comparison, the Explorer's rear cargo area measures around 18.2 cu-ft. If you need extra space for your lifestyle, like big trips to the grocery store or hauling sports equipment, then you'll appreciate the Pilot.

The Honda Pilot Has More Technology Features Than the Ford Explorer

While both models are equipped with high-quality technology features, the Pilot has a couple more options available for car shoppers than the Explorer.

The Pilot has a CabinTalk feature that lets the driver more easily converse with those in the third row. It also has a tire assist function and a traffic sign recognition system. The Explorer doesn't offer those features on any of their trim levels.

Car shopping can be stressful even when you're choosing between two solid options. Ultimately, the right choice comes down to your lifestyle, preferences, and budget. If you are looking for the most affordable option, then you'll want to check out the base trims of the Ford Explorer. The Explorer also has the most fuel-efficient options available. However, if you want the option that has the most comfort, convenience, and technology features, then you'll prefer the Honda Pilot vs. the Ford Explorer.