2020 Honda Pilot vs. 2019 Lexus GX460

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the Pilot uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The GX460 uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

Both the Pilot and the GX460 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Acceptable” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Pilot the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 88 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The GX460 has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

There are over 4 times as many Honda dealers as there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Pilot’s warranty.

Reliability

The engine in the Pilot has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engine in the GX460 has dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

Engine

As tested in Car and Driver the Honda Pilot is faster than the Lexus GX460:

Pilot

GX460

Zero to 30 MPH

2.2 sec

2.5 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

7.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17.2 sec

21.5 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.3 sec

7.6 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.5 sec

3.7 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.7 sec

5.1 sec

Quarter Mile

14.8 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

89 MPH

Top Speed

113 MPH

111 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Pilot gets better fuel mileage than the GX460:

MPG

Pilot

FWD

9-spd

3.5 SOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy

6-spd

3.5 SOHC V6

19 city/27 hwy

AWD

9-spd

3.5 SOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

6-spd

3.5 SOHC V6

18 city/26 hwy

GX460

AWD

6-spd

4.6 DOHC V8

15 city/18 hwy

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Pilot’s fuel efficiency. The GX460 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Pilot Touring/Elite/Black Edition’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The GX460 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Honda Pilot uses regular unleaded gasoline. The GX460 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

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 GX460 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Honda Pilot Touring/Elite/Black Edition, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the GX460.

Brakes and Stopping

The Pilot stops shorter than the GX460:

Pilot

GX460

70 to 0 MPH

180 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

The Pilot Touring/Elite/Black Edition’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GX460’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Pilot Touring/Elite/Black Edition has standard 20-inch wheels. The GX460’s largest wheels are only 18-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 GX460 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Honda Pilot has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Lexus GX460 has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

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 GX460 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 GX460 (111 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Pilot is 3.9 inches wider in the front and 3.9 inches wider in the rear than on the GX460.

The Pilot Elite 4WD handles at .80 G’s, while the GX460 pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Pilot Elite 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the GX460 (27.5 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Pilot’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the GX460’s (39.4 feet vs. 41.1 feet).

Chassis

The Honda Pilot may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 900 to 1100 pounds less than the Lexus GX460.

Unibody construction lowers the Pilot’s center of gravity significantly without reducing ground clearance. This contributes to better on the road handling and better off-road performance and stability. In addition, unibody construction makes the chassis stiffer, improving handling and reducing squeaks and rattles. The GX460 uses body-on-frame design instead.

The Pilot uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The GX460 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Pilot Elite 4WD is quieter than the GX460 (37 vs. 43 dB).

Passenger Space

The Pilot has standard seating for 8 passengers; the GX460 can only carry 7.

The Pilot has 23.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GX460 (152.9 vs. 129.7).

The Pilot has 2.1 inches more front headroom, 2.6 inches more front hip room, 6.6 inches more front shoulder room, 4.3 inches more rear legroom, 2.1 inches more rear hip room, 4.7 inches more rear shoulder room, 3.7 inches more third row headroom, 2.6 inches more third row legroom, 1.5 inches more third row hip room and 3.1 inches more third row shoulder room than the GX460.

Cargo Capacity

The Pilot’s cargo area provides more volume than the GX460.

Pilot

GX460

Behind Third Seat

18.5 cubic feet

11.6 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

55.9 cubic feet

46.7 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

109 cubic feet

64.7 cubic feet

The Pilot’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The GX460’s swing out door blocks loading from the passenger’s side.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Pilot EX-L/Touring/Elite/Black Edition has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or on the Pilot Touring/Elite/Black Edition, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The GX460 doesn’t offer a power cargo door.

Ergonomics

The Pilot’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The GX460’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

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 GX460’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Model Availability

The Pilot is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The GX460 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Pilot owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Pilot will cost $475 to $1560 less than the GX460 over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Pilot is less expensive to operate than the GX460 because it costs $300 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Pilot than the GX460, including $110 less for a muffler, $285 less for a starter, $148 less for fuel injection, $822 less for a timing belt/chain and $495 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Honda Pilot will be $12514 to $17078 less than for the Lexus GX460.

Recommendations

The Honda Pilot has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

Pilot

GX460

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

FALSE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

The Honda Pilot outsold the Lexus GX460 by almost six to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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