2020 Honda Pilot vs. 2019 Lexus RX Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

Your buying experience includes...

business_centerProfessional Staff
account_balanceSimple Financing
local_gas_stationFull Tank of Gas
local_car_washFree Car Wash


Both the Pilot and the RX Series 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, 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 Lexus RX Series:


RX Series



5 Stars

4 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

189 lbs.

546 lbs.

Neck Compression

46 lbs.

135 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

46/243 lbs.

499/536 lbs.



4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

116 lbs.

290 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, results indicate that the Honda Pilot is safer than the Lexus RX Series:


RX Series

Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.6 inches

.7 inches

Abdominal Force

101 G’s

110 G’s

Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

42 G’s

44 G’s

Hip Force

304 lbs.

594 lbs.

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

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 RX Series has not been fully tested, yet.


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.


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


As tested in Motor Trend the Honda Pilot is faster than the Lexus RX Series:


RX 350

RX 450h

Zero to 30 MPH

2.2 sec

2.3 sec


Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

6.8 sec

7 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

10.7 sec

11.2 sec


Passing 45 to 65 MPH

3.3 sec

3.6 sec


Quarter Mile

14.8 sec

15.1 sec

15.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93.9 MPH

92.7 MPH

94.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Honda Pilot uses regular unleaded gasoline. The RX 450h requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Pilot has 2.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the RX Series Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (19.5 vs. 17.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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 RX Series doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.


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 an eight-speed automatic is available for the RX Series.

Brakes and Stopping

The Pilot stops shorter than the RX Series:


RX Series

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Pilot has larger tires than the RX Series (245/60R18 vs. 235/65R18).

The Pilot LX/EX/EX-L’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the RX Series’ standard 65 series tires. The Pilot Touring/Elite/Black Edition’s tires have a lower 50 series profile than the RX Series’ optional 55 series tires.

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 RX Series doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

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 RX Series 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 RX Series (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 2.3 inches wider in the rear than on the RX Series.

The Pilot Elite 4WD handles at .83 G’s, while the RX 450h AWD pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.


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

Passenger Space

The Pilot has standard seating for 8 passengers; the RX Series can only carry 5.

The Pilot has .7 inches more front headroom, 2.5 inches more front hip room, 4.2 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, .4 inches more rear legroom, 1.2 inches more rear hip room and 4.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the RX Series.

Cargo Capacity

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


RX Series

Third Seat Folded

55.9 cubic feet


Third Seat Removed


18.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

109 cubic feet

56.3 cubic feet


The Pilot’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the RX Series’ (3500 vs. 0 pounds).

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Pilot is less expensive to operate than the RX Series because it costs $382 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Pilot than the RX Series, including $608 less for a water pump, $50 less for a muffler, $59 less for front brake pads, $239 less for a starter, $30 less for fuel injection, $1594 less for a timing belt/chain and $1449 less for a power steering pump.


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


RX Series

Consumer Reports® Recommends



Car Book “Best Bet”



The Honda Pilot outsold the Lexus RX Series by almost two to one during 2018.

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

How much is your car worth?

Get the best value for your car from an Asbury dealership.

Featured Videos