2020 Honda Pilot vs. 2019 Nissan Pathfinder

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Pilot’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

Both the Pilot and the Pathfinder 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, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, 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 Nissan Pathfinder:

Pilot

Pathfinder

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

149

337

Neck Injury Risk

28%

42%

Neck Stress

189 lbs.

464 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

46/243 lbs.

516/475 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 Nissan Pathfinder:

Pilot

Pathfinder

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

109

114

Chest Movement

.6 inches

.9 inches

Abdominal Force

101 G’s

120 G’s

Hip Force

269 lbs.

457 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

304 lbs.

557 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

15 inches

18 inches

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

Reliability

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

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 Pathfinder 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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

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

Brakes and Stopping

The Pilot stops shorter than the Pathfinder:

Pilot

Pathfinder

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Pilot has larger tires than the Pathfinder (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 Pathfinder S/SV/SL’s standard 65 series tires. The Pilot Touring/Elite/Black Edition’s tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Pathfinder Platinum’s 55 series tires.

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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The Pilot Elite 4WD handles at .80 G’s, while the Pathfinder Platinum 4x4 pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Pilot Elite 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the Pathfinder Platinum 4x4 (27.5 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .53 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Pilot has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Pathfinder (7.3 vs. 7 inches), allowing the Pilot to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The Honda Pilot may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 350 pounds less than the Nissan Pathfinder.

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

Passenger Space

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

The Pilot has 2.3 inches more front hip room, 1.1 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear headroom, 1.3 inches more rear hip room, 1.6 inches more rear shoulder room, 1.1 inches more third row headroom, 1.2 inches more third row legroom, 2.6 inches more third row hip room and .5 inches more third row shoulder room than the Pathfinder.

Cargo Capacity

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

Pilot

Pathfinder

Behind Third Seat

18.5 cubic feet

16.2 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

55.9 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

47.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

109 cubic feet

79.5 cubic feet

Servicing Ease

The Pilot has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Pathfinder doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The Pilot’s front power windows open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Pathfinder’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically. The Pathfinder SV/SL/Platinum’s rear windows don’t close automatically.

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 Pathfinder S’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Pilot Elite/Black Edition’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Pathfinder SV/SL/Platinum’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

The Pilot has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The automatic headlight on/off feature is not available on the Pathfinder S.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Pilot detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Pilot Elite/Black Edition has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Pathfinder offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Pilot is less expensive to operate than the Pathfinder because it costs $927 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Pilot than the Pathfinder, including $33 less for a muffler, $26 less for front brake pads, $121 less for a starter, $144 less for fuel injection and $533 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

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

Pilot

Pathfinder

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

FALSE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

The Honda Pilot outsold the Nissan Pathfinder by over two to one during 2018.

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

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