2020 Honda Pilot vs. 2020 Chevrolet Traverse

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Honda Pilot are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Chevrolet Traverse doesn’t offer height-adjustable front seat belts.

Both the Pilot and the Traverse have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, 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.

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 Chevrolet Traverse:

Pilot

Traverse

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

149

216

Neck Stress

189 lbs.

198 lbs.

Neck Compression

46 lbs.

77 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

216

333

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.9 inches

Neck Injury Risk

35%

35.2%

Neck Stress

116 lbs.

128 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 Chevrolet Traverse:

Pilot

Traverse

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.6 inches

.9 inches

Abdominal Force

101 G’s

161 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

304 lbs.

716 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 Traverse has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The Pilot’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Traverse’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability

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

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Pilot’s reliability 32 points higher than the Traverse.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Honda 8 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Engine

As tested in Car and Driver the Honda Pilot is faster than the Chevrolet Traverse:

Pilot

Traverse

Zero to 30 MPH

2.2 sec

2.5 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

6.5 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17.2 sec

17.3 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.3 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.8 sec

15.1 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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

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

Traverse

FWD

9-spd

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/27 hwy

AWD

9-spd

3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/25 hwy

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

Brakes and Stopping

The Pilot stops much shorter than the Traverse:

Pilot

Traverse

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

135 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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 Traverse’s standard 65 series tires. The Pilot Touring/Elite/Black Edition’s tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Traverse’s optional 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 Traverse doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The Pilot Elite 4WD handles at .83 G’s, while the Traverse Premier AWD pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Chassis

The Honda Pilot may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 950 pounds less than the Chevrolet Traverse.

The Pilot is 7.8 inches shorter than the Traverse, making the Pilot easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Pilot Elite 4WD is quieter than the Traverse High Country AWD (37 vs. 41 dB).

Passenger Space

The Pilot has 1 inch more front hip room, .2 inches more rear headroom, .4 inches more rear hip room, .7 inches more third row headroom and .1 inches more third row shoulder room than the Traverse.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Pilot’s middle and third row seats recline. The Traverse’s third row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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

Pilot

Traverse

Second Seat Folded

109 cubic feet

98.2 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 Traverse doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Pilot. The Traverse doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

The Pilot’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Traverse’s (3500 vs. 1500 pounds).

Ergonomics

The Pilot’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Traverse’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. The Traverse LT/RS/Premier/High Country’s front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Pilot the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Traverse can only close 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 Traverse’s 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 Pilot has a standard center folding armrest for the middle row passengers. A center armrest helps make middle row passengers more comfortable. The Traverse doesn’t offer a middle row seat center armrest.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Pilot is less expensive to operate than the Traverse because it costs $691 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Pilot than the Traverse, including $31 less for a water pump, $109 less for front brake pads, $158 less for fuel injection and $806 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Honda Pilot will be $897 to $4958 less than for the Chevrolet Traverse.

Recommendations

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

Pilot

Traverse

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

FALSE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

The Honda Pilot outsold the Chevrolet Traverse by 9% during 2018.

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

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