2020 Honda Pilot vs. 2020 Ford Explorer

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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

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 Explorer has not been tested, yet.

Reliability

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

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Honda 3 places higher in reliability than Ford.

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 Explorer 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 Explorer ST requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Pilot has 1.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Explorer Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (19.5 vs. 18 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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 Explorer’s standard 65 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 Explorer doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Chassis

The Honda Pilot may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 650 pounds less than the Ford Explorer.

Passenger Space

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

The Pilot has .2 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear shoulder room, 3.7 inches more third row hip room and 3 inches more third row shoulder room than the Explorer.

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

Cargo Capacity

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

Pilot

Explorer

Behind Third Seat

18.5 cubic feet

18.2 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

55.9 cubic feet

47.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

109 cubic feet

87.8 cubic feet

Towing

The Pilot’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Explorer’s (3500 vs. 3000 pounds).

Ergonomics

When the Pilot Touring/Elite/Black Edition is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Explorer’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Recommendations

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

Pilot

Explorer

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

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Car Book “Best Bet”

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

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