2020 Honda Pilot vs. 2020 GMC Acadia

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Pilot and the Acadia 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, 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 GMC Acadia:

Pilot

Acadia

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Leg Forces (l/r)

46/243 lbs.

112/392 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

216

403

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

35%

37%

Neck Stress

116 lbs.

152 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 GMC Acadia:

Pilot

Acadia

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.6 inches

.9 inches

Abdominal Force

101 G’s

155 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

233

263

Spine Acceleration

42 G’s

42 G’s

Hip Force

304 lbs.

896 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 Acadia was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

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

Reliability

The engine in the Pilot has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the Acadia have 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 18 points higher than the Acadia.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Honda vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 16th in reliability. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 22nd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Honda vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Honda 10 places higher in reliability than GMC.

Engine

The Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 87 more horsepower (280 vs. 193) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (262 vs. 188) than the Acadia’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 50 more horsepower (280 vs. 230) and 4 lbs.-ft. more torque (262 vs. 258) than the Acadia’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

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 Acadia 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 Acadia with the 2.0 turbo engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping

The Pilot stops shorter than the Acadia:

Pilot

Acadia

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Pilot LX/EX/EX-L has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Acadia.

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 Acadia doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Pilot is 1.8 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Acadia.

The Pilot Elite 4WD handles at .83 G’s, while the Acadia SLT AWD pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For greater off-road capability the Pilot has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Acadia (7.3 vs. 7.2 inches), allowing the Pilot to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The Pilot has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Acadia can only carry up to 7.

The Pilot has 9.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Acadia (152.9 vs. 143.8).

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

Cargo Capacity

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

Pilot

Acadia

Behind Third Seat

18.5 cubic feet

12.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

55.9 cubic feet

41.7 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

109 cubic feet

79 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 Acadia doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

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

Towing

The Pilot’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Acadia’s (3500 vs. 1000 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 Acadia’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 Acadia can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Pilot has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Acadia doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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 Acadia’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Pilot’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Acadia’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Pilot owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Pilot will cost $45 to $2595 less than the Acadia over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Pilot is less expensive to operate than the Acadia 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 Acadia, including $112 less for front brake pads, $24 less for fuel injection, $740 less for a timing belt/chain and $449 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 $771 to $2262 less than for the GMC Acadia.

Recommendations

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

Pilot

Acadia

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

FALSE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

The Honda Pilot outsold the GMC Acadia by 80% during 2018.

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

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