2020 Lexus RX Series vs. 2020 Honda Pilot

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/16

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus RX Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Honda Pilot doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The RX Series has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Pilot doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The RX Series offers optional Auto Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Pilot doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The RX Series offers an optional Panoramic View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Pilot only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the RX Series and the Pilot have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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 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 Lexus RX Series is safer than the Honda Pilot:

RX Series

Pilot

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

176

216

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.6 inches

Neck Compression

90 lbs.

478 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

403/259 lbs.

478/436 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 Lexus RX Series is safer than the Honda Pilot:

RX Series

Pilot

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

53

109

Hip Force

214 lbs.

269 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

165

233

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

15 inches

HIC

275

406

Spine Acceleration

44 G’s

45 G’s

Hip Force

685 lbs.

838 lbs.

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

Warranty

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The RX Series comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Pilot’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RX Series 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Honda covers the Pilot. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Pilot ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The RX Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Pilot’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/16

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the RX Series’ engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Pilot’s camshafts. If the Pilot’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

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 RX Series’ reliability 22 points higher than the Pilot.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the RX Series first among midsize premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Pilot isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 40 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Honda is ranked 15th.

Engine

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The RX 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 15 more horsepower (295 vs. 280) and 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (268 vs. 262) than the Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6. The RX 450h’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid produces 28 more horsepower (308 vs. 280) than the Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/16

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

MPG

RX Series

FWD

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy

AWD

450h 3.5 DOHC V6

31 city/28 hwy

3.5 DOHC V8

19 city/26 hwy

Pilot

FWD

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy

AWD

3.5 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the RX Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Pilot doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Transmission

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The RX 450h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Pilot doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the RX Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Pilot:

RX Series

Pilot

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.3 inches

13 inches

The RX Series’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Pilot are solid, not vented.

The RX Series stops shorter than the Pilot:

RX Series

Pilot

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

128 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

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The RX Series has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Pilot’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The RX Series offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Pilot’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The RX 350 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Pilot Elite 4WD (27.1 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 27.8 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the RX Series’ turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Pilot’s (38.8 feet vs. 39.4 feet).

For greater off-road capability the RX Series has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Pilot (8.2 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the RX Series to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The RX Series is 4 inches shorter than the Pilot, making the RX Series easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

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Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the RX Series’ optional rear seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Pilot doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Servicing Ease

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The RX Series uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Pilot uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Honda. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 66% lower rating, Honda is ranked 23rd.

Ergonomics

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The RX Series offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Pilot doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The RX Series’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Pilot’s parking brake has to released manually.

The power windows standard on both the RX Series and the Pilot have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the RX Series is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Pilot prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The RX Series’ front and rear power windows all 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 Pilot’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The RX Series’ rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Pilot’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RX Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Pilot doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the RX Series offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Pilot doesn’t offer cornering lights. The RX Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The RX Series’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Honda only offers heated mirrors on the Pilot EX/EX-L/Touring/Elite/Black Edition.

The RX Series’ power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Pilot’s power mirror controls are on the dash where they are possibly hidden by the steering wheel and are awkward to manipulate.

The RX Series has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Pilot EX/EX-L/Touring/Elite/Black Edition.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the RX Series owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the RX Series with a number “5” insurance rate while the Pilot is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RX Series is less expensive to operate than the Pilot because typical repairs cost less on the RX Series than the Pilot, including $164 less for a fuel pump and $85 less for front struts.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/16

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Lexus RX Series and the Honda Pilot, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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