2021 Honda Pilot vs. 2020 GMC Acadia

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the Pilot deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The Pilot’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Acadia’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

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.

Warranty

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/08/12

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

Reliability

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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.

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 2019 Auto Issue reports that Honda vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Honda 10 places higher in reliability than GMC.

Engine

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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-cylinder. 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-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

Pilot

Acadia

2WD

3.5 V6/9-spd. Auto

20 city/27 hwy

19 city/27 hwy

3.6 V6/Auto

4WD

3.5 V6/9-spd. Auto

19 city/26 hwy

18 city/25 hwy

3.6 V6/Auto

An engine control system that can shut down some 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 4-cylinder engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Pilot stops much shorter than the Acadia:

Pilot

Acadia

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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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 SE/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

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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

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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

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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

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The Pilot’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Acadia’s (3500 vs. 1000 pounds).

Ergonomics

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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.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Pilot owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Pilot will cost $680 less than the Acadia over a five-year period.

The Pilot will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Pilot will retain 50.46% to 52.42% of its original price after five years, while the Acadia only retains 35.93% to 45.86%.

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 $123 less for front brake pads, $24 less for fuel injection, $748 less for a timing belt/chain and $453 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 $1584 to $5057 less than for the GMC Acadia.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/08/12

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 36% during 2019.

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

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