For the better part of a decade, midsize SUVs like the new Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer have taken over the road. But we’re not condoning nor condemning their standing with American drivers—no, our Miami Valley Honda Dealers are here to determine which of these three-row goliaths deserves the praise that’s commonly bestowed upon it. Read on to see how the 2017 Honda Pilot excels where the Ford Explorer falters.
All Pilot models benefit from incredible amounts of room. The base LX, which offers a maximum of 83.9 cubic feet of cargo space (through to the front row) and 152.9 cubic feet of passenger volume, even seats up to eight riders. In fact, the rear seat is the definition of comfort, offering 38.9 inches of headroom, 57.6 inches of shoulder room, and 44.6 inches of hiproom.
The Ford Explorer lags behind the Pilot in nearly all roominess categories, offering a maximum of just 81.7 cubic feet of storage space and 151.5 cu. ft. for passengers. Even as a seven-seater, the Explorer simply can’t match the Pilot’s backseat hip, shoulder, and headroom.
Verdict: The Honda Pilot not only has an additional seat, but it also offers far more cargo and passenger space than the Explorer.
Paired with the new 9-speed automatic transmission, 2WD versions of the Pilot return 20 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway. AWD Pilots with the 9-speed offer slightly lower mpg ratings (19 city/26 hwy).
Drivers of the base Explorer and its 6-speed transmission can expect returns of just 17 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway, while the top Explorer Platinum model comes in even lower (16 city/22 hwy).
Verdict: Honda’s Pilot is the hands-down winner in fuel economy.
The new Honda Pilot is one of three 2017 midsize SUVs stamped as a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS. The other two? Not the Explorer, which lost some respectability after receiving a “Marginal” grade in the Small Overlap Front category. However, both SUVs offer similar safety features and systems, such as blind-spot warnings, lane-departure alerts, rearview cameras, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning.
Verdict: Although the Explorer and Pilot have comparable features, only the Pilot and its Top Safety Pick+ designation provides the highest level of safety.
Honda regularly prices their models below competitors, and the Pilot is no exception to that rule. Starting at just over $30k, the base Honda Pilot LX is slightly less expensive than the comparable Explorer model (nearly $32k). When comparing the top trims, however, it’s apparent that Honda’s SUV is a far better value; a decked-out Pilot Elite costs approximately $6,000 bucks less than the Ford Explorer’s highest trim, the Platinum. And with the Honda incentives offered by our Miami Valley Honda Dealers, you can save even more money on a Pilot!
Verdict: Across the lineup, the Pilot costs significantly less than the Explorer.
The 2017 Honda Pilot Prevails
In this Pilot vs. Explorer war, Honda once again emerges triumphant—and entirely unscathed, might we add. With more interior volume, better fuel efficiency, higher safety grades, and a lower sticker price, the Pilot clearly has the Explorer’s number. But what else can we say about this all-star SUV that can’t be experienced during a test drive? Not a whole lot.
Find and contact your nearest Miami Valley Honda Dealers location to ignite (or reignite) your love for the new Pilot. Serving all of Springfield, Beavercreek, Dayton, Tipp City, and Richmond, OH, our Honda dealers would be happy to get you behind the wheel of any of our pre-owned cars or newest Honda models, Pilot or otherwise.
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