“Would You Somewhat” is a recreation during which gamers problem each other with a alternative of hypothetical questions. For instance, would you reasonably have as your solely type of transportation a llama or a fairly tame ostrich? In fact, automobile fanatics play it slightly in a different way, and we discovered ourselves asking “This or that?” whereas evaluating the top-of-the-line variations of the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander.
The Pilot and Highlander we gathered collectively have rather a lot in widespread. Each are mid-size three-row crossovers with room for seven, and every has a V-6 powertrain and all-wheel drive. Our examples each got here with costs simply north of $50,000. Regardless of these many similarities, Honda and Toyota approached design very in a different way. The Pilot has a rugged aesthetic that makes an attempt to cover its minivan roots (with blended outcomes), and its spacious inside prioritizes practicality over self-importance. The Highlander, then again, has streamlined bodywork and a flashier cabin that strikes it towards the posh finish of the spectrum. That dichotomy begs the query: Would you reasonably appear like you are going climbing or headed to dinner?
The present Pilot arrived for 2016 and is an in depth cousin to the Honda Odyssey minivan and Ridgeline pickup. Final yr, the Pilot underwent a mid-cycle refresh that features tougher-looking styling, and for 2020 it provides a number of extra options and a brand new range-topping Black Version. To paraphrase Henry Ford, “You may have any shade you need so long as it is Crystal Black Pearl.” The monochromatic exterior remedy extends to the usual 20-inch wheels and almost all the exterior trim. Inside, it has black leather-based upholstery, embossed Black Version logos, and a smattering of pink accents. It comes geared up with all the usual gear discovered on the Elite mannequin together with all-wheel drive, heated and ventilated entrance seats, heated second-row captain’s chairs, a panoramic sunroof, and wi-fi charging. Our Pilot stickered for $50,840 with none extra choices, which represents a $1500 upcharge over the Elite mannequin.
Toyota redesigned the Highlander from the bottom up for 2020. Now in its fourth technology, the up to date three-row staple is now constructed on the corporate’s TNGA-Okay platform that additionally underpins the Toyota Camry and RAV4. Together with a extra trendy exterior and inside, the Highlander additionally will get enhanced driver-assistance know-how and an up to date infotainment system. Our top-of-the-line Platinum trim tester has a silver-painted entrance bumper and rear fascia plus distinctive 20-inch wheels to differentiate it from the lesser Highlanders. It additionally comes commonplace with a 12.3-inch touchscreen, a camera-based rearview mirror, a head-up show, heated and ventilated entrance seats, heated second-row captain’s chairs, and a panoramic sunroof. The front-drive Highlander Platinum begins at $49,920. All-wheel drive is an additional $1525 and a mixed $1192 for its particular light-blue Moon Mud paint, carpeted flooring mats, roof-mounted crossbars, and common pill holders that put its as-tested value at $51,112.
On the Highway
Each SUVs have the facility to cost down a freeway on-ramp or make a fast move on a two-lane highway. Toyota suits a 295-hp 3.5-liter V-6 and an eight-speed automated transmission into the Highlander, they usually work easily and quietly. In our testing, the 4504-pound Highlander arrived to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds and squirted from 50 to 70 mph in 5.Three ticks.
We favored the Highlander’s fast throttle response and responsive gearchanges, however the Pilot is the faster of the 2. It is down 5 horses to the Toyota, however the Honda’s 290-hp 3.5-liter V-6 has 177 fewer kilos to lug round. The result’s a 6.4-second run to 60 mph. Paired with a nine-speed automated, the Pilot’s V-6 slips into the background when cruising and registered an opulent 66 decibels at 70 mph, to the Highlander’s 69-decibel studying. Nonetheless, we want the way in which the Highlander responds to prods of the accelerator and the transmission’s willingness to rapidly adapt to our diverse driving conduct.
The Highlander goes down the highway with a easy agility that is applicable for a three-row SUV. We briefly drove the Highlander at its launch, and our first impressions maintain up after dwelling with it for a few weeks. Its steering has a pleasant heft and is correct and linear in its movement. The Pilot comes throughout as overly mild in effort and as if it is withholding details about what the tires are going by way of.
We additionally seen that the Highlander handled large impacts by way of the suspension and construction with extra grace than the Pilot. The Toyota’s suspension and sound deadening muted the impacts sooner and higher than hollow-sounding hits we heard within the Honda.
In corners, the Pilot rolls a bit extra. It does not essentially have an effect on stability however offers you pause when rounding an entrance ramp. The Highlander additionally outgripped the Pilot, giving a barely bigger measure of safety for evasive maneuvers. The Toyota additionally loved a bonus in braking exams, the place it stopped from 70 mph in 167 ft to the Pilot’s 172. We additionally most popular the Highlander’s firmer brake pedal. The Pilot additionally suffered from average fade throughout our six successive stops from 70 mph.
Contemplating how comparable the Pilot and the Highlander are, it is not a shock that the EPA fuel-economy estimates for the all-wheel-drive Highlander and Pilot are very shut. The Toyota is rated at 20 mpg metropolis, 27 freeway, and 23 mixed. The Honda offers up 1 mpg in all three classes. Nevertheless, we had been impressed with how a lot Honda has improved the Pilot’s automated stop-start function, which might now unobtrusively and rapidly restart the engine. In our regular 75-mph freeway check, the Pilot returned 25 mpg to the Highlander’s 28 mpg.
The Inside View
Maybe it is familiarity, however the Pilot’s inside strikes us as useful reasonably than thrilling. As in the perfect Hondas, there’s loads of passenger house and no scarcity of inside cubby storage. Its entrance seats are comfy for all physique sizes, and the driving force enjoys a commanding view of the highway forward. Honda’s infotainment system contains an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. We admire the bodily quantity knob and huge onscreen icons, however altering the radio station and navigating menus is more durable than it needs to be.
Our Black Version additionally boasts options that make parenting simpler, together with a rear-seat leisure system and an intercom known as CabinTalk that lets front-seat passengers discuss to (or reprimand) the again two rows. Entering into the third row is simple as a result of the second-row captain’s chairs transfer nicely out of the way in which. When you’re within the third row, there’s extra room than within the Highlander. In our suitcase check, the Pilot held simply as many roller-bag carry-ons because the Toyota behind its third row (4), and it held eight extra with all of the rear seats folded (38 whole).
The Highlander’s inside seems and feels significantly richer than its Honda rival. Our Platinum mannequin had the good-looking Harvest Beige leather-based upholstery and probably the greatest examples of fake-wood trim that we have seen. The instrument panel is dominated by an enormous touchscreen that helps Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Under it’s a set of HVAC controls and heated seat controls in addition to a built-in shelf that is excellent for storing small objects. The middle-console bin presents extra storage, however its small opening and wi-fi charging pad impose dimension restrictions. Whereas we discovered the Highlander’s driving place to be extra accommodating than the Pilot’s, its cramped third row left us sitting with our knees in our chest.
The Backside Line
Each the Pilot and the Highlander nail the practicality and folks hauling a part of the temporary—though the Highlander’s third-row seats do not measure as much as the Pilot’s. Subsequent to the Highlander, and regardless of the refresh, the Pilot feels just like the older automobile. It lacks the upmarket enchantment of the Highlander’s inside. If we had been purchasing for a loaded Pilot, we would steer clear from the Black Version and go for the $49,340 Elite trim stage as an alternative. The Pilot does not do a lot unsuitable, however regardless of its increased value, the Highlander Platinum appears value it. It has Lexus-worthy inside design and supplies, it is extra refined and quieter because it goes about its enterprise, and we favored driving the Highlander greater than the Pilot.
So, there you’ve gotten the reply to the query: Would you reasonably purchase the priciest Honda Pilot or the fanciest Toyota Highlander? Primarily based on our testing, we would select the Toyota. To reply the sooner query, we would in all probability go llama.
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