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2021 Ford Explorer vs Honda Pilot

2021 Ford Explorer vs Honda Pilot

2021 Explorer vs Pilot - How do they stack up? Which is Better?

Sport utility vehicles are taking over the auto market. Perfect for families, business professionals, and travel with friends, SUVs create a spacious environment that is comfortable. These vehicles are often well-equipped and saturated in tech amenities. Some even have quite a reputable engine under the hood, allowing them to tow trailers, when needed. Multi-faceted and diverse, there are a wide array of modern SUVs available on the market. Two of the most popular options include the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Honda Pilot.

Although these two models are included in the same class, they are complete opposites in most aspects. This offers an advantage to shoppers, because they can opt for the SUV that best fits their specific lifestyle, price, and safety preferences. While the 2021 Ford Explorer offers a more traditional take on a contemporary SUV, the 2021 Honda Pilot stays true to its innovative characteristics. Depending on which you prefer, each one of these models can be the perfect fit for a specific type of buyer. Complete with three rows, the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Honda Pilot each fulfill the same purpose but do so in their own way.

From first glance, you can tell the difference between these two models. The 2021 Honda Pilot resembles a standard minivan with some trendy SUV characteristics mixed in, while the 2021 Ford Explorer stands taller and looks more like a typical sport utility vehicle. Let us look at some additional traits that set these two models apart and see how they could make a different to potential buyers.

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The Powertrain

Two SUV options with varying powertrain priorities emerge in the comparison of the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Honda Pilot. The Ford Explorer is known for its power production from a turbocharged engine that equips it with ample towing power. In contrast, the 2021 Honda Pilot is renowned for its speed and acceleration in lieu of horsepower production. Although the Honda Pilot offers a fuel efficient driving experience, those looking for a more exhilarating drive may want to look elsewhere.

The turbocharged four-cylinder engine of the 2021 Ford Explorer and rear-wheel drive come standard on this model. An optional upgrade to all-wheel drive and a hybrid powertrain are also available on some Explorer models. A twin-turbocharged V6 is also included in some of the sportier 2021 Ford Explorer models, like the Platinum and ST. Producing a range of 300 to 400 horsepower, buyers love the variety they get in the Ford Explorer powertrain selections. From a turbocharged powerhouse to an environmentally-friendly hybrid, every buyer can find their home in a 2021 Ford Explorer trim.

Owners of the 2021 Honda Pilot will find an undeniable elevation of attributes as they move up the available trim level options. From a special edition that boasts an intuitive nine-speed automatic setup to the base models that rely on a lackluster six-speed automatic transmission style, there is a wide array of features incorporated through the newest Honda Pilot lineup. The 2021 Honda Pilot incorporates the use of a sole engine type, which is a sporty V6. Available all-wheel drive adds some flair to its powertrain setup, but otherwise this vehicle's resemblance to a traditional minivan is evident.

Aside from the great difference in the number of engine options each of these models offers, the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Honda Pilot are seriously separated by their available towing capacity. The Honda Pilot is not a model that was made for hauling. Its fun-loving attitude is sporty and spunky, but this is the extent of its work ethic. Yet, the Ford Explorer made it a point to add engine options that are durable and powerful enough for frequent towing. The ability to haul up to 5,600 pounds in its most equipped model makes this SUV ideal for adventure-seeking families.


Sometimes, the feel of a vehicle is the deciding factor when considering a purchase. Rather heavy on its feet, the sheer size of the 2021 Honda Pilot and lack of features to correct this downfall leaves much to be desired. The 20-inch wheels included as standard on the Pilot are merely a hindrance to this SUV's ride quality, too. Ironically enough, the Honda Pilot rides better when it is fully loaded with passengers and cargo, but there is little that can be done to improve its body control. Some buyers are willing to overlook these concerns in exchange for a high seating height and extra ground clearance that improves this SUVs convenience for passengers.

The varying engine styles and associated heaviness of these components allows the ride quality and general feel of the 2021 Ford Explorer to be more flexible than the 2021 Honda Pilot. With each generating an agreeable and confident style of driving, the Ford Explorer is not necessarily exciting. This is acceptable for many buyers, because that is not the feel they are essentially trying to achieve in an SUV purchase. Many of the changes for the 2021 Ford Explorer are geared toward its interior detailing and accommodations, so buyers can rest assured they will see the same performance abilities maintained in this model from years prior.

Even the inherent technology of the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Honda Pilot is significantly different. While the Explorer has focused on improving in this area over the past few years, the Pilot has fallen behind. Offering a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen, the Ford Explorer surprises customers who opt for higher levels with a vertically-oriented 10.1-inch screen setup. Voice-activated navigation accompanies every model, letting buyers know what they can expect from any trim level purchase. In contrast, the Honda Pilot only offers voice navigation as an optional upgrade. Its standard touchscreen spans a more 5.0-inches with an upgrade to a disappointing 8.0-inch layout.

Buying Tip:

To avoid overpaying on a new car, shop prices online first. Get up front pricing before you walk into a dealership. We recommend the following free services; Car Clearance Deals, NADAguides, CarsDirect & & Motortrend.
These free services will offer you the lowest prices and supply you with multiple competing price quotes. You will know the best price before you visit the dealer.


One of very few ways the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Honda Pilot fall into the same field is in their safety attributes. Both SUVs offer a robust array of advanced driver assistive safety features that are included as standard. The 2021 Ford Explorer even gained a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as did the 2021 Honda Pilot. Interestingly, the Ford Explorer and the Honda Pilot both fell short on being named as a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS. The Explorer's performance in its front overlap crash testing contributed to its mere miss of this prestigious designation.

Ford implements their own suite of innovative advanced driver assistive safety features known as Co-Pilot360. Of course, the 2021 Ford Explorer gains access to this standard inclusion. Not only does this model offer self-parking assist but it also incorporates many driver assistive features that can be found as standard in models from other brands, as well. These consist of forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-departure warning, to name a few. This is not an exhaustive list of all the advanced safety features this model has to offer, though.

The 2021 Honda Pilot is not far behind the Ford Explorer in its standard safety feature inclusions. Every Pilot is equipped with a wide array of safety features that consist of forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist. Surprisingly, the 2021 Honda Pilot also makes adaptive cruise control standard, which is not the case with most other competitors. This alone puts it ahead of some rivals, including the 2021 Ford Explorer in this aspect.

Which Has the Best Value?

The innate value of a potential vehicle being considered for purchase varies greatly depending on which features each buyer finds essential and desirable. Undoubtedly, the 2021 Ford Explorer is a more well-rounded SUV model. It is more diverse, powerful, and advanced in its technology. For buyers in search of a modern SUV model and a more intuitive driving experience, the 2021 Ford Explorer is a good option. While it may seem as though the 2021 Honda Pilot does not offer as much to choose from, this is exactly what some buyers are looking for. A simple model with a straightforward approach appeals to some car shoppers.

In comparison to their relative cost, the value of the 2021 Ford Explorer is much better than that of the 2021 Honda Pilot. Featuring nearly identical MSRPs, the Honda Pilot is much less equipped and advanced than the Ford Explorer. This means the defined cost of the 2021 Honda Pilot is less substantiated than that of the versatile 2021 Ford Explorer. The Pilot also offers on less trim level in its six-option lineup, whereas the Explorer has seven different models to consider.

Which is Better?

There comes a time when each consumer must decide whether the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Honda Pilot is a better vehicle to purchase. Many concepts must go into this evaluation to confirm which vehicle is ultimately a better purchase. From a perspective of flexibility and diversity, the 2021 Ford Explorer is a better option, hands down. It is powerful, has several engine options, boasts a hybrid layout, and can tow most standard trailers. These are just advantages of the powertrain of this model. This list continues to grow as we evaluate everything this SUV has to offer.

The safety inclusions of the 2021 Ford Explorer are incorporated into a cohesive brand-specific package, while this model has also taken time to upgrades its tech elements. An innovative touchscreen that can be flipped to a vertical layout in higher trims is also a serious upgrade to consider. The ride quality of the 2021 Ford Explorer, as well as the comfort of this SUV, is also enviable. In our eyes, the 2021 Ford Explorer is the total package.

Yet, one area the 2021 Ford Explorer cannot compete against the 2021 Honda Pilot in is a sporty performance and peppy engine. The 2021 Honda Pilot is more playful than hard-working, and it incorporates an engine style to facilitate that attitude. The overall look of the 2021 Honda Pilot is also different than that of the 2021 Ford Explorer. Those who may not like the look of a traditional SUV may prefer the minivan style appearance of the 2021 Honda Pilot. However, this is not usually a desire by most consumers considering these two models as potential purchase choices.

Overall, the 2021 Ford Explorer is the better choice over the 2021 Honda Pilot. Usually, we would make such a decision as this, because every buyer's needs and desires vary. Yet, the 2021 Ford Explorer caters to the requests of a wide array of customers in every area. From its design to its power to its technology and safety, the 2021 Ford Explorer completing soars over the 2021 Honda Pilot in ways that cannot be ignored. If you are considering a purchase of a 2021 Ford Explorer or a 2021 Honda Pilot, we would choose the 2021 Ford Explorer any day.

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