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2020 Honda Passport vs Pilot

2020 Honda Passport vs Pilot

2020 Passport vs Pilot - How do they stack up? What are the differences?

Finding the right SUV for you can be a bit of a chore since the market is getting more packed with every passing year. When it comes to your options for 2020, there are a few that stand out, and two of them are Hondas: the 2020 Honda Passport and the 2020 Honda Pilot.

The Pilot is a family-friendly midsize SUV with a third row, and the Passport is a cozy five-seater. The Pilot is extremely versatile in its design, has cleverly crafted storage areas, and has a spacious second row. The ride quality is smooth and compliant, and you get a great fuel economy. Sounds good, right? The only real drawbacks are the narrow third-row access (which is unfortunately still pretty common for third-row SUVs), the 9-speed automatic transmission (which is just not as smooth as the 6-speed that comes on the lower trims), and adaptive cruise control and collision warning being too sensitive.

The Passport has some pros and cons too. It has a ton of space for passengers in the second row, comfy seats up front, and smart storage areas. But it too has problems with some of the driver aids and has a driver's seat that is positioned a little too high for some drivers.

So, which of these two Hondas is the better buy? Is there one that has more to offer in terms of features or comfort? We will go through all types of buying factors here: powertrains, drivability factors, and safety features and ratings. In the end of this comparison review, we will announce which Honda we think has more value and is the better overall buy. Read on and find out more about these two class-topping SUVs!


The Powertrain

Let us start off by comparing the different powertrains on these SUVs. The 2020 Honda Pilot is powered by a standard 3.5-L V6 engine that is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission on the lower trims and a 9-speed automatic transmission on the Touring and above. These elements combine to give the Pilot 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard, but all-wheel drive (AWD) is standard on the Elite and Black Edition. It is also optional on all of the other trims.

Now, let's shift over to the 2020 Honda Passport. This is also powered by a 3.5-L V6 engine, which is paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain musters up a cool 280 and 262 lb-ft of torque as well. FWD comes on the Sport, EX-L, and Touring (which have the option of equipping AWD) while the Elite gets standard AWD.


When it comes to drivability, a lot of different aspects factor in. It is not simply about how a vehicle performs but how much comfort it offers, how well its interior is designed, what kind of technology it offers, and how much utility it offers. In all of these arenas, Honda gets a lot of things right.

On the 2020 Honda Pilot, you get a very quick acceleration from the 9-speed automatic transmission, which takes the vehicle from 0 to 60 mph in just 7 seconds. The brakes feel strong and consistent, never becoming squishy over time and remaining easy to modulate in all braking situations. You can make a snappy panic stop in around 123 feet, which is pretty normal for this segment. This SUV handles winding mountain roads with ease. Steering feels precise, but you do not get much feedback from the road.

The 2020 Honda Passport has a spunky V6 with great acceleration. The 9-speed provides smooth shifting abilities, and the vehicles has a 0-60 time of 6.8 seconds, which is quick for this class. The handling is also better than usual, and the steering is weighted well with an ability to make light turns and responsive nature. The brakes do get a little squishy under heavy braking but are otherwise very secure and predictable.

When it comes to comfort, both Hondas do well with providing it. The Pilot controls its body motions with elegance, and the suspension smooths out small bumps without a hassle. The front seats are packed with support, and you can slide and recline the second row of seats with the simple touch of a button. You will not hear much noise from the tires or road, and the V6 is remarkably quiet. Tri-zone climate control works as well as you can reasonably expect, providing air to all three rows.

The Passport is also comfy, although it is a bit stiffer than the Pilot. The body motions are also well controlled, and small bumps are dispatched just like they are in the Pilot. The wide front seats do not have a lot of bolstering, but the reclining rear seats make for a lot of extra comfort. The cabin is tranquil with barely any wind or road noise that makes its way in, and tri-zone automatic climate control is also effective in this vehicle. The heated and ventilated seats that come on the higher trim levels are a huge bonus too.

The interiors of these two vehicles are immaculate compared to many rivals, paralleling what you find in some of the nicer entry-level luxury SUVs. The Pilot is practical with a lot of intelligent features. The third row is tight but still cozy enough for kids and smaller adults. There is just one button you have to press to slide and recline the second row, making it easy to access the third row. Finding a comfortable driving position is also pretty simple since the front seat is highly adjustable. The steering wheel could have more telescoping ability though.

The Passport's cabin is also well designed with plenty of head and leg room all around. You can easily fit three adults in the second row, although getting in and out might be difficult for taller adults since the ride height is a bit awkward. The large door openings help alleviate some of the difficulty though. You can out of the vehicle with clarity, and even the infotainment touchscreen is appropriately responsive. The unique push-button shifter is cool since is saves space but does take a little getting used to at first.

Speaking of technology, Honda loads its vehicles up with plenty of standard tech gadgets. The Passport has its easy-to-use touchscreen, and the navigation system is quick to respond to commands. The optional 10-speaker sound system provides crystal-clear quality, and on the Touring and Elite, you get WiFi hot-spot connectivity. The upgraded sound system also comes on the Passport, and the navigation system is likewise responsive. There are USB passports everywhere, and smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto comes equipped.

What about storage? That's probably part of why you are looking at an SUV, right? Well, the good news is that Honda has some of the most innovative cargo area designs out there right now. The Pilot has 16 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats in place, but that can be maxed out at 84 cubes when you fold the back rows down. There is a lot of under-floor storage, and basically all space becomes usable in the cargo area. There are massive door pockets and cleverly crafted small item storage spaces. The center console is especially handy for organizing your items. The AWD's max towing capacity is 5,000 pounds and is capable when fully equipped.

The Passport has 41.2 cubes behind the rear seats but can be maxed out to 77.9 cubes. There is a high load height and plenty of versatile small item storage areas. The LATCH system is also easy to use with accessible anchors, and the back can accommodate rear-facing child car seats. Again, AWD can get you a max towing of 5,000 pounds.

Buying Tip:

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Safety is an important aspect to consider when buying a vehicle, and it happens to be something that Honda takes seriously. The Honda Sensing suite bundles a bunch of driver aids into a standard package. You get adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and blind spot monitoring on these vehicles. However, adaptive cruise control only works down to 20 mph and is not always smooth. Lane keep assist is also known for being a bit intrusive.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (better known as NHTSA) has given the Pilot 5 stars overall, and it got 4 stars for the overall front passenger side. There have been two recalls on the vehicle: incomplete body welding and the vehicle losing power after crackling can be heard coming from the speakers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (better known as IIHS) got "Good" ("G") on everything but the LATCH system, headlights on the lower trim levels, and the small overlap front passenger side, all of which got "Acceptable" ("A").

Meanwhile, NHTSA gave the Passport 5 stars overall. It got 4 stars on the overall front barrier and 4 stars on the rollover assessment. IIHS gave it "G" on most of the tests it carried out, but it got "A"s on small front overlap passengerside, the LATCH system, and the headlights.

Which Has the Best Value

Alright, which one of these two Hondas has the best value? They sure do share a lot of things in common despite being in two different segments. Both have amazing interior quality that is not typical for the price. This makes it easy to justify buying one of the higher trim levels. You get a lot of soft-touch surfaces in both vehicles as well as some stunning high-gloss trim and matte-finish secondary controls excellently paired together. Fuel economy is also better than average on both vehicles and, in real world tests, come close to their EPA estimates.

The better value here is hard to determine, but we will give it to the Passport for its better-than-average utility. You will have a hard time finding a five-seater SUV that gets it right like the Passport. However, if you do need to carry more people around, the Pilot is definitely a great option. But most people should be able to make do with the Passport.

Which is Better?

Pound for pound, these are both superb vehicles. They might be in different segments, but they are very much typical of what you should expect from Honda. Crisp, intelligent, and spacious with sufficient power, good fuel economies, and a lot of standard features, both the 2020 Honda Passport and 2020 Honda Pilot are smart buys. Most people will likely only need a two-row SUV, which is why we are giving this to the Passport. However, those looking for a third-row SUV ought to consider taking the Pilot out for a spin. These vehicles have a history of reliability too, so you can feel more confident in making your long-term decision.

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