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2021 Honda Pilot vs CR-V

2021 Honda Pilot vs CR-V
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

2021 Pilot vs CR-V - How do they stack up? What are the differences?

Honda offers two reliable options for those seeking a comfortable ride: the 2021 Pilot and CR-V. Both feature versatile cabins, spacious interiors with great amenities such as modern infotainment systems and driver assist technology - making them ideal choices for anyone wanting an enjoyable drive experience.

People might have a hard time choosing between these vehicles since they do have many things in common. After reading this detailed overview, though, potential customers should have a much better idea of which Honda SUV would be the more strategic choice.

Size and Styling

Ready to upgrade from your two-row SUV? The Honda Pilot is the perfect choice, boasting an additional row of seating for expanded capacity. Make sure this feature tops your list when selecting a vehicle that meets all your needs!

The Honda Pilot is a larger car than the CR-V, with an impressive length of 196.5 inches compared to 182.1 for its sibling model; though both are close in terms of height and width - only 5 or less inches differentiating them. Comparing parking versatility between these two models – those extra 14+ inches on the Pilot make it more challenging when looking for that tight space.

The Pilot is a roomy SUV, capable of seating up to eight passengers – or seven if you opt for luxurious captain's chairs in the middle row. With plenty of space inside and advanced features throughout, it's no surprise that this vehicle has become so popular with families everywhere.

The CR-V has a generous amount of leg room for a two-row SUV, which is probably one reason why it's so popular. It gives its driver and front passenger 41.3 inches of leg room, and in the back row, there is 40.4 inches of leg room. Adults would definitely be comfortable riding in the back of this SUV, even if there were three of them sitting together.

The Honda Pilot offers plenty of space and headroom for passengers, but the third row's limited leg room might be a concern for taller bodies. The first two rows offer 40.9 and 38.4 inches respectively in terms of leg room while the last provides 31.9 inches - making it better suited to shorter guests or journeys with less time spent seated there!

Cargo capacity in both vehicles is impressive. The Honda CR-V has a rear cargo area that has a volume of 39.2 cubic feet, and that can expand to about 75 cubic feet by lowering the second row.

In the Pilot, the dedicated cargo area behind the third row of seats is somewhat small, having a volume of 16.5 cubic feet. Since the second and third rows can both be quickly folded down, it's easy to create more storage space. Total cargo capacity is 83.9 cubic feet.

The Honda Pilot and CR-V share many stylistic details. They have the same rounded edges and similar front grilles. LED headlights and rear privacy glass are standard on the Pilot, whereas they're standard on all trims of the CR-V expect for the entry-level trim. Both trims can have power tailgates, power moonroofs, LED fog lights, and heated side mirrors. Those side mirrors on the Pilot have a reverse tilt-down function that can be useful when backing up into parking spots.


Those seeking a reliable, robust SUV will be well compensated with the 2021 Honda Pilot or CR-V. The Pilot's V6 engine offers an impressive 3.5 liters of displacement and provides 280 horsepower - sufficient enough to tow up to 5,000 pounds! Furthermore, it comes packed with 262 pound-feet of torque for added capability on any terrain.

The Honda CR-V offers two distinct engine options to drivers. The 1.5 liter turbocharged traditional powertrain provides an ample 190 horsepower and 179 pound feet of torque, while the hybrid model couples a 2-liter engine with an electric motor for even more performance - 212 horses! All wheel drive comes as standard on the Hybrid version, but can be optioned into either powertrain configuration; making it easier than ever for one to hit up those weekend car trips--just keep in mind that trailers won't get too big since you only have 1500 pounds of tow capacity at your disposal here.

With the Pilot, the first five trims can have all-wheel or front-wheel drivetrains. The top two trims, which are the Elite and Black Edition, are only available as all-wheel-drive SUVs.

If a Pilot has all-wheel drive, it'll have Intelligent Traction Management and three different settings. Drivers can select from Snow, Sand, or Mud modes in order to optimize their performance as they deal with tough conditions. Even most of the front-wheel-drive Pilots have a Snow mode, just in case someone ever has to handle slippery roads in the winter.

Honda provides an array of transmission options for their two SUVs. The CR-V boasts a sport mode with its continuously variable transmission, perfect for those seeking to make the vehicle feel more aggressive. Meanwhile, supplementing the Pilot's nine-speed automatic is paddle shifters - not just as a fun add on but also as manual control exclusive to Honda drivers! It's up to you whether or not they're used - allowing flexibility and freedom behind your wheel every time you drive.

The Pilot has an estimated fuel economy of 20/27 (city/highway) miles per gallon if it has front-wheel drive. If it has all-wheel drive, those numbers are 19/26 miles per gallon. A front-wheel-drive CR-V with a traditional powertrain can earn 28/34 miles per gallon, so this is already much better than what the Pilot can do. Having all-wheel drive drops those numbers slightly.

As one would expect, the hybrid version of the CR-V does very well in this regard. It's able to achieve 40/35 (city/highway) miles per gallon. This makes it an enticing choice that will result in long-term savings at the gas station.

Comfort, Options and Performance

There can be plenty of features in the cabin of these SUVS that make them more comfortable. Most Pilots and CR-Vs have heated front seats to keep people cozy in the colder months. The Pilot has a trim with heated and ventilated front seats, and it has two trims with heated second-row seats. On cold days and nights, this is something that's sure to be appreciated by passengers. In the CR-V, there isn't an option to get ventilated seats, nor can this vehicle have heated second-row seats.

In both models, leather upholstery is available, as is a memory system for the driver's seat and side mirrors. The memory function can be useful if multiple people will be driving the same vehicle.

The Pilot outshines its competitors with standard dual-zone automatic climate control and push-button start, plus available features like leather wrapped steering wheels, integrated second row sun shades and an auto dimming rearview mirror to cut through distracting glare at night. Plus luxury touches like ambient LED lighting to round off the package make it a sophisticated driving experience without sacrificing comfort.

No matter which SUV you choose, the Pilot LX or CR-V LX trims don't come with our favorite tech necessities such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Though lacking in those areas, these entry level trims still offer some excellent features including a five inch LCD screen for navigation assistance and Bluetooth capabilities to keep you connected on the go. Plus, an added bonus - Pandora radio is available only on Honda's CR-V LX trim.

The modern consumer will appreciate the Pilot and CR-V's smartphone compatibility, with higher trims featuring eight or seven inch touchscreens. Audio entertainment is also offered in these cars via HD Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

The Touring trim of the CR-V has navigation, wireless charging, and a sound system with nine speakers. This is a definite upgrade over the four-, six-, or eight-speaker sound systems found in the other trims.

With the Pilot, many trims have seven speakers. Select trims have wireless charging to make it much more convenient to keep devices fully charged while traveling. The top three trims of the Pilot all have integrated navigation, Wi-Fi capability, and ten-speaker sound systems. With multi-zone audio, certain passengers can choose to lower their volume in case they would prefer to have a quiet ride or want to listen to something other than what the driver has chosen. As a bonus, these trims have an in-vehicle PA system through which the driver can broadcast his/her voice through the speakers in order for people in the back to hear.

The top three trims of the Pilot also have rear entertainment systems. This comes with a 10.2-inch screen through which TV shows and videos can be played. A Blu-Ray player is included with this package, and the screen is advanced enough to allow the use of certain streaming apps. This technology feature is something that households don't necessarily need but can certainly appreciate, especially if they have young children who they want to keep entertained on long road trips.

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.


The Honda Pilot and CR-V offer drivers state-of the art safety features with Honda Sensing Technologies to help provide a safe ride. Drivers will get an alert if potential danger is detected, such as when they are heading toward an object or veering out of their lane. The SUVs assist in slowing down via forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, while also using sensors to ensure it knows where its supposed to be positioned on the road for optimal steering correction should deviation occur.

Every SUV trim in this range offers the added security of adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams, plus blind spot and rear cross-traffic monitoring so you can drive with peace of mind. However, 360° cameras or head-up displays are not currently included - features which could further enhance your driving experience if made available in future models.

Which Model to Choose?

The 2021 Honda Pilot elevates the standard for modern SUVs with its seven unique trims - three of which bring a sense of sophistication and class not seen in other models. The Touring trim is just the beginning, topping off at Elite and Black Edition levels; offering even more style while still maintaining all that practicality needed on any adventure. Meanwhile, those looking to stick closer to Earth will find what they seek in the four available trims from Honda CR-V - topped by their own Touring series.

Customers who are in the market for a versatile, luxurious SUV should consider piloting the Honda Pilot. Although its base trim comes at a hefty sticker price of $32,550 - still significantly less than competitors such as luxury SUVs on the market today - most drivers will find that it is worth every penny with impressive features and specifications throughout all trims offered. The Touring costs $43,220; Elite offers even more amenities to justify an additional cost of almost five thousand dollars (at 48 710); while Black Edition provides top-of-the line components at 50 220 – but no matter which option you choose there’s sure to be something right for everyone!

With the Pilot being larger and more powerful, it's a great choice for those needing extra seating - but don't overlook the Honda CR-V. Its hybrid option appeals to eco-minded consumers while its competitive pricing makes it an attractive offer on top of its spacious interior that seats five passengers comfortably. It'll be up to each individual buyer which suits their needs best!

Used 2021 Honda Pilot: