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2021 Honda Pilot vs Toyota Highlander

2021 Honda Pilot vs Toyota Highlander

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

There are many SUV options for consumers to choose from, and it can get overwhelming trying to compare them all. By focusing on just a few models that catch your attention or possess the qualities you are looking for in a new SUV, your search can be simplified and much less stressful. If you are trying to narrow down your SUV search, two models to keep in mind are the 2021 Honda Pilot and the 2021 Toyota Highlander. These models can be overlooked, at times, but they are worth considering for your next purchase. With plenty of tech amenities and a bit of off-road design, the 2021 Honda Pilot is more versatile than you might expect. The 2021 Toyota Highlander also adds in a hybrid powertrain option and plenty of standard features to revel in.

Toyota and Honda have a reputation of producing vehicles that are practical, reliable, and safe. These commendable attributes have been carried on into the Pilot and Highlander SUV models, as well. Although these two models are quite similar, they each have their own unique strengths in different areas. The 2021 Honda Pilot and the 2021 Toyota Highlander are solid selections, but they appeal to buyers in different manners. This creates more variety for consumers to choose from, especially in SUV models that are known for their quality attributes.

One thing that is equally impressive about these models is their desire to continue always innovating. The 2021 Honda Pilot and the 2021 Toyota Highlander just keep getting better with time, and we are all for it. Look at some of the best features of these two SUVs in the comparison below.


The Powertrain

A big difference between the 2021 Honda Pilot and the 2021 Toyota Highlander is the basis they are each built upon. The Honda Pilot was made to channel the look and feel of a minivan, while the Toyota Highlander represents the aesthetics and power of an SUV. This plays into their powertrain setup and capabilities. While the 2021 Honda Pilot is known for being a bit more grounded and speedier, the 2021 Toyota Highlander focuses on power and produces a notable hybrid powertrain. The Honda Pilot excels in practicality and reliability, whereas the Toyota Highlander demands a bit more from its driving experience for consumer satisfaction.

Riding off its steady and reliable base-level V-6, the 2021 Honda Pilot has a sporty attitude. Its agility and quickness are somewhat unexpected from a vehicle of this stature, as well as the extra power it manages to produce. A nine-speed automatic transmission blends in well, allowing this model to seamlessly move between gears with no real issues. Although the Honda Pilot is not the most powerful SUV on the market, its spry nature and fun attitude make it a favorite among some buyers.

The 2021 Toyota Highlander also relies on a V-6 engine, but it throws a hybrid option into the mix, as well. Its standard 3.5-liter engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, which can be paired with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Buyers also have the option to select a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with two electric motors for a hybrid layout. With this engine option, a continuously variable automatic transmission pairing makes its appearance, as well as an option between a front-wheel or all-wheel drive configuration.

Despite their touted reliability, the 2021 Honda Pilot, and the 2021 Toyota Highlander each have exceptional warranties to back it up. Each one offers a three year or 36,000-mile limited warranty, as well as a five year or 60,000-mile powertrain warranty. The Toyota Highlander adds in an eight year or 100,000-mile warranty for its hybrid powertrain. It also adds in two years of complimentary maintenance that lasts up to 25,000 miles, as well. This is something the Honda Pilot has not managed to integrate, and it certainly adds an edge to the Toyota.


Although it may not look as though it offers three rows of seating from the outside, the 2021 Honda Pilot feels every bit its size when it comes to ride quality. Feeling a bit heavy when taking corners, the Pilot is rooted in its contact with the ground which creates a sense of security for passengers. This model can feel a bit disconnected, at times, but its larger wheels on higher trims can eliminate some of the bumps and jolts that rumble through the cabin. When the Pilot is loaded up with passengers and cargo it rides smoother, but its non-existent body control can be a hindrance for some. Easily maneuvering around parking spots at low speeds, the same features buyers love about this model is what makes it feel disjointed when traveling at highway speeds.

In contrast, the power of the 2021 Toyota Highlander is the highlight of this model. Propelling itself forward with ease, the Highlander can accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 6.7 seconds. This is indicated of the fast-paced and exciting ride the 2021 Toyota Highlander is known for. Not allowing its size to get it down, the Highlander is also stable enough for consistent family driving. Yet, for those opting for the hybrid Highlander the speed and enthusiasm will be a bit reduced from a lack of horsepower compared to the gasoline Highlander versions. However, acceleration is saved by the implementation of a modern CVT.

Third-row SUVs are extremely popular right now, and the 2021 Honda Pilot and 2021 Toyota Highlander both offer this quality. However, do not let this amenity offering fool you. The space in the last row of the 2021 Honda Pilot and the 2021 Toyota Highlander is rather restricted. Easily fitting children or young adults in these areas, the third-row of both models is hardly fit for adult use. If you are just looking for some extra cargo room or space for kids in the back, however, these two models will provide all the extra space you need. The Honda Pilot even integrates several storage solutions for smaller personal items, while the Toyota Highlander piles on infotainment attributes.

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When you are transporting multiple passengers on a regular basis, safety implementations and ratings mean a lot. In fact, many buyers review a vehicle's safety ratings and attributes before they even consider it for a purchase. The 2021 Honda Pilot and the 2021 Toyota Highlander each take passenger safety very seriously, and their performance on crash tests prove their dedication. Not to mention, the number of safety enhancements they offer as standard across all models makes an impact, too.

You will not find these two models reserving the best safety features for top trims. In fact, all models of the 2021 Honda Pilot and the 2021 Toyota Highlander spread their standard safety feature offerings across all trims in their lineup. From forward-collision warning to rear cross-traffic alert to lane-departure warning, you will find all these driver assistive safety features included in all models of the 2021 Honda Pilot and the 2021 Toyota Highlander.

Perhaps the widespread inclusion of safety features has contributed to the high safety rankings of both these SUVs by national agencies. The NHTSA has granted each of these models a five-star safety rating, which is the highest possible accolade. The 2021 Toyota Highlander goes on to achieve a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS, while the 2021 Honda Pilot misses out on this achievement. Not only does the 2021 Toyota Highlander offer most of its safety amenities as standard, but it also adds in automatic high-beam headlights, which helped push this model to the heights of exceptional safety ratings all around.

Which Has the Best Value?

Deciding on the purchase of a new vehicle is a serious commitment. So, you want to make sure you select the vehicle that will work best for you, your family, and your lifestyle the first time. Determining which SUV is a good fit will rely quite a bit on the overall cost, the price of ownership, and the amenities within each offered trim level. These features help decide which model offers the best value to the customer.

Starting off, the 2021 Honda Pilot is a bit cheaper than the 2021 Toyota Highlander. Yet, by the time you reach the top trim levels, the 2021 Honda Pilot has exceeded the overall cost of the 2021 Toyota Highlander by a few thousand dollars. This is not surprising considering the amount of tech amenities and infotainment technology the Pilot incorporates, but the Highlander's implementation of a hybrid option is something we thought would play into this equation.

With a common cost of ownership between these two models, the number of trim levels each incorporates should also be considered in determining their overall value. Each one offers six gasoline trim options, with the 2021 Toyota Highlander throwing in a seventh trim option with its hybrid model. Yet, relative to their price increases, the 2021 Honda Pilot adds more into its higher level trims, which makes their cost rise substantially.

The 2021 Honda Pilot and the 2021 Toyota Highlander have many differences, but in evaluating the ones that make.

Which is Better?

There is not necessarily a model that is better than the other one when comparing the 2021 Honda Pilot and the 2021 Toyota Highlander. Each of these models has certain attributes that will appeal to a certain type of buyer. Therefore, what makes each model perfect for one buyer may not mean anything to another, and vice versa. Determining which model is better between these two SUVs largely relies upon what each consumer is looking for in a new SUV purchase.

If you are in search of a model that offers athletic handling with a somewhat smaller third-row seat than most, the 2021 Honda Pilot will suite you just fine. It is spunky and spry with plenty of room to spare. This model's integration of tech amenities is also noteworthy. Wireless charging and a foot-activated liftgate show off the Pilot's modern amenities that buyers cannot enough of. However, its minivan-like appearance may be off-putting to some who are trying to get away from that aesthetic.

Appearing more like a traditional SUV, the 2021 Toyota Highlander offers plenty of space in its immense cabin for passengers and cargo, alike. It offers the same type of engine as the Honda Pilot, but the Toyota Highlander does more with what it is given. Not to mention, this model introduces a sustainable and savvy hybrid powertrain that some buyers admire. It is ridden with entertainment technology and features for passengers to enjoy along the way, and it received the highest safety rating between these two models. Overall, we enjoy the 2021 Toyota Highlander the most, but the choice is ultimately up to each individual buyer.

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