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Three-row SUVs are very attractive to certain types of buyers. If people need a lot of cabin space and want to drive capable, practical vehicles, then the Hyundai Palisade and Honda Pilot are sure to come up in their searches. These models are modern and stylish, both in terms of their exterior features and their interior amenities.
Upon first glance, the two models do seem to be quite similar. There are some important differences between the two, though, and this guide should highlight how the Palisade and Pilot are distinct from each other. After reading this, potential customers should have a better idea of which SUV would be more ideal for them.
Things are very straightforward when it comes to the powertrains of these vehicles. That's because each SUV only comes with one type of engine. The Hyundai Palisade and Honda Pilot use V6 engines. In the Palisade, the engine has a displacement of 3.8 liters, and the Pilot's engine has a displacement of 3.5 liters. As one might imagine based on the size of these engines, the Palisade has a bit more power. It comes with 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, in comparison with the Pilot's 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque.
Though there's a bit of a discrepancy between the horsepower of the Palisade and Pilot, the truth is that they're both quite capable. They'll do just fine on regular drives around town, even when they're loaded down with cabins full of passengers and/or cargo. They'll perform equally well if they're going up hills or through somewhat difficult terrain.
In the Pilot, there's a nine-speed automatic transmission. Every trim has paddle shifters in case drivers would like to exert a little more control over shifting. Front-wheel-drive Pilots can earn an estimated 20/27 (city/highway) miles per gallon, with all-wheel-drive models having an estimated fuel economy of 18/26 (city/highway) miles per gallon.
All-wheel drive is available on every trim of the Honda, and most of the trims have an Intelligent Traction Management program. When there's only a front-wheel drivetrain, there is still a Snow mode that can be engaged to boost performance in slippery conditions. If there's an all-wheel drive train in the Honda, then there would be Snow, Sand, and Mud modes to choose from, in case the drive runs into particularly challenging conditions.
It's pretty similar in the Hyundai Palisade. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive being optional. Palisades with AWD have Snow mode and the ability to be locked in AWD mode; this would be useful on rugged trails. FWD Palisades can achieve 19/26 (city/highway) miles per gallon, and their all-wheel-drive counterparts have fuel economies that are estimated to be 19/24 (city/highway) miles per gallon. The Palisade uses an eight-speed automatic transmission, and it also offers some manual control through the SHIFTRONIC feature.
Both of these models are able to tow up to 5,000 pounds. This is good information to know if anyone out there may want to occasionally hook up a trailer to his/her SUV.
These two SUVs are on the larger side of the spectrum, but they've definitely been built with drivers in mind. The average driver would likely be very pleased to get behind the wheel of either the Palisade or the Pilot, as they handle themselves well and have many features that make driving a positive experience.
First, it can be great to have all of that power mentioned in the previous section. A driver of a Palisade or Pilot will never feel like he/she is struggling to get up to speed.
One does have to be mindful of the size of these vehicles while parking or making tight maneuvers. The Palisade has a length of 196.1 inches, and it's 77.8 inches wide. It sits just under eight inches off the ground, and it has a good amount of height in its cabin. The Pilot is about half an inch longer than the Palisade is, and it's a bit wider as well. Its ground clearance is closer to seven inches than eight inches. This means that it may not be able to clear large obstacles as easily as the Palisade can, but it may be more accommodating to people with limited mobility.
The interior measurements are fairly similar with these models. In the Palisade, there is 44.1, 42.4, and 31.4 inches of leg room in each of the three rows. Passengers in the Pilot don't have quite as much room, at least in the first two rows. Leg room is 40.9 and 38.4 inches in the first and second rows, respectively. This certainly isn't bad at all, but it's just not as much space as what the Palisade offers. The Pilot's third row, however, has 31.9 inches of leg room. It's going to be a little more comfortable than the back row of the Palisade.
In the two SUVs, there's an option to get captain's chairs in the middle row. This would reduce seating capacity down to seven, but it would give everyone in the back some more room to spread out. Some people prefer this arrangement because they don't need that extra row and want things to feel more spacious. The standard option would be to have a bench seat in the middle row, on which three people could sit together.
Cargo capacity is generous in both the Palisade and the Pilot. The Hyundai Palisade has 18 cubic feet of dedicated storage space behind its seating, and it can have a maximum cargo capacity of 86.4 cubic feet when all the seats have been lowered. The Pilot's cargo volume is just shy of this mark, both in terms of the overall cargo capacity and the volume of the area behind the third row of seats. In either vehicle, there should be plenty of space to accommodate people and/or their gear.
Technology plays a fairly important role in drivability these days. The field has come a long way, and recent developments have made things much more convenient for drivers.
In the Hyundai Palisade, every trim has Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, and a touchscreen. The lower trims have eight-inch touchscreens, while the higher trims have 10.25-inch touchscreens. Along with the larger screen comes integrated navigation. This program can be convenient to have, especially because it can take traffic into account as it provides turn-by-turn directions. The higher trims can also have wireless charging and Harman Kardon premium sound systems with 12 speakers.
The higher trims of the Pilot have many similar features. The top trims can have wireless charging, built-in navigation, and 10-speaker sound systems. Instead of having larger than average touchscreens, they have eight-inch touchscreens, which is the same size touchscreen that one would find on a lower trim. The exception to this is that the base model of the Pilot only has a five-inch LCD screen. It doesn't even have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto like the other trims do, but it does have Bluetooth.
The lack of smartphone connectivity in the entry-level Pilot trim is definitely going to be noticed by potential customers. However, the Honda Pilot does have some features that the Palisade doesn't have. Nearly all of the Pilot trims have SiriusXM to help people stay entertained. Also, the Pilot has an available rear-seat entertainment system, which comes with a Blu-Ray player and built-in apps. Both the Pilot and the Palisade can can have in-cabin intercom systems, and their available multi-zone audio feature allows the volume to be set to different levels in different rows.
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Hyundai and Honda have focused a lot of their attention on safety, and customers get to benefit from this. Every Palisade and Pilot has multiple driver-assist technologies so that they can actively work to keep people safe. For instance, the SUVs can warn drivers about potential forward collisions and can hit the brakes if necessary. These models have adaptive cruise control so that they can adjust their speed in order to stay a safe distance from other vehicles. Plus, they can sense when they're drifting out of position, and they can correct steering so that they get back into the center of their lanes.
The Palisade has a few additional components that are standard across the lineup. They are Driver Attention Warning, pedestrian detection, and a parking distance warning feature that works when the vehicle is in reverse. On the higher trims, there are even more systems, to include blind spot collision-avoidance assist and rear cross-traffic avoidance assist. Because they have the "assist" ability, they're able to not only warn drivers but help them avoid accidents. On the Pilot, higher trims have blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, but they lack the corrective abilities that the Palisade can have.
Further, the Palisade can have a head-up display. This can project key information onto the windshield behind the steering wheel, and this helps the driver stay aware of important things, like the speed limit, navigation directions, and more. The Palisade can also have a surround-view monitor to give the driver a 360-degree perspective of his/her SUV. It can be useful when getting in and out of smaller parking spots.
Which Has the Best Value?
Price is likely going to be a concern for potential customers. The Hyundai Palisade and Honda Pilot aren't super affordable, but they have reasonable prices given all the benefits they offer.
The starting price of the Palisade is $32,675, and its top trim costs $46,200. In the middle of the lineup, the SEL trim costs $35,325, and the Limited trim comes with a fairly significant price increase, as it costs $45,275.
Honda has priced the Pilot at about the same point as the Palisade. Its base model starts at $32,550, and its highest trim costs $48,720. Its mid-level trims are the EX ($35,230), EX-L ($38,660), Special Edition ($39,260), and Touring ($43,220).
Though there are going to be minor differences between each trim, on top of the differences in the respective safety and technology packages that have been previously mentioned, the trims are fairly comparable throughout the lineup.
The Hyundai Palisade starts off with an impressive list of exterior features, like LED Daytime Running Lights and LED headlights. Its higher trims have LED taillights, conventional or dual panel sunroofs, and hands-free lift gates. Inside the cabin, the SUV can have cloth or leather seats, and most of its trims have heated front seats. The features found on the higher trims include ventilated front seats, heated and ventilated rear seats, and heated steering wheels.
With the Honda Pilot, the top models can also have heated and ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, and heated steering wheels. Its second-row seats can be heated but not ventilated, and its moonroof is a traditional one instead of a panoramic or dual-panel version. It, too, can have a hands-free liftgate and LED headlights. Some of the standard features on its base model are cloth seats, push-button start, and LED brake lights.
Which is Better?
The Honda Pilot has been around longer than the Hyundai Palisade has, but the Palisade has quickly worked its way into the leaderboard. These SUVs are going to compete for the same type of customers since they have a similar amount of capability and interior space.
Some minor differences between the two models are that the Palisade is slightly more powerful and has more maximum cargo space. These factors will matter to some customers, especially those who have high expectations in this regard.
Hyundai has done an excellent job of equipping the Palisade with many high-tech features. It's the model that has a more comprehensive safety package and a better standard infotainment package.
At the same time, though, the Honda Pilot has some features that can't be found in the Palisade. Many rear-seat passengers will love having the entertainment system in the Pilot, and the fact that the Pilot can have SiriusXM Satellite Radio is going to appeal to a lot of buyers. Several trims of the Pilot are priced more competitively than the Palisade trims are, and this may be the most important thing to consider for some customers.