The Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander are two of the most popular three-row midsize SUVs on the market. Both SUVs have similar features, specifications and starting prices. So, which one is right for you?

[See full Midsize SUV Rankings]

2015 Honda Pilot EX 2WD


2015 Toyota Highlander LE Plus V6 2WD


Maximum Seating Capacity



Total Number of LATCH Connectors






EPA-Estimated Annual Fuel Cost


3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty


3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty

8-inch infotainment touch-screen display, Bluetooth phone connectivity with music streaming, tri-zone climate control, rearview camera

Standard Features

6.1-inch Entune touch-screen entertainment system, Bluetooth, satellite and HD Radio, tri-zone climate control, rearview camera


Base Price


On paper, the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot look like near-equal matches. They both seat up to eight people in three rows, and both offer four places in the SUV to use LATCH to install car seats, though the Pilot offers four full sets of LATCH connectors, while the Highlander offers two full sets in the second row, plus a single upper tether in the second row and a single upper tether in the third row. The two also have similar horsepower ratings and standard features, the same estimated annual fuel costs and starting prices that differ by just about $200. 

[2015 Toyota Highlander Review]

However, the Toyota Highlander has an overall score in our rankings of 8.6, while the Pilot comes in with a 7.5 overall score. Why the difference? The Highlander gets much stronger performance and interior scores.

When it comes to performance, reviewers appreciate the smooth power delivery from the Highlander’s V6, as well as its quiet, comfortable ride. By contrast, reviewers think the Pilot’s handling isn’t very good, with lots of body lean in turns, as well as slow steering, and an overall feel that they say simply isn't very nimble. Though there’s only a 20-horsepower difference between the Pilot and the Highlander, some reviewers complain that the Pilot feels underpowered.

[2015 Honda Pilot Review]

The Pilot’s interior score is lower than the Highlander’s because reviewers complain of some cheap interior materials, while reviewers almost unanimously agree that the interior materials in the Highlander are top-notch. The Highlander also earns praise for having ample small-item storage in its interior, which is a must for a family SUV.

Though the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot are similar family SUVs, our rankings show that just because things look alike on paper doesn’t mean that both are guaranteed to provide a great ownership experience. An all-new 2016 Honda Pilot is set to hit dealerships this month, however, and early reviews indicate that it’s a much-improved SUV, so the Highlander’s days as a better choice for most SUV buyers may be limited.

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