We’ve compiled the facts on the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot. Find out what we think in our article here.
The mid-size SUV market has become saturated over the past few years, and that trend doesn’t look like it is going to change anytime soon. If you’re trying to decide which mid-size SUV will be your next ride, you may have already considered the 2023 Toyota Highlander and the 2023 Honda Pilot.
The Honda Pilot received a makeover in 2023 while the current generation of the Toyota Highlander began in 2020. The 2023 Honda Pilot gives you a more truck-like appearance and stance, and the 2023 Toyota Highlander is sleeker.
While neither is particularly rugged, they are great for hauling families around in comfort thanks to their third-row seating. They share a lot of similarities as you will see in this article, but they are very different.
The 2023 Toyota Highlander comes with a new upgraded powertrain, as does the 2023 Honda Pilot. The 2023 Toyota Highlander is equipped with a 2.4L turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This combination produces 265 horsepower and 309 lbs.-ft. of torque.
The 2023 Honda Pilot comes with a 3.5L V6 engine and a new ten-speed automatic transmission. It puts out 285 horsepower and 262 lbs.-ft. of torque. Both of these models can be ordered with AWD capability as well.
When it comes to fuel economy, the 2023 Toyota Highlander gives you 24 MPG combined with the standard engine. This can be increased to 36 MPG combined if you opt for the hybrid option. The 2023 Honda Pilot is rated at 22 MPG combined. There is no hybrid option for the 2023 Honda Pilot.
The 2023 Honda Pilot gives you a better driving experience than previous model years provided. The throttle response has improved, and the new ten-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and quietly. Handling is not exciting, but it is stable without a lot of play in the steering wheel.
The Honda Pilot’s Trailsport trim gives you a bit more of an edge if you plan on going offroad. It did well in our tests over terrain that was somewhat difficult. The 2023 Honda Pilot can tow up to 5,000 lbs.
The 2023 Honda Pilot accelerated from zero to 60 MPH in just 6.3 seconds while the 2023 Toyota Highlander clocks in at 7.2 seconds.
The 2023 Toyota Highlander also provides a smooth, quiet ride with unimpressive, yet stable, handling. There is no off-road package available on the Highlander so off-roading duties should be left to the Honda Pilot. The AWD version of the Highlander can also tow up to 5,000 lbs.
The interior of the 2023 Toyota Highlander has been upgraded with new materials such as leather and SofTex. Lower trims feature an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system while a new 12.3-inch touchscreen graces the dash of upper trims. You can also opt for an 11-speaker JBL premium sound system.
The standard touchscreen for the 2023 Honda Pilot is only 7.0 inches with a 9.0-inch touchscreen standard in the TrailSport, Touring, and Elite trims. Both versions offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities. A 12-speaker Bose sound system can be added as well.
Both offer optional second-row captain’s chairs. The Honda Pilot offers a center console between the captain’s chairs, and it can be folded into the floor whenever the third row needs to be accessed. The Honda Pilot also wins when it comes to interior storage because the storage compartments are cavernous.
Both vehicles can fit seven or eight passengers. The Honda Pilot boasts 18.6 cubic feet of storage behind the third row, 48.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 87.0 cubic feet when both rows are folded down.
The Toyota Highlander offers 16 cubic feet behind the third row, 48.4 cubic feet behind the second row, and 84.3 cubic feet with both rows folded down. This means that you get a bit more space with the Honda Pilot when all seats are folded down, but they essentially run neck and neck. They both beat out rivals, such as the Subaru Ascent, in terms of cargo space.
The 2023 Toyota Highlander is available in six trims. Here is a breakdown:
The L trim is the base model. It comes standard with LED headlights, keyless entry, and ignition, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, power-adjustable driver’s seat, 7.0-inch digital instrument display, tri-zone automatic climate control, 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, Wi-Fi hotspot, folding 60/40 split seats (second and third rows), four USB-C charging ports, and Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ advanced safety features.
The LE trim adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, LED fog lights, blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, and a height-adjustable power liftgate.
The XLE includes everything in the LE trim plus a sunroof, roof rails, wireless charging pad, SofTex upholstery, a power-adjustable passenger seat, hands-free liftgate, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats, second-row sunshades, and second-row captain’s chairs.
The XSE trim adds sporty elements such as sport suspension, dual exhaust tips, ambient interior lighting, chrome exterior trim, and 20-inch wheels.
The Limited trim adds on to the XLE trim with features such as leather upholstery, power-folding mirrors, ventilated front seats, upgraded fog lights, heated steering wheel, driver’s seat memory, an intercom system, 11-speaker JBL sound system, front and rear parking sensors, and a household electrical outlet.
The Platinum is the top of the line and comes with features such as automatic wipers, 20-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive headlights, heated second-row seats, digital rearview mirror, and a surround-view camera.
The 2023 Honda Pilot is available in six trims. They are:
The LX is the base model and comes with features such as LED headlights, keyless driver door entry, 7.0-inch touchscreen, push-button ignition, 18-inch alloy wheels, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities, remote start, tri-zone climate control, and safety features like forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, driver attention warning, adaptive cruise control, and lane keeping assistance.
The Sport trim adds to the LX trim. It comes with LED fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, power-adjustable heated front seats, and keyless ignition and entry.
The EX-L trim steps it up with features such as a programmable power liftgate, leather-trimmed upholstery, second-row climate controls, second-row sunshades, 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, a nine-speaker sound system, wireless charging pad, and front and rear parking sensors.
The TrailSport trim gives you off-road features such as 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, standard AWD, off-road stability management, SofTex upholstery, increased ground clearance, panoramic sunroof, heated windshield, heated steering wheel, surround-view camera system, skid plates, class III trailer hitch, off-road recovery hooks, and second-row captain’s chairs.
The Touring trim adds to the EX-L trim. It adds a hands-free power tailgate, sound-reducing front windows/windshield, 12-speaker Bose sound system, panoramic sunroof, navigation system, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The Elite is the top trim level, and it comes with a head-up display, heated steering wheel, heated windshield, heated second-row seats, ventilated front seats, a household power outlet, a surround-view camera system, and standard AWD.
This is a close call because they are so much alike. The Toyota Highlander boasts a wonderful interior and offers a hybrid powertrain option that is very efficient. The Honda Pilot has a trucklike stance with an incredible off-road trim that is completely capable.
It really comes down to your personal preference at this point. Since I live in a mountainous region where the winters can be somewhat harsh, I would personally choose the 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport to help me tackle the snow. Of course, I also like to take many of the wonderful dirt roads that run along the mountains when I go fishing.
If I were more concerned about fuel economy, I would certainly choose the 2023 Toyota Highlander hybrid as my ride of choice. It gives incredible fuel mileage and beats out the Honda Pilot by a long shot.
This is one battle that is just too close to call. You can’t go wrong with either one, and that’s not something I say very often.