|300-400 HP||Horsepower||280 HP|
|310-415 LB-FT||Torque||262 LB-FT|
|5,600 LBS||Towing Capacity||3,500 LBS|
If you are in the market for a three-row, mid-size SUV, you should compare the differences between the 2020 Ford Explorer vs 2020 Honda Pilot. The two vehicles share the same class, but that’s about all they have in common. Both are great for larger families or people who like to have more space for friends or cargo.
The Explorer has a long-standing reputation for being reliable, and it has become a household name. Able to seat six to seven people, it offers 18.2 cubic feet of space behind the back seats. By folding down the third row, you can expand this are to 47.9 cubic feet, and by folding down both back rows, you will gain access to a cavernous 87.8 cubic feet. On the other hand, the new Honda Pilot is slightly larger. It can carry eight passengers, but it only offers 16.5 cubic feet of room behind the third row. The rear seating can be configured for 46.8 cubic feet or 83.9 cubic feet of cargo space. Essentially, by adding that extra seat, you are losing space for other things. Performance, however, is where things take a giant leap in terms of differences, with the Explorer knocking the Pilot out of the water. Now let’s dive deeper and learn more about the performance, interior, and exterior of these two impressive SUVs.
With larger SUVs, it’s common to see several powertrain choices. This is because not every family needs the same type of performance. The 2020 Ford Explorer is a perfect example of a versatile SUV that can be made to suit your lifestyle. The first engine option is the standard turbocharged 2.3-liter Ecoboost I-4 engine that puts out 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Mated with a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission, it can be fitted with RWD or AWD and tow 5,300 lbs. The next option comes on the ST model, which is the high-octane turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that generates 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. The top-tier Platinum trim is powered by the same engine, but in this case, it only puts out 365 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. The maximum towing capacity with this powertrains is increased to 5,600 lbs, which is excellent for an SUV. Lastly, if you want to surprise your friends and co-workers, you can opt for the Limited Hybrid model. You read that right! The Explorer is now available with a 3.3-liter V6 engine paired with a hybrid system. Together they provide 318 hp and a maxed-out towing capacity of 5,000 lbs.
As for the Honda Pilot, all models are powered by the same engine. This can be disappointing for some, but the powertrain that is being offered is not bad. Under the hood rests a 3.5-liter V6 engine that is capable of producing 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission and FWD are standard, but you can upgrade the higher trims to a 9-speed automatic transmission and AWD. This vehicle also falls quite a bit short with its maximum towing capacity. It can only manage about 3,500 lbs. So, if you have an active family and enjoy traveling with a trailer loaded up with recreational toys, the Pilot might not be the best choice for you. However, it performs well in urban and suburban areas.
Slipping behind the wheel of the new Explorer will put a smile on your face immediately. Even the base model is well-equipped with an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a 40/20/40-split second-row seat, and a 50/50-split third-row seat more maximized configuration. Dual-zone climate control is provided as well as a handy rearview camera. The infotainment interface is displayed on an 8-inch touchscreen that operates with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. You can stream your favorite songs, make calls, and even use apps with this advanced system. Dual USB ports are available for charging mobile devices, and the 4G LTE Wifi hotspot will keep you connected everywhere you go. As an extra music option, you can tune in to satellite radio and enjoy listening through the 6-speaker stereo. You should also note that all of the Explorer trims come standard with the Co-Pilot360 suite of safety systems. This adds numerous features, including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, pre-collision warning, pedestrian detection, emergency braking, and automatic high beams.
Next is the XLT model, which adds keyless entry/ignition, upgraded cloth upholstery, and lumbar support. The steering wheel is wrapped in leather and features paddle shifters. Two additional USB ports have been added in the back for more charging power. The Limited version includes heated/cooled seats covered in leather upholstery. Ambient lighting throughout the cabin can set a relaxing mood, and the wireless charging pad helps to declutter the interior. The 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo system with HD radio offers premium sound, and the 360-degree camera system gives you a birds-eye-view of your surroundings. The sporty ST model gets athletically-styled enhancements to the seats and instrument cluster. It also adds an automated parallel/perpendicular parking system. Finally, the Platinum model includes an upgraded 10.1-inch touchscreen, massaging seats, and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Now let’s take a look at the Honda Pilot trims. The base LX model offers a rearview camera and a 60/40-split folding third-row. The infotainment system is displayed on a 5-inch touchscreen and operates with a 7-speaker stereo. A USB port and auxiliary jack are also provided for charging and music streaming. The standard safety features are well-equipped with adaptive cruise control, road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, automatic braking, lane-keeping assist, and automatic high-beams.
Stepping up to the EX will get you heated seats and tri-zone climate control for temperature comfort. Compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto comes with the upgraded infotainment system. Displayed on an 8-inch touchscreen, this interface is lightyears ahead of the base model’s system. Added safety features include blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. The EX-L gets leather upholstery and USB ports in the back for charging. A navigation system and rear entertainment system can also be added at this level. Moving to the Touring version will get you heated back seats, a Wifi hotspot, and a 10-speaker stereo system. Lastly, the Elite model includes ventilated seats, a panoramic sunroof, a wireless charging pad, and a heated steering wheel. If you opt for the Black Edition, it will be the same but with red interior accents.
From the outside, the 2020 Ford Explorer is a beauty. The base rides on 18-inch wheels, and features LED headlights, a power liftgate, and rear privacy glass. No one will be able to peek inside the back. The XLT model adds roof rails for additional storage space. You can travel with items secured to the top of the vehicle. It also comes with heated side mirrors and a noise-reducing front windshield. Upgrades on the Limited trim include larger 20-inch wheels, power-folding side mirrors, and rain-sensing wipers. The athletic ST gets a different set of 20-inch wheels and a sport-tuned suspension. If you opt for the ST Street Pack or the ST Track Pack, you will get 21-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, and red calipers. Finally, the Platinum receives adaptive headlights and a dual-panel sunroof.
The 2020 Honda Pilot LX base model rides on 18-inch alloy wheels and features automatic LED headlights. Next, the EX adds heated side mirrors, and the EX-L includes a power liftgate and sunroof. Roof rails and 20-inch wheels aren’t added until you get to the Touring trim, and the panoramic sunroof comes in at the Elite level. Although the Black edition Pilot features a rugged, and darkened exterior, the Explorer ST will truly stand out in a crowd.
There are ten paint options for the Ford Explorer. These include Star White Metallic, Oxford White, Iconic Silver, Silver Spruce, Magnetic, Agate Black, Blue Metallic, Atlas Blue, Rich Copper Metallic, and Rapid Red Metallic.
As for the Pilot, it is available in only eight shades. You should also keep in mind that not every color is available on every trim. Your choices include Platinum White Pearl, Lunar Silver Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic, Crystal Black Pearl, Black Forest Pearl, Deep Scarlet Pearl, Steel Sapphire Metallic, and Obsidian Blue Pearl.