2020 Honda Pilot Vs. 2020 Toyota Highlander

By Justin Cupler | August 7th, 2020

Three-row crossovers combined a little of everything, drivability, seating room, cargo room, and towing capacity. Two great examples of this are the 2020 Honda Pilot and the all-new 2020 Toyota Highlander. Which of these useful three-row people haulers is best for your Rochester area family? Find out below.

Exterior

The Honda Pilot went through a big redesign in 2016, bringing in a more premium look and abandoning the flat front end that characterized this crossover for many years. This new look gave the Pilot a more upscale look and has remained mostly unchanged since. In 2020, the Pilot gained a new Black Edition model that adds black 20-inch wheels, black door handles, and other black accents. While these darkening accents are subtle, they give this three-row crossover a slightly more sinister look.

 

The Toyota Highlander got a much-needed redesign for 2020, giving it a more upright and aggressive look similar to the new-generation RAV4. This new design carefully combines the looks of a crossover and SUV, meeting the needs of more buyers. While it crosses two segments for maximum buyer appeal, some shoppers may find its bold body lines a little too striking.

 

Break out the yardstick, and you’ll find the Pilot is 1.6 inches longer, 2.6 inches wider, and 2.5 inches taller than the Highlander. Despite its smaller body, the Toyota rides on a 1.2-inch-longer wheelbase. The ‘Yota also offers an extra 0.7 inches of ground clearance, giving it more off-road capability.

 

As for standard exterior features, the 2020 Honda Pilot comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED low-beam headlights with automatic on/off, fin-type roof-mounted antenna, tinted rear glass, LED brake and reverse lights, LED daytime running lights, an intermittent rear wiper, variable-intermittent windshield wipers, remote keyless entry, and black door handles and roofline spoiler.

 

The Highlander has long been a more premium model in the midsize crossover segment, and this continues in 2020. Its standard exterior features include 18-inch painted alloy wheels, touch-to-lock and -unlock front door handles, body-color heated mirrors, power mirrors, LED reflector headlights, LED taillights and stop lights, variable-intermittent windshield wipers, an intermittent rear wiper, a windshield wiper de-icer, tinted rear glass, a molded-in-black grille with silver-painted surround, a black-finish rear lower bumper, color-keyed side rocker panel moldings and door handles, a rear spoiler with an LED brake light, and low-gloss black A-pillars.

 

Measurement 2020 Honda Pilot 2020 Toyota Highlander
Length (in.) 196.5 194.9
Width (in.) 78.6 76
Height (in.) 70.6 68.1
Wheelbase (in.) 111 112.2
Ground Clearance (in.) 7.3 8
Curb weight (lbs.) 4,036-4,319 4,145-4,450

 

Advantage: 2020 Honda Pilot

  •       Premium look
  •       Slick Black Edition

Advantage: 2020 Toyota Highlander

  •       SUV-meets-crossover design
  •       Body-color elements front the base model up
  •       Smaller and more manageable

Interior

Inside, the 2020 Honda Pilot boasts a refined and straightforward cabin with minimal drama and no offensive styling. It does feature a unique push-button transmission, but it’s otherwise a very easy-to-consume cabin that fits the needs of many buyers. In its higher trims, it takes a step toward luxurious with its large high-resolution touchscreen and premium materials, but the base model is relatively simpler to keep its price low.

 

The 2020 Toyota Highlander’s cabin is far more complex with its segmented design that includes distinct upper and lower sections and an almost segregated infotainment and climate-control bezel. The latter looks great with the smaller standard touchscreen in it, but add the 12.3-inch screen, and it looks incredible. The Highlander also boasts two small storage cubbies in the dash for small items, a stubby gear shifter, and other sportier bits.

 

The larger Honda Pilot offers more seating room in every key measurable except second-row legroom. Here, the Highlander has a 2.6-inch advantage at 41 inches. For buyers who plan on using the third row, the Pilot is tight but doable with 31.9 inches of legroom, but the Highlander is torture at just 27.7 inches.

 

In cargo room, the Pilot has a half-cubic-foot more space with all three rows of seat upright, but the Highlander’s 48.4 cubes with the third row folded and 84.3 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded beat the Pilot by 1.6 and 0.4 cubes, respectively.

 

As for standard interior features, the 2020 Honda Pilot comes standard with the basics like a 5-inch color infotainment system, a 1.0-amp USB audio interface, a 2.5-amp USB charging port in the center console, a 215-watt audio system with seven speakers and a subwoofer, Bluetooth® connectivity with audio streaming, air conditioning, push-button start, power windows with one-touch up/down front glass, power door locks, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, steering-wheel-mounted controls, and an eight-person seating capacity.

 

As a more premium vehicle that costs about $3,000 more than the base Pilot, the 2020 Toyota Highlander includes more desirable standard features. These include power windows with one-touch up and down, tri-zone automatic climate control, a conversation mirror with sunglasses holder, an eight-way power driver’s seat, eight-passenger seating, 60/40 split-folding and reclining second- and third-row seats, a 4.2-inch color multi-information display, Four USB ports, six cargo-area tie-downs, an in-car PA system, an 8-inch touchscreen, SiriusXM®, Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, Amazon Alexa, in-car Wi-Fi® (data plan required), and more.

 

Measurement 2020 Honda Pilot 2020 Toyota Highlander
Front headroom (in.) 40.1 (w/o moonroof)/39.5 (w/ moonroof) 39.9 (w/o moonroof)/38.4 (w/ moonroof)
Front legroom (in.) 40.9 40.4
Front shoulder room (in.) 62 59
Front hip room (in.) 59.1 57.2
Second-row headroom (in.) 40.2 (w/o moonroof)/39.9 (w/ moonroof) 39.4 (w/o moonroof)/39.4 (w/ moonroof)/37.1 (w/panoramic moonroof)
Second-row legroom (in.) 38.4 41
Second-row shoulder room (in.) 62 58.7 (w/o sunshade)/58.4 (w/ sunshade)
Second-row hip room (in.) 57.3 57
Third-row headroom (in.) 38.9 36.1
Third-row legroom (in.) 31.9 27.7
Third-row shoulder room (in.) 57.6 55
Third-row hip room (in.) 44.6 45.6
Cargo room (cu. ft.) (behind the third row) 16.5 16
Cargo room (cu. ft.) (behind the second row) 46.8 48.4
Cargo room (cu. ft.) (behind the first row) 83.9 84.3

 

Advantage: 2020 Honda Pilot

  •       Roomier in most categories
  •       Useable third row
  •       Simple interior design

Advantage: 2020 Toyota Highlander

  •       Tons more standard tech
  •       41 inches of second-row legroom
  •       Available 12.3-inch touchscreen

Performance

Powering the 2020 Honda Pilot is the brand’s tried-and-true 3.5-liter V-6 engine that produces 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This V-6 engine pairs with a standard six-speed automatic transmission, but Touring and higher trims get a slick nine-speed automatic instead. Power heads to the front wheels as standard or to all four wheels with optional all-wheel drive. This adds up to an estimated seven-second 0-60 mph time and a 3,500-pound towing capacity with front-wheel drive or 5,000 pounds with all-wheel drive.

 

 

The 2020 Highlander boasts a 295-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine that mates to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This adds up to a 5,000-pound  towing capacity across the lineup and an estimated 7.5-second 0-60 time.

 

2020 Honda Pilot 2020 Toyota Highlander
Engine 3.5-liter V-6 3.5-liter V-6
Horsepower 280 hp at 6,000 rpm 295 hp at 6,600
Torque 262 lb-ft at 4,700 rpm 263 lb-ft at 4,700 rpm
Standard transmission 6-spd automatic 8-spd automatic
Optional transmission 9-spd automatic N/A
Driveline FWD (std)/AWD (opt) FWD (std)/AWD (opt)
0-60 time 7 seconds (est.) 7.5 seconds (est.)
Towing capacity 3,500 pounds (FWD)/5,000 pounds (AWD) 5,000 pounds
MPG City 19 (6AT FWD)/18 (6AT AWD)/20 (10AT FWD)/19 (10AT AWD) 21 (L FWD, XLE FWD, Limited FWD, Plat. FWD)/20 (LE FWD)/20 (AWD)
MPG Highway 27 (6AT FWD)/26 (6AT AWD)/27 (10AT FWD)/26 (10AT AWD) 29 (L FWD, XLE FWD, Limited FWD, Plat. FWD)/28 (LE FWD)/27 (AWD)
MPG Combined 22 (6AT FWD)/21 (6AT AWD)/23 (10AT FWD)/22 (10AT AWD) 24 (L FWD, XLE FWD, Limited FWD, Plat. FWD)/23 (LE FWD)/23 (AWD)

 

Advantage: 2020 Honda Pilot

  •       Quicker to 60 mph
  •       More advanced optional nine-speed transmission

Advantage: 2020 Toyota Highlander

  •       1,500-pound base towing advantage
  •       Slight fuel economy advantage

Pricing and Features

The 2020 Honda Pilot lineup has six trim levels—LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, Elite, and Black Edition—and their starting prices range from $31,650 to $49,720.

There are five trim levels in the 2020 Highlander lineup: L, LE, XLE, Limited, and Platinum. Their starting prices range from $34,600 to $46,850.

2020 Honda Pilot Key Features and Pricing by Trim

LX: $31,650

  •       3.5-liter V-6
  •       Six-speed automatic transmission
  •       Front-wheel drive
  •       Eco Assist® system
  •       Active noise cancellation
  •       Electric power steering
  •       18-inch alloy wheels
  •       LED low-beam headlights with automatic on/off
  •       Fin-type roof-mounted antenna
  •       Tinted rear glass
  •       LED brake and reverse lights
  •       LED daytime running lights
  •       Intermittent rear wiper
  •       Security system
  •       Variable-intermittent windshield wipers
  •       Remote keyless entry
  •       Black door handles
  •       Black roofline spoiler
  •       5-inch color infotainment system
  •       1.0-amp USB audio interface
  •       2.5-amp USB charging port in the center console
  •       215-watt audio system with seven speakers and a subwoofer
  •       Bluetooth® connectivity with audio streaming
  •       Air conditioning
  •       Push-button start
  •       Power windows with one-touch up/down front glass Power door locks
  •       Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  •       Rear-seat heater ducts
  •       Cargo-area light
  •       Cargo-area bag hooks
  •       Three-row map lights
  •       Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  •       Front- and second-row floor mats
  •       60/40 split-folding third-row bench seat
  •       Eight-person seating capacity
  •       Hill-start assist
  •       Automatic emergency braking
  •       Road-departure mitigation
  •       Adaptive cruise control
  •       Lane-keep assist
  •       Forward collision warning
  •       Lane-departure warning
  •       Automatic high-beam headlights
  •       Multi-angle rearview camera with static guidelines

EX: $34,530

  •       All LX features, plus
  •       Remote engine start
  •       Snow driving mode
  •       18-inch machine-finished alloy wheels
  •       Heated mirrors with integrated LED turn signals
  •       Body-color door handles
  •       Body-color roofline spoiler
  •       Smart Entry With Walk Away Auto Lock®
  •       LED fog lights
  •       Display Audio infotainment system
  •       8-inch high-resolution touchscreen
  •       HondaLink®
  •       CabinControl® remote compatibility
  •       Apple CarPlay®
  •       Android Auto™
  •       SMS text messaging function
  •       SiriusXM® satellite radio
  •       HD Radio™
  •       2.5-amp USB smartphone/audio interface in the front console
  •       Tri-zone automatic climate control
  •       Illuminated vanity mirrors
  •       Conversation mirror with sunglasses holder
  •       10-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support
  •       Heated front seats
  •       Blind-spot monitoring
  •       Rear cross-traffic alert
  •       Multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines

EX-L: $37,960

  •       All EX features, plus
  •       Power moonroof
  •       Power liftgate
  •       Acoustic windshield
  •       HomeLink® remote system
  •       Integrated second-row sunshades
  •       Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  •       Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  •       Leather-wrapped shift knob
  •       Two-position memory for driver’s seat and mirrors
  •       Four-way power passenger’s seat
  •       Leather-trimmed seats

Touring: $42,720

  •       All EX-L features, plus
  •       Nine-speed automatic transmission
  •       Automatic engine idle stop
  •       20-inch machine-finished alloy wheels
  •       Chrome outside door handles
  •       Hands-free power liftgate
  •       Acoustic front-side glass
  •       Roo frails
  •       LED headlights with automatic on/off
  •       Reverse-gear side-view mirror tilt-down
  •       Satellite-linked navigation
  •       Rear-seat entertainment system with a 10.2-inch high-resolution screen and Blu-Ray player
  •       115-volt power outlet
  •       Second-row HDMI port
  •       In-car PA system through headphones
  •       590-watt premium audio system with 10 speakers and a subwoofer
  •       HondaLink® subscription services
  •       Wi-Fi® hotspot (data plan required)
  •       Multizone audio system
  •       Courtesy door lights
  •       Blue ambient LED lighting
  •       Heated front and rear seats
  •       Front and rear parking sensors

Elite: $48,220

  •       All Touring features, plus
  •       All-wheel drive
  •       Snow, Sand, and Mud driving modes
  •       Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  •       Auto-dimming side-view mirrors with power-folding feature
  •       Panoramic moonroof
  •       In-cabin PA system through the speakers and headphones
  •       Wireless phone charger
  •       LED front-row map lights
  •       Third-row floor mats
  •       Heated steering wheel
  •       Seven-passenger seating capacity
  •       Second-row captain’s chairs
  •       Perforated second-row leather seats
  •       Heated and ventilated front seats

Black Edition: $49,720

  •       All Elite features, plus
  •       20-inch black-painted alloy wheels
  •       Red interior ambient lighting
  •       Gloss-black door handles

2020 Toyota Highlander Key Features and Pricing by Trim

L: $34,600

  •       3.5-liter V-6 engine
  •       Automatic engine stop/start
  •       Eight-speed automatic transmission
  •       Front-wheel drive
  •       Electric power steering
  •       Snow, Eco, Normal, and Sport drive modes
  •       Electronic parking brake
  •       18-inch painted-alloy wheels
  •       Touch-to-lock and -unlock front door handles
  •       Push-button start
  •       Body-color heated mirrors
  •       Power mirrors
  •       LED reflector headlights
  •       LED taillights and stop lights
  •       Variable-intermittent windshield wipers
  •       Intermittent rear wiper
  •       Windshield wiper de-icer
  •       Tinted rear glass
  •       Material Black grille with silver-painted surround
  •       Black-finish rear lower bumper
  •       Color-keyed side rocker panel moldings
  •       Color-keyed outside door handles
  •       Rear spoiler with LED stop light
  •       Low-gloss black A-pillars
  •       Power windows with one-touch up and down
  •       Tri-zone automatic climate control
  •       Black interior door handles
  •       Power door locks
  •       Conversation mirror with sunglasses holder
  •       Cloth seating
  •       Eight-way power driver’s seat
  •       Four-way manual passenger’s seat
  •       Eight-passenger seating
  •       60/40 split-folding and reclining second-row seats
  •       60/40 split-folding and -reclining third-row bench
  •       Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  •       4.2-inch color multi-information display
  •       Four USB ports
  •       Six cargo-area tie-downs
  •       Front and second-row reading lights
  •       Digital clock
  •       In-car PA system
  •       8-inch touchscreen
  •       Six-speaker audio system
  •       SiriusXM®
  •       Android Auto™
  •       Apple CarPlay®
  •       Amazon Alexa
  •       USB media port
  •       Bluetooth® connectivity with audio streaming
  •       In-car Wi-Fi® (data plan required)
  •       Rearview camera with static guidelines
  •       Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  •       Lane-departure alert with steering assist
  •       Lane-tracing assist
  •       Automatic high-beam headlights
  •       Road-sign assist
  •       Cyclist detection
  •       Hill-start assist
  •       Full-speed adaptive cruise control
  •       Emergency assistance
  •       Stolen-vehicle locator
  •       Roadside assistance
  •       Automatic collision notification

LE: $36,800

  •       All L features, plus
  •       LED fog lights
  •       Power liftgate
  •       Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob
  •       HD Radio™
  •       Blind-spot monitoring
  •       Rear cross-traffic alert

XLE: $39,600

  •       All LE features, plus
  •       18-inch machine-finished alloy wheels
  •       LED daytime running lights
  •       Power moonroof
  •       Roof rails
  •       Chrome interior
  •       Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charger
  •       Auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink®
  •       SofTex® leatherette-trimmed upholstery
  •       10-way power driver’s seat
  •       Four-way power passenger’s seat
  •       Seven-passenger seating
  •       Second-row captain’s chairs
  •       Second-row sun shades
  •       7-inch LED multi-information display

Limited: $43,650

  •       All XLE features, plus
  •       20-inch composite wheels
  •       Puddle lights
  •       LED projector headlights
  •       LED-strip daytime running lights
  •       High-output LED fog lights
  •       Black-painted grille with a chrome surround
  •       Dark-gray metallic rear lower bumper
  •       High-gloss-black A-pillar
  •       Hands-free power liftgate
  •       Leather first- and second-row seats
  •       Heated and ventilated front seats
  •       Heated steering wheel
  •       120-volt power outlet on rear of the center console
  •       Ambient interior lighting
  •       Faux wood trim on doors
  •       Ornamental dash trim
  •       Front door-sill metal scuff plates
  •       Cargo-area tonneau cover
  •       Dynamic navigation
  •       Dynamic POI search
  •       JBL 11-speaker audio system with Clari-Fi
  •       Rearview camera with dynamic guidelines
  •       Front and rear parking assist with automated braking

Platinum: $46,850

  •       All Limited features, plus
  •       Unique 20-inch wheels
  •       Adaptive headlights
  •       Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  •       Silver-finished front-lower bumper
  •       Panoramic moonroof
  •       Rear bumper scuff plate
  •       Digital rearview mirror
  •       Heated second-row seats
  •       10-inch color head-up display
  •       360-degree camera
  •       Illuminated door-sill plates
  •       12.3-inch touchscreen

Who Should Buy the 2020 Honda Pilot

The 2020 Honda Pilot starts over $3,000 cheaper than the Highlander, making it a great option for buyers on a tighter budget and who are willing to skip features for a lower price. Also, with its more traditional design language, it fits more buyers’ taste in cars.

Who Should Buy the 2020 Toyota Highlander

Buyers seeking a premium three-row crossover without crossing into the luxury space will find this in the 2020 Toyota Highlander. It not only starts with more standard features than the Pilot, but it also has a higher luxury ceiling.

 

Is the 2020 Honda Pilot the right three-row crossover for your family? Stop by Garber Honda serving Rochester, Henrietta, Pittsford, and the surrounding area today to test drive the Pilot and see what it offers you. If you can’t make it in today, you can also choose a few in-stock Pilot models from our online inventory page and set up a future test drive.

 

Disclaimer: MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $1,120.00 destination charge and options. Dealers set own prices.

Disclaimer: 20 city/27 highway/23 combined mpg rating for 2WD trims. 19 city/26 highway/22 combined mpg rating for AWD trims. Based on 2021 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions and other factors.