Honda Pilot Vs. Toyota Highlander

By Justin Cupler | April 9th, 2019

Three-row crossovers are perfect for families who need a minivan but don’t want to drive a minivan. They can seat up to eight people and haul tons of cargo, but the also have great off-road capability. The 2019 Honda Pilot and 2019 Toyota Highlander fit this description perfectly, but which one is better for our Rochester area car shoppers? Find out below.

Exterior

The Honda Pilot went through a full redesign in 2016, and a light refresh in 2019 modernized its front and rear ends. Today, it remains one of the more moderns three-row crossovers on the market, as this segment tends to move slower than the smaller models. In terms of features, the 2019 Pilot ranges from well-equipped with standard 18-inch wheels, LED lighting, and tinted glass to near-luxury with its optional 20-inch chrome wheels, leather upholstery, and rain-sensing wipers.

The current-generation Toyota Highlander hit showrooms in the 2014 model year with refined styling and went through a tiny refresh in 2019. Though it is older than the Pilot, the Toyota Highlander is still plenty modern for most buyers, but its big difference is it looks more like a traditional SUV than the Pilot. Its exterior equipment is similar to the Pilot’s, so it also ranges from well-equipped base model to near-luxury in its Limited trims.

The Highlander adds an extra wrinkle with its sporty-looking SE trim that includes darkened accents and wheels.

 

In terms of size, the 2019 Highlander is smaller in every dimension except weight and ground clearance. The latter makes it more off-road-friendly.

 

Measurement 2019 Honda Pilot 2019 Toyota Highlander Difference
Length 196.5 inches 192.5 inches +4 inches
Width 78.6 inches 75.8 inches +2.8 inches
Height 70.6 inches 70.1 inches +0.5 inches
Wheelbase 111 inches 109.8 inches +1.2 inches
Ground Clearance 7.3 8 inches -0.7 inches
Curb weight 4,036 to 4,319 pounds 4,165 to 4,655 pounds -336 to -129 pounds

 

Advantage: 2019 Honda Pilot

  • Modern-looking design
  • Larger body for more roominess
  • Lighter

Advantage: 2019 Toyota Highlander

  • Classic styling
  • SMaller and easier to park
  • More ground clearance

Interior

Inside, the 2019 Honda Pilot boasts one of the most modern cabins in the three-row crossover market. It all starts with a shapely dash with horizontally oriented climate controls that visually widen the cabin, and continues with its push-button transmission that makes it feel more airy and spacious.

The 2019 Toyota Highlander looks more traditional with its more upright design that includes larger climate-control knobs and squared HVAC vents. In terms of features, the Highlander has a larger 6.1-inch touchscreen.

When it comes to available features, the Pilot and Highlander both offer loads of premium features, including 8-inch touchscreens, navigation, ventilated seating, and more.

 

Measurement 2019 Honda Pilot 2019 Toyota Highlander Difference
Front headroom 40.1 inches 40.7 inches -0.6 inches
Front legroom 40.9 inches 44.2 inches -3.3 inches
Front shoulder room 62 inches 59.3 inches +2.7 inches
Front hip room 59.1 inches 57.2 inches +1.9 inches
Second row headroom 40.2 inches 39.9 inches +0.3 inches
Second row legroom 38.4 inches 38.4 inches
Second row shoulder room 62 inches 59.6 inches +2.4 inches
Second row hip room 57.3 inches 59.6 inches -2.3 inches
Third row headroom 38.9 inches 35.9 inches +3 inches
Third row legroom 31.9 inches 27.7 inches +4.2 inches
Third row shoulder room 57.6 inches 55 inches +2.6 inches
Third row hip room 44.6 inches 45.6 inches -1 inches
Cargo room behind third row 16.5 cubic feet 13.8 cubic feet +2.7 cubic feet
Cargo room behind second row 46.8 cubic feet 42 to 42.3 cubic feet +4.5 to +4.8 cubic feet
Cargo room behind first row 83.9 cubic feet 82.6 to 83.7 cubic feet +0.2 to +1.3 cubic feet

 

Advantage: 2019 Honda Pilot

  • More modern interior
  • Airy feel
  • Quieter cabin
  • More cargo room
  • Spacier rear seats

Advantage: 2019 Toyota Highlander

  • Downright luxurious in its upper trims
  • More front seat legroom

Performance

Crossovers, particularly three-row ones, have an array of engines, ranging from thrifty four-cylinder engines to rumbling V-8 options. The 2019 Honda Pilot uses a standard 3.5-liter V-6 engine with 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque to zip it to 60 mpg in just over six seconds. It can also tow up to 5,000 pounds with all-wheel drive.

The 2019 Toyota Highlander uses a standard 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine with 185 horsepower, but that is only available in its base LE trim with front wheel drive. The four-pot setup can tow just 1,500 pounds. Most 2019 Highlanders will come with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that cranks out 295 horsepower and tows up to 5,000 pounds. This powertrain sprints the 2019 Highlander to 60 mph in a respectable seven seconds.

While neither crossover is a performance machine, the Highlander SE has a sport-tuned suspension that can handle the twisties a little better.

 

2019 Honda Pilot 2019 Toyota Highlander Difference
Engine 3.5-liter V-6 2.7-liter 4-cyl
Horsepower 280 hp at 6,000 rpm 185 hp at 5,800 rpm +95 hp
Torque 262 lb-ft at 4,700 rpm 184 lb-ft at 4,200 rpm +78 lb-ft
Standard transmission 6-spd automatic 6-spd automatic
Optional transmission 9-spd automatic
Driveline FWD (std.)/AWD (opt.) FWD
0-60 time 6.2 sec (est.)
Towing 3,500 to 5,000 pounds 1,500 pounds +2,000 to +3,500 pounds
MPG City 18 to 20 mpg** 20 mpg -2 to 0 mpg
MPG Highway 26 to 27 mpg** 24 mpg +2 to +3 mpg
MPG Combined 21 to 23 mpg** 22 mpg -1 to +1 mpg
Optional engine
3.5-liter V-6
Horsepower
295 hp at 6,600 rpm -15 hp
Torque
263 lb-ft at 4,700 rpm -1 lb-ft
Standard transmission
8-spd automatic
Optional transmission
Driveline
FWD (std.)/AWD (opt.)
0-60 time
7 sec -0.8 sec
Towing
5,000 pounds -1,500 to 0 pounds
MPG City
19 to 21 mpg -3 to -1 mpg
MPG Highway
26 to 27 mpg
MPG Combined 22 to 23 mpg -2 to +1 mpg

 

Advantage: 2019 Honda Pilot

  • More standard power
  • More advanced transmission option
  • Higher standard towing

Advantage: 2019 Toyota Highlander

  • More optional power
  • More accessible max towing
  • Sporty-handling SE trim

Pricing and Features

The 2019 Honda Pilot has five trim levels — LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, and Elite — and their starting prices range from $31,450* to $48,020*.

 

The 2019 Toyota Highlander has six trim levels: LE, LE Plus, XLE, SE, Limited, and Limited Platinum. Their base prices range from $31,530 to $45,750.

2019 Honda Pilot Key Features and Pricing by Trim

LX: $31,450*

  • 3.5-liter V-6 engine
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Eco Assist system
  • Active noise cancellation
  • Hill-start assist
  • Electric power steering
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • LED daytime running lights
  • LED low-beam headlights
  • LED taillights
  • Tinted rear glass
  • Variable-intermittent windshield wipers
  • Remote entry
  • Black, power mirrors
  • Black door handles
  • Black roofline spoiler
  • Air conditioning
  • Sunglasses holder
  • Keyless ignition
  • Power windows with one-touch-up/down front windows
  • Power door locks
  • Cruise control
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Rear-seat heater ducts
  • Cargo-area light
  • Four cargo-area tie-down anchors
  • Cargo-area bag hooks
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • First- and second-row floor mats
  • 60/40 split-folding third-row seat
  • 5-inch color LCD screen
  • 1-amp USB audio interface
  • 2.5-amp USB port in center console
  • 12-volt power outlets in front and center consoles
  • 215-watt, seven-speaker audio system
  • Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Road-departure mitigation
  • Forward collision warning
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Multi-angle rearview camera with guidelines
  • Security system

 

EX: $34,330*

  • All LX features, plus
  • Remote engine start
  • Normal and Snow drive modes
  • 18-inch machine-finished wheels
  • Heated, body-color mirrors with integrated turn signals
  • Body-color roofline spoiler
  • Mart entry with walk-away auto lock
  • LED fog lights
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control
  • Illuminated vanity mirrors
  • Conversation mirror with sunglasses holder
  • 10-way power driver’s seat
  • One-touch second-row seats
  • Heated front seats
  • 12-volt power outlet in cargo area
  • 8-inch high-resolution touchscreen
  • HondaLink
  • CabinControl remote capability
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • SMS text message function
  • SiriusXM
  • HD Radio
  • 2.5-amp USB port in front console
  • Multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines
  • Blind-spot monitoring

 

EX-L: $37,760*

  • All EX features, plus
  • Moonroof
  • Power liftgate
  • Acoustic windshield
  • HondaLink remote system
  • Second-row integrated 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 seating
  • Two rear 2.5-amp charging ports

 

Touring: $42,520*

  • All EX-L features, plus
  • Automatic engine stop/start
  • Nine-speed automatic transmission
  • 20-inch machine-finished alloy wheels
  • Chrome door handles
  • Hands-free power liftgate
  • Acoustic windshield and front-side glass
  • Roof rails
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • LED low-beam headlights with auto-on/off
  • Reverse-gear-tilt-down mirrors
  • Courtesy front door lights
  • Blue ambient LED lighting
  • Illuminated cup holders
  • Heated front and rear seats
  • Satellite-;linked navigation
  • Advanced rear-entertainment system
  • Two 10.2-inch high-resolution rear screens
  • Rear Blu-Ray player
  • Built-in streaming apps
  • 115-volt rear power outlet
  • Rear HDMI port
  • Rear wireless headphones
  • 590-watt, 10-speaker audio system
  • HondaLink subscription service
  • Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Multi-zone audio

 

Elite: $48,020*

  • All Touring features, plus
  • All-wheel drive
  • Snow, Sand, and Mud drive modes
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Power-folding mirrors
  • Panoramic roof
  • LED front map lights
  • Floor mats in all three rows
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Second-row captains chairs
  • Perforated-leather second-row seats
  • Perforated, heated, and ventilated front seats
  • In-Car PA system
  • Wireless phone charger

2019 Toyota Highlander Key Features and Pricing by Trim

LE: $31,530

  • 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Electric power steering
  • 18-inch split-five-spoke alloy wheels
  • Projector-beam halogen headlights with auto-on/off
  • Daytime running lights
  • LED taillights
  • Body-color, heated, power mirrors with integrated turn signals
  • Body-color door handles
  • Variable-intermittent windshield wipers
  • Windshield wiper de-icer
  • Rear tinted glass
  • Black rocker panels
  • Body-color rear spoiler
  • Front and rear air conditioning
  • 4.2-inch multi-information display
  • Cloth seating
  • Six-way manual driver’s seat
  • Four-way manual passenger’s seat
  • 60/40 split-folding second-row seats
  • 60/40 split-folding third-row seat
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with metallic accents
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Soft-touch upper door trim
  • Black inside door handles
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Power door locks
  • Power windows with one-touch-up/down front glass
  • Overhead console with sunglasses storage
  • Illuminated vanity mirrors
  • Two 12-volt power outlets
  • Three front and two rear USB ports
  • Four cargo-area tie-down anchors
  • Entune Audio infotainment system
  • 6.1-inch touchscreen
  • Six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system
  • Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  • Rearview camera with guidelines
  • Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Hill-start assist

 

LE Plus: $36,480

  • All LE features, plus
  • 3.5-liter V-6 engine
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission
  • 18-inch split-five=spoke machined alloy wheels with gunmetal-gray finish
  • Flip-up rear window
  • Power liftgate
  • Fog lights
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control
  • Cloth-and-leatherette-trimmed seats
  • 10-way power driver’s seat
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Leatherette-trimmed door
  • Entune Audio Plus infotainment system
  • 8-inch high-resolution touchscreen
  • Scout GPS Link
  • SiriusXM
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Automatic engine stop/start

 

XLE: $39,420

  • All LE Plus features, plus
  • Power moonroof
  • 18-inch turbine-look alloy wheels
  • Chromatec roof rails
  • Chrome window trim
  • Body-color rear door garnish
  • Leather seating
  • 12-way power driver’s seat
  • Four-way power passenger’s seat
  • Leatherette third-row seat
  • Satin-chrome interior door handles
  • Smart Key system on front doors and liftgate
  • Keyless ignition
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • HomeLink universal home remote
  • 120-volt rear power outlet
  • In-car PA system
  • Entune Premium Audio infotainment system
  • Integrated navigation
  • Anti-theft system

 

SE: $40,640

  • All XLE features, plus
  • Sport-tuned suspension
  • 19-inch black-finish multi-spoke alloy wheels
  • Black sport headlights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Black LED fog lights
  • Power moonroof
  • Dark-painted roof rails
  • Technical-pattern upper door trim
  • Blue LED ambient lighting

 

Limited: $42,630

  • All XLE features, plus
  • 19-inch five spoke Chrometec
  • Smoked-chrome headlights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Chrome LED fog lights
  • Body-color rocker panels
  • Chrome rear bumper garnish
  • Perforated front seats
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • Wood-grain accents
  • Blue LED ambient lighting
  • Power windows with one-touch-up/down in all positions
  • Cargo cover
  • Entune Premium Audio JBL
  • 12 JBL Greenedge speakers
  • Rearview camera with dynamic guidelines
  • Rear parking sensors

 

Limited with Platinum Package: $45,750

  • Panoramic moonroof
  • 19-inch five-spoke Dark Chromatec wheels
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Puddle lights
  • Heated second-row seats
  • Bird’s-eye-view camera
  • Emergency assistance
  • Stolen-vehicle locator
  • Roadside assistance
  • Automatic collision notification

Who Should Buy the 2019 Honda Pilot?

Need all the room you can get and premium features to go along with it? The 2019 Honda Pilot is the three-row crossover for you with its roomy rear seats and larger cargo area.

Who Should Buy the 2019 Toyota Highlander?

The Toyota Highlander and its more upscale-looking cabin in higher trims is best suited for a buyer looking for a premium crossover without a luxury-model price.

 

Ready to tackle your commute and to-do list around the Rochester, New York area in the 2019 Honda Pilot? Head down to Garber Honda serving the Pittsford and Henrietta areas today to test drive it. Can’t make to to Rochester today for a test drive? Swing by our online inventory page to see our in-stock 2019 Pilot models ready for our Pittsford, Henrietta, and Rochester area buyers and schedule a test drive later.   

 

*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $1,045.00 destination charge and options. Dealers set own prices.

 

**19 city/27 highway/22 combined mpg rating for 2WD 6AT trims. 18 city/26 highway/21 combined mpg rating for AWD 6AT trims. 20 city/27 highway/23 combined mpg rating for 2WD 9AT trims. 19 city/26 highway/22 combined mpg rating for AWD 9AT trims. Based on 2019 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.