SUVs have become a family staple with the ample space families need. The Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot are two popular mid-size SUV choices. Based on the reviews of actual Highlander and Pilot owners, the 2021 Highlander received a higher KBB Consumer Rating. The gas model Highlander received a 4.2 and the Highlander Hybrid received a 5.0 rating while the Pilot got a 3.3 rating.
For a better standard of interior features, the Highlander offers Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, and Amazon Alexa compatibility, while the Pilot does not offer any of these as a standard feature. They are available on the Pilot as an extra-cost add-on.
You can also count on a better gas mileage rating with the Highlander Hybrid FWD models which have an EPA-estimated 36/35/36 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating. In contrast, a hybrid powertrain is not available on Pilot. The 2WD Pilot base grade has an EPA-estimated 20/27/23 (city/highway/combined).
The Highlander FWD base trim starts out at $34,810 while the Pilot base trim is $32,250. When we look at the performance, interior, and reliability of each SUV, you'll be able to see which offers more bang for your buck.
Publish Date: 12/07/2020
Optimal performance means that you can comfortably explore the depths of adventure without exploring the depths of your wallet.
The Pilot’s engine delivers 280 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. torque, while the Highlander base trim has more power with 295 horsepower and 263 lb.-ft. torque.
Highlander has the high ground in mileage ratings as well. The Highlander L FWD has an EPA-estimated 21/29/24 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating and a 20/27/23 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating for the Highlander L AWD. The Pilot's base trim with 2WD has an EPA-estimated 20/27/23 (city/highway/combined). The Pilot base trim LX with AWD has a slightly lower EPA-estimated 19/27/22 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating.
The Highlander also has several hybrid trims that come in both FWD and AWD options including the Hybrid LE, Hybrid XLE, Hybrid Limited, and the Hybrid Platinum. All of these FWD models have an EPA-estimated MPG rating of 36/35/36 (city/highway/combined). The Highlander Hybrid LE and XLE with AWD have an EPA-estimated 35/35/35 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating, and Highlander Hybrid Limited and Platinum with AWD have an EPA-estimated MPG rating of 35/34/35 MPG (city/highway/combined). The Pilot does not offer a hybrid trim.
Media options and ample room make any ride fun, from running errands to full-on road trips.
The Highlander comes standard with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with an available 12.3-inch touchscreen display on select grades and standard five USB media ports. By contrast, the Honda Pilot comes with a basic 5-inch display and two USB ports. To get a larger 8-inch touchscreen you'd have to get the Pilot EX trim or higher.
All Highlander trims come standard with Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, and Amazon Alexa compatibility. Additionally, drivers get advanced voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology. Plus, Highlander also comes with SiriusXM® and a 3-month All Access trial, even on the base trim. On the other hand, the Pilot comes with Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® and Streaming Audio, but the base trim does not include Apple CarPlay® Integration, SiriusXM® Radio, or Android Auto™ Integration. To get those features you need to upgrade to the EX trim or above.
The Highlander inches out the Pilot base trim with a cargo volume (cu. ft.) behind front/second-row/third-row seats of 84.3/48.4/16.0. The Pilot base trim has 83.9/46.8/16.5 cargo volume. Both seat up to eight passengers.
Reliability is important. Your car could have all the right features, but if it can’t live up to a reputation for reliability, is it worth it?
The Toyota Highlander comes standard with ToyotaCare, a scheduled maintenance plan for the first 2 years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. Honda's maintenance program, Honda Care, comes at an additional cost to customers. The exact cost depends on the plan you buy and its duration.
Honda offers Honda Roadside Assistance for 3-years/36,000-miles. Roadside assistance from Toyota includes 24-hour Roadside Assistance for 2 years and unlimited mileage.
The 2021 Highlander and Highlander Hybrid also come out ahead in KBB Consumer Ratings with a 4.2 and 5.0 Consumer Rating respectively. The 2021 Pilot has a Consumer Rating of 3.3.
Both of these vehicles prove to be great contenders for your choice of a new mid-size SUV. Which one has the reliability, media features, and performance you want? Let's recap.
The 2021 Toyota Highlander comes standard with the ToyotaCare plan to help the good times keep rolling for 2 years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. Honda offers Honda Roadside Assistance for 3-years/36,000-miles. However, Honda Care comes at an additional cost to customers. The exact cost depends on the plan you buy and its duration.
The Highlander base trim comes standard with Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, and Amazon Alexa compatibility. It also has advanced voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology. Plus, the Highlander comes with SiriusXM® and a 3-month All Access trial. On the other hand, the Pilot base trim has Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® and Streaming Audio but does not include Apple CarPlay® Integration, SiriusXM® Radio, or Android Auto™ Integration standard. To get those features you need to upgrade to the Pilot EX or above.
One of the biggest triumphs for the Highlander is its gas mileage ratings. Not only does the Highlander have higher EPA-estimated MPG ratings on its gas trims, it has several hybrid engine models as well. The Highlander Hybrid FWD trims all have a whopping EPA-estimated MPG rating of 36/35/36 (city/highway/combined).
When it comes to buying an SUV that has all that you need, there can be only one: the 2021 Highlander.