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2021 Ford Explorer vs 2021 Honda Pilot

2021 Ford Explorer vs 2021 Honda Pilot

The three-row SUV market is an intensely competitive one, with models to suit every budget and taste. The Ford Explorer is the segment's best-seller over the years, but does it still deserve its place at the head of the pack?


To find out, we put it up against one of its leading competitors, the Honda Pilot. Read our 2021 Ford Explorer vs 2021 Honda Pilot comparison review to see how it went.



Exterior and Looks


Both vehicles are classic examples of the three-row SUV design, with large, powerful bodies and ample cabin space. However, the Explorer is perhaps the sleeker and more modern of the two, with the Pilot's minivan heritage showing through in its slightly more boxy appearance.


Under the Hood


Larger SUVs like these need plenty of power for a smooth driving experience. Both cars pack a hefty punch under the hood, but the Explorer has a clear advantage. The Ford's standard engine is a 2.3L turbo I-4 pushing out 300 horsepower and 310lb-ft of torque for an assertive level of performance.


The Honda has a 3.5L V6 which looks impressive on paper but lags behind Ford's performance with a slightly less impressive 280 horsepower and 262lb-ft of torque.


Both SUVs are all-wheel drive as standard, with the Ford offering a smooth ten-speed automatic transmission and the Honda a nine-speed automatic.


Fuel Economy


But Ford's better performance doesn't come at the cost of fuel economy. Both cars have respectable figures for such large SUVs, but the Ford has the edge with 11.7L / 100km in the city and 8.7L on the highway, compared to the Honda's 12.4L and 9.1L.


Towing Capacity


One of the great advantages of larger SUVs is their ability to tow heavy loads without breaking a sweat. Again, the Ford has a clear advantage in this area, with a maximum capacity of 2,404kg comfortably outclassing the Honda's 1,587kg.


Infotainment and Technology


As standard, the 2021 Ford Explorer is fitted with an 8" touchscreen display to handle infotainment duties, with the option of a 10.1" upgrade on higher trims. The standard gauge cluster measures 6.5", while higher trims boost this to a 12.3" all-digital version.


In contrast, the Honda Pilot looks a little behind the times, with its standard 5" infotainment screen offering a much less user-friendly experience.


Cargo Capacity


Both SUVs offer flexible cargo capacities by folding down the rear seats. But if you frequently need to transport large loads, the Ford makes the better choice. With all seats upright, there's still a generous 515L of space compared to the Honda's 453L.


With the third row folded down, the capacities increase to 1,356L for the Ford and 1,302L for the Honda. And with all seats folded, the Explorer's generous capacity of 2,486L is a clear distance ahead of the Pilot's 2,324L.


2021 Ford Explorer vs 2021 Honda Pilot: The Verdict


Both SUVs would make a great choice as an everyday car with plenty of space for the family. However, the 2021 Ford Explorer has the edge in nearly every area that matters, with higher performance, better fuel economy, and more advanced infotainment features.


Categories: Ford Explorer Review