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Which of these family crossover SUVs is right for you?

Honda Pilot vs. Toyota Highlander | CarMax

When you've got your sights set on a larger crossover SUV, there is no shortage of options. If you're in the market for a practical, family-friendly SUV that doesn't skimp on space or available features, both the 2017 Honda Pilot and 2017 Toyota Highlander are top contenders.

When you compare the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, you'll find a lot of similarities—but a few key differences that will ultimately influence your decision. Fortunately, we’ll save you some time and research by comparing the 2017 Honda Pilot vs. Toyota Highlander below.


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2017 Honda Pilot Overview

Honda Pilot Overview | CarMax

The 2017 Honda Pilot shines in its spacious interior and smooth ride. Though it may not come standard with all the bells and whistles, it's a great option for those who are looking for a no-frills, practical vehicle for a growing family. And for the 2017 model year, drivers and passengers alike will enjoy that the Pilot has integration of both Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto® compatibility.

Trim Options

The 2017 Honda Pilot is available in five trim levels. There is also a Honda Pilot Hybrid that may be worth checking out for green-conscious drivers.

Powertrain and Fuel Economy

Honda Pilot - Powertrain | CarMax

Curious about what's under the hood in the 2017 Honda Pilot? The standard engine is a 3.5-liter V6, which accelerates from zero to 60 in 6.9 seconds. In its base 3.5-liter V6 engine, drivers can expect an estimated 23 mpg combined.1 All of this with the Pilot's impressive 5,000lb estimated towing capacity (when properly equipped) makes it a surprisingly powerful and utilitarian option.2

Safety Ratings

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2011-2018 Honda Pilot an overall five-star safety rating. Certain vehicles may have unrepaired safety recalls. Click here to look up a specific vehicle.

Standard and Available Features

The 2017 Honda Pilot comes with a decent number of standard features in its base LX trim. Some of these include:

  • a five-inch display screen
    Honda Pilot - Touchscreen | CarMax
  • rearview camera
  • Bluetooth® connectivity
  • six-speed automatic transmission
    Honda Pilot - Trim Options Dashboard | CarMax

Those looking for a better equipped vehicle may want to check out the EX trim, which adds features and conveniences such as:

  • remote engine start
  • blind-spot camera
  • smartphone-enabled features
  • three-zone climate control
    Honda Pilot - Three Zone Climate Control | CarMax

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2017 Toyota Highlander Overview

Toyota Highlander Overview | CarMax

Another excellent choice in three-row family SUV is the 2017 Toyota Highlander, which is a great size for many growing families. When compared to the Honda Pilot, it also offers a bit more in the way of tech features, which may be a tipping point for those with kids to keep entertained on longer road trips. Plus, for the 2017 model year, the Highlander received a new V6 engine and a brand new trim level (the SE).

Trim Options

The 2017 Toyota Highlander is available in six trim levels:

Price-wise, buyers can expect to pay between about $27,000 and $40,000 for a used 2017 Highlander at CarMax, depending on how the vehicle is equipped (as of August 22, 2018)—making it the slightly more affordable choice between the two.

Powertrain and Fuel Economy

Toyota Highlander - Powertrain Fuel Economy | CarMax

In all trim levels but the base LE (which comes with a 2.7-liter, four-cylinder engine), the 2017 Highlander is equipped with a 3.5-liter V6—just like the 2017 Pilot. Its four-cylinder engine in the base LE trim gets an estimated 22 mpg combined, whereas its more powerful 3.5-liter V6 in all other trim levels gets an estimated 23 mpg combined.1

Safety Ratings

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2017 Toyota Highlander an overall five-star safety rating. Certain vehicles may have unrepaired safety recalls. Click here to look up a specific vehicle.

Standard and Available Features

The 2017 Highlander really shines in its standard and available features, especially inside the cabin. Standard features on the base LE include:

  • a unique windshield wiper de-icer
  • 6.1-inch touchscreen interface
    Toyota Highlander - Touchscreen | CarMax
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • five convenient USB ports
    Toyota Highlander - USB ports | CarMax
  • Toyota Safety Sense™ Bundle

Other optional features on some trims include:

  • blind-spot monitoring
  • leather upholstery
    Toyota Highlander - Trim Options Dashboard | CarMax
  • rear parking sensors
  • 360-degree parking camera
  • heated steering wheel

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Which is Best for You?

At the end of the day, both the 2017 Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander have a lot to offer when it comes to passenger space, cargo storage, and utility on-the-road. More than likely, it will come down to the small details and your budget as you make your decision!

Learn more about these SUVs here:

1 Fuel economy figures are based on EPA estimates when vehicles sold as new. Fuel economy may vary for reasons like driving conditions and vehicle history. Unless specified, figures are for vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission. See fueleconomy.gov for details.
2 Various factors may impact towing capacity, including weight of passengers, cargo, and options/accessories.
Unless otherwise noted, information relating to these featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.