Both the Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer continue to be popular choices in the highly competitive SUV market. Due to its history as an SUV forerunner, the Explorer should have a fair shot at knocking out the Pilot, right? Don’t count on it. Here are all the reasons why the 2017 Pilot outshines, outpaces, and outlasts the Ford Explorer.  

Midsize SUV Rankings

In this highly competitive class, US News and World Report ranks the 2017 Pilot higher on its list than the 2017 Explorer, which barely even squeaks into the teens. Kelley Blue Book lists the 2017 Honda Pilot as the #1 Best Buy For 2017. “ The Explorer? Nowhere to be found. By every meaningful metric, the 2017 Pilot fairs better than the Explorer, and it’s barely close.

Measuring Up

The midsize SUV class has gained consumer popularity chiefly because it offers minivan-like space without sacrificing curb appeal. The 2017 Pilot features a smooth aerodynamic design and head-turning style, including a distinctive fascia, front grille with Honda’s “H” badge, and flared corner panels at the rear. The Pilot’s impressive state-of-the-art appearance is the clear winner when compared to the Explorer’s traditional boxy look.

2017 Honda Pilot Cargo


Space & Towing Capacity

Space is one of the defining parameters in the SUV class. Consumers are looking for efficient carpooling capacity as well as family-sized space for kids and all the stuff they insist on bringing with them. The sporty 2017 Pilot is the champion of 3-row contenders thanks to its generous adult-sized seating from front to back. The Pilot’s front seats offer unsurpassed amounts of legroom, and overall Honda’s SUV seats eight comfortably. The Explorer handles just seven passengers, so you’ll have to leave Grandma behind if you choose Ford’s SUV for your next road trip.

The new Pilot outmatches the Explorer in cargo size, too, offering 83.9 cubic feet compared to the Explorer’s 80.7 cubic feet. But that’s not solely a knock on the Explorer; the Pilot has more cargo space than most other SUVs in the class.

A 2,000-pound towing capacity doesn’t help the Explorer win a round either, as that’s 1,500 pounds less than the Pilot’s muscular 3,500-pound rating. Looks like the Pilot has the Explorer on the ropes!

2017 Honda Pilot Safety


Safety – The Knockout Punch

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awards 5-star safety ratings for both the Pilot and the Explorer, but don’t get your hopes up yet, Explorer fans. The Pilot was awarded the best score (“Good”) by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in every category across the board. Those exceptional scores earned the Pilot an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, which is a tier above the Explorer’s grade. The more rigorous IIHS testing highlights the safety shortcomings of the Explorer, which is what separates these two 5-star safety contenders.

Reputation and Resale Value

Honda’s sterling reputation for building reliable, long-lasting, high-quality vehicles makes them the most sought after in the used car market. Trouble-free ownership makes both the new 2017 Pilot and used Pilot models much better investments over the Explorer or any SUV competitor when considering the buy-own-sell cycle. This record of supreme customer satisfaction is one that Ford simply can’t match.

The winner in this Pilot vs. Explorer challenge? The 2017 Honda Pilot earns gold by knockout. 

Find a New Pilot at Our Valley Honda Dealers near Phoenix

The year might be rolling to a close, but that just means now is the best time to buy or lease a 2017 Honda Pilot! With 2018 models surely on their way, you’ll be able to find amazing Honda lease deals on the Pilot when visiting any of our Honda dealerships near Tempe or Mesa, AZ. So, shop today, save today, and learn to love the road from the captain’s chair of your brand-spanking-new Honda Pilot.

Find your nearby Valley Honda Dealers location near Phoenix to browse our selection of new Honda SUVs and cars for sale, and reach out to a member of our sales team to schedule a test drive.


Sources & Photos: