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Vehicle Comparisons:
2021 Honda Pilot vs Ford Explorer

2021 Honda Pilot Silver Parked in the Driveway

The 2021 Honda Pilot and 2021 Ford Explorer are both known for being family-friendly SUVs that don’t sacrifice power for safety. Both vehicles are adventure-ready, but which one will be best suited to take you around Denver, Aurora, and Centennial, Colorado?

We’ve sought to answer that very question with this 2021 Honda Pilot vs. 2021 Ford Explorer comparison. By the time you’re done with this review, you’ll be ready to take one for a test drive and make the decision that best suits you and your family.

Honda vs Ford: Power & Performance

2021 Honda Pilot PerformanceThe 2021 Honda Pilot has a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 280 horsepower with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Its engine is capable of shouldering 5,000 pounds with its all-wheel drive configuration, giving drivers flexibility and power all in one.

With a 2.3L 4-cylinder 300 horsepower engine, the 2021 Ford Explorer uses more fuel for adequate power in some cases. If you need something for daily driving adventures around town or on the highway, the Explorer is a capable vehicle that can get you from Point A to Point B.

The Honda Pilot comes equipped with a 9-speed automatic transmission that tips the scale with dependable, accurate steering. With 18-inch wheels, the Pilot conceals its mass on curving roads with ease, with firm suspension and powerful handling. Plus, they’re designed to tackle a variety of terrain with the upmost confidence.

All engines in the Ford Explorer utilize a 10-speed transmission. With rear-wheel drive as a standard option and all-wheel drive as an available option, the Explorer also sits on 18-inch wheels and takes corners smoothly. Its formidable size can be daunting for city driving, though, especially when doing a lot of stopping and starting.

Safety First 

The 2021 Honda Pilot is a breath of fresh air when it comes to standard safety options. Base level drivers feel safe and in charge knowing their SUV is equipped with Honda Sensing®. If you’ve driven any Honda model within the last few years, you’ve most likely experienced the advanced protection with this suite of safety and driver assist technology.

Honda Sensing® alerts you of things you might miss while driving. It does this through a variety of features that monitor many hard-to-see angles of your vehicle. Standard in the Honda Sensing® suite is Lane Keeping Assist, which subtly corrects your steering when you start drifting out of your current lane.

The Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™) has a very important job, which is helping to keep you safe from a frontal collision. When a collision is unavoidable, the CMBS™ can help bring your Pilot to a complete stop by automatically applying brake pressure.

The last two features in the Honda Sensing® safety suite are the Road Departure Mitigation System (RDM) and Adaptive Cruise Control. With RDM, the system detects when you cross over lane lines without initiating a turn signal. When detected, the system applies corrective steering or braking, if needed, to help keep you from veering off the road.

Adaptive Cruise Control is designed to help you maintain a set speed from the vehicles in front of you. If you get too close to them, the Pilot will automatically slow down or even stop. Simply tap on the throttle to continue maintaining your set interval speed.

As for the 2021 Ford Explorer, you’ll also have peace of mind during your travels; however, its standard safety suite doesn’t offer some of the same features you’ll get with the Honda. The Ford Explorer comes standard with Ford Co-Pilot360™, providing you with Lane-Keeping Assist, Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, and Automatic Emergency Braking, which is a similar feature to the Honda Sensing® Collision Mitigation System™.

While the Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer provide some similar safety features, Ford Co-Pilot360™ doesn’t offer a feature similar to the Road Departure Mitigation System in the Honda Sensing® suite.

2021 Pilot vs Explorer: Interior Space and Comfort

2021 Honda Pilot Interior SeatingWhen shopping for an SUV, you need a cabin that’s designed for your on-the-go lifestyle. For starters, interior space is a huge factor to consider. Not only do you need room to keep you and your passengers comfortable, but extra space for storing all the cargo you need. In the Honda Pilot, you’ll find a standard seating arrangement to accommodate up to eight passengers. Unfortunately, the base trim of the Ford Explorer only offers seven seats.

If you’re embarking on a long road trip, feel good knowing you’ll enjoy a relaxing ride with tons of room to stretch out. Even with an extra seat, the Honda Pilot allows for just a tad more passenger volume than the Ford Explorer: 152.9 cubic feet in the Pilot compared to 152.7 cubic feet in the Explorer. As far as cargo storage, the Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer deliver similar dimensions. Also, they both offer features to maximize your cargo space, allowing your rear seats to fold down flat.

Aside from tons of room, the Honda Pilot delivers features like available heated and ventilated seats, along with plush, second-row Captain’s Chairs. In the Explorer, expect optional heated seats; however, ventilated seats are exclusive to the Pilot in this SUV comparison.

2021 Honda Pilot vs 2021 Ford Explorer

While both vehicles have a lot to offer in terms of specs and features, the 2021 Honda Pilot crosses the finish line with performance, safety, and a versatile interior. While both are impressive and have a lot to offer, only one can be your next vehicle, and we’re confident that it can only be the Pilot. It offers better handling with standard safety options that the Explorer just doesn’t have at the same levels.

To see for yourself, we encourage drivers around Centennial, Aurora, and Denver, CO, to come see us at Mile High Honda. With our highly trained team of Honda specialists, we’re confident we can help you find exactly what you’re looking for. You don’t have to take our word for it, though. Call or contact us today and take one for a test drive!




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