2019 Ford Explorer vs Honda Pilot
Spanning the gap between too-small compact crossovers and thirsty full-size SUVs, 2019 Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot offer roomy comfort and efficient performance. But which of these mid-size crossovers delivers the smoothest ride? Which gives your family the most elbowroom? Do a deep dive with our comparison guide.
Comfiest Ride: 2019 Ford Explorer
With space for up to seven passengers, the mid-size Explorer is never short on head or leg room. You can even fill the cabin with 6-foot-tall passengers and never feel cramped. Add the second-row bucket seats, which slide and recline, for road-trip-ready comfort. Even with the Sport model's athletic suspension tuning, the ride feels nice and smooth.
The Pilot also has a lot of comfort on its features list. As with the Explorer, the Pilot offers high-end options, such as stylish leather upholstery and cozy heated seats. We just wish that third-row seating were a bit roomier. Those extra seats are great for small kids, but most adults won't want to sit in them for long.
Friendliest Infotainment Lineup: 2019 Ford Explorer
Staying connected is a cinch with the Explorer's Sync 3 infotainment system. The 8-inch touchscreen features clear, intuitive menus. Anyone can figure it out, even drivers who lack a knack for technology. The system includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capabilities, keeping you up to speed by displaying smartphone apps on the central touchscreen.
In the Honda Pilot, you'll find the HondaLink infotainment system. It, too, features an 8-inch touchscreen and complete smartphone integration via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Compared to Ford's Sync system, however, the HondaLink interface can lag behind your requests, which can be frustrating to say the least.
Max Towing: It's a Tie!
To tow a sizeable boat or a small camper, you can choose either the Explorer or the Pilot. Properly equipped, both of these mid-size crossovers can tow max loads of 5,000 pounds.
Most Standard Safety Options: 2019 Honda Pilot
It should be noted that both the 2019 Ford Explorer and the Honda Pilot earned top scores in government crash tests. Also, both crossovers offer optional all-wheel drive. If you live in a wet or wintery climate, this performance gear gives you the traction you need to maintain strict control on dangerous roads.
However, the Pilot does have an edge in this category. Every trim level comes standard with the Honda sensing suite. This bundle of driver aids includes frontal collision warning with automatic braking, technology that can actually help you avoid an accident. Standard lane keeping assist makes sure you stay on the right path. The 2019 Ford Explorer also offers these driver aids; the only catch is that you must pay extra to get them.
In the end, though, the Explorer is our first choice overall. This mid-size crossover puts you at an advantage in terms of creature comforts and infotainment technology. On a busy highway, its pristine crash-test scores will put your mind at ease. And, when it's time for a little adventure, you can bring the family boat along for the ride.