The 2019 Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot can add a splash of modern adventure and high-tech safety to your daily drive. But which should you park in your garage? Our comparison guide delves into the pros and cons of each crossover.
Comfiest Road Tripper: 2019 Ford Explorer
The Explorer isn't just another capable off-roader-it's a family-centric crossover that wraps up to seven passengers in total comfort. On top of all its generous head- and legroom, the Explorer drifts up and down the highway in smooth, comfortable style. And, even in the face of high winds and fast-moving tires, the cabin remains as hushed as an expensive luxury cruiser, ultimately setting the Explorer apart from other crossovers in this price range.
Back in the Honda Pilot, you'll find another roomy cabin stocked with comfy, supportive seating. This three-row crossover also gets high marks for its smooth ride, which is always a big bonus on a long drive. There's just one catch: some road noise is bound to drift into the cabin. This flaw puts the Pilot behind the Explorer in terms of luxury-cabin feel.
Best Infotainment and High-Tech Safety Gear: 2019 Ford Explorer
When it comes to high-tech features, there's a lot of overlap between the Explorer and Pilot. For example, both of these three-row crossovers offer hands-free access to your smartphone via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Now you don't have to risk lives to check your text messages. Both crossovers also cast a wide safety net, with cutting-edge safety items like lane keeping assist and frontal collision warning with automatic braking.
But there are a few tech anomalies that set these crossovers apart. The Pilot's touchscreen is known for its slow responses and frustrating user interface. And, let's face it, the last thing you need on your morning crawl through rush-hour traffic is any additional frustration. Similarly, Honda's safety aids are on the overzealous side. If you won't want to listen to a safety system making false alarms all the way to work, we recommend checking out the Explorer.
Sporting Performance: It's a Tie!
If you're in this purchase solely for the adventure, you're going to have a tough time deciding between these crossovers. (Though we're guessing the aforementioned comfort and safety categories are major considerations for most.) Both the 2019 Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot can kick it in off-road terrain, thanks to their optional all-wheel-drive systems. Besides supplying adventure, though, this performance gear does double duty by increasing safety on an icy road. The best thing about all-wheel drive is that this powertrain does all of this automatically, without you ever having to worry about slippage.
And there's more: these sporty crossovers offer ample power and sporty handling. They give you the confidence you need to merge into traffic, moving at breakneck speed and take on dangerously winding roads. On the flip side of speed and sportiness, both supply impressive braking performance to keep you and your family secure.
Thriftiest Ride: 2019 Honda Pilot
The Honda Pilot takes this category, but only by a hair. Its thriftiest powertrain configuration returns 23 mpg combined (20 city/27 highway mpg). The 2019 Ford Explorer follows right behind, with up to 22 mpg combined (19/27 mpg). If you've got a long highway commute every day, you could really choose either crossover and see the same kind of fuel mileage.
Though they've got things in common, the 2019 Ford Explorer ultimately has the jump on the Honda Pilot. That's especially true if you're looking for the best in-cabin experience. The Explorer pairs a supremely capable, adventurous ride with a cabin you can really settle into for hours on end.