We drove a $49,000 Toyota Highlander and a $49,000 Honda Pilot to see which is the better family SUV - here's the verdict
- The Toyota Highlander and the Honda Pilot are two of the best selling mid-size family SUVs in the US.
- The base Toyota Highlander LE starts at $31,330 while the top-of-the-line Hybrid Limited V6 Platinum AWD trim starts at $48,630.
- The base Honda Pilot LX starts at $31,450 while the top-spec Elite trim starts at $48,020.
- In the end, the Honda Pilot's smooth ride, punchier powertrain, and superior infotainment tipped the contest in its favor.
The minivan's reign over the American family has come to an end. Sales of the infinitely practical, but socially uncool family haulers are a mere fraction of what they were during their heyday. In 2000, automakers sold 1.25 million minivans in the US. According to data compiled by Kelley Blue Book, that figure fell to just 482,000 in 2018.
The new king of family transportation is the mid-size three-row crossover SUV. Last year, the Ford Explorer and the Toyota Highlander combined to outsell the entire minivan segment by about 24,000 units.Read more: We drove a $42,000 and a $49,000 Toyota Highlander to see why it's one of the best family SUVs money can buy - here's what we discovered.
Thus, it's high time we take a closer look at the family SUV segment. The Ford Explorer is the sales leader. But Ford only recently unveiled the next generation Explorer. So we haven't had a chance to experience it in person.
However, we have experienced the second and third best sellers in the segment; the Toyota Highlander and the Honda Pilot.
The current third-generation Highlander arrived in 2014 and received a refreshed front fascia in 2016. Last year, Toyota lent us a pair of 2018 Highlanders for evaluation; a mid-grade SE V6 AWD in gray and a top-spec Hybrid Limited Platinum V6 AWD in brown. (The 2019 Highlander is virtually unchanged from the 2018 model.)
The current Pilot, also in its third iteration, has been around since 2016. For the 2019 model year, Honda gave its trusty SUV a mid-life refresh. Recently, we had the chance to spend a week with a fully-loaded 2019 Honda Pilot Elite.Here's how the Toyota Highlander and the Honda Pilot stack up.