2024 Toyota Grand Highlander vs. 2024 Honda Pilot

For years, Toyota has been competing in the three-row crossover segment with the Toyota Highlander, but it has always been slightly smaller than its rivals. However, that has changed with the introduction of the all-new 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander. In this article, we will compare the Grand Highlander to its rival, the 2024 Honda Pilot, to see which one comes out on top.

Pricing and Features

The Grand Highlander comes with a higher price tag, starting at $43,070, compared to the cheaper Honda Pilot, which starts at $37,090. The Grand Highlander’s higher price is due to the fact that Toyota offers its base LE model in the standard Highlander, while the base model of the Grand Highlander is the midgrade XLE, which comes packed with features. Although the Honda Pilot costs less, it also gives you the option to save money by forgoing some of the extra features.

Winner: Honda Pilot

Exterior Design

The new Grand Highlander has a boxier shape, borrowing its design from the smaller Toyota RAV4. It looks more like a traditional SUV with crisp, straight lines. On the other hand, the Pilot was fully redesigned last year, adopting a more upright SUV-like appearance. It has chunkily angled windows and prominent fenders and bumpers. Both vehicles have their own unique design elements, so the winner in this category comes down to personal preference.

Winner: Tie

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Interior Design

Inside, the Pilot boasts Honda’s attractively minimalistic dashboard design, with a straight bar housing an infotainment touchscreen on top, climate vents below it, and climate controls below that. The Grand Highlander, on the other hand, features a 12.3-inch touchscreen as standard, along with simple physical controls. While Honda’s infotainment system offers more side-by-side information and superior navigation, the Grand Highlander’s larger screen and high-quality upholstery give it an edge.

Winner: Tie

Passenger Accommodations

Both the Pilot and Grand Highlander can seat up to eight passengers across three rows of seats or seven with optional second-row captain’s chairs. However, the Pilot provides easier access and slightly more legroom in the third row. Additionally, the top trim levels of the Pilot have a removable center position in the second row, allowing for more flexibility. While the Grand Highlander offers high-end amenities at a lower price, the Pilot’s passenger space and versatility make it the winner in this category.

Winner: Honda Pilot

Cargo Accommodations

As expected from three-row crossover SUVs, both the Pilot and the Grand Highlander offer ample cargo space. The Pilot provides 18.6 cubic feet behind the third-row seat, 48.5 cubic feet with the third row folded, and 87.0 cubic feet behind the front seats. The Grand Highlander offers even more space, with 20.6 cubic feet behind the third row, 57.9 cubic feet behind the second row, and 97.5 cubic feet behind the front seats. The Grand Highlander’s larger cargo space and boxy shape give it the advantage in this category.

Winner: Toyota Grand Highlander

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Ride and Handling

Both the Pilot and Grand Highlander offer smooth and comfortable rides, but the Pilot feels more connected to the road. Its tighter steering, body control, and brakes inspire confidence without sacrificing comfort. The Grand Highlander, on the other hand, feels more like a big box and doesn’t have the same level of cohesion as the Pilot. While this difference might not be noticeable to everyone, the Pilot takes the lead in this category.

Winner: Honda Pilot

Acceleration

The Pilot features a 3.5-liter non-turbocharged V6 engine, which provides a richer and deeper engine note compared to the Grand Highlander’s four-cylinder-based powertrains. Although the Grand Highlander offers different powertrain options, including a hybrid version with more power, the Pilot’s V6 engine is smoother, quieter, and quicker in the heart of the lineup. The Pilot’s performance outshines the Grand Highlander’s more affordable powertrains.

Winner: Honda Pilot

Fuel Efficiency

When it comes to fuel efficiency, the Grand Highlander takes the lead, especially in its hybrid forms. The front-wheel-drive Pilot achieves 19 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined, while the front-wheel-drive Grand Highlander with the base turbo engine achieves an impressive 21 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 24 mpg combined. The Grand Highlander’s hybrid versions offer even better fuel efficiency, making it the winner in this category.

Winner: Toyota Grand Highlander

Final Thoughts

While the Pilot has its advantages, such as a natural-feeling V6 engine, comfortable ride, and well-designed interior, the Grand Highlander excels in areas that matter most to families, including cargo space and fuel efficiency. Although the Grand Highlander’s seats could be more user-friendly, and the Pilot could offer more affordable touchscreen options, the Grand Highlander’s strengths outweigh these minor drawbacks.

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Winner: Toyota Grand Highlander

FAQs

Q: Which is more affordable, the Grand Highlander or the Pilot?
A: The Pilot has a lower starting price compared to the Grand Highlander.

Q: Can the Grand Highlander accommodate more cargo than the Pilot?
A: Yes, the Grand Highlander offers more cargo space than the Pilot.

Q: Which SUV has better fuel efficiency?
A: The Grand Highlander has better fuel efficiency, particularly in its hybrid versions.

Conclusion

In the battle between the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander and the 2024 Honda Pilot, the Grand Highlander comes out on top. While the Pilot offers additional polish and design cleverness, the Grand Highlander dominates in important areas such as cargo space and fuel efficiency. Families looking for a spacious and efficient three-row crossover will find the Grand Highlander to be the better choice.

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