Honda Pilot vs Ford Explorer

2021 Honda Pilot

The Honda Pilot and the Ford Explorer are two bold and commanding SUVs. Whether you’re going on a family road trip, hitting the beach for the day, or just making your way to work, they have plenty of space, comfort, and connectivity.

The question is: Which one is better for your drives through Miami, Doral, and Hialeah, FL? Our team at Braman Honda is here to answer that question with our comparison of the 2021 Honda Pilot vs. 2020 Ford Explorer. Let’s see which one comes out on top!

Honda Pilot

Ford Explorer


V6 Engine Standard



Seating Capacity


109 cubic feet

Maximum Cargo Capacity

87.8 cubic feet

Honda Sensing®

Standard Safety System

Ford Co-Pilot360™

Interior Features of the Honda Pilot vs Ford Explorer

Honda Pilot Interior SpaceThere’s plenty of space in both the Honda Pilot and the Ford Explorer, but if you’re looking for an SUV that has room for your whole family, you’ll want to go with the Pilot. It offers seating for up to eight passengers. The Explorer, on the other hand, tops off at just seven passengers.

Everyone will have their own personal space in the 2021 Honda Pilot. It offers 152.9 cubic feet of passenger volume, so your family will have plenty of wiggle room. You’ll get 152.7 cubic feet of passenger volume in the Ford Escape.

Both SUVs offer a wide range of comfort features, so you can sit back and relax. The amenities they have in common include:

  • Leather-trimmed seats
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control system
  • Ventilated front seats
  • 10-way power driver’s seat
  • Power moonroof

You’ll get easy access to the cargo area with either SUV. They both offer a hands-free power tailgate. If your hands are full, wave your foot under the rear bumper and you’ll be packed up in no time. The Pilot, however, boasts 109 cubic feet of cargo space, while the Ford Explorer maxes out at just 87.8 cubic feet.

Confidence-Inspiring Safety Systems

Honda Pilot ParkedWhen you have your loved ones in tow, it’s important to have peace of mind. That’s why both SUVs come standard with comprehensive safety systems. The Honda Pilot comes with Honda Sensing®. This standard safety suite includes:

  • Collision Mitigation Braking System™
  • Road Departure Mitigation System
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Lane Keeping Assist System and Lane Departure Warning
  • Forward Collision Warning

The Ford Explorer comes standard with Ford Co-Pilot360™. It includes Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, a Lane-Keeping System, and several other features similar to those found on the Honda Pilot.

Adaptive Cruise Control is one feature that only comes standard on the Honda Pilot. It will help put you at ease on the next road trip or during the daily commute. It will maintain a set speed while also keeping a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead. The Ford Explorer only offers this technology on higher trim levels.

The Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure is one more safety feature exclusive to the 2021 Pilot. It’s engineered with unique crumple zones in the front of the vehicle. They’re designed to absorb collision energy and direct it away from the passenger cabin if the unexpected happens.

Pilot vs Explorer: Commanding Performance

2021 Honda Pilot Engine SpecsThe Honda Pilot and the Ford Explorer offer the potent power of a V6 engine, but you’ll only get a standard V6 when you choose the Pilot. It’s only available with certain Explorer trim levels.

Do you need an efficient SUV? All Honda Pilot trim levels with 2-wheel drive (2WD) achieve an EPA-estimated 20 city/27 highway MPG.1 When the Ford Explorer is outfitted with its V6 engine, it only manages an EPA-estimated 18 city/24 highway MPG.

You’ll also only get the Eco Assist™ System with the Honda Pilot. This standard feature helps you drive more efficiently. When active, the display will glow green if you’re displaying efficient driving patterns. If the display is white, you may be accelerating or braking too hard. You’ll be a pro in no time!

The Honda Pilot offers an Intelligent Variable Torque Management™ AWD System. It will help give you more confidence out on slick roads. It transfers power to the wheels that need it most, so you can enjoy sure-footed confidence. The Explorer offers a similar Intelligent 4WD system.

Honda Pilot vs Ford Explorer: In-Car Technology

Honda Pilot Interior TechnologyBoth SUVs offer a responsive touchscreen as the anchor of their infotainment systems. You’ll be able to sync your smartphone to either model. That will give you access to your favorite apps and music. They also offer Wi-Fi® hotspot capability, so you’ll always have a signal you can rely on.

SiriusXM® Radio—available in either SUV—gives you a virtually endless list of channels to choose from, and some of them are even commercial-free. When your favorite song comes over the airwaves, you’ll want to be in the Pilot. Its standard sound system comes with seven speakers. In the Ford Explorer, you’ll only be able to sing along with six speakers.

It will be easy to find your way in either SUV. They both offer an available navigation system. They come with voice recognition, so all you’ll have to do is say where you want to go. The 2021 Honda Pilot also comes with Honda HD Digital Traffic, so it will be easier to navigate around congestion.

The Pilot has one family-friendly option you won’t find in the Ford Explorer. The available CabinTalk® in-car PA system will let you easily chat between rows without needing to yell. You can carry on a conversation and stay totally focused on the road. It works with the in-car speakers or headphones.

Honda Pilot vs. Ford Explorer: We Have a Winner!

Now that you’ve read this comparison, if you want an SUV with more space, a standard V6 engine, and the latest in-car technology, you know you’ll want to go with the Honda Pilot. Visit us here at Braman Honda and take it to the streets of Miami, Doral, and Hialeah, Florida, to see if it’s right for you.

Schedule a test drive today!


1 20 city/27 highway/23 combined mpg rating for 2WD trims. 19 city/26 highway/22 combined mpg rating for AWD trims. Based on 2021 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions and other factors.