Toyota Highlander Vs. Honda Pilot: Battle of the 3-Row Crossovers

By Justin Cupler | March 17th, 2019

Crossovers are a force to be reckoned with in the automotive space, and the 2019 Honda Pilot and 2019 Toyota Highlander are two of the best three-row models on the market. Both midsize, three-row crossovers boast loads of space, tons of upscale features, and near-luxury features in their upper trims. Which is the better buy for our Fox Lake, Illinois buyers? Keep reading to find out.

Exterior

Despite its last redesign happening in 2014, the 2019 Toyota Highlander’s body boasts a more youthful look with its leaned-back grille and sloping hood. But from the A-pillars back, the Highlander is your typical crossover. That said, opting for the SE trim with its black wheels and accents sports things up a little relative to the Pilot.

Following its 2016 redesign, the 2019 Honda Pilot boasts the newest Honda design language. This look is more mature and refined than the Highlander, but it lacks the Toyota’s personality. That said, some buyers will prefer this more timid appearance that blends in well with the sea of vanilla in the crossover segment.

The 2019 Toyota Highlander checks in at 192.5 inches long, 75.8 inches wide, and 68.1 inches tall. It rides on a 109.8-inch wheelbase. The 2019 Honda Pilot is 196.5 inches long, 78.6 inches wide, and 70.6 inches tall. The Pilot rides on a 111-inch wheelbase.

Advantage: 2019 Toyota Highlander

  • Younger look
  • Sportier-looking SE trim
  • Smaller and easier to handle

Advantage: 2019 Honda Pilot

  • Refined and mature design
  • Understated appearance suits some buyers

Interior

Inside, the 2019 Toyota Highlander and 2019 Honda Pilot have a lot in common. They both have well-equipped base models, all the standard safety goodies parents demand, and plenty of room. They also get close to being luxury vehicles in their upper trim levels, which feature things like perforated seats, ventilation, in-car PA systems, premium audio, and much more.

Where the Pilot gets one up on the Highlander is its available Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which the Toyota lacks. But the Highlander has a trick of its own up its sleeve with its standard 6.1-inch touchscreen, which is 1.1 inches larger than the Honda’s base screen, and available 360-degree camera.

In its front seats, the 2019 Toyota Highlander offers 40.7 inches of headroom, 44.2 inches of legroom, 59.3 inches of shoulder room, and 57.2 inches of hip room. The 2019 Pilot comes up short by 0.6 inches in headroom and 3.3 inches in legroom, but it has an extra 2.4 inches of shoulder room and 1.9 inches of hip room.

 

In the second row, the Highlander has 39.9 inches of headroom, 38.4 inches of legroom, 59.6 inches of shoulder room, and 57.1 inches of hip room. While these seats are plenty roomy, the Pilot beats it by 0.3 inches in headroom, 2.4 inches in shoulder room, and 0.2 inches in hip room. The Pilot has the same second-row legroom as the Highlander.

 

The 2019 Highlander’s third row offers 35.9 inches of headroom, 27.7 inches of legroom, 55 inches of shoulder room, and 45.6 inches of hip room. This beats the Pilot in hip room by 1 inch, but the Pilot wins by 3 inches of headroom, 4.2 inches of legroom, and 2.6 inches of shoulder room.

 

The 2019 Toyota Highlander delivers respectable numbers in cargo room with 13.8 cubic feet behind the third row, 42 to 42.3 cubic feet behind the second row, and 82.6 to 83.7 cubes with all rows folded. The Pilot beats the Highlander with 16.5 cubic feet behind the third row, 46.8 cubic feet behind the second row, and 83.9 cubes with all rows folded.

Advantage: 2019 Toyota Highlander

  • Roomier front seats
  • Larger standard touchscreen
  • Available 360-degree camera

Advantage: 2019 Honda Pilot

  • Roomier rear seats
  • Larger cargo area
  • Available Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Performance

The 2019 Toyota Highlander comes standard with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 185 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. This power heads through a six-speed automatic transmission and out to the front wheels — there is no option for all-wheel drive. This powertrain is only available in the base LE trim.

In the LE Plus and higher trims, the 2019 Highlander comes with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that cranks out 295 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. This engine pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard front-wheel drive. Buyers can opt for all-wheel drive.

The 2019 Honda Pilot skips the four-cylinder engine and goes straight to a standard 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This power heads through a standard six-speed automatic transmission, but the Touring and Elite trims have a standard nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and buyers can opt for all-wheel drive.

 

The 2019 Toyota Highlander’s base towing capacity with the four-cylinder engine is just 1,500 pounds, which pales in comparison to the Pilot’s standard 3,500-pound capacity. That said, the Highlander with the V-6 engine comes back to match the Pilot’s 5,000-pound towing capacity.

 

Fuel economy in the base Highlander with the 2.7-liter four-cylinder checks in at up to 20 mpg city, 24 highway, 22 combined. Oddly enough, the V-6 engine gets slightly better fuel economy at up to 20 mpg city, 27 highway, 23 combined. The 2019 Honda Pilot matches the fuel economy in the Highlander V-6.

Advantage: 2019 Toyota Highlander

  • Two engine options
  • More powerful V-6 engine

Advantage: 2019 Honda Pilot

  • Higher base towing
  • Standard V-6 power

Pricing and Features

The 2019 Toyota Highlander lineup features six trim levels — LE, LE Plus, XLE, SE, Limited, and Limited Platinum — and their starting prices range from $31,300 to $45,550.

 

There are five trims in the 2019 Honda Pilot lineup — LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, and Elite — and their starting prices range from $31,450 to $48,020.

2019 Toyota Highlander Key Features and Pricing by Trim

LE: $31,330

  • 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Electric power steering
  • Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes
  • 18-inch split-five-spoke machined alloy wheels
  • Halogen projector-beam headlights
  • Daytime running lights
  • LED taillights
  • Body-color mirrors with heat and power operation
  • Mirror-integrated turn signals
  • Body-color door handles
  • Variable-intermittent wipers
  • Windshield wiper de-icer
  • Tinted rear glass
  • Black rocker panels
  • Body-color rear spoiler
  • Two-zone air conditioning
  • 4.2-inch multi-information display
  • Cloth upholstery
  • Six-way manual driver’s seat
  • Four-way manual passenger’s seat
  • 60/40 split-folding second- and third-row seats
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Soft-touch upper door trim
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Power windows with one-touch-up/down front glass
  • Power locks
  • Overhead console with sunglasses storage
  • Two 12-volt power outlets
  • Three front USB ports
  • Two rear USB ports
  • Four cargo tie-down hooks
  • Front- and second-row reading lights
  • Entune Audio infotainment system
  • 6.1-inch touchscreen
  • Six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system
  • Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  • Siri Eyes Free
  • Rearview camera with guidelines
  • Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Hill-start assist

 

LE Plus: $36,260

  • 3.5-liter V-6 engine
  • Automatic engine stop/start
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission
  • 18-inch split-five-spoke gunmetal-gray wheels
  • Fog lights
  • Flip-up rear hatch window
  • Power liftgate
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control
  • Cloth- and leatherette-trimmed seats
  • 10-way power driver’s seat
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Metallic upper-door insert
  • Entune Audio Plus infotainment system
  • 8-inch touchscreen
  • HD Radio
  • Scout GPS Link
  • SiriusXM
  • Blind-spot monitoring

 

XLE: $39,220

  • All LE Plus features, plus
  • Blind-spot mirrors
  • Power moonroof
  • 18-inch turbine-look alloy wheels with black center caps
  • Chromtec roof rails
  • Leather front- and second-row seats
  • 12-way power driver’s seat
  • Four-way power passenger’s seat
  • Leatherette third-row seat
  • Chrome interior door handles
  • Smart key unlock on front doors
  • Keyless ignition
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • HomeLink universal garage door opener
  • 120-volt power outlet in second row
  • In-car driver PA system
  • Second-row retractable sunshades
  • Entune Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation
  • 8-inch touchscreen with split-screen display
  • Anti-theft system with engine immobilizer

 

SE: $40,440

  • All XLE features, plus
  • Black sport headlights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Black LED fog lights
  • LED black sport taillights
  • 19-inch multispoke black-finish alloy wheels
  • Dark-painted roof rails
  • Technical-patterned upper door trim
  • Blue ambient LED lighting
  • Sport-tuned suspension

 

Limited: $42,430

  • Smoked-chrome headlights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Chrome LED fog lights
  • Memory mirrors
  • 19-inch five-spoke Chromtec wheels
  • Body-color side rocker panels
  • Rear bumper chrome garnish
  • Perforated leather-trimmed seats
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • 12-way power driver’s seat
  • Wood-grain accent
  • Satin-chrome door handles
  • Blue LED ambient lighting
  • One-touch-up/down power windows
  • Rear cargo area cover
  • Entune Premium JBL infotainment system
  • 12 JBL GreenEdge speakers
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Rearview camera with dynamic guidelines

 

Limited Platinum: $45,550

  • All Limited features, plus
  • Panoramic moonroof
  • 19-inch five-spoke Dark Chromtec alloy wheels
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Heated second-row seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Puddle lights with “Highlander” projection
  • 360-degree camera
  • Emergency assistance
  • Stolen vehicle locator
  • Roadside assistance
  • Automatic collision notification

2019 Honda Pilot Key Features and Pricing by Trim

LX: $31,450

  • 3.5-liter V-6 engine
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Front-wheel drive
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes
  • Electric power steering
  • LED low-beam headlights with auto-on/off
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Tinted rear glass
  • LED reverse and brake lights
  • Intermittent rear wiper
  • Alarm system
  • Variable-intermittent front wipers
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Black-colored power side-view mirrors
  • Black-colored door handles
  • Black-colored rear spoiler
  • Keyless ignition
  • Sunglasses holder
  • Power windows with one-touch-up/down front glass
  • Power door locks
  • Cruise control
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Rear-seat heater ducts
  • Four cargo tie-down hooks
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • 60/40 split-folding third-row seat
  • 5-inch touchscreen
  • One 1-amp USB port
  • One 2.5-amp USB port
  • Front and rear 12-volt power outlets
  • 215-watt, seven-speaker audio system with subwoofer
  • Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming
  • Multi-angle rearview camera with guidelines
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Road-departure mitigation
  • Forward collision warning
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic high-beam headlights

 

EX: $34,330

  • All LX features, plus
  • Intelligent Traction Management
  • 18-inch machine-finished wheels
  • Body-color side-view mirrors with LED turn signals
  • Body-color rear spoiler
  • Smart-entry with walk-away auto lock
  • LED fog lights
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control
  • Conversation mirror with sunglasses holder
  • 10-way power driver’s seat
  • One-touch second-row seats
  • Heated front seats
  • 12-volt power outlet in cargo area
  • 8-inch high-resolution touchscreen
  • HondaLink
  • CabinControl Remote compatibility
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • SMS text-messaging assistant
  • SiriusXM radio
  • HD Radio
  • One 2.5-amp USB port
  • Remote engine start
  • Multi-Angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines
  • Blind-spot monitoring

 

EX-L $37,760

  • All EX features, plus
  • Moonroof
  • Power liftgate
  • Acoustic windshield
  • HomeLink universal home remote
  • Second-row integrated sunshades
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob
  • Two-position memory for driver’s seat and mirrors
  • Four-way power passenger’s seat
  • Leather seating
  • Two 2.5-amp USB ports in second row
  • In-car PA system through optional headphones only

 

Touring: $42,520

  • All EX-L features, plus
  • Nine-speed automatic transmission
  • 20-inch machined-finish wheels
  • Idle stop
  • Chrome door handles
  • Acoustic front-side glass
  • Hands-free power liftgate
  • Roof rails
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Auto-on/off headlights with LED low beams
  • Reverse tilt-down side mirrors
  • Front door courtesy lights
  • Blue LED ambient lighting
  • Rear heated seats
  • Seven-person seating
  • Satellite-linked navigation with voice recognition
  • Rear-seat entertainment system with 10.2-inch screen and Blu-Ray player
  • 115-volt power outlet
  • HDMI input
  • 590-watt premium audio system with 10 speakers including subwoofer
  • HondaLink subscription services
  • Mobile hotspot
  • Multizone audio

 

Elite: $48,020

  • All Touring features, plus
  • All-wheel drive
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Auto-dimming side mirrors
  • Panoramic roof
  • LED front map lights
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Ventilated front seats
  • In-car PA system through speakers and headphones
  • Wireless phone charger
  • Normal, Snow, Mud, and Sand drive modes

Who Should Buy the 2019 Toyota Highlander?

With its more youthful design, the 2019 Toyota Highlander is great for a younger, hipper family. This also works out well as the smaller third row is best suited for younger children.

Who Should Buy the 2019 Honda Pilot?

The 2019 Honda Pilot is a great buy for more established families seeking a more refined-looking crossover that still has all the features the Highlander offers.

 

Ready to tackle your daily commute to Waukegan or weekend trips to Crystal Lake in style? Look no further than the 2019 Toyota Highlander for the ideal mixture of style, power, space, and sportiness. Head down to the Garber Fox Lake Toyota dealership serving the McHenry area today to test drive the 2019 Highlander for yourself. If you can’t make it in today, you can check out our online inventory to find the 2019 Highlander model that suits your needs and schedule a test drive for later.