Jones Ford Buckeye Compares 2017 Ford Explorer VS 2017 Honda Pilot Near Goodyear, AZ

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2017 Ford Explorer

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VS

2017 Honda Pilot

Safety Comparison

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Explorer inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The Pilot doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Explorer 4WD’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The Pilot doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

Both the Explorer and the Pilot have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, front and rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Ford Explorer is safer than the Honda Pilot:

 

Explorer

Pilot

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Ford Explorer is safer than the Honda Pilot:

 

Explorer

Pilot

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

73

109

Hip Force

214 lbs.

269 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

144

233

Spine Acceleration

36 G’s

42 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty Comparison

There are almost 3 times as many Ford dealers as there are Honda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The Explorer has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Pilot doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 23rd, below the industry average.

Engine Comparison

The Explorer’s optional 2.3 turbo 4 cyl. produces 48 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 262) than the Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6. The Explorer’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 10 more horsepower (290 vs. 280) than the Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6. The Explorer Sport/Platinum’s standard 3.5 turbo V6 produces 85 more horsepower (365 vs. 280) and 88 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 262) than the Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Explorer Sport/Platinum 3.5 turbo V6 is faster than the Honda Pilot:

 

Explorer

Pilot

Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

6.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.8 sec

17.1 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

14.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

96 MPH

94 MPH

Top Speed

123 MPH

114 MPH

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Explorer’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Pilot:

 

Explorer

Pilot

Front Rotors

13.85 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.5 inches

13 inches

The Explorer’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Pilot are solid, not vented.

The Explorer stops much shorter than the Pilot:

 

Explorer

Pilot

 

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

180 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

128 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Explorer’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Pilot (255/50R20 vs. 245/60R18).

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Explorer has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Pilot’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Explorer’s wheelbase is 1.8 inches longer than on the Pilot (112.8 inches vs. 111 inches).

The Explorer Sport 4WD handles at .83 G’s, while the Pilot Elite 4WD pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For greater off-road capability the Explorer has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Pilot (7.8 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the Explorer to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis Comparison

The front grille of the Explorer uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Pilot doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Explorer has 1.3 inches more front headroom, 2 inches more front legroom, .4 inches more rear headroom, 1.1 inches more rear legroom and 1.4 inches more third row legroom than the Pilot.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Explorer’s cargo area provides more volume than the Pilot.

 

Explorer

Pilot

Behind Third Seat

21 cubic feet

18.5 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Explorer Sport/Platinum’s optional second and third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Pilot doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Explorer’s cargo door can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Pilot doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its cargo door, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics Comparison

The power windows standard on both the Explorer and the Pilot have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Explorer is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Pilot prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport/Platinum’s exterior keypad. The Pilot doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system.

The Explorer has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Pilot has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the EX/EX-L/Touring/Elite.

The Explorer’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Pilot’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

The Explorer offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Pilot offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Explorer (except Base/XLT/Sport)’s optional Enhanced Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Pilot doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the Explorer owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Explorer with a number “5” insurance rate while the Pilot is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Explorer is less expensive to operate than the Pilot because typical repairs cost less on the Explorer than the Pilot, including $1 less for front brake pads and $114 less for a starter.

Recommendations Comparison

The Ford Explorer outsold the Honda Pilot by almost two to one during the 2016 model year.

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