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Compare the 2018 Ford Explorer vs 2018 Honda Pilot

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2018 Ford Explorer 2018 Honda Pilot Versus

2018 Ford Explorer


2018 Honda Pilot

3.5L Ti-VCT V6


3.5L V6
290 hp


280 hp
42.9 in / 39.5 in / 33.3 in

Legroom (1st, 2nd, 3rd Row)

40.9 in / 38.4 in / 31.9 in

Serving Savannah, Pooler, and Richmond Hill, GA

The Ford Explorer has been a bestseller for years. The Explorer is now built on a unibody platform, making it more agreeable as an everyday family transport. The engine choices are more numerous, and the safety systems are now grouped together into a single options package. A worthy competitor in this vehicle segment, the 2018 Honda Pilot boasts several impressive specs as well. Let's see how the two compare.

Engine and Powertrain

Both the 2018 Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot are equipped with a V6 engine as the standard power source. However, the buyer has three engines from which to choose if the Explorer is being considered. These include:

  • Non-turbocharged 3.5L V6 rated at 290 horsepower
  • Turbocharged 2.3L four-cylinder engine rated at 280 horsepower
  • Turbocharged 3.5L V6 that produces 365 horsepower

Shoppers who test drive the turbocharged four-cylinder will be amazed at the powerful thrust and quick acceleration even though this engine is slightly less powerful than the standard V6. It's available as an option on the lower trims and comes standard on the Limited. The 365-horsepower engine is standard on the Sport variant and can be fitted to the Platinum trim as well. The 2018 Honda Pilot offers only one engine choice, a 280-horsepower V6.

Driving Experience

The 2018 Ford Explorer isn't exactly an off-road vehicle, but one gets quite a performance boost if the Sport variant is chosen. This trim not only comes with the powerful turbocharged V6 but also includes a towing package. It also features a more firm suspension system. The Explorer bests the Honda Pilot in the areas of:

  • Transmission performance
  • Steering response
  • Ride comfort

The 2018 Explorer gets top marks for its six-speed transmission. Where many automakers advertise eight- and nine-speed transmission systems as the biggest new thing, the folks at Ford realized that a well-designed gear ration system on a six-speed was still the way to go on a large SUV. The optional nine-speed transmission offered on the Pilot has some shifting issues, particularly in lower gears. It doesn't seem to match the torque properly. Steering is less responsive than what is experienced from the Explorer. The suspension is a bit soft as well, the resulting in more noticeable bumps in the road than the Explorer.

Driver Alert and Safety

The 2018 Ford Explorer comes with the usual standard safety systems including front, front-side, and side-curtain airbags, traction control, and stability control. Buyers can choose the full suite of driver alert systems as a single options package. The package includes:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Lane departure warning
  • Automatic high-beams

This package is very affordable, and it's available across the trim lineup. The 2018 Honda Pilot boasts the famous Honda Sensing package, but it's not available on the base trim. To make things more complicated, the Pilot's adaptive cruise control is very sensitive and kicks in when it shouldn't.

To see how the 2018 Ford Explorer stacks up to the 2018 Honda Pilot, schedule a test drive at J.C. Lewis Ford in Savannah. You'll like the recent upgrades to the interior, exterior, and safety systems, and you'll be impressed with the vehicle's overall performance!

MSRP excludes destination, taxes, title and registration fees. Starting at MSRP refers to the base model, optional equipment not included. Pricing and offers may change at any time without notification. To get full pricing details, see your dealer.

All figures are EPA estimates. Actual mileage may vary.

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