The Honda Pilot was last redesigned for 2016 and receives and an update for 2019.
The Honda Odyssey was all-new for 2018.
Honda makes two bona fide family haulers, the Pilot and the Odyssey. Both offer three rows of seating and a number of family-oriented features. It’s likely that anybody considering one would likely consider buying the other, so below we’ll take a look at these two closely-related vehicles side by side, comparing them in a number of categories to help you to identify their main differences.
The Pilot was last fully redesigned for 2016 and receives a midcycle update for 2019. The Odyssey was all new for the 2018 model year. Both use the same engine — a 3.5-liter V6 good for 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. The Odyssey pairs this transmission exclusively with a 9-speed automatic transmission, while the Pilot uses the 9-speed only on Touring and Elite models. LX, EX and EX-L models use an older 6-speed auto.
The Odyssey earns 19 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in combined driving. With front-wheel drive and the 6-speed auto, the Pilot earns 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/22mpg combined. Opt for the 9-speed and the Pilot gains one mpg, while all-wheel drive results in about a one mpg loss all around.
Both the Odyssey and the Pilot can seat up to eight people. Opt for second-row captains chairs, and the Pilot’s seating capacity drops to seven.
The Pilot has the Odyssey beat when it comes to towing capacity. While the Pilot can tow up to 5,000 pounds, the Odyssey is limited to 3,000 pounds.
On the outside, the Pilot is 194.5 inches long, 78.6 inches wide and 69.8 inches tall, while the Odyssey measures 203.2 inches long, 78.5 inches wide and 68.3 inches tall. While ground clearance isn’t a strong suit of either, the Pilot has a leg up on the Odyssey, offering 7.3 inches to the minivan’s 5.8.
Moving to the inside, front seat Pilot passengers get 40.1 inches of headroom and 40.9 inches of legroom. Up front, the Odyssey offers 40.7 inches of headroom and 40.9 inches of legroom. In their second rows, the Pilot offers 40.2 inches of headroom and 38.4 inches of legroom to the Odyssey’s 39.5 inches and 40.9 inches. Moving onto the third rows and the Pilot has 38.9 inches of headroom and 31.9 inches of legroom, while the Odyssey has 38.3 inches of headroom and a rather generous 38.1 inches of legroom. Suffice to say, compared to that of the Pilot, the third row of an Odyssey is a much nicer place to be for older kids and adults.
Now looking at cargo space, the Pilot has 17 cu ft. of storage behind its third row, 47 cu ft. with the third row folded flat and 84 cu ft. with both the second and third rows folded. The Odyssey, by comparison, is cavernous, offering 33 cu ft. with the third row in place, 89 cu ft. with it folded and 145 cu ft. with the second row removed. Note that while the Pilot’s second row folds flat, to get the most out of the Odyssey, the second row seats must be removed entirely, which can be a cumbersome chore, not to mention the fact that you have to then find somewhere to store them.
The Odyssey’s second row does incorporate a few unique design elements. The center seat can be removed, turning the second row from a 3-person bench seat into a pair of captain’s chairs. Those chairs can then be slid from left to right to allow for unique seating configurations and easy access to the third row.
Except for their base LX trims, every 2019 Honda Pilot and 2019 Honda Odyssey comes with an 8-in infotainment system with a physical volume knob and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. The Pilot offers three 12-volt outlets and five USB ports, while the Odyssey offers four 12-volt outlets, but only three USB ports. Both vehicles are available with wireless chargers as well.
Among the features available on both the Pilot and the Odyssey are a tilting-and-telescoping steering column, power driver and passenger seats, a memory driver’s seat, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, a rear seat entertainment system, second-row sunshades and a hands-free power tailgate.
The Pilot also offers available heated outboard second row seats and a dual-panel moonroof. The Odyssey adds a few features that are especially enticing for parents, including power sliding doors and an actual vacuum mounted in the rear cargo area, along with "CabinWatch" and "CabinTalk," which allow you to keep an eye on kids in the back seats and communicate with them if necessary.
Oddly, neither the Pilot nor the Odyssey offers a 360-degree surround view exterior camera, a feature offered by most of the competition.
Both the Pilot and the Odyssey perform well in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Crash Testing, earning them Top Safety Pick designations for 2019.
The Pilot and the Odyssey offer the same array of driver assistance and active safety features. Both are available with adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection, forward-collision warning, front automated emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, lane-departure warning and lane keeping assist.
As of 2019, Honda is pretty generous with the inclusion of Honda Sensing across the Pilot’s and the Odyssey’s ranges. Every 2019 Pilot comes with Honda Sensing as standard, while every Odyssey save for the base model offers the technology as well.
Honda products generally offer excellent reliability. The Pilot, Odyssey and all other Honda products come with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, on par with the rest of the industry.
Altogether, the Pilot and the Odyssey are two great family vehicles that offer many of the same features given that they’re built by the same company. The Odyssey is the more practical of the two, thanks to its power sliding doors, lower load floor and great features for families with small children. The Pilot, on the other hand, offers the capability of AWD, not to mention the fact that, well, it isn’t a minivan, which realistically will be a strong selling point for many buyers. When it comes down to it, the Odyssey prioritizes ease of use, while the Pilot offers more utility and style, but at the end of the day you really can’t go wrong with either one, as each is highly competitive in its respective segment.