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2019 Honda Pilot vs. 2019 Nissan Pathfinder: Which Is Better?

  • The Nissan Pathfinder was all-new for 2013 and was updated for 2017.

  • The Honda Pilot was last fully redesigned for 2016 and was updated for 2019.

  • The Pathfinder seats seven, but the Pilot can seat eight.

Editor’s note: You may want to read more of Autotrader’s model vs. model comparison car reviews as well as the 2019 Honda Pilot review, and the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder review.

The 2019 Honda Pilot and the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder are two of the leading 7-passenger crossovers on the market. If you’re looking for a new midsize SUV in 2019, these two are likely on your list. Below, we’ll compare the two to determine the better vehicle.

2019 Honda Pilot vs. 2019 Nissan Pathfinder

Basic Specs

The Pilot was last all-new for 2016 and received an update for 2019. Changes include improvements to the 9-speed automatic transmission found on the Pilot’s higher-tier trims, new headlights (along with some other stylistic tweaks) and an updated infotainment system.

The Pilot’s sole engine option is a 3.5-liter V6 that generates 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. Touring and Elite trims pair the engine with the aforementioned 9-speed auto, while lesser trims utilize a 6-speed transmission. With the 6-speed transmission and front-wheel drive, the Pilot earns 19 miles per gallon in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in combined driving. Opting for the 9-speed earns an extra mpg in city and combined driving, while all-wheel drive, which is optional across the board, results in a one-mpg penalty. See the 2019 Honda Pilot models for sale near you

The Pathfinder also makes do with a 3.5-liter V6, but its engine generates 284 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Like the Pilot, the Pathfinder offers optional 4-wheel drive on every trim level. FWD Pathfinders get 20 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined. Opt for 4WD and each figure drops by one (19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined). See the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder models for sale near you

Though the Pathfinder offers more power, the Pilot is significantly quicker, needing only 6.2 seconds to go from 0-to-60 mph. The Pathfinder takes 7.4 seconds to reach 60 mph.

The Pathfinder does beat the Pilot when it comes to towing, as it offers a 6,000-lb towing capacity compared to the Pilot’s 5,000-lb capacity.

2019 Honda Pilot vs. 2019 Nissan Pathfinder


When it comes down to it, these vehicles are very similar in size and space.

The Pathfinder is longer and narrower than the Pilot. The Pathfinder measures 198.5 inches long, 77.2 inches wide and 69.6 inches tall. The Pilot is 194.5 inches long, 78.6 inches wide and 69.8 inches tall. Neither offers a lot of ground clearance — the Pathfinder offers 7.0 inches, and the Pilot 7.3.

The Pathfinder is also slightly larger than the Pilot on the inside, offering noticeably more room in its first and second rows. Inside, the Pathfinder has 42.2 inches of headroom and 42.3 inches of legroom up front, while the Pilot offers 40.1 inches and 40.9 inches. In their second rows, the Pathfinder has 39.4 inches of headroom and 41.7 inches of legroom, and the Pilot offers 40.2 inches of headroom and 38.4 inches of legroom. The Pathfinder’s third row offers 37.8 inches of headroom and 31.9 inches of legroom, and the Pilot’s boasts 38.9 inches of headroom and 31.9 inches of legroom.

For cargo volume, the Pathfinder offers 16 cu ft. when its third row is extended, 48 cu ft. when the third row is folded and 80 cu ft. with the third and second rows folded. The Pilot offers 17 cu ft., 47 cu ft. and 84 cu ft. respectively.

The Pathfinder seats seven: two up front, three across its second row and two in its third row. There is no option for second-row captain’s chairs. The Pilot’s third row seats three, and the second-row bench can be swapped out for optional captain’s chairs, meaning the Pilot can seat eight.

2019 Honda Pilot vs. 2019 Nissan Pathfinder infotainment


Every 2019 Honda Pilot, except for the base LX trim, comes with an 8-in infotainment screen that runs updated infotainment software and is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The 2019 Pilot also sees the return of a physical volume knob, which will likely please many.

Standard across the Pathfinder range is an 8-in infotainment screen running Nissan’s infotainment system, which is said to be a bit cumbersome and dated. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are not offered.

The Pilot and the Pathfinder each offer three 12-volt outlets. The Pilot comes with five USB ports, while the Pathfinder offers six: four traditional and two USB-C.

2019 Honda Pilot vs. 2019 Nissan Pathfinder features


Both the Pilot and the Pathfinder offer an optional panoramic sunroof. One of the Pathfinder’s more compelling features is its 360-degree camera system, which provides a top-down composite view of the vehicle, making it easy to navigate into tight parking spots. No such system is offered on the Pilot, which only offers multiple viewing angles from its single, federally mandated rearview camera. The Pathfinder also offers an available Bose audio system. The Pilot lacks an option for premium audio.

Each vehicle comes with a power rear lift gate, but only the Pathfinder offers hands-free activation that lets drivers open the gate by waving a foot under the vehicle’s back bumper. Each vehicle also offers a heated steering wheel and heated and ventilated perforated leather seats on upper trim levels.

The Pathfinder offers a Midnight Edition trim level, which adds blacked-out wheels and trim pieces to the middle-of-the-pack SL model. The Pilot stays away from any special trim levels, although optional black wheels and a new exterior graphics package are available.

2019 Honda Pilot vs. 2019 Nissan Pathfinder safety


The 2019 Honda Pilot and the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder performed well in all categories in crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Each vehicle offers plenty of active safety features, but only the Pilot offers these features as standard. The Pathfinder leaves them out on its base model and omits a few altogether.

The Pathfinder comes standard with forward-collision warning, front automated emergency braking and rear parking sensors on all models. Adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are also offered on all trims except the base S model. Lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist are not available.

Honda offers its Honda Sensing suite of active safety technology as standard on every 2019 Pilot. This means that every new Pilot comes with adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision warning, front automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and front and rear parking sensors.

2019 Honda Pilot vs. 2019 Nissan Pathfinder reliability


Pathfinder and Pilot shoppers shouldn’t be worried about reliability. If something were to go wrong, Nissan and Honda both offer a 3-year/36,000-mile basic and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, in line with most of the competition.

Autotrader’s Advice

The feature content of these two vehicles is pretty similar. The Pilot offers more in the way of driver-assistance features and a better infotainment system, but the Pathfinder offers nice-to-have items such as a motion-activated rear hatch and a Bose audio system. While the Pilot is probably more refined, the Pathfinder offers good overall value. Still, the Pilot is the newer vehicle in this comparison and offers room for one additional person along with a superior powertrain, so it earns our recommendation.  Find a Honda Pilot for sale or Find a Nissan Pathfinder for sale

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