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2021 Honda Pilot vs. 2021 Toyota Highlander

Are you looking to upgrade your family’s daily drive with a new SUV? The 2021 Honda Pilot and 2021 Toyota Highlander are two top options with seating for seven or eight passengers and a strong V6 engine. But which model is better for you? To help streamline your research, the team at Honda of Jefferson City created the following 2021 Pilot versus 2021 Highlander comparison guide. After looking at the details, we believe the 2021 Honda Pilot is a decisive winner in this head-to-head matchup; see if you agree by reading about the differences for yourself.

If you’re ready to pursue a new Pilot, shop our selection of 2021 Honda Pilot SUV for sale in Jefferson City, MO. For answers to any questions, please reach out to our sales team via our online contact form or by calling us at (573) 893-7676.

For the purposes of this comparison, we looked at the differences between the 2021 Honda Pilot AWD Touring versus the 2021 Toyota Highlander AWD Limited trim.


A powerful performance awaits in either the 2021 Honda Pilot or 2021 Toyota Highlander. Both are equipped with a 3.5L V6 engine with idle-stop that can tow up to 5,000 pounds, when properly equipped. Both models provide responsive control with Intelligent Variable Torque Management™ all-wheel drive (AWD) on the Pilot and dynamic torque vectoring AWD on the Highlander.

When your family adventures take you to tough terrain or treacherous road conditions, both the Pilot and Highlander allow you to customize your performance using multi-terrain select in the Highlander, and intelligent traction management in the Pilot.

See the following table for Pilot and Highlander performance specs.

2021 Honda Pilot


2021 Toyota Highlander

3.5L i-VTEC® V6


3.5L V6

Nine-speed automatic with paddle shifters


Eight-speed direct-shift automatic

280 HP


295 HP

262 lb.-ft.


263 lb.-ft.

Interior Comfort & Design

What do you value most in the cabin of your family SUV? Flexible passenger space? Comfortable, convenient features? Both the 2021 Toyota Highlander and 2021 Honda Pilot offer seating for seven or eight people with either a second-row bench seat or captain’s chairs, a ten-way power driver’s seat, four-way power front passenger’s seat, and leather seat trim.

While the 2021 Highlander comes with ventilated front seats, the Pilot provides a truly passenger-centric interior experience with the following features and specs that the Highlander doesn’t have.

  • 15 total beverage holders
  • Heated second-row seats
  • One-touch second-row seats
  • Third-row leg room: 31.9 in. (27.7 in. with Highlander)
  • Passenger volume: 151.7 cu.-ft. (139.1 cu.-ft. with Highlander)
Honda Pilot interior

Exterior Features

While both the 2021 Pilot and Highlander are equipped with many similar exterior features, the Pilot is longer and wider overall, but with a shorter wheelbase than the Highlander. The Honda Pilot is 196.5 inches long, 78.6 inches wide, with a wheelbase of 111 inches. By comparison, the Toyota Highlander is 194.9 inches long, 76 inches wide, and has a wheelbase of 112.2 inches.

Similar exterior features include:

  • 20-in. wheels (chrome for Highlander, machine-finished alloy for Pilot)
  • Hands-free access power tailgate
  • Moonroof
  • Roof rails
  • LED headlights, daytime running lights, fog lights, and brake lights

Technology Features

Provide your rear seat passengers with the entertainment they want with the 2021 Honda Pilot. Both the Pilot and the Highlander infotainment systems center around an 8-inch touchscreen, Wi-Fi® hotspot capability, and smartphone integration technology like Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™. But only the 2021 Pilot comes equipped with an advanced rear entertainment system with 10.2-inch screen, Blu-Ray™ player, HDMI® interface, and built-in streaming apps.

Communicate with the kids using driver easy speak in the Highlander, or the Pilot CabinTalk® in-car PA system that allows you to speak through the rear headphones. In the models we compared, the Highlander features a JBL® 11-speaker sound system, while the Pilot pumps all your family’s favorite tunes through a 590-watt premium audio system with ten speakers, including a subwoofer.

While the Highlander provides wireless device charging, unique Honda tech features include:

Honda Pilot tech features

Safety Features

The safety of you and your family is a top priority in both the 2021 Honda Pilot and 2021 Toyota Highlander. While both SUVs are equipped with their unique suites of driver assistance safety tech — Toyota Safety Sense™ 2.5+ in the Highlander and Honda Sensing® in the Pilot — only the Pilot comes with the advanced Collision Mitigation Braking System™.

Other 2021 Pilot safety features include:

  • Honda Sensing®
    • Collision Mitigation Braking System™
    • Road departure mitigation system
    • Adaptive cruise control
    • Lane keeping assist system
    • Forward collision warning
    • Lane departure warning
    • Auto high-beam headlights
  • Blind spot information system with cross-traffic monitor