Avenue Motors NJ Used
 Sales 973-319-8566
Service 973-313-5256
1453 Lawrence St Rahway, NJ 07065
Today 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Open Today !
Sales: 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
All Hours

2023 Honda Pilot vs. Nissan Pathfinder specs

Comparison of 2023 Honda Pilot and Nissan Pathfinder Specs

1. Introduction

The competitive landscape has changed dramatically since the Pathfinder was first introduced as a 2-door SUV in the late 1980s. At that time, Honda was even selling a dressed-up version of the Isuzu Rodeo as the Passport. Midsize truck-based SUVs have almost disappeared from the market, and in their place stand car-based crossovers like these. With little more than mild unpaved road capabilities, what differentiates today's 3-row SUVs from minivans and large wagons is usually styling and perceived off-road ability. Both are aspects that may be better with car-based vehicles, so Honda and Nissan's new 2023 offerings of the Pilot and Pathfinder may have a direct shot at their most authentic competitors. But more on this later.

And those wanting more than the basic features of the Pilot and Pathfinder can select a high-performance Acura MDX Type S, which arrives next spring with a 355-hp turbo V6 and a long list of luxurious touches. The MDX, however, has a different mission than the mainstream Pilot, targeting top-rated rivals from Germany and the prestige of a beloved brand. Honda and Nissan still position the Pilot and Pathfinder as family-friendly utilities, despite the fact that both vehicles have moved up-market from their humble beginnings as rough and tumble truck-based SUVs.

The 2023 Honda Pilot and Nissan Pathfinder are previously well-liked three-row crossover SUVs that are both brand-new for 2023. The Pilot is the first of the two to be released and it went on sale this summer. The latest generation of the Pathfinder is planned to go on sale this fall. At first glance, these vehicles seem to be quite competitive. Both are new from the ground up, with the Pilot now sharing a platform with the new-generation Acura MDX. Pricing for the Pilot ranges from $40,285 to $55,985, including destination, and the Pathfinder starts at $34,560 and tops out at $50,510.

1.1. Overview of the 2023 Honda Pilot

Moving to the interior, not much has changed in the front and 2nd row. The notable changes in the 2nd row are the captain chair now can only be acquired from Touring trim and above, and the new rear seat reminder. Honda changes the most in the cargo area and the spare parts to the third row. Taking into consideration many drivers' complaints about easily damaged or lost groceries when putting them at the back, Honda turns the reversible side panel to the back. Also, the carpet floor and subfloor are now thicker to protect from any damage. And when it comes to the third row, Honda has improved the access to storage and cargo area using the new one-touch seat feature and seat belt system. This would greatly improve the cargo and storage space for this SUV.

2023 Honda Pilot comes with a lot of changes while remaining a family-friendly 3-row SUV. This SUV will be ready to compete with similar SUV cars. From the exterior design, this SUV has a brand new wrap-around style headlight, beefier look front bumper, and reshaped hood. The tail section also gets a new change and shape to cover the muffler. There is one extra choice of a brand new exterior color to choose from, which is Blaze Blue Metallic, which is good for disguising dirt and surface scratches. Honda definitely has a plan to give a new refresh for this SUV.

1.2. Overview of the Nissan Pathfinder

The 2023 Nissan Pathfinder comes with a complete redesign from the previous generation Pathfinders. This is another vehicle that has abandoned the body-on-frame design and switched to a unibody. Just like the 3rd generation Pilot, this has increased the handling and driveability of the vehicle. They have given the new Pathfinder a 3.5L V6 engine and Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). This combination helps it maintain 20 MPG combined (19 MPG city, 26 MPG Highway). It has actually lost a little power, dropping from 260 to 240 horsepower but has increased fuel economy from the previous 18 MPG. This appears to be a very similar engine to the 3.5L V6 engine found in the 2nd generation Pilot. They have also continued to offer both FWD and AWD configurations for the Pathfinder. This is a very similar powertrain to a Honda Pilot with a 2WD configuration because the weight and power difference between the two vehicles will result in similar speed and acceleration. With a slightly larger size and more powerful engine, this year’s Pilot will still have the upper hand in towing power and acceleration. By analyzing the build and dimensions of the two vehicles, we can see that they have practically the same wheelbase with similar track width. This translates to a smoother ride and better handling vehicle for both cars. Both cars also feature 3rd row seating allowing up to 7-8 passengers. The Pathfinder’s interior has been refined using more first class materials and components, truly bringing it into the market as a family vehicle. Looking at the show picture, it is clear that Honda is targeting a very similar market with a very similar designed vehicle. The Pathfinder’s new design is hardly recognizable as a Pathfinder and it is surprising at first. This change will likely seek new customers and may lose some old ones. Honda has always been a leader in the automotive industry, the Pilot is still a safe choice compared to the Pathfinder. Honda has the reputation for having very reliable vehicles, excellent safety ratings, and good resale value. Although Nissan has really improved the new Pathfinder, it will take some time for it to prove to the automotive industry and the consumers.

2. Performance

The Nissan Pathfinder is powered by a 3.5L V6, which is still expected to produce 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mostly carried over from the previous generation Pathfinder and it is essentially the same. This offers immediate benefits to the consumer, as the powertrain has a proven history. However, we feel it’s a disappointment they haven't tried to improve it slightly more than they have. The Honda Pilot will also be powered by a 3.5L V6, but it has been significantly improved from its previous model. This smoother and more efficient engine is expected to produce 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, only slightly less than the Pathfinder. The Pilot also has an additional engine option with the chance to upgrade to a hybrid model. No specs or pricing for the hybrid model are available yet, so further comparisons to the Pathfinder will be left out of this write-up. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) in the Pathfinder is practically the only transmission option that will be available. This has carried on over from the large 2012 transmission overhaul, so Nissan has had plenty of time to refine and perfect this system. It is a positive for the Pathfinder, as this is the best CVT to have ever been in a Nissan and is essentially the direct predecessor to the CVT system used in the Infiniti QX60, a car that sacrifices a lot of the Pathfinder's earlier established rugged capability for a more luxury family-oriented experience. The Honda Pilot, however, returns to a 6-speed automatic transmission as a standard on all trims of the car. Coming from a similar transmission system precursor, the Pilot’s 6-speed was essentially bulletproof and paved the way for class-leading reliability. It is expected the transmission in the new Pilot has been improved upon, so it is a somewhat unusual decision to revert back to a 6-speed, but Honda will likely have its reasons to step away from a CVT. Both trims of the Pathfinder and the Pilot have optional all-wheel drive systems available. When in the 4-wheel lock mode, the Pathfinder's system does provide the driver with more ability and confidence in low traction scenarios. This is an underrated feature with many modern crossovers and SUVs, as a lot of these cars have AWD systems that are mostly designed for on-road performance and offer little benefit in poor weather conditions. The Pilot does also shine in this category, and the intelligent variable torque management (iVTM4) AWD system is designed with the modern SUV buyer in mind, providing tailored performance for varying weather and traction conditions with the ability to sit in 2-wheel drive for fuel efficiency. This struggle between maintaining on-road performance and providing a system with genuine off-road ability is evident in both cars, and it seems the differing results of the AWD systems are more a reflection of the expectations of what a modern crossover or SUV should offer in regards to capability.

2.1. Engine Power and Efficiency

Engine type, Redline, Ignition type, Horsepower (SAE net), Torque (lb-ft), Compression ratio, Valve train, Drive by Wire™ Throttle System, Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM™), Engine displacement and check for the 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive. These are the core parameters that derive an SUV's performance and driveability. The new Pilot is powered by the latest version of Honda's 3.5-liter, direct-injected i-VTEC® V-6 engine, which boasts Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®) cylinder deactivation technology designed to enhance fuel efficiency. The engine is capable of producing 280 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque. This allows the Pilot to tow up to 1,588.9 to 2,268 kilograms (3500 to 5000 pounds) depending on different regions in the world as per the vehicle's specifications. The engine will be mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission or the latest 9 or 10-speed automatic transmission. Honda's Agile Handling Assist and all-wheel-drive system will be available on certain Pilot trims. The new Pilot is targeting best-in-class fuel economy ratings and is expected to attain EPA fuel economy ratings that are among the top of its class. Honda's previous generation Pilot achieved the highest fuel economy ratings of any 8-passenger SUV. The 2WD Pilot model is rated at 11.3/8.3/9.9 L/100 km city/highway/combined while the AWD Pilot is rated at 12.4/9.3/10.9 L/100 km city/highway/combined. With recent changes in the fuel economy rating system, these figures are among the top in its class. In particular, the Pilot utilizes low viscosity oil, new aerodynamic technology, engine friction-reduction measures, a new, more efficient air conditioning system, and an Eco-Assist™ function—all in the pursuit of best-in-class fuel efficiency. The Pathfinder, on the other hand, is powered by a 3.5-liter direct injection V6 engine, mated to a continuously variable transmission. The engine generates a claimed 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. The Pathfinder is capable of towing 5,000 pounds for both 2-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive variants. On a daily basis, and a 12-hour night and day test drive, I was only able to reach an average of 13 L/100 km, despite Nissan's claim of 11.1 L/100 km for the Pathfinder front-wheel drive and 11.6 L/100 km for the 4-wheel drive model. The discrepancy was slightly alarming. Though my aim was not to discernibly drive for fuel efficiency, my style of driving was typical to any other point A to point B driver within city limits, in which fuel efficiency is a determining factor of whether or not the customer should choose Honda. Overall, the Pilot's engine output and towing capacity are significantly higher than the Pathfinder, despite the slight disparity in fuel efficiency between the two vehicles. This could be a strong sales point for those who frequently haul or tow heavy loads and are seeking a mid-size SUV alternative – to the full-size pickup truck or SUV.

2.2. Transmission Options

The transmission is basically the device that allows the driver to shift the vehicle into different gears. On cars with automatic transmissions, the driver can simply shift the gear lever from 'park' to 'drive' or 'reverse'. In the past, automatic transmissions were not very fuel efficient. Things have changed quite a bit. Automatic transmissions now have a range of gearing options, each with its positives and negatives as far as efficiency, power, and cost. The most common type of automatic transmission is the hydraulic automatic, which uses a planetary gearset, hydraulic controls, and a torque converter. The torque converter is one of the parts that sucks power from the engine when the car is cruising, causing the engine to work harder. This decreases efficiency. To remedy this, some manufacturers have started using a 'lockup' torque converter. A lockup converter operates mechanically, causing it to act as a direct coupling between the transmission and the engine, eliminating power loss and increasing efficiency. Another type of automatic is the continuously variable transmission (CVT). On a CVT there are no gears, instead utilizing two pulleys connected by a belt. By changing the size of the pulleys the effective gear ratio changes. CVTs are the most efficient type of automatic transmission, since the engine is put at the RPM that provides the best efficiency for the given situation. However, the efficiency comes at a cost. CVTs are less reliable, can only handle a certain amount of power, and many drivers find the lack of shift points unsettling. High performance automatic vehicles generally use an automated manual transmission, a semi-automatic, or a dual-clutch transmission. These transmission types can shift faster than any human possibly could, and provide the best performance. However, these types of transmissions are only found on performance vehicles due to their cost. Finally, for those who love to shift their own gears, a manual transmission is still the most efficient and cheapest to own and operate. Manual transmissions are simple, light, and can operate with a minimum of gears. Only Nissan now makes a stick shift Pathfinder, and simple is usually a recipe for efficiency.

2.3. Towing Capacity

2023 Honda Pilot has a lot to offer for towing capacity. This is thanks to the V6 engine, which Honda explains that the base Pilot will be available with front-wheel drive, and that the vehicle is targeting a 3,500-pound tow rating. The all-wheel-drive Pilot should have a tow capacity of 5,000 pounds to lead the midsize crossover SUV class. According to the words of Honda's vice president of product planning, the 2023 Pilot was designed to be an "industry leader in towing capability among midsize SUVs". Honda gave the Pilot the same platform as the Honda Ridgeline which also has the biggest towing capacity in its class among the midsize pickup trucks. This platform allowed Honda to accomplish up to a 5,000 tow capacity with the Pilot, and that's considered best-in-class performance compared to its segment rivals. In addition to the more powerful engine and higher tow ratings, Honda gives the 2023 Pilot a new intelligent traction management system that has different drive modes, including a snow mode and a sand mode to enhance off-road capability. All this information sounds super exciting for the Pilot, and we hope that most of the customers do not perceive this as a reason to venture away from family SUV driving into risking potential speeding tickets coming from an associate traffic light drag race victory.

3. Interior Features

In comparing the provided further information on these two cars, first on the seating features, the 2023 Honda Pilot offers several seating configurations, including eight-passenger capacity with a second-row bench seat, or seven-passenger capacity with second-row captain's chairs. There's also the available second-row Smart Slide feature that allows for easy third-row access with the push of a button, even with a car seat installed. With the second and third rows splitting and folding flat, both cargo and passengers can be accommodated in a variety of ways. Comparing this to the Nissan Pathfinder, the Pilot offers an additional second-row seat to provide more comfortable seating for the passengers. Only a seven-passenger vehicle, the Nissan Pathfinder has a second row that can be configured with either captain's chairs or a bench seat. Unfortunately, the Pathfinder lacks the easy third-row access that the Smart Slide feature gives the Pilot and only has split-folding third-row seats. Both vehicles offer an option to fold down the front passenger seat in order to load items up to eight feet long. However, the slide and hide feature available in the Honda Pilot allows the second row on the passenger's side to be tilted forward and the seat adjusted forward or backward on a track for easier access to the third row, without removing a car seat that is installed. This, along with the flat cargo floor Honda Pilot has with the second and third row folded, provides a more functional interior to the vehicle. Also, the Honda Pilot provides a total of 16 cup holders and a conversation mirror with a sunglass holder that is not provided in the Nissan Pathfinder. Next, on the entertainment features, both vehicles have a standard rear entertainment system and a 115-volt power outlet. However, the Honda Pilot offers more with the availability of an additional rear entertainment system that comes with an HDMI input and an improved Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System. This compares to the Nissan Pathfinder that only comes with one rear entertainment system model and offers an 8-inch DVD screen with the option of the Nissan Navigation System. Although the front audio display is better in the Pilot with an 8-inch high-resolution screen compared to the Pathfinder's 6.5-inch color display, the main difference maker is what each vehicle offers in the field of connectivity.

3.1. Seating and Cargo Space

Continual innovation across all categories helped both Honda, Nissan, and several additional car brands increase their overall scores this year. However, the Honda Pilot and Nissan Pathfinder were their highest-scoring models. But which model is better? That can often depend on specific priorities for a new vehicle. One of the first elements that new car shoppers will compare will be interior space. If you are shopping for a 3-row crossover utility vehicle, chances are you are planning to utilize the third row for passengers instead of folding it down for increased cargo space. Therefore, interior space for this category is essential. For the specific section of seating and cargo space, Honda holds the edge for its Pathfinder. With very comparable space in the first and second rows for both models, the Pilot takes an advantage with 1.9 inches of additional third-row headroom and more importantly, nearly 6 inches of third-row legroom. This is a huge advantage, especially for families that have teenage kids using the third row. More third-row space will reduce complaints from kids on a long ride, and when that row is not being used for passengers, it can still be utilized for additional cargo space with the third-row 60/40 split. In that scenario, the Pathfinder and Pilot are even with 79.8 cubic feet of cargo space. The Pilot's third-row legroom advantage gave it the win for this category.

3.2. Infotainment System and Connectivity

The infotainment system of the Nissan Pathfinder provides drivers with a user-friendly interior controller with a touch display screen. Form and function play a role in the controls with the screen divided into areas for map, audio, and vehicle information. The actual buttons for the map, info, audio, phone, and "it" are below the screen. Turn by turn direction is displayed in the vehicle information area making it easy to toggle from the current audio or information playing on the screen. The Honda Pilot offers a navigation system with voice recognition and rearview camera (an innovation normally found with luxury vehicles or offered as an expensive optional package). The voice recognition allows the driver to avoid the potentially dangerous distraction of trying to type in an address while driving. Both vehicles provide drivers with the compatibility of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Using these systems, drivers are able to project their smartphone to the in-vehicle display to access select apps, music via Spotify or Google Play, send/receive messages, and get directions. The iPhone Siri voice control is also incorporated in CarPlay for a safer way to access the iPhone features. With technology being at the forefront of vehicle design, both vehicles make it more convenient for the driver to integrate their mobile phone to their vehicle in order to access music and navigation.

3.3. Advanced Safety Features

2023 Nissan Pathfinder Nissan and Honda have been near the top of the class in safety over the past few years. That trend continues for both in 2023. The new Pathfinder comes with an extensive list of safety and driver-assist features: standard, optional, and available. The foundation of safety features consists of automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and rear automatic braking. These help prevent frontal collisions with both vehicles and pedestrians and can lessen the severity of impact by braking the rear brakes to reduce the potential for hitting a stationary object. Also standard is blind spot warning, which has been updated to better detect and alert about vehicles approaching on either side when the Pathfinder is exiting parking spaces or a driveway. High beam assist will help visibility at night. The most exciting new safety feature for the Pathfinder is ProPilot Assist. This advanced driving assistance technology has been well-received for the Nissan Altima and Rogue; now it's available on the 2023 Pathfinder at an additional cost of $1,200.

2023 Honda Pilot The Pilot comes standard with several safety and driver-assist features. Rear seat reminder and traffic sign recognition maintain the 2023 Pilot's place among the SUVs that embrace all-around safety for drivers, occupants, and pedestrians. Automatic high beams and adaptive cruise control work together to alleviate some of the driving burden by operating the throttle and brakes in specific conditions. Lane-keep assist and road departure mitigation have been augmented to keep the Pilot centered in the lane more effectively by adjusting the steering and applying the brakes. Low-speed braking control adds an extra layer of safety when parking or in tight spaces. The 2022 Pilot was rated as a Top Safety Pick for IIHS. If the 2023 model earns the same distinctions, it isn't an unreasonable expectation.

4. Exterior Design and Technology

A close look at both these SUVs shows that the Pilot is slightly longer than the Pathfinder at 4956mm, 1970mm, and 1754mm, while the Nissan is 5009mm, 1977mm, and 1801mm. The Honda also has a longer wheelbase at 111.0 inches compared to the Pathfinder's 114 inches. Both vehicles have a shared goal of being functional while also having modern style, beginning with the boxy look of the Pilot and the more rounded lines of the Pathfinder. The front and rear spoilers of the Pathfinder help it to obtain a best-in-class drag coefficient of 0.326, partially due to its hybrid technology, which requires less energy use from the vehicle to reach and maintain a speed. Both vehicles have roof rails and the option of a moonroof or panoramic moonroof, but the Pathfinder has the added feature of aluminum-alloy, 18-inch wheels and yet also has the button added features of 20-inch wheels. Both vehicles have automatic LED low-beam headlights and high beams, with the addition of "fix it and forget it" automatic on/off headlights, and lastly, an automatic tilt in reverse function. Each vehicle also has LED daytime running lights and power-folding heated side mirrors incorporated with turning signals, but the Pilot also involves LED map lights and approach lights. The main contrast between the two vehicles lies in the taillights and the fog lights. The Pilot uses LED taillights and halogen fog lights, whereas the Pathfinder utilizes LED taillights and the option of LED fog lights.

4.1. Styling and Dimensions

The exterior dimensions of both vehicles are remarkably similar, with both vehicles having gains in all aspects bar front headroom for the Pilot and rear legroom/cargo space for the Pathfinder. Any gains, according to Nissan, are minimal. The new model is longer, wider, and taller than before but only by 1.5 inches, 0.5 inches, and 0.5 inches respectively. Honda states that the Pilot is 3 inches longer and has a wheelbase that is 1.4 inches longer, all contributing to better ride stability on the road. 1.3 inches of this is additional rear overhang, and a body that is 1 inch wider will improve cargo space. Ground clearance for both vehicles is now 7.5 inches.

The 2023 Honda Pilot has had a dramatic redesign for its 2023 model. No longer a boxy SUV, the new Pilot has adopted a more crossover-like shape that is much more appealing. The front-end design is much less aggressive than the Pathfinder, but in profile, the Pilot looks sleeker with cleaner lines and a sportier look. On the rear, a distinctive horizontal light bar shows off the car's width, with larger and more provocative use of chrome detailing all around.

There are substantial differences in the exterior design and dimensions of these two vehicles. Classic in its silhouette, but modernized in its details, the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder bears little resemblance to its boxy predecessor. Slim LED headlights flow into a strong, bluff nose, with the squared-off wheel arches of its forebear replaced by rounded openings and a character line that runs from front to rear. The rear of the vehicle is the most modern aspect of the design, with a contemporary light signature, exposed twin exhausts, and an optional two-tone paint scheme with a contrasting roof for some models provides alternate flair.

4.2. Exterior Lighting

The 2023 Honda Pilot has a sleek and sophisticated exterior, a departure from its boxier predecessor. The most prominent feature of its exterior is the front-end, where a wider and more streamlined fascia defines the vehicle's new image. Its hood flows more seamlessly into the grille and headlight assembly, and the headlamps themselves are more elongated in shape. In comparison to the entry-level Pilot LX, those upper-level models offer you the LED headlight designs for casting the brighter illumination, especially for the LED low-beam projector and high-beam bulbs. The Nissan Pathfinder has also undergone a major facelift, although its exterior still leans into a more rugged, traditional SUV look. At the front is its signature V-Motion grille, with bold LED headlights and an overall highly sculpted front-end. Buyers have the option between 18-inch and 20-inch wheels, with the higher-end models offering LED fog lights and a dual panoramic moonroof.

4.3. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

Honda's sensing suite is truly superior compared to Nissan's Safety Shield 360. Nissan skipped out on adding blind spot monitoring to the Pathfinder, a feature that Honda decided to use to its full advantage. Honda basically uses the same style of blind spot monitoring as it does lane departure system. When a driver engages the left or right turn signal, a camera on that side of the vehicle activates and shows live video from the right lane or left lane. If an obstacle is detected in that lane, the center gauge cluster will show an orange light on the side with the obstacle, along with an audible warning. This system is similar to turning your head to check your blind spot, except it's obviously much more effective. This gives the Pilot the upper hand over the Pathfinder in terms of lane safety. Another new feature that Honda has implemented on the Pilot is a redesigned adaptive cruise control system. In addition to maintaining a set following interval, the system now has the capability to stop and restart the vehicle in most cases, and can keep the vehicle in its lane in highway driving. This is a potentially a huge precursor to self-driving cars, and puts Honda ahead of the curve in ACC technology. But Honda's newest and most innovative safety feature is the driver feedback steering wheel. Using kinesthetic driver feedback, the wheel can gently pull in the opposite direction when the vehicle is about to leave a lane without a turn signal. This system is passive to the driver, and simply provides guidance to the driver to help keep the vehicle in the center of a detected lane. Given that 9 out of 10 crashes are caused by driver error, this is arguably the most effective way to keep cars out of accidents. This feature will be a huge asset to the safety of the Pilot, and is something that the Pathfinder certainly has no answer for. The only thing that Safety Shield 360 has over Honda Sensing is Nissan's Rear Door Alert feature, which is meant to remind drivers of passengers or objects left in the rear seats, something that has become crucial since children and pets have died from being left in hot cars. This system has now become standard on all Nissan vehicles, but Honda's equivalent system called Rear Seat Reminder on the Pilot is only an audio alert and not a visual warning.