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2023 Nissan Pathfinder vs. 2023 Honda Pilot

Comparison of the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder and 2023 Honda Pilot

1. Exterior Design

1.1 Pathfinder's Sleek and Modern Exterior The Pathfinder's exterior has a sense of modernity about it. Its flowing lines and curves almost make it resemble an overgrown, high ground clearance station wagon. Nissan has done away with the traditional 4x4/SUV look which is similar to what Subaru did with the Forester. The main aim for the Pathfinder was an attempt to provide the benefits of traditional and more rugged 4x4 while providing car-like dynamic and ride. One thing that is sure to get covered in mud is the rear bumper, it's set quite low to the ground - tough luck to mums and dads who are lifting prams and strollers in and out of the back. The Pathfinder features 18-inch machine-finished aluminum-alloy wheels with a 5-spoke design and 235/65R18 all-season tires with either all-season or mud and snow tire specific tires that carry on the "it's not a 4x4" tradition. There is a choice of optional roof and kayak attachments and a power sliding moonroof. The rear roof spoiler and easy fill fuel door are nice cosmetic touches. The SL model features chrome door handles, while the LE version boasts mirror indicators, reverse tilt down on the passenger's side and a power rear lift gate.

The 2023 Nissan Pathfinder and 2023 Honda Pilot are both rugged and ready SUVs aimed at an active lifestyle. But there are areas where - from the outside, at least - they couldn't be more different.

1.1. Pathfinder's sleek and modern exterior

Pathfinder's exterior is significantly different from the 2023 Honda Pilot. The sleek, aerodynamic appearance of the Pathfinder is a stark contrast to the boxy, rugged appearance of the Pilot. At first glance, the Pathfinder seems to appeal more to on-road driving, whereas the Pilot seems to have more rugged, off-road intentions. This shows in the design of both vehicles, where the Pathfinder seeks to provide a more car-like driving experience and the Pilot retains its truck-like feel. The differences in appearance are quite noticeable and speak to the different designs and approaches for both vehicles. There are perhaps no other two vehicles in this segment that offer as great of a contrast in appearance as the Pathfinder and Pilot.

Sleek and modern, the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder has left behind its boxy days. Compared to the 2022 model, the new Pathfinder has undergone a dramatic change with a more refined look throughout. Starting at the front, the hood has a more gentle slope to it. You'll also notice the way the front end curves inwards. This both provides aerodynamic benefits and gives the vehicle a more refined look. The sharper design and angles of the new LED headlights make the previous generation look out of style. Fog lights have been added to the front on the new model. The front grille has a more elegant and premium look. Both front and rear wheel wells are filled in with the body for a more aerodynamic and refined appearance. The 2023 model features sharper character lines than the previous generation, giving it a bolder and more aggressive look. The rear end shares similarities with both the larger Armada and smaller Rogue models, a smooth look with two-piece taillights. Overall, the new Pathfinder looks significantly more refined and modern than its predecessor.

1.2. Pilot's bold and rugged exterior

The market for cars has been rapidly expanding with a wide range of SUVs and 4x4s from which to choose. The new Honda Pilot has definitely changed from the previous model and the most prominent alterations are present on the exterior. The bold new shape is certainly an eye-catching feature and Honda is trying to market it as a rugged look, but it's quite evident that very little off-road driving will be done in this car. The box-like SUV design now features a higher waistline, high window line, and higher ground clearance off the road, creating a more practical and spacious interior for passengers. The new scalloped door panels are said to be inspired by previous Pilots, and the rear of the car is notably less angular. The exterior design definitely gives the Honda Pilot a more aggressive and macho style but may be overkill for the type of driving most SUVs are used for. On the other hand, the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder is more family-oriented and used for road trips and daily school runs. The sleeker design of the Pathfinder is no doubt easier on the eye and has features such as lower rooflines and a squared arch effect on the car's roof, an effective look which theoretically reduces drag and noise inside the car. The promotion for a smoother and quieter ride is also apparent in the design of the side door handles with an increased sloped angle. The Pathfinder's approach to give this SUV a more modern and luxurious look is evident with more contouring and chrome finishes around the door panels and window frames. When comparing both of these cars to an ideal target market, Honda may be trying to appeal more to the driver who will still choose the Pilot over something like a Honda Odyssey due to it being a more 'manlier' approach to a family car. The Pathfinder's ideal market will differ slightly as those who are hunting for a luxury SUV will be more targeted to the Pathfinder but still face competition with other models in the SUV range.

1.3. Differences in grille design

The differences are a testament to the target markets of the two vehicles. The rugged styling of the Honda Pilot is aimed at consumers who value utility/versatility and active lifestyles, while the sleek and modern styling of the Pathfinder is aimed at consumers looking for a premium and status vehicle.

In contrast, the Honda Pilot has a very rugged grille design. The chrome grille theme is consistent with the modern Honda model design. The Honda grill is divided into three horizontal connected bars. The top horizontal bar is bent and angled on the outside edges to mimic the slopes above the fog light recess. The Honda emblem is mounted to the top horizontal bar in the center of the grille. The pattern of the grille itself is not see-through and consists of a pattern of oval and circle cutouts. The different depths of these openings give the grille a very rugged and rough look compared to the Pathfinder.

The grill designs for both models are very different. The Nissan Pathfinder's grill design is made of plastic and incorporates a large connected horizontally with the headlights via the grille, making it continuous. The Nissan emblem is mounted in the center of the grille on the main horizontal bar. The horizontal bar is thinner vertically toward the edge of the grille, and the pattern of the grille is see-through, with openings on the other side of the grille. This gives the grille a modern and stylish look.

2. Interior Features

High-quality materials and finishes in the Pilot The 2023 Pilot boasts an expansive, upscale and comfortable cabin. It has high-quality plush interior materials throughout. Soft-touch surfaces on the doors and dash, and comfortable front and rear seats, give the Pilot a very inviting feel in all grades. Most impressive is the top Elite trim with its perforated leather upholstery and heated second-row captain's chairs. Both the second and third rows are spacious, making adults comfortable in all seating positions. Although there is plenty of passenger volume, the large cargo area results in tighter third-row legroom and overall less cargo room than the Pathfinder.

Comfort and spaciousness in the Pathfinder Starting with mere comfort and spaciousness, the 2023 Pathfinder definitely overachieves. It offers one of the roomiest cabins of any midsize SUV, with high-quality materials throughout its interior. There is plenty of space for passengers and gear, with long sliding second-row seats for easy third-row access. The drivers and front passengers are treated with 3-level heating front seats and 2-level heating steering wheel.

2.1. Comfort and spaciousness in the Pathfinder

The Pathfinder is one of the largest SUVs in this segment, and it offers more space and utility than most of its rivals. The Pathfinder can seat up to seven in three rows. Nissan has made access to the rear fairly easy, with a sliding second-row seat that tilts and collapses for entry into the wayback. The second row is adult-friendly and three can sit across thanks to a completely flat floor. The front and middle rows are wide and supportive, though the bottom cushions could be a bit longer. Wide opening rear doors provide easy access to the second and third seats. The third row is the most spacious in the class, with plenty of head and leg room for adults and a sliding second-row seat to adjust legroom. The tri-zone front and rear climate control, sliding moonroof, and rear sunshades offer a little luxury to rear passengers. The downside being that none of Nissan's newly developed safety gear, such as blind spot monitoring, lane departure, and around view cameras, is available in the Pathfinder. The Honda Pilot's overall size is more similar to the upcoming 2013 Pathfinder, meaning that it is quite large and can seat up to eight people. The space in the first and second rows is ample, while the base LX model has a second-row seat for three that can slide forward for easy access to the third row, and split and tumble forward for even easier access to the third row in the top spec Touring and Elite models. That being said, the third row is not as spacious or comfortable as the Pathfinder, with lower seat cushions meaning less thigh support, headroom is tight, and getting into the third row is more complicated than the Pathfinder. The Honda also has tri-zone climate controls and a rear entertainment system, while the safe and storage resort is cheaper and less luxurious than the Pathfinder.

2.2. High-quality materials and finishes in the Pilot

The Honda Pilot has mostly hard plastic on the dash, and although some of it is grained to look better in higher trims, it is still not up to the high-quality feel of many competing models. The Pathfinder uses softer touch materials throughout and uses double-stitched accented panels and slashings of chrome or wood trim, which the Pilot does not have. Both models use cloth interiors in their base LX and S trim lines, both of which stand out as well above average for cloth. The SL and SV models of the Pilot have leather in all three rows, but the leather is of a lower grade and not as soft or supple as the leather found in the Pathfinder or the Pilot's Touring and Elite trim lines. Going to the Touring model, the Pilot gets a lot of nice features like panoramic moonroofs, but in terms of material quality and finish, the Pilot does not catch up with the Pathfinder until the upper Elite model. The Elite model uses nicer overall materials and has contrast stitching on much of the interior, but the Pathfinder has all this as well with its higher quality leather and wood trim finishes, with features like quilted leather and a 1200-watt 17-speaker Bose sound system that the Pilot does not offer.

2.3. Comparison of infotainment systems

The infotainment system found in the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder is an 8-inch WVGA display system that also includes multi-touch control. Vehicle information is transmitted from its advanced drive-assist system, which puts important information in a panel on top of the screen for easy viewing. Its enhanced voice recognition and its smartphone integration of the iPhone and the Android smartphone adds ease to the driver. The system also includes an SMS display and Bluetooth calling and audio. It also includes an iPod or alternate device input. Also, add an RCA and USB port for audio or video playback. Changing gears to the 2023 Honda Pilot, we see the infotainment system includes one of the most advanced voice recognition systems for easily changing music, addressing the GPS system, and changing volume. It includes hard disk drive storage and its center console has a Flip-Down console area that allows ample storage space for things such as a wallet or mobile device. It includes the USB audio interface and adds easy connections for mobile devices. The Pathfinder's system is quite simple and provides ease for the driver. On the other side, the Pilot's system caters a lot to mobile devices and the hard disk drive allows lots of multimedia to be stored directly into the system.

2.4. Available seating configurations

Both SUVs come standard with second-row bench seats, which increases passenger capacity to eight. Second-row captain's chairs (available on SV models with the Tech Package and SL trims) reduce capacity to seven, but make for easy third-row access. The package adds a second-row console with cupholders and covered storage, and also includes a 120V outlet and rear reading lights. Third-row seating is standard across the board, and provides a standard 50/50 split bench seat or an available reclining bench seat. The Honda Pilot also provides seating for eight with a standard second-row bench seat. Second-row captain's chairs (available on the Touring and Elite) also reduce capacity to seven. Both models provide a two-position reclining 60/40 split folding second-row seat with an "EZ Slide" feature that allows for easy access to the third-row bench seat. The Pathfinder has a similar system for third-row access with its "Latch & Glide" technology, but provides marginally more room for third-row passengers in the way of additional headroom and legroom. This is particularly impressive when considering that the Pilot currently leads all competitors in third-row seating space. Options on the Pilot's third-row include a fold-down armrest, and a three-position reclining seat to enhance comfort. Both models provide the typical 50/50 split bench at this seating position. With the amount of time we spend in our vehicles today, we ought to consider the level of comfort we require both for ourselves and the passengers we transport, and the seating configuration and comfort level of the Pilot and Pathfinder provide a high degree of transport utility with a variety of seating and cargo requirements. This is an area of both vehicles where various lifestyles are met with convenience and functionality without sacrificing a comfortable and safe environment for family and friends.

3. Performance and Efficiency

The 2023 Nissan Pathfinder solely comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine, delivering a healthy 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the front or all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission in the updated CVT has been given the flick. The new Pathfinder has a tow rating of 6,000 or 6,004 lbs depending on the trim. This compares to the previous generation's mediocre rating of 1,500 lbs. Nissan puts this down to the 'new direct injection V6 engine and 9-speed automatic transmission'. In addition to a much sturdier environment in which to do some off-road or tow work, the new Pathy gets Nissan's 'intelligent 4WD with 7-mode drive and terrain mode selector'. A special feature incorporated into the traction system is the 'enhanced' hill start assist and hill descent control. Ground clearance will be 7 inches in standard form and 7.5 inches in the 4WD models. The Honda Pilot's base engine is not much of an improvement over the 2022 Pilot; it's a 3.5-liter V6, but with only 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. It also sends power through a 9-speed automatic gearbox, however Honda's torque figures are given very high in the power band at 4700 rpm. This coupled with an unchanged 1,500 lb tow rating will not show significant towing improvements over the previous model. All 2WD Pilots have a torque distribution management system in order to maximize torque to the wheels while saving on fuel and improving traction in adverse conditions. The AWD models get Honda's 'intelligent variable torque management2 AWD system' with an 'intelligent traction management system' which has normal, snow, mud, and sand modes. This system should provide all-round improved traction and control compared to the previous Pilot's AWD setup. The Pilot's AWD models also get a more advanced hill start assist and hill descent control system. While the 2023 Pilot has 7.3 inches of ground clearance, buyers of the new Pathfinder will feel more confident off-road with an extra 0.2 of an inch and superior electronic aids. This is likely to put a slight advantage in off-road and towing capability to the Pathfinder, but we shall see how each vehicle's capability unfolds when they hit the market.

3.1. Engine options and power output

Both the Nissan Pathfinder and Honda Pilot have a single engine option. The Pathfinder has switched to a 3.5L naturally aspirated V6 from what was previously a 3.5L V6 producing 284hp and 259lb-ft of torque. The new engine produces an additional 11hp and 18lb-ft of torque compared to the previous 3.5L V6 while being able to do this on regular octane fuel instead of premium. This new engine also has an additional 1,000lbs of max towing capacity over the previous model while still using the same Xtronic CVT and with available AWD on all trim levels. The Honda Pilot with their new yet to be released 2023 model at the time of writing has a 3.5L V6 i-VTEC engine. Unfortunately, no specific power output figures have been released for this engine. This means we have to use the output figures on their most recent 2020-2021 Honda Pilot models which produce 280hp and 262lb-ft of torque. Though this engine is still a strong and reliable engine, it is only a very slight difference in power compared to the new Nissan Pathfinder V6. The Nissan Pathfinder has a larger, more powerful engine compared to the Honda Pilot, thus making it slightly less fuel efficient. Nissan has now rated the new 2023 Pathfinder as 20MPG city, 25MPG highway, and 22MPG combined with a slight reduction on each of these figures for the 4WD models. When compared to the previous V6 FWD Pathfinders, these new figures have seen a decrease of around 2MPG. The sleeker, boxier design combines with the newer, more powerful engine will not be helping the aerodynamics or overall efficiency of the vehicle. The Honda Pilot 2020-2021 models with the aforementioned 3.5L V6 engine have an exact rating of 20MPG city, 27MPG highway, and 23MPG combined for FWD models. This results in a very minimal difference in fuel efficiency despite the Honda Pilot's smaller engine and lower power output. At the time of writing, it is uncertain as to whether Honda has continued with an AWD version of this engine for the new 2023 Honda Pilot or whether changes have been made to the AWD system itself.

3.2. Fuel efficiency and range

Although the 2023 Honda Pilot is a huge improvement over its prior model, the lack of variation from other competing three-row SUVs can still be seen. Once this information has been gathered for your new Pilots and Pathfinders, it may be up for some more specific gasoline economy comparison based on differences in weight and power between the various models of each vehicle.

The sole data we have now is that the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder has an EPA city rating around nineteen MPG and an EPA highway rating around twenty-five MPG. Ever since its redesign over a decade ago, the Honda Pilot has generally had an EPA score of around seventeen to eighteen MPG in the city and a rating between twenty-two to twenty-four MPG on the freeway. The Pilot's gasoline economy is particularly lacking when compared to some other CUVs taken from its driving dynamics from an auto to auto basis.

For the reason that both of these automobiles will not be yet introduced with the gasoline economy scores, there is no in-depth comparison to be made.

The upcoming 2023 Nissan Pathfinder has a singular powertrain that may improve its gasoline efficiency. The 2023 Honda Pilot has an altogether new activity that could improve its gasoline efficiency. Here are a few matchups.

3.3. Towing capabilities

The Pathfinder also has a 7-pin wiring harness and a trailer sway control.

In terms of the towing equipment, both vehicles are modern and updated. The Pathfinder has functional improvements such as an advanced "Hitch Assist" which helps the driver to align the trailer hitch with the attachment, and an available "Around View Monitor" with a trailer light check system, which allows the driver to check the lights on the attached trailer. Step guideline assistance will also make it easier for the driver to hitch a trailer. The step moves up and down into the proper position to use for the trailer tongue or other hitching platform, which makes it convenient for the driver. Any physical strain on the driver when hitching would likely result in an improper alignment with the trailer and the vehicle. This will not be practical for the driver to use the Pilot to tow the goods.

For those who frequently need to tow heavy machinery or other goods, it is important to have a vehicle that has suitable towing capabilities. The Pathfinder has a towing capability of 6000 pounds, which is the same for all 7 models. The Honda Pilot, on the other hand, has a fluctuating towing capability, which is between 3500-5000 pounds.

4. Safety and Technology

Honda Sensing is standard on every trim level of the 2023 Pilot. It includes features such as adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, lane keep assist, and traffic sign recognition. The most notable difference in the driver-assist technology between the Pilot and the Pathfinder is that Honda Sensing is standard on all trims, while Nissan Safety Shield 360 is not available on the base L trim, although it is available on the SV and up. The technology is similar between the two vehicles; however, it is quite a low blow for safety-conscious consumers wanting to go with the Pathfinder as it requires purchasing a more expensive trim to receive the equivalent safety technology.

In the ninth iteration of the Nissan Pathfinder, the driver-assistance technology available is known as Nissan Safety Shield 360. This is standard on all trim levels and includes a variety of features such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, high beam assist, and class-exclusive traffic sign recognition. Additionally, S and SV trim levels come standard with Nissan Safety Shield 360+, including intelligent cruise control, which has been enhanced with steering assist when used with the available ProPILOT Assist. The top-of-the-line Platinum trim level has ProPILOT Assist standard, which is a combination of intelligent cruise control and steering assist to provide a hands-on, driver-assist system. This is a step towards offering higher levels of autonomy and is designed to reduce the hassle of stop-and-go highway driving.

4.1. Advanced driver-assistance systems in the Pathfinder

Pathfinder is the first Nissan model to introduce the new-generation Nissan Safety Shield 360. Safety Shield 360 is a comprehensive set of six advanced safety and driver-assist technologies designed to help provide 360 degrees of active driver assistance, crash avoidance, and pedestrian detection. More advanced than previous iterations, this new feature acts like a third set of eyes, continuously monitoring the vehicle's surroundings to identify potential risks. If it senses an impending collision, it will provide audible and visible alerts, and even apply the brakes if necessary. Completing the Safety Shield 360 package is Intelligent, combining technology and convenience to help prompt safer and smoother driving. On a basic level, it will help keep the vehicle centered in its lane and maintain a set distance from the vehicle in front, reducing the driver's need to make steering and braking inputs. This new system has more advanced features, being able to adjust to the speed of traffic and the design of the road, and can even change lanes for overtaking slower moving vehicles.

The 2023 Nissan Pathfinder introduces ProPILOT Assist for the first time. This is a hands-on, driver-assist technology that is as simple to use as a cruise control system. ProPILOT Assist helps ease driver workload by reducing the amount of acceleration, braking, and steering the driver must do during highway driving. The system is enabled and controlled by a button on the right spoke of the steering wheel, allowing the driver to choose when and if they want assistance. In stop-and-go traffic and on the highway, ProPILOT Assist can hold the vehicle in position and bring it to a full stop when traffic slows. After coming to a full stop, the vehicle can remain in place even if the driver's foot is no longer on the brake pedal. As traffic resumes, the vehicle will start moving again when the driver touches the switch again or lightly presses the accelerator.

4.2. Honda Sensing technology in the Pilot

The Honda Sensing features in the 2023 Honda Pilot shown in Table 2 come very close to those available in the Pathfinder and provide a strong suite of driver-assistance systems and safety features. The only feature available in the Pathfinder but not in the Pilot is the semi-autonomous ProPilot, which is comparable to Volvo PilotAssist that operates the steering and braking of the vehicle. The rest of the features in the Pathfinder are matched by the Pilot with the addition of automatic high beams and front and rear parking sensors. All of the Honda Sensing features are standard on all Pilot trims starting from the LX, and as with the Pathfinder, only the driver and front passenger airbags are not standard safety features and are optional additions. The Honda Sensing features can be broken down into several areas and incorporate a number of audible tones and visual warnings to assist the driver in avoiding obstacles. The collision mitigation system with forward collision warning and radar braking are designed to prevent or mitigate a crash with a car or object detected in front of the vehicle. Both the Pathfinder and the Pilot system are quite similar and are designed to prevent at slow and fast speeds and apply the brakes if a collision becomes imminent. A similar system is employed for the lane departure warning and prevention found in both vehicles. Using a camera to detect lane markings and position on the roadway, if the vehicle moves out of position without indication, the system provides steering assistance to move the vehicle back to the center of the lane. The Pilot has an additional road departure mitigation feature to assist if the vehicle runs off the side of the road.

4.3. Comparison of available safety features

The Pathfinder has an energy absorbing steering column, which the Pilot does not have. The Pathfinder also has zone body construction, with front and rear crumple zones, and reinforced passenger compartment. This provides Nissan's Pathfinder a much needed safety edge, which isn't noticed in the Honda Pilot.

One difference in the Pathfinder's side airbags is that they include rollover sensors, which can help the airbags activate in the event of a side collision. This feature is also present in the Pilot. Another difference is that the Advanced Air Bag System in the Pathfinder has seat belt sensors. This feature detects the seating position of the front passenger, and checks the belt usage, and then inflates the air bag with varying force.

The safety features of the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder and 2023 Honda Pilot are very similar. Both vehicles feature dual stage airbags for the driver and front passenger, front seat mounted side airbags, and front and rear curtain side airbags. They both also include front seatbelts with pre-tensioners and load limiters, and active head restraints for the driver and front passenger, but the Pathfinder has the option to include rear seatbelts with pre-tensioners and load limiters.