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2023 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2023 Honda Pilot

Comparison between 2023 Toyota 4Runner and 2023 Honda Pilot

1. Exterior Design

The Toyota 4Runner has multiple designs dependent on the grade. The SR5 and SR5 Premium are equipped with new front and rear bumpers, 17-inch 7-spoke wheels, smoked headlight trim, color-keyed grill, and silver trim on the front bumper. New colors have been added for the SR5 and SR5 Premium. The Trail Edition has been given TRD off-road alloy wheels and off-road unique front and rear bumpers with a TOYOTA front grille. The TRD Sport comes with a hood scoop and 20-inch alloy wheels. The Limited 4×2 and 4×4 are given a different front bumper and chrome plating to the overfenders. The 4×2 model has 18-inch 7-spoke wheels and the 4×4 model has 20-inch wheels. The Limited and Nightshade grade come with a front and rear bumper different from the previously mentioned, and Nightshade has black current and new exterior colors have been added.

It is an aggressive and serious looking. The exterior is completely redesigned for Toyota 4Runner. A muscular front grille has been combined with the LED headlights and LED fog lamps equipped with the Limited grade. The high and low beams have a projector optic, and the back has LED tail lamps. The front and rear overfenders have been altered and are now integrated into the bumper for a more rugged appearance. The rear bumper has also been reworked, and the license plate garnish has been changed to a chrome finish with a garnish smaller yet wider in appearance. Limited grade now has 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels with a different look from other grades, and new exterior colors have been added.

1.1. Toyota 4Runner's design

Toyota 4Runner is one of SUVs with a very tough image, displaying 4x4 capability which is very rare in another SUV. Toyota also completes this 2023 Toyota 4Runner redesign with many cool features and a new safety system. As one of the oldest and toughest mid-size SUVs, the Toyota 4Runner is worth considering as an option for an off-road vehicle. This year, Toyota offers many cool features to upgrade the 4Runner and also makes some changes to the exterior. The new 2023 Toyota 4Runner comes with a semi-redesigned exterior. We can see the new LED headlights, restyled bonnet, and a nice-looking front grille. The new 4Runner uses IFS suspension, which is claimed to give tough off-road capability. The new 4Runner also slightly increases the wheelbase to provide more space for the interior. By increasing the wheelbase, Toyota can also make the 2023 Toyota 4Runner achieve good on-road capability. There are 5 types offered for the new 4Runner: SR5, TRD OFF-ROAD, TRD OFF-ROAD PREMIUM, TRD PRO, and LIMITED. Each type has its own characteristics, but all still have great off-road capability, which is one of the advantages of this 2023 Toyota 4Runner redesign. Every type except LIMITED uses a 17-inch wheel and is equipped with all-terrain tires. However, the best-looking design comes from the TRD PRO. It has two color choices and looks so cool with the newest technology for shock absorbers from TRD. The new 2023 Toyota 4Runner could become your option as a tough mid-size SUV.

1.2. Honda Pilot's design

The body of the Honda Pilot is a somewhat boxy shape, but otherwise it's given a lot of flair. This is already entering its 9th model year, the Pilot now has what the automaker calls "sophisticated" front and rear styling, with the focus mainly on the nose. The Pilot has replaced its prior 3-slat grille with something quite a bit more shiny and more minivan-like. In combination with a more finely detailed and complex set of headlamps that include LED daytime running lights and Adaptive Front Lighting System on the top Elite model, it's worth a refresh that we saw last time on this model. At the rear, there's a three-bar chrome look as well as new taillights, and the rear bumper and exhaust finishers have been changed to match. Although it rides on the same 18-inch wheels as last year, both the standard steel and optional alloys have a more interesting design. When it comes to new colors that are available for the Pilot, there are three new options including Black Forest Pearl, Obsidian Blue, and Dark Amber Metallic, the last of which is only available on the top Touring and Elite models.

2. Performance and Powertrain

The 4Runner is powered by a 4.0-liter V-6 with 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque, and comes with a five-speed automatic. A part-time four-wheel-drive system with a two-speed transfer case is standard; maximum towing capacity ranges from 4500-5000 pounds. The optional engine in the Limited is a 4.7-liter V-8 (on 4x4 models exclusively) that generates 260 horsepower and 306 lb-ft of torque; it teams with a full-time four-wheel-drive system that does not include low range. This setup is rated to tow up to 7300 pounds and is EPA-rated at an unimpressive 14 mpg city/17 highway. In contrast, the Pilot uses a 3.5-liter V-6 with 250 horsepower and either 253 or 247 lb-ft of torque, depending on the driveline (four-wheel-drive Pilot have the higher figure). Notably, the cylinder-deactivation system can allow this engine to transition between six- and three-cylinder operation for improved fuel efficiency, yet does not increase the likelihood of costly repairs and excessive oil consumption. An updated version of the previous five-speed automatic carries over from 2023 models. Honda's Variable Torque Management four-wheel-drive system is available on all trims and adds a low range, and it can continuously apportion up to 70 percent of available torque to the rear wheels. Towing capacity is a modest 3500 pounds on front-drive Pilots and 4500 pounds with four-wheel drive; then again, the vast majority of truck-based utes will spend most of their lives on the street. Initial EPA ratings are 16 mpg city/22 highway for front-wheel-drive versions and 16/20 with four-wheel drive.

2.1. Engine options

The engine is the heart that makes your vehicle alive. It is also applicable to the all new 2023 Toyota 4Runner and 2023 Honda Pilot. But with different purposes, the new 4Runner is designed for tough and heavy-duty jobs while the new Pilot is aimed for light duty. The new 4Runner is powered by a 4.0-liter V6 engine. It means a gasoline engine and will be thirsty for fuel. Offering 3 types of trim, the Limited and SR5 series will have two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive options while the top series, the Sport Edition, only has full-time four-wheel drive. All three will utilize a standard 5-speed automatic. Compared to other SUVs in the same class, the 4.0-liter V6 engine has a good reputation for excellent reliability and durability and will provide sufficient power since this SUV is designed for heavy-duty and off-road. The new Pilot comes with 2 types of engines. The standard two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive options will be powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine. Using a 5-speed automatic for the 2-wheel drive and a Variable Torque Management 4-Wheel drive system and 4-wheel fully independent suspension makes it handle and run like a car. This four-wheel drive option is also equipped with VTM-4 Lock for maximum torque distribution to all four wheels. A good choice for those who need an SUV that drives and handles like a car. While the four-wheel drive option is powered by a Variable Cylinder Management System (VCM) that is able to change to a 3-cylinder mode and Variable Torque Cylinder mode. This VCM system is claimed to save more fuel for the variable cylinder mode, compared to a full-time 6-cylinder mode and switch to 6-cylinder mode when acceleration is needed. A good choice for fuel efficiency without lacking power. A front-wheel drive option is powered by a 2.5-liter V6 engine with 2 cylinders per axle, but the information is quite uncertain.

2.2. Horsepower and torque

The Toyota 4Runner comes with a 4.0-liter V-6 that puts out 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. The engine is well-proven and it's in fact, a previous-generation Tacoma engine. This bothers some people who drive 4Runners, but it really shouldn't. The engine and the transmission which it is mated to are both smooth and the V-6 revs eagerly. Four-wheel drive (4WD) or rear-wheel drive (RWD) 4Runners are available and what your 4Runner is equipped with will determine whether it has a five-speed automatic or a four-speed automatic. Unfortunately, the 4.0-liter V-6 is only available in one variant so regardless of what your 4Runner is optioned with, this is what you're getting. Over the years, Toyota's made incremental horsepower improvements to this engine and a few extra horsepower have been added since 2010. The 4.0-liter V-6 has more than enough grunt to move the 4Runner through virtually any driving situation, on or off road. The 2017 Toyota 4Runner is offered with a 4.0-liter V-6 which makes 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque and this is the same engine that moves the 2017 Tacoma. This power plant is quite efficient and it's loaded with pep, plus it's mated to a very smooth five-speed automatic transmission. It's important to note that the 4.0-liter V-6 is only available in rear-wheel drive (RWD) 4Runners and 4WD models. The 2017 4Runner also sees the continuation of the Trail Edition, SR5 and Limited models and the MSRPs for these trims haven't really changed at all since 2010, however the actual price that you pay for a 4Runner could differ greatly depending on your bargain skills.

2.3. Fuel efficiency

Fuel efficiency is more important to some drivers than others. It might be ranked as a vehicle's most important or least important attribute in a car buyer's mind. But most will agree that it's one of the 4Runner's sore spots, especially when equipped with four-wheel drive. With EPA ratings of 17 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway, the 4Runner falls behind the V6, four-wheel drive versions of most midsize SUV rivals. The defining reason is that the 4Runner is using an older powertrain in a segment that has mostly moved to car-based unibody platforms and powertrains. The Explorer was another that used to be a body-on-frame SUV with a truck-like powertrain and it still is very much an SUV, though now with a unibody platform, it's based closely on the Taurus. But the Explorer has been able to get mileage very close to what it was with its previous version because it's shed weight and has newer powertrains, including a well-received EcoBoost turbo four-cylinder. Now back to the 4Runner, if fuel efficiency is high priority your best bet is the rather more mediocre to drive two-wheel drive version with the inline-4. 17 city and 23 highway mpg is still nothing to brag about but that combined figure is best in the 4Runner lineup due to the inline-4 being only one of two still using a five-speed automatic, and the only one still using a transmission with no more than five gears. A 4Runner equipped with the V8 is even thirstier than V6 models and not much quicker in comparison to an even more inefficient powertrain choice. The V8 was dropped after the 2009 model year and as was the four-cylinder version, leaving the 2010 and newer 4Runners with only an inline-4 or V6.

3. Interior Features and Space

Technology and infotainment The Pilot comes out ahead in a showdown of tech capabilities. Loading up any version of Honda's SUV gets buyers a robust and responsive infotainment system, with an 8.0-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. This same setup is found even on the entry-level LX model, while the cost-competitive 7-or-8-passenger configurations only vary in that the former replaces a standard second-row bench with a no-cost middle seat (exclusive to this trim). The feature-packed EX-L is the most recommendable Pilot, it containing such niceties as one-touch-sliding second row seating, a power tailgate, and a universal garage door opener, with standard Honda Sensing safety features that encompass all manner of driver aids from collision mitigation to lane-keep assist. The top-tier Elite and Black Edition trims have ventilated front seats, a wireless phone charger, and a premium audio system with 10 speakers. By contrast, the 4Runner has gone several years without a major tech update. Its standard 8.0-inch or an optional 9.0-inch upgraded touchscreen are less advanced and no larger than the Fire Tablets many consumers have become accustomed to. A 2020 refresh brought the inclusion of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, though the fielding of these features is a year behind the Pilot. Neither Toyota offers Wi-Fi connectivity.

Seating capacity and comfort The three-row Pilot can accommodate seven, or eight with the optional second-row middle seat, while the 4Runner comes with two rows and a seating capacity of five (though the Toyota offers an optional third-row seat, the incompatibility with rear-seat side airbags make it unavailable for families with small children). Only the most expensive Pilot model has a second-row console, which is standard on the 4Runner, while large seat bottoms on the Toyota, which are not present on any Pilot that comes without leather, emphasize a more comfort-oriented design.

3.1. Seating capacity and comfort

The Honda Pilot, on the other hand, can seat 7 or 8 passengers. The 2nd row can have a bench seat which allows the Pilot to accommodate 8 passengers, or there is the option of captain chairs to seat 7 passengers. The 2nd row is designed with a one-touch slide and fold function, making it easier to access the third row. The second and third rows can split 60/40, allowing for many cargo and passenger configurations. The second and third rows also feature tri-zone climate control to keep every passenger at the desired climate. The Pilot has an available leather-trimmed interior and heated front seats. There is the one-touch power moonroof and integrated sunshades on the 2nd row to add a more open and airy feel for passengers.

The Toyota 4Runner can seat 5 or 7 passengers depending on the options of the 2nd row seating. Most models feature a 40/20/40 split reclining fold-flat second-row bench seat. This allows for many different configurations. It can also be equipped with third-row seating that can be split 50/50 and has the ability to recline or fold flat. The 4Runner aims to deliver maximum passenger comfort, so there are available heated and power-adjustable leather-trimmed seats. The limited model comes with both driver and front passenger seats that are heated and ventilated. The driver also gets a memory function and power lumbar support.

3.2. Technology and infotainment

The Toyota 4Runner hails from a period when the tech was not all that incredible, and the 2023 model remains consistent with this. Upper trim levels of the 4Runner come standard with an 8-inch touch screen infotainment framework. It isn't the most advanced and somewhat unreasonably basic for today's tech-savvy customers. The navigation button, while functional and direct, is made up entirely of buttons and looks like something from a decade ago. All things considered, the framework has Bluetooth compatibility and includes both SiriusXM and voice recognition for music streaming. The standard sound systems vary depending on the trim level, except for the step-up Limited model which comes equipped with a 15 JBL speaker system. As far as application integration and USB support, the 4Runner is somewhat limited. The standard sound system comes with a single USB port, and not a single trim level offers Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity. This is outright unacceptable when transforms the familiar luxuries of a cell phone into a safe driving experience. Package everything up, and the 4Runner's infotainment system is better than the irrelevant unit in the Nissan Pathfinder, but is completely overshadowed by the present norm. Moving over to the Honda Pilot reveals a completely different story. Each and every 2023 Pilot comes standard with an 8-inch touch screen infotainment system. This touchscreen-like the 4Runner's-is generally very easy to use, however, unlike the Toyota, it includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. These simple features make splitting away from the smartphone a more acceptable task by radically modernizing stereo-free driving, and Honda has made the digital connectivity a highlight of the Pilot's advertising. At least, EX models and higher come equipped with SiriusXM and HD Radio, while the entry-level LX models still displaying the same touchscreen have standard stereo features. The aspects of said models determine the number of speakers. Honda does not offer their flagship stereo as an option in lieu of the basic systems.

3.3. Cargo space

Other smaller details are worth mentioning. The Pilot has adjustable parcel shelves, which allows for various storage configurations, and second-row seats that can be moved forward with the touch of a button to create more room for third-row passengers. Another convenience feature is the available power folding mirrors that allow for extra room to maneuver in tight spaces. The 4Runner does not have these mirrors and would be a nice option for a vehicle of its size.

The Honda Pilot, with its maximum cargo space of 83.9 cubic feet with all rear seats folded, has more volume than the 2023 4Runner with 88.8 cubic feet. Although the Honda has more total volume, the 4Runner has more volume with all seats up. The 4Runner has 47.2 cubic feet behind the second row, only slightly less than the Pilot's 48.4. The Pilot leads the segment compared to other midsize SUVs in overall cargo space, and the low load floor and trunk storage are definite reasons as to why. The trunk underfloor storage in the Pilot is not something offered in the segment, providing a flat floor for loading larger objects and a secure storage location for things you don't want rolling around in the vehicle.

3.4. Interior quality and materials

The Toyota 4Runner and the Honda Pilot SUVs have different types of interior quality and materials. Although the 4Runner's cloth seating is not as nice as the leather found in the Pilot, it features high quality plastics on the dash and door panels, and many consumers do not mind cloth in a vehicle expected to be covered in mud a good deal of its working life. The Toyota has swank illuminated gauges and a two-level overhead console. The 4Runner also has an array of features, including satellite radio and a backup camera as optional, which the Honda does not offer until the more costly EX-L trim. Also, because the center console ends before the front passenger seat, it is easier to slide over to the passenger side in the Toyota than in the Pilot. The rear window is power activated and the rear gate has a power roll-down window, which are considered very desirable features by some consumers. The Limited model adds dual-zone climate control and a 15-speaker JBL premium sound system among other features. In contrast, the Pilot features a more upscale interior, rich with soft-touch materials and a variety of high-tech amenities. Available interior features include leather-trimmed upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a power-adjusting driver's seat, a one-touch power moonroof, and ambient LED lighting. Other available features include a heated steering wheel and a wireless phone charger. While the Pilot's interior is much more luxurious than that of the 4Runner, it can add significant cost to the overall vehicle price. At a time when leather seating is a $2000 upgrade on most Toyotas, it's interesting to note that Honda has made leather standard on all but the base model.

4. Safety and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)

Where the vehicle really differs is available ADAS options. Destination Assist comes with a three-year trial on the 4Runner Limited grade and provides 24/7 access to a live agent to help find addresses and millions of points of interest. It is essentially a built-in concierge service and is ideal for drivers who are always on the go, or those who do not want the distraction of searching for address locations on their mobile phones or devices. Safety Connect is also available on the 4Runner across all grades and includes Emergency Assistance, Stolen Vehicle Locator, Roadside Assistance, and Automatic Collision Notification. It is free for the first year. Although both of these features are accustomed to modern-day mobile phone capabilities, they provide an extra means of security in times of emergency and are ideal for those who may sometimes forget their phone or its charger. Automatic Collision Notification and Stolen Vehicle Locator can assist in the retrieval of the vehicle in the event of a theft, potentially saving the owner a lot of money in the long term. These features are specifically detailed upon comparison with the Pilot and are not available on the Honda.

Standard safety features are a part of both of these vehicles. The 4Runner comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P), which bundles Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beams, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. The Pilot features Honda Sensing, which provides Collision Mitigation Braking System, Road Departure Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Lane Keeping Assist System. Both of these advanced suites are designed to assist driver awareness and, in some models, provide an extra means to avoid accidents. Aside from these systems, standard features in the 4Runner include 8 airbags, a rear back-up camera, hill start assist control, and a tire pressure monitoring system. The Pilot features a Tire Pressure Monitoring System with Tire Fill Assist and Location and Pressure Indicators, and comes standard with 6 airbags.

4.1. Standard safety features

The new 4Runner heralds an era of advanced safety technology, with Toyota Safety Sense+ (TSS+) now standard on all grades. This system bundles active safety technologies including Pre-collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beams, and High-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert is also standard on the Limited grade and now available as an option on the SR5 and Trail grades. The 2023 Honda Pilot safety suite isn't as robust as the TSS+, but it still includes a respectable number of active safety features. The Honda Sensing suite is standard on the EX and above trims, featuring the Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Keeping Assist, Road Departure Mitigation, and Adaptive Cruise Control. Both vehicles boast standard driver and passenger front and side airbags, driver and passenger knee airbags, and front and rear roll sensing side curtain airbags. This is where the similarities among standard safety features come to an end. Both vehicles include modern safety features such as traction control, stability control, and anti-lock braking systems. Uniquely, the new 4Runner comes standard with the Safety Connect telematics system, which includes Emergency Assistance, Stolen Vehicle Locator, Roadside Assistance, and Automatic Collision Notification. The Pilot has an Intelligent Traction Management system on the AWD models. However, the 4WD models featuring the system still exhibit different safety performances to AWD models with the Honda Pilot. The 4Runner has yet to be tested, but the latest generation of the Pilot has a 5-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick award from IIHS.

4.2. Available ADAS options

In a head-to-head comparison between two vehicles loaded with advanced safety equipment, the Pilot is ultimately the better choice when comparing ADAS options. Since the 4Runner has minimal ADAS options on any of its trims, the Honda Sensing system is not available on multiple 2023 Honda Pilot trims. However, the 4Runner's poor ADAS availability is offset by the fact that the vast majority of its collision safety system options are standard, whereas many of the Pilot's collision safety features are available only on higher-end trims.

Given that the Honda Pilot and Toyota 4Runner are in the high-end bracket of consumer SUVs, some may be slightly disappointed to see that neither Honda nor Toyota offers a more advanced ADAS system on their SUVs (in comparison with Lexus models). Both the Pilot and 4Runner do not have available parking sensors, 360 cameras, semi-automated parking systems, blind spot information systems, rear cross-traffic monitor systems, or night vision systems. In the case of the Pilot, these features are mostly available on its higher-end trims, but for the 4Runner, the ADAS options are virtually non-existent.

Honda Sensing and Toyota Safety Sense are two of the most sophisticated driver assistance safety suites available in today's automotive market. They both employ a series of cameras and sensors along with radars to detect potential collisions and hazardous driving situations. The two systems are comparable in functionality, and they both cover a wide range of safety systems, such as collision mitigation braking systems, lane-keeping systems, adaptive cruise control, and road departure mitigation systems. Both manufacturers make their systems standard on many of their vehicles, including the 2023 Honda Pilot. Toyota has made TSS standard on all of their models, making its availability 100%.

4.3. Crash test ratings and reliability

The 4Runner has superior crash test results and has never been rated below 4 stars in any category, including front, side, rollover, and crash barrier. It has standard front seat side airbags and is rated the best in its class for preventing lower leg injuries. It was rated the best in its class in the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), which measures problems per 100 vehicles for 3-year old vehicles. The 4Runner was also built in Japan, which is most likely a contributing factor to its high reliability. The Honda Pilot is also billed as a safe vehicle. It gets pretty good ratings from IIHS, although not as good as the 4Runner. It has ratings of good in front, side, and rear crash tests, but in the roof strength test it was rated marginal. The Pilot also has standard front seat side airbags, but it's not rated as highly in the prevention of lower leg injuries. And in the NHTSA tests, the Pilot didn't perform as highly as the 4Runner either. Honda being known for its reliability, the Pilot however did not fare as well as the 4Runner in reliability ratings. In the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), the Pilot was rated worse than the average for medium-sized SUVs. The Pilot is also built in America and the auto industry is known for citing that Japanese models are built with a higher standard of quality. High standard and expectation of quality might be a contributing factor to the Pilot's not so high reliability rating.