If you need a cargo-hauler, get a pickup truck. If you need a people-hauler, get an SUV. If you need both, get a Ford Explorer. In this comparison guide, we'll pair the Ford Explorer with the Honda Pilot to see if the Pilot can measure up.
Technology: Ford Explorer
Both the 2018 Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot seat a lot of people: seven in each, or eight in the Pilot if you opt out of second-row captain's chairs. That means that it's down to what'll keep everyone happy. We're talking interior technology.
The Explorer benefits from Ford's SYNC3 system. This intuitive infotainment system comes with 8-inch screen, navigation system, and Bluetooth technology to connect you to your favorite smartphone apps. One feature we love is that you can use the Explorer's touchscreen with actual physical controls, which is handy when driving. Other Explorer tech to make your and your passengers' lives better includes steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, rearview camera, cruise control, 6-speaker audio system, Ford's MyKey and trailer Sway Control for easier towing.
The Honda Pilot avoids the finicky and frustrating split screen that plagued other models but instead continues with a lackluster system. Frustratingly, there is no volume knob, or any hard buttons. Otherwise, the Pilot is similar to the Explorer, with standard push-button start, seven-speaker audio system, 5-inch display, USB port, and Bluetooth technology.
Cargo Capacity: Tie
Another consideration when driving for up to seven people is where to put all their stuff. You need cargo space. With the rear seat up, the Ford Explorer wins handily in this category. The Explorer boasts 21 cubic feet to the Pilot's 16.5 cubes.
If you fold the seats down, the Pilot wins. There's 46.8 cubic feet with the third row down and 83.9 with the second row down. The Explorer gives you 43.9 and 81.7 cubes respectively. We're calling this one a tie, with maybe an edge for the Explorer if you have car seats or booster seats that make folding seats down a pain.
Towing: Ford Explorer
But cargo is not all you can haul. The 2018 Ford Explorer is slated to tow up to a whopping 5000 pounds when properly configured. The Honda Pilot can also tow, but only up to 3500 pounds. The Explorer is the better weekend warrior in this regard.
If you need something to haul people, their stuff, and a trailer, RV, or boat besides, take a look at the 2018 Ford Explorer, which has all the advantages of an SUV, but with pickup truck aspirations.