2016 Honda Pilot 2WD LX 6AT vs 2016 Nissan Pathfinder

2016 Honda


2016 Nissan

Yes 280 HP  No260
Yes 262 Torque No 240

2/2 Winner

  • Horse Power   100% 100%
  • Torque   100% 100%

Three-row SUVs are the movers and shakers of the modern American family. They can haul a family to the Grand Canyon. And then tow the Grand Canyon back home as the ultimate souvenir. Honda has a solid offering for the 2016 model year, an all-new Pilot. Three rows and seating for up to seven, the Honda Pilot has few competitors. Nevertheless, that has not stopped Nissan with the 2016 Pathfinder from dethroning the 2016 Pilot from the top of three-row SUV dominance.

Pulling Back the Veil

A large, three-row, seven-seat SUV has a laundry list of things it needs to do to be an effective family hauler. But on the road, when in stop-and-go traffic heading to after-school dance class with groceries in the back, what scoots the large four-door SUVs matters.

A 3.5-liter V-6 engine powers the 2016 Honda Pilot. It makes a powerful 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Depending on trim, the engine mates with either a six- or nine-speed automatic transmission. As standard, power is sent to the front wheels though all-wheel drive is optional.

Under the hood of the 2016 Nissan Pathfinder is a similar 3.5-liter V-6 engine. However, it only makes 260 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. That is 40 less hp and 22 less lb-ft of torque compared to the 2016 Pilot. Another ding against the Pathfinder is the continuously variable transmission, sending power to the front wheels as standard with all-wheel drive optional.

A CVT means your traditional gearshifts are not there. Instead, they have to be programmed to mimic a traditional transmission. It feels like you are driving an electric golf cart, which does not instill confidence on the road. Nissan went down the path of offering a CVT in its Pathfinder for increased efficiency.

Comfort & Convenience
 YesStandard Rearview Camera No Not Available
 YesStandard Automatic Headlights No Not Available
 YesStandard Third Row Split Bench Seat No Not Available
Yes Standard Manual Air Conditioning No Not Available

4/4 Winner

  • Rearview Camera   100% 100%
  • Automatic Headlights   100% 100%
  • Third Row Split Bench Seat   100% 100%
  • Manual Air Conditioning   100% 100%

With fuel prices precipitously dropping, three-row SUV sales will only continue to increase. But cheap gas does not negate one’s fuel economy rating. Nissan’s move to a CVT was a move to increase fuel efficiency but compared to the Pilot those gains are negligible.

The 2016 Honda Pilot is rated at 19 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The 2016 Nissan Pathfinder returns 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The difference in fuel economy is so small; it should not be a determining factor when comparing the two, especially when comparing to what they offer inside.

 Yes16.5 Cargo Volume No 16.0
Yes 8 Seating  No7
Yes 31.9 Legroom  No30.7

3/3 Winner

  • Cargo Volume   100% 100%
  • Seating   100% 100%
  • Legroom   100% 100%

An SUV is Only as Important as How Much it Can Fit

Both the 2016 Nissan Pathfinder and the 2016 Honda Pilot seats seven. But behind those three-row of seats is the cargo area. Here, families will stuff dozen of bags of groceries, luggage for the yearly family vacation and sporting gear — from youth soccer to kayaking equipment.

Thanks to the Pilot’s all-new design, Honda’s designers were able to engineer the crap out of its three-row SUV to make use of all the available space. With the seats up the 2016 Honda offers 18 cubic-feet of cargo space. With the seats down, the Pilot’s cargo hold expands to 108.5 cubic feet.

That is absolutely cavernous compared to the 2016 Nissan Pathfinder’s cargo area. With the seat’s up, it has just 16 cu-ft of space. Seats down and space only grows to an abysmal 79.8 cu-ft of cargo space. That is significantly smaller than what the Pilot offers, and for those looking for the ultimate family hauler, matters in the purchasing decision.

All You Need and Nothing You Don’t

For the right amount of money, both the Nissan Pathfinder and Honda Pilot can be had with every bell and whistle and kitchen sink you can ever imagine you may need when navigation the mall parking lot.

However, not every family has all the money in the world to spend on a three-row SUV. If they did, they would spend money on their third Lear jet. But that is a conversation for another day.

The base models are where the manufacturers build their offerings and determine how good an SUV can get in terms of features, both optional and standard. The 2016 Pathfinder has 6-speaker audio system with auxiliary input. The 2016 Pilot has a 7-speaker, one subwoofer, 260-watt audio system with an auxiliary input, USB and Bluetooth connectivity.

These creature comforts matter. Spec’d to the limits, the Pilot offers navigation, a litany of safety technologies such as adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring, and a rear entertainment system for the kids that includes a Blu-Ray/DVD player. You have to keep them entertained.

9/9 Winner

  • 9/9 Winner 100% 100%
U.S. News Best Cars for Families   NHTSA 5-Star Safety Ratings   2016 IIHS Top Safety Pick+   

2016 Honda Pilot is the Winner!

Words of Wisdom

“If a stylish, useful, and trouble-free ride is what you’re after, well — ladies and gentlemen, this is your Pilot speaking.” – Car and Driver

“It’s not exactly slow, but the CVT is unrefined and noisy.” – Car and Driver

What makes this new Pilot so good? It starts at the bottom. The new Pilot shares its platform with the new Acura MDX, and it’s an excellent platform. – Motor Trend

Piloting to Success

The 2016 Honda Pilot has the advantage in this competition because it is all new. The engineers and designers have taken your standard three-row SUV and made it more practical and more versatile while wrapping it in an attractive and modern package. The 2016 Nissan Pathfinder cannot offer the same level of refinement both inside and out when stacked against the 2016 Pilot. That is why it makes it easy to give the nod to Honda.

Fuel economy estimates and driving range based on EPA test data. Your actual driving distance will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle. Based on 2014-2016 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions and other factors. Complete comparison details can be found at Awards and accolade information can be found at

The 2016 Honda Pilot with Honda Sensing™ has been awarded the coveted 2016 TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in recognition of its superior crash safety performance. Safety matters most, and the 2016 Honda Pilot earned top marks with a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). [1] Government 5-Star Safety Ratings are part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s New Car Assessment Program ( Model tested with standard side airbags (SAB). U.S. News has recognized the 2016 Honda Pilot as the Best Car for Families in its class of 3-Row SUVs. This vehicle was recognized for its expansive standard features, spacious interior, and safety and reliability ratings. [1] View U.S. News Best Cars at