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2019 Ford Explorer

Starting Price: $33,360 | Price Yours

Above Average: Choice of three powerful engines; wide variety of both safety and infotainment features.

Below Average: Not a great choice for off-roading; not significantly changed in 10 years; low scores in some crash tests

Consensus: This generation of Explorer has been around nearly 10 years, with a significant makeover due later this year. That said, the Explorer is a solid, strong 3-row SUV with plenty of space and loads of technology and a variety of powerful engine choices. While it offers all-wheel drive, there are better choices for off-roading.
 

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2019 Honda Pilot

Starting Price: $32,445 | Price Yours 

Above Average: Great resale value, Honda reliability; strong V6; lots of safety tech

Below Average: Only one engine choice; not much fun to drive

Consensus: The Honda Pilot, which consistently wins our accolades as one of the best members of the 3-row SUV class, has been updated for 2019, with an improved nine-speed transmission and some new safety and tech systems. It also has a volume knob for the stereo, instead of the touchscreen slider from before. It may not be the most exciting thing to drive, but remains one of our favorites, scoring points both for reliability and resale value.
 

The Explorer’s an old dog in this segment, having existed in one form or another since 1990 and in its current iteration since 2011. It’s comfortable and roomy, with a ride geared more toward comfort than sporty, and while it does offer all-wheel drive, there are others in the segment (including the Pilot) that are better choices off road. Honda continues to improve the Pilot, with two notable updates for 2019 including a vastly improved transmission and a volume knob for the radio instead of a touchscreen slider. It’s not a wildly exciting ride, but it performs well both on- and off-road, with all-wheel drive versions coming standard with Honda’s terrain management system that sends power to the wheel that needs it most for maximum grip.

Similarities

Neither is terribly fun to drive compared to others in this segment; towing capacity for both is limited to 5,000 pounds; comparable power in base trim.

Ford Explorer Advantages

Wider variety of engine choices; sharper looks

Honda Pilot Advantages

Honda reliability; better off road; stronger resale value.

Final Recommendation

The 2019 Ford Explorer has a lot going for it, including a wide variety of engines and chiseled looks, but it’s a bit long in the tooth, having changed little in 10 years, and we look forward to a redesign. The Pilot just keeps on getting better, with Honda continuing to improve its full-size SUV and fixing both a previously irritating transmission and making some small but significant ergonomic changes. The Explorer is a great boulevard cruiser, whereas the Pilot’s the better choice off-road and just does everything a little better. It does only come with one engine choice, but it’s a competent and strong V6. At least for 2019, we need to give this one to the Pilot, which remains one of the strongest contenders in this class.

  2019 Ford Explorer 2019 Honda Pilot
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 3.5-liter V6 3.5-liter V6
Horsepower 290 hp @ 6,500 rpm 280 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 255 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 262 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm
Transmission Automatic, 6-Spd Automatic, 6-Spd
Fuel Economy 20 mpg (17 city, 24 hwy) 22 mpg (19 city, 27 hwy)
Also Available 2.3-liter I4, turbocharged; 3.5-liter V6, twin-turbocharged Automatic, 9-Spd
Specs    
Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5 Stars 5 Stars
Max Seating Capacity 8 8
Wheelbase 112.6 inches 111.0 inches
Overall Length 198.3 inches 196.5 inches
Width 90.2 inches 78.6 inches
Height 70.0 inches 70.6 inches
Turning Diameter 39.2 feet 39.4 feet
Headroom, Front 41.4 inches 40.1 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.8 inches 38.9 inches
Legroom, Front 42.9 inches 40.9 inches
Legroom, Rear 33.3 inches 31.9 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 61.5 inches 62.0 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 50.8 inches 57.6 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 151.7 cu. ft. 152.9 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 81.7 cu. ft. 83.9 cu. ft.
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