North Georgia Ford Compares 2013 Ford Explorer VS 2013 Honda Pilot Near Chatsworth, GA

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2013 Ford Explorer

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2013 Honda Pilot

Safety Comparison

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Explorer XLT/Limited inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The Pilot doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The Explorer Limited/Sport offers an optional collision warning system, which detects an impending crash through forward mounted sensors and flashes a bright light and sounds a loud, distinctive tone to warn the driver to brake or maneuver immediately to avoid a collision. The system also pre-charges the brakes to begin deceleration more quickly. The Pilot doesn't offer a collision warning system.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Explorer 4WD’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The Pilot doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The Explorer Limited’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Pilot doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Pilot doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Pilot doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Explorer’s optional driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Pilot doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The Explorer (except Base) offers optional SYNC, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Pilot doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Explorer and the Pilot have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all-wheel drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Ford Explorer is safer than the Honda Pilot:





4 Stars

4 Stars




Chest Compression

.5 inches

.6 inches

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Ford Explorer is safer than the Honda Pilot:



Front Seat


5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Movement

.8 inches

1.4 inches

Abdominal Force

135 G’s

157 G’s

Hip Force

295 lbs.

305 lbs.

Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

32 G’s

41 G’s

Hip Force

524 lbs.

749 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty Comparison

The Explorer comes with free roadside assistance for 5 years 60,000 miles. Ford will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Honda doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Pilot.

There are almost 4 times as many Ford dealers as there are Honda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2012 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 12th.

Engine Comparison

The Explorer’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 17 lbs.-ft. more torque (270 vs. 253) than the Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6. The Explorer’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 40 more horsepower (290 vs. 250) and 2 lbs.-ft. more torque (255 vs. 253) than the Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6. The Explorer Sport’s standard 3.5 turbo V6 produces 100 more horsepower (350 vs. 250) and 97 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 253) than the Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Ford Explorer V6 is faster than the Honda Pilot:



Zero to 60 MPH

7.5 sec

8.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

21.3 sec

23.6 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.9 sec

8.4 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.9 sec

4 sec

Quarter Mile

16 sec

16.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

89 MPH

85 MPH

For more instantaneous acceleration and better engine flexibility in any gear, the Explorer’s engines produce their peak torque at lower RPM’s than the Pilot:


Explorer 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

1750 RPM

Explorer 3.5 DOHC V6

4000 RPM

Explorer Sport 3.5 turbo V6

1500 RPM

Pilot 3.5 SOHC V6

4800 RPM

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Explorer 2.0 ECOBoost gets better fuel mileage than the Pilot FWD (20 city/28 hwyvs. 18 city/25 hwy).

The Explorer has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Pilot doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Explorer’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Pilot are solid, not vented.

The Explorer stops much shorter than the Pilot:



70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

198 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

133 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

145 feet

154 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Explorer has larger standard tires than the Pilot (245/65R17 vs. 235/65R17). The Explorer’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Pilot (255/50R20 vs. 235/65R17).

The Explorer’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Pilot EX/EX-L/Touring’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Explorer offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Pilot’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Explorer’s wheelbase is 3.4 inches longer than on the Pilot (112.6 inches vs. 109.2 inches).

The Explorer Limited 4WD handles at .81 G’s, while the Pilot Touring 4WD pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Explorer Limited 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Pilot Touring 4WD (27.4 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 28.2 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Explorer Limited 4WD is quieter than the Pilot EX-L 4WD:



At idle

35 dB

41 dB


75 dB

79 dB

70 MPH Cruising

68 dB

74 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The Explorer has 1.4 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more rear headroom, 1.3 inches more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more third row legroom than the Pilot.

The Explorer offers an optional rear tailgate seat that can be flipped rearward and used for tailgate picnics. (Do not use seat reversed while vehicle in motion.) The Pilot doesn’t offer a rear tailgate seat.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Explorer’s cargo area provides more volume than the Pilot.



Behind Third Seat

21 cubic feet

18 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Explorer Limited’s optional third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Pilot doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Explorer Limited has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The driver can also remotely turn on the heater or air conditioner. The Pilot doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Explorer Limited’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Pilot doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Explorer and the Pilot have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Explorer is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Pilot prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport’s exterior keypad. The Pilot doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system.

Intelligent Access optional on the Explorer (except Base/XLT) allows the driver to unlock the doors, cargo door and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the car in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Honda Pilot doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The Explorer’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Pilot’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Explorer Limited’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Explorer has a standard rear variable intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Pilot only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Explorer Limited detect other vehicles, which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Pilot doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Explorer Limited’s optional air conditioned front seats cool the driver and front passenger and help take the sting out of hot leather in Summer. The Pilot doesn’t offer air conditioned front seats.

The Explorer offers an optional center folding armrest for the middle row passengers. A center armrest helps make middle row passengers more comfortable. The Pilot LX doesn’t offer a middle row seat center armrest.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Explorer Limited/Sport offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Pilot doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Optional SYNC for the Explorer (not available Base) allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including playing internet radio stations and other online activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The Pilot doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

The Explorer Limited’s optional Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Pilot doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the Explorer owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Explorer will cost $76 to $426 less than the Pilot over a five-year period.

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