Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 Honda Pilot VS 2016 Nissan Pathfinder Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2016 Honda Pilot

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2016 Nissan Pathfinder

Safety Comparison

The Pilot (except LX) offers an optional Collision Mitigation Braking System, which uses forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Pathfinder doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Honda Pilot has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The Pilot (except LX)’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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Pilot EX/EX-L/Touring/Elite has standard HondaLink Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Pathfinder 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 Pilot and the Pathfinder have standard driver and passenger frontal 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, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

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





5 Stars

4 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

189 lbs.

464 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

46/243 lbs.

516/475 lbs.

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 and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Honda Pilot is safer than the Nissan Pathfinder:



Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Chest Movement

.6 inches

.9 inches

Abdominal Force

101 G’s

120 G’s

Hip Force

269 lbs.

457 lbs.

Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

304 lbs.

557 lbs.

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

15 inches

18 inches

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

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Pilot its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2016, a rating granted to only 70 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Pathfinder is not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

Reliability Comparison

The engine in the Pilot has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engine in the Pathfinder has dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Honda vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 14th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 20th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 12th.

Engine Comparison

The Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 20 more horsepower (280 vs. 260) and 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (262 vs. 240) than the Pathfinder’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Honda Pilot is faster than the Nissan Pathfinder:



Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

7.2 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17.1 sec

18.6 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.3 sec

7.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.8 sec

15.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

92 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Pilot’s fuel efficiency. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Pilot Touring/Elite’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Pathfinder doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Pilot 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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Pilot stops shorter than the Pathfinder:



60 to 0 MPH

136 feet

137 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Pilot has larger tires than the Pathfinder (245/60R18 vs. 235/65R18).

The Pilot LX/EX/EX-L’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Pathfinder S/SV/SL’s standard 65 series tires. The Pilot Touring/Elite’s tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Pathfinder Platinum’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Pilot (except LX)’s optional drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The Pilot Elite 4WD handles at .80 G’s, while the Pathfinder Platinum 4x4 pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Pilot Elite 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the Pathfinder Platinum 4x4 (27.8 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .53 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Pilot has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Pathfinder (7.3 vs. 6.5 inches), allowing the Pilot to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis Comparison

The Honda Pilot may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 350 pounds less than the Nissan Pathfinder.

The Pilot uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Pilot has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Pathfinder can only carry 7.

The Pilot has 2.3 inches more front hip room, 1.3 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear headroom, 1.2 inches more rear hip room, 1.6 inches more rear shoulder room, 1.1 inches more third row headroom, 1.2 inches more third row legroom, 2.6 inches more third row hip room and .5 inches more third row shoulder room than the Pathfinder.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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



Behind Third Seat

18.5 cubic feet

16 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

55.9 cubic feet


Third Seat Removed


42.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

109 cubic feet

79.8 cubic feet

Ergonomics Comparison

The Pilot’s front power windows open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Pathfinder’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically. The Pathfinder SV/SL/Platinum’s rear windows don’t close automatically.

The Pilot Elite’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Pathfinder SV/SL/Platinum’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Pilot (except LX) 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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Standard HondaLink for the Pilot EX/EX-L/Touring/Elite allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations, following twitter accounts and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

Bluetooth wireless connectivity is standard on the Pilot, connecting the driver and passenger’s cell phones to the vehicle systems. This allows them to use the vehicle’s stereo and hand controls to place calls safely and easily. Nissan doesn’t offer wireless connectivity on the Pathfinder S.

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