|109.2||Cargo Space (cu.ft.)||80.5|
|31.9||Third Row Legroom (in)||28|
|Avl.||Torque-Vectoring AWD||Not Avl.|
Somewhere along the lines, two popular SUVs wound up competing with one another, and with a dedicated fanbase pointing both ways, this has somewhat divided drivers. Comparing the 2022 Honda Pilot vs 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is on many drivers' minds, and there are many questions that shoppers may have about these vehicles. More importantly, which of these SUVs is the better overall purchase? Both SUVs undeniably have strengths of their own, but comparatively, it's a completely different story, regardless of how many similarities can be found between the two. Depending on what you're looking for, you might be drawn to a specific vehicle such as the Pathfinder. Take a closer look, however, and a few things are missing, including ample cargo space, decent backseat legroom, and a pure off-roading focused trim, among others. Meanwhile, the Pilot makes up for these deficiencies in the Pathfinder, all while keeping the other features that may have drawn you to Nissan's SUV in the first place.
The main advantage the Pilot has over the Pathfinder is its lineup of trims. Not only are there fewer Pathfinder trims, but there isn't one dedicated to off-roading. Both vehicles perform similarly in their base configurations––the Pilot Sport and Pathfinder S––although the Honda has a few advantages. The Pathfinder continues its trim lineup with the SV, SL, and the priciest yet most feature-packed option, the Platinum. With the Pilot, you'll get far more variability, with the Sport being followed by the EX-L, the Special Edition, and the TrailSport––a rugged off-roading trim that you won't find an answer to with the Pathfinder. Lastly, the remaining Pilot trims are the Touring, the Elite, and the Black Edition.
Performance is an interesting point of discussion for the Honda Pilot and Nissan Pathfinder because the engines are identical in size. And because of this, they're similar in performance. Both SUVs come with a 3.5L V6 engine linked with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Inside of the Pilot, this engine creates 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, while the Pathfinder's engine gives you 284 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. The larger amount of horsepower on the Pathfinder's engine is negated by the Pilot's greater torque output.
Another point of comparison that shows similar results is fuel efficiency. Of course, this is likely due to the engines' similar size. Like with horsepower and torque, the Pilot and Pathfinder go back and forth with their EPA-estimated ratings. The Pilot is rated for 20 MPG city and 27 MPG highway against the Pathfinder's 21 MPG city and 26 MPG highway.[b] The one extra mile per gallon you'll save in the city with your Pathfinder is met with one mile per gallon less during highway travel compared to the Pilot.
One facet of the powertrain causing the largest point of contention is off-roading. Simply put, the Pilot is a better off-roading SUV than the Pathfinder, and for one key reason––Honda's dual-clutch AWD system. Unlike the more basic AWD system found in the Pathfinder, Honda's i-VTM4 system is built with a second electronically-controlled clutch pack in the rear axle. This can shift torque laterally between the rear wheels, improving traction on slippery roads or muddy trails.
Having i-VTM4 AWD will be highly beneficial in numerous scenarios, such as when your vehicle is stuck in the mud, for example. Your average AWD system will waste torque spinning wheels that don't have enough traction, and this can make matters worse. With the torque-vectoring i-VTM4 AWD system, the torque will instead be sent to whichever wheel has the best traction, making it far easier to crawl out of the mud. As mentioned, there is no torque-vecotring AWD system in the Pathfinder, but this can be found on all trims of the 2022 Honda Pilot.
Most of the time, SUV drivers want their vehicles to be as spacious as possible. Three-row SUVs tend to succeed in this regard, but the Pilot takes things much further. Compared to each other, the Pilot and Pathfinder feel like two separate vehicle classes if discussing cargo space. Fortunately for Nissan, the Pathfinder doesn't fall too far behind the Pilot when all three rows of seats are in their upright position. This is important for drivers to consider if they're taking the family or a group of friends on a trip. However, the Pilot still comes out on top with 18.5 cu.ft. of space against the Pathfinder's 16.6 cu.ft. Depending on your experience with SUVs, this difference may not sound like much, but it most certainly can be a difference-maker between bringing that last piece of cargo with you or leaving it behind.
There's a strong chance you'll be mostly using your SUV with the middle row upright, and this gives you a perfect balance of an extra spacious interior that seats five. However, this is where we begin to see the Pilot take a tremendous lead against the Pathfinder, with an available 55.9 cu.ft. of space against the Pathfinder's 45 cu.ft., which is 24% more. Taking things one step further and folding down both rear rows of seats when you're driving alone reveals 80.5 cu.ft. of space within the Nissan Pathfinder. Respectable, but nothing out of the ordinary for an SUV of this size. The Honda Pilot, on the other hand, turns in 109.2 cu.ft. of available cargo space in this configuration, which is a whopping 36% increase. Although the Pathfinder can tow a bit more than the Pilot, the chances are that an SUV driver would rather take the 35.6% increase in cargo space.
It's also worth noting in the back rows, the Pilot outshines the Pathfinder in headroom for both rows of seating. Starting with the second row, the Pilot gives passengers 40.2 inches of headroom against the Pathfinder's 39.6 inches. Moving around to the third row reveals 38.9 inches of headroom within the Pilot and 37.8 inches in the Pathfinder. The same can be said for legroom, where the Honda Pilot gives second and third-row passengers 38.4 and 31.9 inches, respectively. On the Nissan Pathfinder, these same passengers will have 35.5 inches of legroom in the second row and an abysmal 28 inches in the last row, making it virtually unusable for adults.
Another piece of the interior that Honda did correctly were the seats themselves. For context, the Pathfinder comes with a 6-way manually-adjustable driver's seat with manual lumbar support. For the price of the Pathfinder, it's apparent Nissan cut some corners here––your driver's seat is an important part of the entire driving experience. How about the Pilot? The Pilot comes standard with a 10-way power-adjustable seat with power lumbar support, and this seat is also heated, unlike the one within the base Pathfinder. The only downside to the base Pilot seats is their cloth material, but all the other trims swap that out for leather standard. Ultimately, the reasons why a 10-way power-adjustable seat is better than a 6-way manually-adjustable seat don't need much explanation.
Understandably, drivers pay close attention to the safety features found in their SUVs, and shoppers who know they'll be driving with a cabin full of passengers are keen to find the most effective ways of keeping them safe from mishaps on the road. Both Honda and Nissan have answers to one another's safety suites, thanks to Honda Sensing in the Pilot and Nissan Safety Shield 360 in the Pathfinder. With Honda's Collision Mitigation Braking System, it performs the same function as the Pathfinder's Automatic Emergency Braking system––meaning it will attempt to stop your vehicle to prevent collisions.
Similarly, the Lane Keeping Assist System and Lane Departure Warning in the Pilot are akin to the Lane Departure Warning and the Intelligent Lane Intervention features on the Pathfinder. These features are designed to keep your vehicle perfectly aligned with your lane when traveling on the freeway. It's worth noting, however, that the Pilot has the advantage of including Adaptive Cruise Control standard on its base trim. On the Pathfinder, you'll be spending extra to upgrade to one of the pricier trims. This is a strange omission from the base Pathfinder that may surprise Nissan shoppers.
Overall, Honda deserves high levels of praise for its dedication to building safer automobiles. When you're purchasing a family SUV, whether it's the Pilot or Pathfinder, safety is likely one of your top priorities. Honda's generous inclusion of the Honda Sensing safety suite is one thing, but when you compare Honda Sensing against competing safety suites, such as Nissan Safety Shield 360, the difference is noticeable. Nissan is an example of one manufacturer that certainly includes a fair amount of safety features with base models such as the Pathfinder S, but it's the lack of other standard features such as Adaptive Cruise Control that raises the most questions.