2015 Honda Pilot vs. 2015 Ford Explorer

2015 Honda Pilot
2015 Ford Explorer

If you are looking for a large and powerful vehicle that is versatile enough for work and family while being efficient enough to drive on a daily basis, the 2015 Honda Pilot is the clear choice. It is a smarter kind of SUV designed for the real needs of today’s drivers. But to illustrate the greatness of this vehicle, we have put together this comparison of the 2015 Honda Pilot and the comparable 2015 Ford Explorer. Decide for yourself which vehicle wins, and then visit Middletown Honda, the Mechanicstown area’s preferred Honda dealership, to take the new Pilot out for a test drive.

Trim Levels and Price

The 2015 Honda Pilot is available in five distinct trim levels while the 2015 Ford Explorer is available in four. Prices listed are for two-wheel-drive builds. Here’s the base MSRP for each trim level:

2015 Honda Pilot
Pliot LX – $29,870*
Pilot EX – $32,120*
Pilot SE – $33,120*
Pilot EX-L – $35,370*
Pilot Touring – $40,020*
2015 Ford Explorer
Explorer Basic – $30,600
Explorer XLT – $32,900
Explorer Limited – $38,100
Explorer Sport – $42,670

Powertrains and Efficiency

The Pilot has a single powertrain option while the Explorer has three in total. It might seem like the Explorer has the edge in this category, but ask yourself what you actually plan to use your vehicle for — racing up the side of a mountain, or driving back and forth to work around Mechanicstown and elsewhere? The Pilot still offers lots of power, but it places more of an emphasis on fuel economy. See for yourself:

  • 2015 Honda Pilot EnginePilot – All Pilot trims come with a 3.4L V6 engine that puts put 250 hp and 253 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive come standard, but all-wheel drive is available. A 2WD 2015 Honda Pilot LX gets 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.**
  • Explorer – Every Explorer trim except for the Sport comes with a 3.5L V6 that puts out 290 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine is also available that puts out 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. The sport trim comes standard with a turbocharged 3.5L V6 that generates 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Standard fuel economy tops out at 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.

Features and Options

2015 Honda Pilot FeaturesWe can’t deny that the 2015 Ford Explorer offers an impressive list of features, but only if you go with more expensive trims. In fact, the baseline trim feels rather stripped-down. The 2015 Honda Pilot, by contrast, is a great example of Honda’s commitment to making some of the best of today’s automotive technologies smarter and easier while extending the benefits to as many drivers as possible. Consider the features for yourself:

  • Pilot – The baseline LX trim comes with a trailer hitch, keyless entry, tri-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and an 8-inch display screen. Higher-level trims add features like special wheels, a sunroof, leather upholstery, and a power liftgate. Drivers also have the option of adding voice-activated navigation technology and a rear entertainment system. In short, Middletown drivers who go with the Pilot will have a feature-rich vehicle, regardless of the trim level they choose.
  • Explorer – The baseline trim comes with rear privacy glass, cruise control, a 4.2-inch display screen, and air conditioning. Higher-level trims add a power driver’s seat, leather-trimmed seats, satellite radio, and larger wheels. Drivers have the option to add remote engine start and a tow package.


This is the area where the Pilot really shines, especially in comparison to the Explorer. Both vehicles offer third-row seating, but in the Pilot it is actually functional, and in the Explorer it is only suitable for small children. In the end, having a comfortable and convenient interior is the most important quality in a vehicle, and the Pilot excels in this area:

  • 2015 Pilot InteriorPilot – The 2015 Honda Pilot offers 87 cubic feet of total cargo space. Thanks to second- and third-row seating that folds flat into the floor and the boxy shape of the vehicle, it’s easy to load, unload, and maximize your usage of the space. The glass in the liftgate also opens independently, allowing you to easily haul longer items.
  • Explorer – The 2015 Ford Explorer offers 80 cubic feet of total cargo space. The vehicle has also been criticized for having second-row seats that make it difficult to install a child safety seat, and for an overall design that makes visibility difficult, especially in tight spaces.

The 2015 Honda Pilot is Available Now Near Mechanicstown

The new Explorer is a nice vehicle, but it feels like a case of style over substance — and to get the features and capabilities you really want, you’re going to have to pay a premium price. The 2015 Honda Pilot, by contrast, was built to be a single vehicle that can meet all of your transportation needs, whether you’ll be staying around Mechanicstown or driving big miles every day. Put it to the test by visiting Middletown Honda at 520 Route 211 E in Middletown, NY.


*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $830.00 destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**18 city/25 highway/21 combined mpg rating for 2WD models and 17 city/24 highway/20 combined mpg rating for 4WD models. Based on 2015 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.