|22/29||Fuel Economy (city/hwy mpg)||29/27|
Every driver is different, and as a result, their individual wants and needs differ depending upon geographic location, living situation, and how many people they plan on having in their vehicle at any particular time. While SUVs have certainly become the ideal family vehicle for the average consumer, there still exists a fair amount of variation when it comes to the different makes and models that you find on the road. For those with a small family, a subcompact model does the trick, and an SUV with a hybrid powertrain is most effective for the consumer who wants to avoid spending too much at the pump. However, there are those among us with tastes for luxury and sophistication who look for a vehicle that reflects both of those attributes.
What happens when you have two manufacturers that take a refined approach to the family firefly vehicle? Simple–you get GMC and Honda going the extra mile for the millions of drivers that depend on them. To see the differences clearly, we are going to look at the 2022 GMC Acadia vs 2002 Honda Pilot and take an in-depth look at what each vehicle offers and which one is the superior brand. It’s a battle of two brands who are bringing refinement to the world of the family-friendly automobile.
When you need a vehicle that is going to handle the whole family, a three-row SUV is probably what you want to look at, and the Acadia and Pilot are great options. However, while having three rows is good, it means nothing if the performance of the engine under the hood is bad. So which one of these vehicles has superior engines? Both GMC and Honda have made a name for themselves as powerhouses of engineering and innovation, and what they have to offer for the two vehicles in question is another example of this quality.
As a manufacturer, Honda has never lacked performance-oriented vehicles and economical options. Much like Nissan has done with some of their vehicles, Honda has limited their powertrain options to a single-engine. The Pilot comes equipped with a 3.5L V6 which comes paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Performance-wise, this powertrain produces 280 horsepower and generates 262 lb-ft of torque. When it comes to its fuel consumption, the Pilot’s numbers are less impressive, with an average 20 MPG while driving in the city and 27 MPG on the highway, resulting in a combined 23 MPG.
GM, a manufacturer that has long placed consumer needs at the forefront, automatically has a leg up on Honda by offering two distinctive powertrain options that cater to two different types of drivers. Much like the Pilot, the GMC Acadia comes equipped with a nine-speed automatic transmission. For the consumer who’s focussed on refinement but wants to keep an eye on the price of petrol, GMC offers a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder option. It outclasses the Pilot with fuel consumption, achieving 22 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway.
For those who favor performance over economy, GMC provides an option that puts Honda’s V6 to shame. A 3.6L V6 offers up an impressive 310 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque. You'll also find pretty comparable numbers when it comes to fuel economy, with 19 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway. This increase in power without sacrificing too much in fuel economy is what really makes this vehicle stand out from the Honda Pilot.
One of the major benefits of owning a refined vehicle is that they’re pleasing to the eye–inside and out. We live in a very image-driven society that enjoys having our possessions serve as an extension of our unique personalities. After all, why shouldn't your vehicle, something which you spend hours of your week in, not match your unique style? Both GMC and Honda have developed their individual styles throughout the decades, and as tastes and trends have changed, they’ve both managed to adhere to the desires of their drivers.
Exterior-wise, the Honda Pilot has very little in the way of finesse. Despite the availability of 20” wheels to help bolster the vehicle's aesthetic, the Pilot lacks the ability to stand out among its competitors as something you’ll want to be seen in. It’s far too reminiscent of a minivan to be taken seriously. And with its starting MSRP of $38,080, it seems to be a bit overpriced for not being on the high end of luxury, considering competing models from Kia and Hyundai are much more exciting to the eye and less draining on the wallet.
While the Acadia is priced considerably less than the Pilot, with a starting MSRP of $34,800, its shape is somewhat close in appearance to that of its rival from across the Pacific.[a] However, it’s the small details that GMC applies that make all the difference in the world. Its intimidating front end is more reminiscent of a heavy-duty pickup than that of a family vehicle, and for those who spring for the Denali, the brand's top trim line, a jet-black color scheme possesses a strong, striking appearance that’s normally reserved for the high and mighty. The rugged aesthetic that GMC provides for its vehicles has always commanded respect, and the Acadia is no exception to this long-standing tradition.
When it comes to the interior of the Acadia, GMC is more focused on practicality, providing drivers with easy access to the infotainment center, which anchors the center of the vehicle. While the layout provides accessibility with ease, the design still manages to retain a luxurious edge. In contrast, the Pilot’s interior is what one might have expected from a vehicle that bears a slight resemblance to a minivan. If the Acadia is refined and practical, the Pilot is cramped and bland. There’s very little in the way of aesthetics to be had, and while the exterior on upper trim levels has its appeal, sitting in the front seat of the Pilot serves as only a reminder that the vehicle comes at a high price that’s relatively joyless and uninspired.
Here in the 21st century, our vehicles are more complex and technology-driven than in years prior. As a result, manufacturers are constantly attempting to upgrade the features that come with their vehicles in order to make the ride a little more enjoyable. If you’re in an SUV and your passengers are of the younger variety, then having a comfortable commute can make all of the difference in the world.
When it comes to keeping ourselves entertained in this day and age, the majority of media we rely upon is of the digital variety. Both the Pilot and Acadia offer compatibility with Android and Apple, allowing both platforms to be utilized to listen to your favorite podcasts and music. The Acadia’s available high-end stereo system from Bose comes equipped with eight speakers, great for holding communion with your inner metalhead or drowning out the worries of the world away.
While the Pilot does offer many of the same audio options, including Amazon Alexa, infotainment has always been somewhat of an Achilles Heel for the brand. While Honda offers a bunch of effective driving assistance options such as automated emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, their entertainment options are held behind more paywalls, meaning they’re only reserved for the upper trim levels.
While both vehicles offer wonderful safety suites and features that enhance the commute, Honda’s somewhat spartan entertainment options just don’t measure up to the Acadia’s more refined nature. Keeping quality entertainment options that are standard on other trim restraints hinders the appeal of the Pilot as a refined family vehicle. For what it’s worth, the Acadia just gives you more for your money.