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A green 2022 Ford Explorer Timberline is shown driving on a mountain trail during a 2022 Ford Explorer vs 2022 Honda Pilot competition.

6 Reasons the 2022 Ford Explorer Beats the 2022 Honda Pilot

One of the great things about the automotive industry is that there’s no shortage of options when it comes to finding the perfect vehicle for your needs. This is apparent in the SUV segment, where automakers like Ford and Honda deliver versatile vehicles that not only meet but exceed all your expectations. Slating the 2022 Ford Explorer vs 2022 Honda Pilot is a great example of this as the models prove they’re far more than family-friendly haulers; they’re designed with adventure in mind. Here’s how the models compare with a race to the finish line that just might surprise you.


When it comes to three-row SUVs, you can expect an entry-level price of a touch over $30,000–not bad for a roomy model with cutting-edge technology, numerous conveniences, and a suite of active and passive safety features. However, if you’re shopping for the 2022 Pilot, you’ll have to stretch your budget closer to the $40,000 mark since the entry-level Pilot Sport starts at $37,580. So, what are you getting for $37,580? The Sport comes standard with the Honda Sensing suite and tools like Intelligent Traction Management.

You’ll find that your money goes a lot further on the 2022 Explorer, with its starting price of $33,245. The entry-level Explorer is anything but basic and features a host of connectivity features via Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system. You’ll find plenty of cutting-edge safety and driver-assist tools like the Reverse Sensing System that saves your rear bumper from collisions, as well as the Lane-Keeping System that helps you keep the SUV safely in its lane. Tri-zone automatic temperature control ensures the comfort of you and your passengers while tools like FordPass Connect equips the SUV with a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot that keeps you connected every mile ahead.


Honda keeps the Pilot’s powertrain lineup simple by eliminating any choice in the matter. Every Pilot in the 2022 lineup comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine under the hood. The engine delivers 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, which gives the Pilot enough power to accelerate and maintain speed whether it’s merging into highway traffic or navigating rush-hour traffic. This power is also responsible for the Pilot’s 3,500-pound towing capacity on 2WD models and 5,000-pound towing capacity on AWD models.

The Explorer’s 2022 powertrain lineup looks vastly different and shows Ford’s commitment to giving you a say in how the Explorer performs. The Explorer’s multi-powertrain lineup starts with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that delivers 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, a far cry from that of the Pilot’s only powertrain. You’ll find even more power from the 3.0-liter Ecoboost V6 that churns out either 365 or 400 horsepower and 380 or 415 lb-ft of torque, depending on trim. This power readies the Explorer for every adventure and boosts its towing capability from 5,300 pounds to 5,600 pounds.

The real game-changer is the Explorer’s 3.3-liter hybrid V6 powertrain that gives you all the more reason to choose the Ford over the Honda if you’re looking for a greater balance of power and efficiency. The hybrid powertrain delivers 318 horsepower and 322 lb-ft of torque. Surprisingly, the hybrid engine doesn’t dramatically affect the Explorer’s towing capability, bringing it to a 5,000-pound maximum.

A blue 2022 Honda Pilot Elite is shown parked on a beach.


Three-row SUVs are notorious gas-guzzlers, but Honda and Ford have attempted to change that. The Pilot’s 3.5-liter V6 and 9-speed automatic transmission balance efficiency and power, giving the Pilot an estimated fuel economy of 20 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway on FWD models while AWD models average 19 MPG and 26 MPG, respectively. Ford’s multi-engine lineup makes the Explorer far more efficient, especially with the addition of the hybrid, which averages 27 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway. However, even the standard 2.3-liter EcoBoost still beats the Pilot with an average of 21 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway.


Now we’re finally getting to the fun stuff–capability. The Pilot and Explorer put their power to good use on trims like the Pilot TrailSport and the Explorer Timberline. The TrailSport showcases the Pilot’s more adventurous side with its all-wheel-drive and the Intelligent Traction Management system that includes Snow, Sand, and Mud modes. Its 18-inch wheels and rugged tires instantly distinguish it from the outside, while the interior is outfitted with leather upholstery with orange accent stitching.

While the Pilot TrailSport looks the part of an adventurer, the Explorer Timberline is ready to deliver. Sitting taller and offering better ground clearance, the Timberline is off-road ready with its steel skid plates protecting the underbody and exclusive off-road components like a limited-slip rear differential that extends its maneuverability and performance on the trail. Ford’s Intelligent 4WD with a Terrain Management System makes navigating any terrain easy by allowing you to customize how the Timberline performs via modes like Normal, Trail, Deep Snow/Sand, Slippery, Sport, Tow/Haul, and Eco.


Honda and Ford know that staying connected is important, and that’s why both 2022 models are equipped with the latest connectivity features. On the 2022 Pilot, these features are housed on an 8-inch center touchscreen display that gives you access to your smartphone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto integration. You’ll have to spend more money on a top-tier trim if you’re looking for features like the available wireless phone charging station, rear-seat entertainment system, or a WiFi hotspot.

Depending on trim, the 2022 Explorer comes with either an 8-inch or 10.1-inch touchscreen display. Like the Pilot, you’ll have access to your smartphone and apps via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto integration. Ford makes staying connected even easier with the Ford+Alexa app. The tool outfits the Explorer with a virtual assistant that can respond to messages, make calls, schedule appointments, add items to your shopping list, control your smart home devices, and more with a simple voice command. This keeps your focus on the road ahead and ensures you never miss a beat of your busy life.

A silver 2022 Ford Explorer is shown driving on an open road in the mountains.

Safety and Driver-Assist

There’s no shortage of safety and driver-assist features on either the 2022 Pilot or the 2022 Explorer, which shows how Honda and Ford prioritize your safety. On the Pilot, these features are centralized in the Honda Sensing suite that includes a Collision Mitigation Braking System, Road Departure Mitigation System, Adaptive Cruise Control, and a Lane Keeping Assist System. The Explorer’s safety features are centralized in the Ford Co-Pilot 360 suite and include automatic high-beam headlamps, Ford’s Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, a Lane-Keeping System, and Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control. You’ll also find a suite of available features like Active Park Assist 2.0 that make parking the Explorer as easy as touching a button.

The Choice Is Yours

At first glance, the 2022 Ford Explorer takes an obvious lead over the 2022 Honda Pilot with its more affordable price tag and the value that it offers. As you look deeper, the Explorer manages to keep that lead with an enhanced powertrain lineup and plenty of connectivity features. The three-row SUV lives up to the Built Ford Tough motto and proves that an SUV can be practical, powerful, and adventurous, three qualities that should be at the top of your must-have list.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Venture over to your local Ford and Honda dealers to see the Explorer and Pilot for yourself. Take a test drive to get a better idea of which SUV will best meet your needs and exceed your expectations. Either way, both are remarkable additions to your garage and will serve you well for many miles to come.