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Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A black 2020 Chevy Traverse, which wins when comparing the 2020 Chevy Traverse vs 2020 Honda Pilot, is parked outside a mountain home.

Midsize SUVs: Chevy Traverse or Honda Pilot?

When shopping for a vehicle, one of the single most important things you can do to make your experience better is research, lots of research. The more you know about different vehicles, the better your chances are that you’ll find just the right one with everything you need. One of the best ways to research different options is by comparing them against each other. For example, if you want a midsize SUV, then you should look at the 2020 Chevy Traverse vs 2020 Honda Pilot and see how they each stack up.

Both of these SUVs have only one engine available, which makes the comparison simple, and the one you’ll find in the Chevy Traverse is a bit more powerful than what the Honda Pilot has to offer. You’re also guaranteed to get a better transmission with the Traverse than the Pilot. In terms of interior space, both the Traverse and Pilot can give you seating for either seven or eight people, depending on trim and preference, but the 2020 Chevy Traverse gives you more passenger volume overall. You also get more cargo capacity with the Traverse, not only overall but in each part of the vehicle.

In general, while the 2020 Honda Pilot has a lot to offer, it is easy to say you simply get more with the 2020 Chevy Traverse. Now let’s take a closer look at these two vehicles to see why this is true.

Engines and Performance

Any time you start looking at vehicles to see which one might be the best fit for you, a good place to begin is the engine. Genuinely, the engine is the heart of your vehicle, and everything else expands from it as the center of the overall driving experience. A weak engine means your car won’t be enjoyable to drive, plain and simple.

With that in mind, the 2020 Chevy Traverse has one engine: a 3.6L V6 that provides you with up to 310 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. This engine comes paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission standard – so no matter which trim or other options you choose, you get this engine with this transmission. That level of power and the smooth responsiveness of the transmission make for a very fun drive that is perfect for a midsize SUV.

Both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available on all but the starting trim of the 2020 Chevy Traverse, so you can get just what you need for the kinds of conditions you tend to drive in. This includes a traction mode select feature that lets you easily adjust your vehicle to the road surface and conditions you find yourself in. Overall, the Traverse starts strong.

The 2020 Honda Pilot also has only one engine, making this comparison quite simple; it is a 3.5L V6 engine that offers up to 280 hp and up to 262 lb-ft of torque. You can see that this is quite a bit less horsepower than the Traverse and slightly less torque. While you might not ever really feel this difference in torque, that’s enough horsepower that it could certainly be noticeable if you tried out both vehicles.

The biggest issue, however, is the transmission. On starting trims, the 2020 Honda Pilot comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission that is not nearly as responsive as the 9-speed automatic you get with the 2020 Chevy Traverse. There is a 9-speed automatic available on the Honda Pilot, but only on higher trims. This variance impacts the feeling of driving a vehicle dramatically, so the Traverse is definitely the better choice in that respect.

A blue 2020 Honda Pilot is parked at a beach with a surf board on the roof.

Passenger Seating and Volume

Now let’s go inside these two midsize SUVs to see how they compare. Since most of your time with the vehicle will be spent inside of it, this is always important when trying to see which model might be best for you. You should consider the needs and comfort of your passengers, too; your driving experience might be the priority, but your passengers should still come into play.

In terms of overall seating, these two vehicles are very similar. As midsize SUVs, they both have three rows of passenger seating, with different configuration options depending on certain trim levels. Both the 2020 Chevy Traverse and the Honda Pilot start with seating for up to eight people: a pair of seats up front, a three-person bench seat in the second row, and a similar bench seat in the rear. At higher trims, you then see seating for seven passengers instead, thanks to a pair of second-row captain’s chairs instead of the bench.

When it comes to space or volume for your passengers, however, there is a notable disparity. The 2020 Chevy Traverse gives you just over 157 cu.ft. of total passenger volume; with the 2020 Honda Pilot, however, there is only about 153 cu.ft. of total passenger space. Now, in all fairness, that’s not a massive difference, but 4 cu.ft. is pretty significant once you see it. That could make a big difference in terms of how much room your passengers have on a long road trip – and if you have kids, you know how important it is for each of them to have their own space.

The brown interior of a 2020 Chevy Traverse is shown with the middle row seat folding forward.

Interior Cargo Volume

Of course, with a midsize SUV, you also want to pick a model that gives you plenty of room for stuff other than your passengers. Whether you’re looking to load up for a camping trip, hit the road with your family, or just pile all of your groceries inside when you go shopping, more cargo space can make your life a lot easier. Once again, these two vehicles are similar, but not equal.

The 2020 Chevy Traverse gives you 23 cu.ft. of cargo space behind the third row of seats, nearly 58 cu.ft. of space behind the second row, and more than 98 cu.ft. of volume behind the front seats. By comparison, the 2020 Honda Pilot offers just over 16 cu.ft. of space behind the third row, about 46 cu.ft. of space behind the second row, and less than 84 cu.ft. of total volume behind the front seats. That’s a significant difference and showcases how much more interior room you get with the Traverse compared to the Honda Pilot.

Interior Tech

Although both of these vehicles have a lot to offer inside, there are some noteworthy differences to point out. For example, the 2020 Chevy Traverse comes with a 7-inch infotainment display standard, with an 8-inch display provided on higher trim levels. While the 2020 Honda Pilot also has an 8-inch infotainment system on upper trims, the standard display is only a 5-inch screen. Both of these vehicles have 10-speaker sound systems available, but the ones in the Honda Pilot are merely a decent upgrade from the standard speakers. In contrast, the Bose premium audio system in the Chevy Traverse is absolutely stunning. With all of that, it is obvious that the Traverse comes out on top yet again.

Picking an SUV

There are many more differences between these two midsize SUVs, but you get the point. Ultimately, while the 2020 Honda Pilot is a fine option with plenty to offer, it just gets outdone by the 2020 Chevy Traverse time and again. You should check them out for yourself, but you’ll likely find that the Traverse simply has more to offer.