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A white 2023 GMC Acadia is shown from the side after winning a 2023 GMC Acadia vs 2023 Honda Pilot comparison.

Why the 2023 GMC Acadia Is a Cut Above the 2023 Honda Pilot

SUVs have taken the auto industry by storm with their unique capabilities and luxurious appointments. For growing families, a third-row midsize SUV helps fit everyone into a single vehicle comfortably, with cargo room to spare for groceries, kids’ sports gear, camping equipment, and suitcases for that upcoming family vacation. Choosing between two vehicles can be difficult, especially since they offer impressive performance features. What criteria should you compare and decide between two popular family SUVs?

The GMC Acadia boasts next-level innovation, combining a potent powertrain with stunning aesthetics, whereas the 2023 Honda Pilot offers an exceptionally smooth ride along its curvaceous body lines. In some areas, these two SUVs are nearly identical; however, in others, they are worlds apart. Looking closer at the 2023 GMC Acadia vs 2023 Honda Pilot, both SUVs pose for steep competition, but only one can come out on top…

A blue 2023 Honda Pilot is shown off-roading.

Handling and Performance

The GMC Acadia offers drivers a powerful, fun, and precise driving experience. Choose from the standard 2.0L four-cylinder turbocharged engine providing 258 hp of raw power, or opt for the 310-hp 3.6L V6 to take performance up another notch with its nine-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive capabilities give you complete control over whatever road challenges arise.

The Acadia offers an unbeatable driving experience from the highway to winding roads. Its adaptive suspension system lets drivers easily handle any terrain, while its precise handling and smooth ride at high speeds provide a genuinely unique SUV journey. The smoothness of this SUV’s handling combined with two engine options gives you more to choose from with the Acadia.

The 2023 Honda Pilot offers drivers a dynamic V6 engine beneath the hood. However, there is only one available powertrain option on this sharp SUV. This robust 3.5L V6 produces 285 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque connected to an advanced ten-speed automatic transmission for improved performance on the road.

An Edge in Fuel Economy

The GMC Acadia offers impressive fuel efficiency to rival other midsize SUVs. The EPA estimates it gets 22 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on highways (25 MPG combined) for front-wheel drive with a 2.0L turbo engine. All-wheel drive models equipped with a 3.6L V6 engine offer 19 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway (21 MPG combined), which is still competitive compared to industry averages. The 2023 Pilot offers respectable fuel economy ratings with front-wheel drive for up to 22 MPG combined and 21 MPG with all-wheel drive.

Meanwhile, the Pilot TrailSport trim gives you a slightly lower rating of 20 MPG combined, supported by its 18.5-gallon tank capacity. The Acadia wins this round by a nose with its better fuel economy on standard front-wheel drive vehicles over the Honda Pilot. If you’re watching your wallet at the pump, the Acadia should be your choice.

More Standard Safety Features

With superior safety at its foundation, the GMC Acadia offers peace of mind with an extensive array of advanced protection technologies. With the Acadia, you don’t have to worry about your safety on the road. It’s outfitted with several modern features like Automated Emergency Braking and Blind Spot Monitoring for enhanced protection, as well as Automatic High-Beam Headlights and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning so you can drive confidently no matter what lies ahead. Airbags are located in this SUV’s first, second, and third-row.

Through the Honda Sensing system, the 2023 Pilot offers many standard safety features as the Acadia, with some exceptions. The Pilot only has airbags in the first and second rows of seats. Whereas the Acadia has standard features such as Blind Spot Monitoring, Cross-Traffic Alert, and integrated turn signal mirrors, the Pilot makes these safety tools available options rather than standard. While both 2023 SUVs have earned top safety scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Acadia offers more features standard with its trim levels, allowing it to edge out the Pilot in this category.

The interior of a 2023 GMC Acadia Denali is shown.

Interior Comfort and Cargo Space

With roomy interiors for up to seven passengers and plenty of cargo options, the 2023 GMC Acadia is deceptively spacious, making it easy to take on whatever you need without too much space. Its smaller exterior build allows more maneuverability than larger SUVs while providing ample storage capacity. With the Acadia, you and your family can enjoy a vehicle combining top-notch luxury and practicality.

The Acadia boasts three spacious rows of seating for all passengers, plus premium upgrades in its higher trims, like leather appointments and Dual SkyScape power sunroofs. The Denali trim is designed to provide style and comfort on any trip. The second-row seats of the Acadia provide ample room for adults, even more so in versions with captain’s chairs that conveniently grant access to the third row.

Cruise down highways in comfort and peace due to its quiet cabin, while luxury comes standard on models equipped with adaptive suspensions, such as the Denali AWD trim. Need extra cargo space in your vehicle? No problem! The third-row 50/50 split seats fold completely flat, and the second-row passenger seat can be moved forward, even when an empty LATCH child seat is secured.

GMC Acadia offers ample cargo space for even the largest of road trips. Behind its third row, it provides 12.8 cu.ft. of room to store your gear. If more space is needed, all rear seats can be folded, which opens up 79 cu.ft., perfect for taking luggage on a multi-person excursion.

With its eight-person seating and thoughtful storage solutions, the three-row Honda Pilot has become a top SUV choice for many families. However, style enthusiasts may be disappointed by this model’s limited designer elements. Though highly functional, the Pilot doesn’t match up to other models like GMC Acadia in terms of design features.

Efficiency and Multi-Terrain Driveability

The 2023 GMC Acadia is a powerful machine created with families in mind. Conquer icy roads, rocky trails, and urban streets easily in this rugged yet efficient SUV. Offering a combination of reliable performance and maximum comfort, this trusty vehicle is an ideal pick for busy families who need dependable transportation no matter what terrain and weather conditions they may be facing. For enhanced capability on challenging terrains, choose the AT4 trim model with an upgraded suspension system and all-terrain tires for an optimal off-roading experience. The best part? Despite the AT4 trim’s incredible versatility, you can expect an impressive fuel economy rating of up to 29 MPG on the highway.

The 2023 Honda Pilot promises a powerful, responsive drive with an impressive engine and smooth ride. However, its bulky build may put you at a disadvantage in driving performance and fuel efficiency compared to other models like the GMC Acadia, which offers superior off-road capabilities for those wanting off-the-beaten-track adventures. With its hulking size, Pilot drivers may find it more challenging to manage in certain driving conditions. On the other hand, the Acadia, with an expertly-designed frame, offers superior handling and performance no matter where you journey. If you opt for the AT4 trim, conquering terrain will be a breeze.

The black interior and dash of a 2023 Honda Pilot is shown.

Infotainment and Connectivity

The GMC Acadia’s intuitive infotainment system offers convenience and connectivity with its standard 8.0-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, and built-in navigation for the SLT, AT4, and Denali trims. Plus, thanks to an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot supporting multiple devices and loads of USB ports on both the AT4 and Denali trims, you can keep everyone connected.

With the 2023 Pilot, Honda had a chance to revolutionize its instrumentation and infotainment systems. However, despite features like an analog speedometer paired with a 7.0-inch configurable display in the standard panel, they ultimately fell short of expectations in this area. The top Elite trim only offers full digital instrumentation on a more limited 10.2-inch screen, while both available touchscreen infotainment options feel subpar compared to the Acadia. The Pilot LX and Sport have essential features such as Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and seven stereo speakers. Step up to the EX-L or higher trims for an even better experience. Upgraded tech amenities include wireless connectivity between devices, satellite radio, and nine stereo speakers.

The Court Finds in Favor of the 2023 GMC Acadia

Your family’s journeys should be supported by a reliable vehicle that complements everyday activities. The 2023 GMC Acadia and the 2023 Honda Pilot deliver all-inclusive versatility, powerful engines, and more. It’s no wonder why these models are so popular with families. Although the Honda Pilot shares some similarities with the Acadia and is as capable as an SUV, the Acadia is just a cut above it.

Families who explore have found a great partner in the GMC Acadia. It has everything that can make an adventure more enjoyable, from its reliable engine to off-roading capabilities and cutting-edge tech features, all with a sleek exterior look. With its wealth of desirable features, the Acadia is a family-friendly vehicle that offers an unprecedented driving adventure every time. Whether you plan to take a spontaneous vacation or drive the kids around town, roll out confidently when you choose this top pick for convenience, safety, and style that never fails.