2021 Honda Pilot vs. 2021 Hyundai Palisade

2021 Honda Pilot vs Hyundai Palisade

Honda Pilot. Hyundai Palisade. Like the famed author H. P. Lovecraft is to the horror world, both of these “H. P.”s are well-liked and beloved in the 8-seater niche. There’s nothing strange, weird or Lovecraftian horrific about either of these full-size SUVs, however. Each is as family friendly as it gets, boasting spacious cabins, flexible cargo areas, great tech, and enough style to shake a stick at.

Yet it’s Honda’s SUV who, after nearly two decades of sitting at the top of the segment, knows what families want and need most of all. On those merits alone, the 2021 Pilot is a better buy than the 2021 Hyundai Palisade; but you want cold, hard facts. Here are some other reasons why you should pick the Pilot over the Palisade.


Off-Road Capability

Like its cousin, the Honda Passport, the new 2021 Pilot EX comes with Intelligent Traction Management. Simply tap a button to help you maintain traction and driving stability, even in the nastiest of inclement weather. With 2WD models, you gain Normal and Snow driving modes; in AWD Pilot models, you get the whole shebang: Normal, Snow, Mud and Sand, each of which is catered to tackle a specific road condition.

The 2021 Hyundai Palisade doesn’t offer the same level of off-road-y performance. Its available Drive Mode Select knob allows drivers to switch between Smart and ECO—which seem to be the same thing—Comfort, Sport, and Snow. There’s no driving mode for mud or sand.

Off Road Capability - Intelligent Traction Management


On the fuel front, Hyundai Palisade is a merely average 3-row SUV. It gets a combined 22 mpg with FWD and 21 mpg with AWD—decent but nothing to write home about.

The 2021 Honda Pilot is more fuel efficient, overall, than the Palisade. Compared to Hyundai’s SUV, the 2WD Pilot models get 1 more mpg across the board, and all-wheel-drive Pilot models earn 2 more mpg on the highway, as well. (That’s about $150 per year in fuel savings, if you wanted an estimate.)

2021 Pilot
2021 Pilot
2021 Palisade
2021 Palisade
City / Highway / Combined
20/27/23 19/26/22 19/26/22 19/24/21

Interior Room

Cargo Volume

When it comes to cubic feet, Pilot is more accommodating than the Palisade. In the very back, once that luscious automatic liftgate opens, Pilot EX models grant you 18.5 cubic feet of room up to the third row. Pop the back seats down for 55.9 cubic feet, nearly 10 more than the Palisade. Need more space? Fold the 2nd-row seats down for up to 109.2 cubes, over 20 more than Hyundai’s 86.4 cu. ft. Now that’s what we call an SUV.

2021 Pilot EX 2021 Palisade SEL
Cargo Volume (3rd Row) 18.5 cu. ft.* 18 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume (2nd Row) 55.9 cu. ft.* 45.8 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume (Max) 109.2 cu. ft.* 86.4 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume

Passenger Space

Yes, the Pilot has more space than the Palisade for transporting furniture, but how does it do with living, breathing people? Pilot beats the Palisade there, too, especially when it comes to third-row passenger comfort. Riders in the back row are granted up to 38.9 inches of headroom, 31.9 inches of legroom, and 57.6 inches of shoulder room—respectively better than the 37.2”, 31.4”, and 55.2” in the Palisade.

The 2021 Pilot doesn’t settle for third-row supremacy, either. Oh, no. Honda’s full-size SUV also offers more front and 2nd-row headroom and shoulder room than a Palisade, even when it’s harnessing the power of the sun(roof).

2021 Pilot EX 2021 Palisade SEL (w/ sunroof)
Legroom (rear) 31.9” 31.4”
Headroom (front/mid/rear) 40.1”/40.2”/38.9” 39.3”/38.8”/37.2”
Shoulder Room (front/mid/rear) 62.0”/62.0”/57.6” 61.2”/60.8”/55.2”


Tri-Zone Automatic Climate

Every Honda Pilot includes a tri-zone automatic climate control system with a built-in air filtration unit and humidity control. Starting with the Pilot EX, this tri-zone climate system also features 2nd-row controls, granting the kids a bit of freedom from their self-proclaimed parental restraints.

A two-zone climate control setup is included in the 2021 Palisade, and it comes paired with a CleanAir Ionizer but no humidity settings. That’s a tally in the Pilot column.

Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Control

Rear Entertainment System

With the Palisade, you don’t get the same level of kid-friendly convenience as the new Pilot. That’s because, unlike the Honda Pilot, the new Hyundai Palisade doesn’t come with a rear entertainment system—neither as standard equipment nor as an add-on. (There are only so many states to add to your License Plate Game list!)

An advanced rear entertainment system is standard on all Honda Pilot Touring models and up—you can almost hear that collective sigh of relief from parents everywhere—that includes a 10.2-inch high-resolution screen, streaming applications, HDMI hookups, and a Blu-Ray™ and DVD player. Life doesn’t get much better than this.

Rear Entertainment System


Fuel economy - 20 city/27 highway/23 combined mpg rating for 2WD trims. 19 city/26 highway/22 combined mpg rating for AWD trims. Based on 2021 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions and other factors.

Cargo volume based on SAE J1100 cargo volume measurement standard plus, where applicable, floor space between seating rows and seats in their forward-most and upright position.