2019 Honda Pilot vs. 2020 Hyundai Palisade: Compare Crossovers

Family shoppers would do well to consider the Hyundai Palisade and Honda Pilot crossovers when it’s time for a new car. 

Both are three-row crossovers from well-established automakers. While the Pilot has been available for years, the Palisade may be a new name unfamiliar to new shoppers. The Palisade follows roughly the same formula as Pilot: three rows of seats, a V-6, available all-wheel drive, and enough utility and cargo room to haul a starting lineup of junior basketballers. 

It’s a tight game on our overall scale. The Pilot rates 7.0 on our scale, with points above average in nearly every category. The Palisade earns an identical rating but lacks official crash-test data that could nudge it ahead of the Pilot when those scores roll in. For now, the bad news is that the race is too close to call. The good news? We don’t see a bad pick between the two. 

MORE: Read our full reviews of the 2019 Honda Pilot and 2020 Hyundai Palisade

2020 Hyundai Palisade

2020 Hyundai Palisade

2019 Honda Pilot

2019 Honda Pilot

Style and performance

The Pilot and Palisade are tied for their good looks, inside and out. 

Hyundai’s three-row crossover earns points for its luxury-leaning sheet metal that’s defined and sharp. Its big grille is imposing and vertical, an intentional look by designers who wanted the Palisade to stand out on the road. It’s vertical-oriented headlights frame the upright nose and make way to bodysides that are slightly flared near the wheel arches, but sculpted along the bottoms. The Palisade’s touch is a chrome strip that descends ahead of the rear wheels to give the rear roof pillar a thicker appearance, a play for strength and confidence by designers. 

Inside, the Palisade is airy and bright thanks to big windows that soak in available sunlight. That helps in some trims more than others, the base black interiors can feel smaller than the dimensions would indicate. 

The Pilots looks are comparatively more conservative but still handsome. Its rounded shapes are more organic, but additional chrome added for 2019 is an upscale touch that we can appreciate. The Honda grille is bookended by thinner headlights that reach into the front fenders, and the body kicks slightly up toward the rear, with glass that meets a character line that extends toward the rear tailgate. 

Inside, the Pilot is more reserved. Base trims get a small display that we’d skip, but the glossy 8.0-inch touchscreen in EX and higher versions is upscale. 

2019 Honda Pilot

Both Palisade and Pilot are powered by V-6 engines, automatic transmissions, and front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. 

Honda uses a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 280 horsepower mated to a standard 6-speed automatic transmission in most versions. A 9-speed automatic in top trims, but its finicky pushbutton gear selector and that it searches for gears during acceleration didn’t leave us impressed. It offers good power and can pass on the highways, and all-wheel drive is a spend-up extra and costs $1,900 more. We’re more smitten with the Pilot’s ride, which is comfortable for all passengers. 

Ditto for the Palisade. It smothers road imperfections to keep sippy cups and fruit snacks right where they belong. 

The Palisade is powered by a 3.8-liter V-6 that makes 291 hp and is mated to an 8-speed automatic. Outright performance isn’t its forte—ride is—but it’s enough to pull of mountain passes between 60 and 80 mph without strenuous effort. 

Like the Pilot, the Palisade can be equipped with all-wheel drive—it costs $1,700 more on every trim—and like the Honda, the Hyundai seamlessly transfers power without driver direction. 

The Palisade and Pilot are rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped, but the Hyundai offers a load-leveling rear suspension to help with the task. 

Both crossovers rate about 22 mpg combined by the EPA, although all-wheel drive drops that figure by 1 mpg in either.

2020 Hyundai Palisade

2020 Hyundai Palisade

2019 Honda Pilot

2019 Honda Pilot

Comfort, safety, and features

There’s plenty of daylight in the insides of the Palisade and Pilot, even if there’s not much daylight to separate the two on our comfort scale. Both nearly ace our scale with room for up to eight, with plenty of cargo room inside. The Palisade and Pilot easily fit adults in most positions, even in the third row. The Palisade and Pilot offer second-row benches or captain’s chairs, depending on configuration, and three abreast in the third row is possible, albeit not preferable for full-size adults. 

Honda and Hyundai offer one-touch second rows that slide forward to make entry and exit into the wayback possible, although getting out could be a chore for bigger grownups. 

Honda excels at small-item storage, with bins and cubbies for assorted pens, notebooks, cups, and papers. Hyundai offers more than 40 inches of leg room in the second row and more than 30 inches in the rear.

What Hyundai lacks in small-item cubbies compared to the Pilot it makes up for in material quality. Top-end Pilots could use dressier leather upholstery, but Palisade Limited models heap on soft leather seats in lighter colors, quilted stitching, and wood accents. 

2020 Hyundai Palisade

The Palisade’s rear cargo area behind the third row swallows 18 cubic feet of gear, and the Pilot makes do with nearly 16 cubes. Tumble forward the third row and both crossovers offer 47 cubic feet of cargo space with more available if the second rows are folded (about 85 cubic feet for both). 

The Pilot aced our safety scale; a five-star overall rating from the feds, a Top Safety Pick+ award (for Touring and Elite trims with upgraded headlights), and standard automatic emergency braking. 

Federal and independent testers haven’t yet crash-tested the Palisade, so we’ll withhold our safety score until they do. 

The Pilot starts at $32,500 for the LX version with front-wheel drive. It’s equipped with a 5.0-inch display for its audio system, active safety tech, and 18-inch alloy wheels, plus all of its available space. The Pilot EX adds an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, blind-spot monitors, heated seats, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and keyless ignition for about $35,300, and it’s our pick for value. 

The Palisade also starts at about $32,500 for a base SE version with front-wheel drive. It gets an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, automatic emergency braking, and active lane control. The value is the SEL trim level that costs about $35,000 and offers captain’s chairs and blind-spot monitors for a no-cost swap. Two packages can add a bigger 10.3-inch touchscreen and more tech amenities, or bigger wheels and leather upholstery for more money. 

The two battle for value among family buyers and mostly win. We don’t see a bad pick between either.




Comfort & Quality



Fuel Economy



Fuel Economy – Combined City and Highway



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