Let’s pretend that you’re in the market for a 3-row SUV but you have some specific needs. This 3-row SUV needs to be spacious, it needs to have an AWD system, it needs to have a powerful V6 engine and you don’t want a hockey parent minivan. What are your options?
Well, Honda and Hyundai just so happen to have updated versions of their popular Pilot and Palisade 3-row SUVs for 2023.
Looking first at the updated 2023 Honda Pilot, it has always been one of the larger 3-row SUVs in this segment. This 4th generation Pilot is no different with plenty of space for front and rear occupants. The second row is available with captain’s chairs or bench seating. The seats can recline or slide for added comfort & space and if you option the Pilot with the bench seats, the center seat can be removed altogether.
Getting into the 3rd row is very simple. There’s a button on the bottom of the 2nd row seat which will quickly tilt and slide the 2nd row seat forward. Once you’re in the 3rd row, space is a bit limited for tall adults but kids shouldn’t have any problems.
Finally, the trunk is just as capacious as the passenger area. Behind the 3rd row seats, the 2023 Honda Pilot has 635 L of cargo space. There’s also a little compartment underneath the trunk floor for smaller items. WIth the 3rd row seats folded, there are 1,702 L of space and with the 2nd row folded, cargo capacity increases to 3,219 L.
The 2023 Hyundai Palisade isn’t quite as spacious as the Honda Pilot but it still has enough for average sized adults. Just like in the Pilot, the 2nd row seats slide forwards & backwards, recline, and are available as bench seats or captain’s chairs. However, the center seat of the bench cannot be removed like in the Pilot.
Getting into the 3rd row of the Palisade is just as simple as in the Honda with a push of a button. Passenger space in the 3rd row of the Palisade isn’t as capacious as the Pilot but it’s still ok for kids. Additionally, the Palisade is available with power operated 3rd row seats.
Behind the seats, the palisade doesn’t have quite as much cargo volume as the Pilot. It can accommodate 509 L of space behind the 3rd row, 1,297 L with the 3rd row folded, and 2,447 L of space with the 3rd & 2nd rows folded.
Feature Rich Interiors
With both being family focused vehicles, there are a plethora of convenience features to keep the occupants comfortable. Both cars are available with heated seats in the first & second rows, both have heated steering wheels, large panoramic sunroofs, power programmable & hands-free liftgates, surround view cameras, soft leather upholstery, and 3-zone automatic climate control among many other features.
But it’s the Palisade that has just a few more options available. Some of these include a Quiet mode for the radio which will turn off the speakers in the rear seats to not wake up the kids. The captain’s chairs in the 2nd row can be ventilated in the Palisade. And finally, the Palisade is equipped with a standard 12.3” touchscreen display while the Pilot has a standard 7” touchscreen and an optional 9” touchscreen.
While most manufacturers have made the switch to turbocharged or hybrid powertrains with their 3-row SUVs, the Honda Pilot and Hyundai Palisade both keep their V6 engines. The Honda’s V6 is 3.5L in displacement and produces 285 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. This engine enables the Pilot to tow up to 5,000 lbs and is paired with a smooth shifting 10-speed automatic transmission. This is also a pretty fuel efficient V6 with a fuel economy rating of 12.4 L/100km in a city and 9.3 L/100km on a highway.
The 2023 Hyundai palisade also has a V6 engine but it is a bit bigger at 3.8L. It produces 291 hp and exactly the same torque as the Pilot at 262 lb-ft. It too can tow up to 5,000 lbs and is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is pretty similar as well at 12.6 L/100km in a city and 9.5 L/100km on a highway.
Both SUVs are equipped with all-wheel-drive but it’s the Honda that has a slightly more sophisticated setup. It uses a second generation Intelligent Variable Torque Management AWD system. This AWD system not only controls how much power is sent to the front or rear wheels but it can also distribute the power between the rear wheels depending on which one has more traction.
The 2023 Hyundai Palisade is going through a mid-cycle update. For this 2023 model year, it receives new daytime running lights, a new grille design, and new wheel designs. But overall, it still looks like the same runaway hit from 2020 when it was first introduced.
The 2023 Honda Pilot receives a more substantial update as part of its new 4th generation. It now shares a lot of its design with the updated Honda CR-V and Honda Accord. The new Pilot also receives a new TrailSport trim level. This is an off-road focused trim that receives unique 18” wheels and all-terrain tires, a 1” lift, and skid plates to protect the vital components underneath the car.
Of the two, the 2023 Hyundai Palisade is the least expensive. It starts at $47,999 and tops out at $56,498 for the Calligraphy trim. The 2023 Honda Pilot has a slightly more expensive starting price of $50,650 with the top Black Edition trim being $62,850.
But while the Honda is a bit more expensive, it has 5 different trim levels to choose from, including the off-road TrailSport. The Palisade is only available in 3 trim levels.
In the end, these two 3-row SUVs are very similar but they have a couple of distinct differences. They both have powerful V6 engines, AWD systems, spacious interiors, and don’t look like minivans. The Honda Pilot is a bit more expensive but it’s also available in more trim levels and it offers more interior volume. The Hyundai Palisade doesn’t have quite as much space but it is available with a few more features. Whichever one you go for, you’ll be getting a comfortable and practical family 3-row SUV.
If you’d like to test drive the 2023 Honda Pilot or the 2023 Hyundai Palisade, please contact our sales specialists at any one of our 4 OpenRoad Honda locations throughout BC and Ontario or our OpenRoad Hyundai location in Richmond, BC.