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2023 Pilot Cargo Volume vs The Competition

1047 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  zachman1750
Hey Folks. I've got a deposit down on a 2023 Pilot, and part of the reason we decided to go with the Pilot over the competition was that the cargo volume seems excellent comparatively. That being said, after digging into specs, it seems that cargo volume can be a bit deceptive. Here's an article that speaks to this.

What I'm struggling with understanding is whether the cargo volume of the new Pilot is actually better than the competition, based on the way it's been measured. For example, Honda's own website (click "See all features and specs" -> "Interior Measurements") states that the new Pilot has 18.6 cubic feet or 22.4 cubic feet depending on whether you measure it with the SAE J1100 standard or "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". Since I saw many articles referencing the 22.4 cubic feet measurement, I assumed that the Pilot truly had a cargo volume advantage over the competition.

Now, behind-the-third-row cargo volume was one of the most important things for us when deciding upon a vehicle, and this is a very competitive segment. When you look at Edmond's comparison of the 2023 Pilot vs the 2023 Telluride, you can see that they appear to be using the lower number from Honda rather than the higher number, indicating that the Telluride's cargo volume is actually about 2.4 cubit feet larger.

We also shied away from the 2023 Sequoia partly for this reason. We saw that the cargo volume was essentially the same between the 2023 Pilot and Sequioa (22.4 and 22.3 respectively) and that the overall cargo volume was gobs higher (112.1 cubic feat vs 86.9 cubic feet), and said, "why would we buy this massive SUV if it's actually not any bigger in the interior?". For additional comparison's sake, the 2023 Expedition (not Max) has total cargo area of 104.6 cubic feet and a behind-the-3rd-row cargo volume of 20.9 cubic feet, which further reinforced our thoughts. All this being said, those numbers for the Pilot drop to just 87 cubic feet and 18.6 cubic feet respectively if you use the SAE J1100 standard without "floor space between seating rows and seats in their forward-most and upright position". The problem is, Toyota, Ford, and Kia/Hyundai give no indication of how their measurements are done, so it's hard to say what apples to apples actually looks like.

All of this seems to speak to the first article I linked's point that cargo measurements are deceptive. Those of you who have seen various other vehicles in your search in person, what are your thoughts on the Pilot's cargo volume versus the direct and indirect competition (Telluride, Explorer, Palisade, Highlander, Sequoia, Expedition, etc.)? Have you done any measurements or real-world tests with bags/strollers yourselves to see how it stacks up?

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I ran into this when I bought my 2017 Pilot. Cargo area for the Pilot and Highlander were listed as basically the same, which turned out ot be a joke when you actually looked at the two.

For some reference, some the vidoe reviews said that they thought that the space is probably a bit bigger than the Telluride.

See if you can get a look at both.
 

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A lot of the manufacturers do this to claim their cars are the biggest. It should still be among the biggest (minus the GM ones at least) in segment, but I wish they all used the same measurement criteria so that you could actually compare.
 

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I haven't got a chance to test drive pilot yet but I don't think I would be able to compare spaces visually that are visually close. From what I found

Telluride
Cargo Volume (SAE): behind 1st row / behind 2nd row / behind 3rd row
87/46/21 cu. ft.

Pilot Sport
Cargo Volume (behind 1st-row) 87.0 cu ft / 111.8 cu ft
Cargo Volume (behind 2nd-row) 48.5 cu ft* / 59.5 cu ft*
Cargo Volume (behind 3rd-row) 18.6 cu ft* / 21.8 cu ft*

Pilot Touring
Cargo Volume (behind 1st-row) 87.0 cu ft* / 112.4 cu ft*
Cargo Volume (behind 2nd-row) 48.5 cu / 60.1 cu ft
Cargo Volume (behind 3rd-row) 18.6 cu ft / 22.4 cu ft

Seems like SAE J1100 standard plus measures volume under the lid of storage well which just SAE doesn't. Based on the number didn't change between sport and touring trim for former but did for later. So I think Pilot might have advantage if you want to use that space.
From numbers it seems like combined leg space is 1 inch lesser in Pilot than Telluride. I think Pilot is making up for space difference in interior height.

Embargo is lifting tomorrow, watching review from journalist might be helpful or taking measuring tape to dealership.
 

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I haven't got a chance to test drive pilot yet but I don't think I would be able to compare spaces visually that are visually close. From what I found

Telluride
Cargo Volume (SAE): behind 1st row / behind 2nd row / behind 3rd row
87/46/21 cu. ft.

Pilot Sport
Cargo Volume (behind 1st-row) 87.0 cu ft2023 Honda Pilot – SUV | Honda / 111.8 cu ft2023 Honda Pilot – SUV | Honda2023 Honda Pilot – SUV | Honda
Cargo Volume (behind 2nd-row) 48.5 cu ft* / 59.5 cu ft*
Cargo Volume (behind 3rd-row) 18.6 cu ft* / 21.8 cu ft*

Pilot Touring
Cargo Volume (behind 1st-row) 87.0 cu ft* / 112.4 cu ft*
Cargo Volume (behind 2nd-row) 48.5 cu ft2023 Honda Pilot – SUV | Honda / 60.1 cu ft2023 Honda Pilot – SUV | Honda2023 Honda Pilot – SUV | Honda
Cargo Volume (behind 3rd-row) 18.6 cu ft2023 Honda Pilot – SUV | Honda / 22.4 cu ft2023 Honda Pilot – SUV | Honda2023 Honda Pilot – SUV | Honda

Seems like SAE J1100 standard plus measures volume under the lid of storage well which just SAE doesn't. Based on the number didn't change between sport and touring trim for former but did for later. So I think Pilot might have advantage if you want to use that space.
From numbers it seems like combined leg space is 1 inch lesser in Pilot than Telluride. I think Pilot is making up for space difference in interior height.

Embargo is lifting tomorrow, watching review from journalist might be helpful or taking measuring tape to dealership.
The SAE J1100 definition does not explain for the massive difference between the cargo volumes behind the 2nd and 1st rows, in the case of behind the 1st row, about 25 cu ft, they must be counting all the nooks and cranny in the car including cup holders and under the seats!

At the end of the day, the Pilot realistically increased about 2.0 Cu Ft in cargo volume behind the 3rd row seat (to 18.6 cu ft), the numbers are the same for the 1st row and second row as in the 2022 model., it still lags the segment leaders Telluride/Atlas/Traverse.
 

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The SAE J1100 definition does not explain for the massive difference between the cargo volumes behind the 2nd and 1st rows, in the case of behind the 1st row, about 25 cu ft, they must be counting all the nooks and cranny in the car including cup holders and under the seats!

At the end of the day, the Pilot realistically increased about 2.0 Cu Ft in cargo volume behind the 3rd row seat (to 18.6 cu ft), the numbers are the same for the 1st row and second row as in the 2022 model., it still lags the segment leaders Telluride/Atlas/Traverse.
Definitely pilot has grown. Combined leg space increased by 3.1 inches. Second row did get most of the increment (2.4 inches). I am pretty sure it is still behind telluride but I don't think by much once you consider the extra volume in hidden storage well under the lid, otherwise it would suffer (especially if you store middle seat).
 

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Definitely pilot has grown. Combined leg space increased by 3.1 inches. Second row did get most of the increment (2.4 inches). I am pretty sure it is still behind telluride but I don't think by much once you consider the extra volume in hidden storage well under the lid, otherwise it would suffer (especially if you store middle seat).
The Telluride has lots of storage place in the storage well, I am not certain that the Pilot has more; in fact I'd argue that the Telluride may have more usable space because in the Pilot Touring, for example,, it is compartmentalized into 3 portons. We'll see what the reviewers say once the embargo lifts tomorrow.
 

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The Telluride has lots of storage place in the storage well, I am not certain that the Pilot has more; in fact I'd argue that the Telluride may have more usable space because in the Pilot Touring, for example,, it is compartmentalized into 3 portons. We'll see what the reviewers say once the embargo lifts tomorrow.
I thought those partitions were removable.

What I don't understand is Pilot gets less combined leg space (by an inch), and less cargo volume behind third row then how it has same cargo volume (87 cu. ft.) behind 1st row as telluride.
 

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The Telluride has lots of storage place in the storage well, I am not certain that the Pilot has more; in fact I'd argue that the Telluride may have more usable space because in the Pilot Touring, for example,, it is compartmentalized into 3 portons. We'll see what the reviewers say once the embargo lifts tomorrow.
Sorry - what embargo?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I looked at a Telluride in person today. I think the biggest advantage of the Telluride over the Pilot Elite is that the telluride allows you to lower the cargo floor to a flat position and get a deep cavity behind the rear seat. It appears that the Pilot has a deeper cavity for the middle seat storage, but it’s not flat and you can’t lower the cargo floor cover down to match it.

A few other unrelated notes: we felt that the Telluride was a very nice and spacious vehicle and would work well for a variety of reasons. Ultimately, we didn’t buy it because we haven’t seen a Pilot yet in person. There were also a few small quirks in the interior that we felt made it feel really cheaply built despite a number of luxury-class features and high quality seats/leather. A good example is the incredibly thin and cheap feeling plastic that they use for the volume and seek knobs, the lack of wireless CarPlay, and some cheap feeling faux metal trim pieces that also didn’t seem well anchored to the panels themselves. Perhaps it’s just because it had “Kia” on the outside, but we walked away not feeling totally convinced of the vehicle’s quality and like we wanted to wait to see a Pilot.
 
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