We have compared VW and Honda before such as VW Tiguan vs Honda CRV, but we haven’t compared the VW Atlas vs Honda Pilot, until now. We’ll be going over the few similarities and many differences between the two vehicles. Topics that we will be covering are size, performance, price, common problems, and more. Both vehicles are classified as mid-size crossover SUVs.
VW Atlas vs Honda Pilot – The Basics
The Volkswagen Atlas was recently introduced in 2017 and is still in production today. Outside of the North American Market, the VW Atlas is marketed as the Volkswagen Teramont. It is the second-largest SUV offering Volkswagen has to offer, behind the Touareg. It also sits right above the popular Tiguan. Volkswagen wanted to fill a void in their lineup and the Cross Sport did just that. The Atlas Cross Sport is basically a smaller variant of the Atlas. The Atlas is built on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform and it offers 5 different trims: SE, SE with Technology, SEL, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium R-Line.
The Honda Pilot was first introduced in 2003 and is still in production today. The Pilot is the largest SUV offering Honda has to offer and is positioned right above the Passport. Since Honda and Acura are related companies, the Pilot is built off of the Acura MDX platform. Since its inception, the Pilot has sold six-digit (100,000+) units every year except 3 in the US. The current Honda Pilot has 7 different trims: Pilot Sport, Pilot EX-L, Pilot Special Edition, Pilot TrailSport, Pilot Touring, Pilot Elite, and Pilot Black Edition.
Volkswagen Atlas Generation
- CA1 Atlas (2017-Present)
Honda Pilot Generations
- YF1/2 Pilot (2003-2008)
- YF3/4 Pilot (2009-2015)
- YF5/6 Pilot (2016-Present)
VW Atlas vs Honda Pilot Price
In this portion, we will be going over brand new 2022, as of this writing, model prices and used prices for the VW Atlas and Honda Pilot.
New Volkswagen Atlas Price
In this section, we will be covering the 2022 Atlas model year prices. The Atlas SE, or the base Atlas, starts at $35,530. An Atlas SE w/ tech and SEL can feature two different engines: a 2.0T and a 3.6L V6. The 2.0T Atlas SE w/ tech starts at $39,700, while the 3.6L V6 Atlas SE w/ tech starts at $41,450. The above trims come with an FWD drivetrain standard but offer a 4motion upgrade for an extra $1,900. A 2.0T 4motion Atlas SEL starts at $45,300, while the 3.6L V6 4motion Atlas SEL starts at $47,050. The SEL R-Line and SEL Premium R-Line only offer the 3.6L V6 as an available engine. Lastly, the Atlas SEL R-Line is $48,450 and the SEL Premium R-Line is $52,700.
New Honda Pilot Price
In this section, we will be covering the new Honda Pilot 2022 prices. There is only one engine option available in the current Pilot and it is a 3.5L V6 NA engine. There are 7 different trims we will be covering: the Pilot Sport, Pilot EX-L, Pilot Special Edition, Pilot TrailSport, Pilot Touring, Pilot Elite, and Pilot Black Edition. The base Pilot, or Pilot Sport, starts at $38,080, the Pilot EX-L starts at $40,310, the Pilot Special Edition starts at $40,910, the Pilot TrailSport starts at $44,810, the Pilot Touring starts at $44,870, the Pilot Elite starts at $50,370, and, finally, the Pilot Black Edition starts at $51,870. The prices above for the base Pilot Sport, Pilot EX-L, Pilot Special Edition, and the Pilot Touring come standard with FWD. However, there is an option to upgrade to AWD for those trims for $2,000 extra.
Used VW Atlas & Honda Pilot Prices
When it comes to used VW Atlas’ vs Honda Pilots, since the Pilot has been around longer than the Atlas, we will use similar model years for a better comparison. Since these are very competitive vehicles, new and used prices will be pretty similar. A used Atlas price ranges from $17,600 – $55,997* with an average price overall of $36,795, depending on model year and mileage. A used Pilots price ranges from $14,995 – $55,650* with an average price overall of $35,325, depending on model year and mileage. Based on this data, prices are extremely close on both the new sales side and used side.
*At the time of writing this article, we believe we are in a market where used vehicles are inflated, so consider that when seeing the used prices above.
General Atlas & Honda Pilot Topics
VW Atlas vs Honda Pilot Size
Below are some basic details about the size and weight differences seen between the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas and the 2022 Honda Pilot.
VW Atlas vs Honda Pilot
Since both vehicles are mid-size crossover SUVs, size isn’t very different between the two. However, there are a few specs that stick out to us. Cargo space and seating capacity are pretty different between the two. The Atlas gets 20.6ft³ with all the seats up, 55.5ft³ with the third row down, and 96.8ft³ with both the second and third row of seats down. The Honda Pilot gets 16.5ft³ with all the seats up, 46.8ft³ with the third row down, and 83.9ft³ with both the second and third row of seats down. The Atlas has a seating capacity of 7, while the Honda Pilot, depending on the trim, can seat 7 to 8.
VW Atlas vs Honda Pilot Performance
For consistencies sake, we will be using the 2022 VW Atlas and 2022 Honda Pilot factory performance specs.
Engines, Drivetrain, & Fuel Economy
VW Atlas Performance
The Atlas features two engine options: a 2.0T TFSI & a 3.6L EA390 VR6. The 2.0T TFSI puts out 235hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Depending on which drivetrain is chosen, fuel economy will be different. So, the FWD 2.0T TFSI engine gets 21mpg in the city and 25mpg on the highway for a combined 23mpg with an 18.6gal fuel tank. And, the 4motion 2.0T TFSI engine gets 20mpg in the city and 24mpg on the highway for a combined 22mpg with an 18.6gal fuel tank.
The 3.6L V6 naturally aspirated engine puts out 276hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. Again, depending on which drivetrain is chosen, fuel economy will be different. So, the FWD 3.6L VR6 engine gets 18mpg in the city and 24mpg on the highway for a combined 21mpg with an 18.6gal fuel tank. Lastly, the 4motion 3.6L VR6 engine with 4motion gets 17mpg in the city and 23mpg on the highway for a combined 20mpg with an 18.6gal fuel tank. Both engines offer upgraded drivetrain options to VW’s AWD 4motion technology and come standard with an 8-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission.
Honda Pilot Performance
The Honda Pilot only offers one engine and it is a 3.5L V6. The 3.5L V6 is a naturally aspirated engine that puts out 280hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. Like the Atlas, depending on which drivetrain is chosen, fuel economy is different. So, the FWD 3.5L V6 engine gets 20mpg in the city and 27mpg on the highway for a combined 23mpg with a 19.5gal fuel tank. And, the AWD 3.5L V6 engine gets 19mpg in the city and 26mpg on the highway for a combined 22mpg with a 19.5gal fuel tank. It features a 9-speed automatic transmission.
VW Atlas & Honda Pilot Reliability and Common Problems
Unfortunately, since the Atlas was produced in 2017, there isn’t much data to go on when it comes to reliability. According to Consumer Reports, they placed the VW Atlas 21st out of 26 for all mid-size SUVs. So, according to this scale, it is below average. 2021 model years are regarded as the most reliable when it comes to used Atlas’. We’ve compiled some common problems in Atlas’ since they have been released: strange engine noise on shutdown, a faulty clock spring, faulty fuel injectors, premature fuel pump failure, and unexpected coolant loss. Since the Atlas is only 5 years old, it is hard to find any high mileage Atlas’. Based off of customer feedback, we would advise getting the best warranty package offered when purchasing an Atlas.
Is the Honda Pilot reliable? Surprisingly, the Honda Pilot’s overall reliability is average. RepairPal rated it 3.5 out of 5 in reliability, which is the average Midsize SUV rating. This puts the Pilot 13th out of 26 other midsize SUVs. We would advise avoiding 2003, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2016 model years, as these are viewed as the least reliable Honda Pilots. The average annual ownership cost for a Honda Pilot is $542, which is slightly below the average midsize SUV cost of $573.
Common problems seen in Honda Pilots over the years are faulty front brake rotors, defective low beams due to wiring, common water leaks, engine knocking, faulty power resistor, differential fluid problems, and premature ignition coil and spark plug failure. There have been many Honda Pilots that have lasted up to 300,000 miles if maintained properly.
VW Atlas vs Honda Pilot – Which is Better?
The question everyone is waiting for, is which is better the VW Atlas vs Honda Pilot? We are a little biased, but feel this question could be subjective. Something we understand is that consumers have different vehicle needs and lifestyles. We personally like the Atlas more because it is cheaper, better looking, and more spacious. However, the Honda Pilot presents a great argument. The Pilot can seat up to 8, has a more powerful engine, is more reliable, and gets better fuel economy. Both have 5-star safety ratings and have similar tech and safety features.
If you happen to be on the fence about which vehicles suit your needs, try to get first-hand experience. So, schedule a test drive with your local VW and Honda dealership to get behind the wheel of both. There’s nothing better than first-hand research. It will further solidify the research done beforehand.
VW Atlas vs Honda Pilot Conclusion
In conclusion, we know purchasing any vehicle can be a daunting task. Therefore, we hope the information provided above assists anyone on the fence of either vehicle. To summarize, the VW Atlas allows for more customization, is more spacious, and it tends to be cheaper. The Honda Pilot has a more powerful engine, has more towing capacity, can seat up to 8, and gets better fuel economy. If you are a consumer reading this that has first-hand experience with either vehicle, let us know your experience in the comments below. This will help with our research and will assist future readers in their decisions.
If you happen to still be on the fence with a Volkswagen Atlas, here is another comparison: VW Atlas vs Kia Telluride.