A red 2022 GMC Acadia is shown from the front parked in front of a building during a 2022 GMC Acadia vs 2022 Honda Pilot comparison.

A Three-Row SUV Showdown Specifically for Active Families

The demand for SUVs is still on the rise, and so is the need for three-row models designed with active families in mind. Small SUVs make great commuter vehicles but lack the space and capabilities larger models have to offer families like yours. Three-row midsize SUVs, on the other hand, provide generous cabin space, comfort features for the maximum amount of enjoyment with any length of travel, and versatile performances to assist you and your busy family with all of your driving needs. Finding an affordable three-row SUV with everything you need for your family while out on the road is where you might come into a little trouble. To help you with your search, take a look at these two mid-level priced, family-friendly three-row SUVs to compare for your next vehicle: 2022 GMC Acadia vs 2022 Honda Pilot.

The Affordability Factor

When you have a family to feed, extracurricular activities to pay for, and all the expenses that come with raising children and adulting in general, even if a brand-new 2022 BMW X7 is manageable, you can always use that extra cash for more important and enjoyable things for your family. On the other end of the spectrum, the most affordable option, the three-row 2022 Kia Sorento, might fit in at the lower end of your budget, leaving you with plenty of extra money for family trips and splurging, but there’s a good chance it could lack some of the premium features and performance capabilities you’ll get with mid-level models like the 2022 GMC Acadia or 2022 Honda Pilot. Both are great options with attainable prices, but for less money, you can get more when you buy an Acadia.

The base SLE model 2022 GMC Acadia starts at $34,800 and is available with two engines and four trims to choose from, giving you the power to choose your style, comfort, and performance. The 2022 Honda Pilot only has one engine option but a variety of trims to select from, with its base Sport model starting with a higher price tag, $38,080. Some drivers may find having seven trim levels to choose from appealing, but it honestly isn’t. More trims just mean each model has little to offer, and you’ll need to spend a whole lot more than the base price to get what you and your family want and need in an SUV.

A blue 2022 Honda Pilot EX-L is shown from the side parked in front of a house.

The Comfort Factor

What family doesn’t want a comfortable vehicle for their excursions on the road? Whether you’re loading up the kids and their friends to head out to their soccer practice or if you and your family are hitting the road for a camping trip hours away, you’re going to want ample interior space and plenty of comfort features and technology to keep everyone connected and entertained, no matter where you end up. The 2022 GMC Acadia may seat one person less than the seven or eight that the 2022 Honda Pilot can transport when equipped with the standard bench seats versus the available captain’s chairs that are standard with the two top-tier trims, but it has plenty of other features to take the lead in comfort.

Tri-zone climate control comes standard on both the Acadia and Pilot, but for heated and ventilated front seating to keep you even more comfortable driving no matter what the weather may be outside, you’ll have to spend at least $3,000 more for the Honda for this feature since it comes standard with top-tier Pilot Elite and Black Edition versus being a standard feature for all trims like with the 2022 GMC Acadia. The same goes for the ability for you and your back seat passengers to have a scenic sky view while on the road with either the panoramic roof of the Pilot or the dual skyscape sunroof on the Acadia.

For entertainment beyond nature’s beauty, you’ll be able to stream your favorite music using Bluetooth, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, or Android Audio through a premium 8-speaker Bose audio system, which comes standard on every 2022 GMC Acadia except the base SLE model. But if you’re willing to dish out an additional $5,000, you can upgrade the 2022 Honda Pilot’s standard 7-speaker system to a 10-speaker audio system with its Touring trim and those above it. In addition, the top four trim levels of the Pilot also have a rear-seat entertainment system for all of your back seat passengers’ video and audio streaming needs. But to save yourself a few thousand dollars, if necessary, you can purchase a manufacturer-built system to fit your Acadia.

The Versatility Factor

The 2022 GMC Acadia has an advantage over the 2022 Honda Pilot when it comes to providing a versatile performance since it is available with different engine options. For the most fuel-efficient Acadia, you’ll want to invest in one equipped with the 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder engine to get an estimated combined 25 MPG with front-wheel drive and 24 MPG with all-wheel drive. The Pilot, with its 3.5L V6, is estimated to see a combined 23 MPG with front-wheel drive and 21 MPG with all-wheel drive. However, the Pilot is rated to tow 1,000 pounds more than the 3.6L V6 Acadia option, making it a better choice if you’re looking for the best towing model.

Since both of these three-row SUVs are available with all-wheel drive, there’s no need to stress over Mother Nature’s unpredictability. But for better control in unexpected weather and when venturing beyond the pavement, the 2022 Acadia AT4 provides additional support where needed. No matter what the road conditions may be, you’ll have the confidence to conquer anything with the driver-selectable Traction Select System. This system is standard on every Acadia, with Normal (or FWD and AWD for all-wheel drive models), Snow, Sport, Trailer/Tow, and Off-Road (available for all-wheel drive models only) modes. However, for the best off-road performance, the Acadia AT4 is the way to go. It comes standard with an Active Torque Control AWD system to ensure each wheel receives the power it needs, when needed, for the best traction at all times.

The 2022 Honda Pilot also comes standard with a traction management system, but rear-wheel drive models only have the option for Normal and Snow modes, whereas the all-wheel drive Pilots add Mud and Sand modes. Although the Pilot TrailSport is considered the trail-ready model, its rugged tires and other off-road appearance characteristics look great, but they barely compare to the off-road assistance features that the Acadia offers on top of those previously mentioned and its rugged all-terrain tires. The 2022 Honda Pilot doesn’t even offer Hill Descent Control for a smooth and controlled descent with any of its models.

The Safety Factor

Keeping the whole family safe while out on the road, whether for daily activities or the much-needed vacations, is essential with any vehicle. While you’ll find most three-row SUVs offer collision protection that stretches to the third row, what you need to pay attention to is what safety technologies and driver-assistance features are available with each model to warn you of potential danger and help steer your vehicle away from a collision altogether. When comparing the 2022 GMC Acadia vs the 2022 Honda Pilot, it’s a tough call to make on which might keep you and your family the safest. Both offer outstanding active safety technologies, the Pilot with its Honda Sensing Suite and the Acadia with GMC Pro-Safety Assist, but the Acadia takes the lead in safety for families with its Teen Driver Technology, found exclusively with GM vehicles.

The day you have to let your teen driver out on the road alone will forever be dreaded by parents around the world. Believe it or not, it’s just as scary for your new driver as it is for you. GM Teen Driver technology has taken some of the stress off of your and your child’s shoulders when they do have to drive on their own. Not only will it automatically activate all of the safety-assist features when turned on, but it can also mute all audio features until the front seat passengers are buckled up, limit the radio’s volume while driving, provide speed warnings and limitations, and it can provide you with a report card of your teen’s driving performance.

A silver 2022 GMC Acadia is shown from the front parked in front of a building.

How to Choose the Right Three-Row SUV for Your Family?

With a busy lifestyle, your family needs an SUV that can keep up and handle every task and adventure you present to it. Midsize three-row SUVs are the perfect size with the right amount of power for truck-like capabilities. But to find a model that’s affordable and accommodating to your comfort, performance, and safety needs, you’ll have to look at mid-level priced three-row SUVs. A great place to start is by comparing models like the 2022 GMC Acadia vs 2022 Honda Pilot because as similar as they may be in price, size, amenities, performance, and safety, one will always be superior to the other.