A black 2021 GMC Acadia is shown from the side driving on an open road.

GMC Acadia vs Honda Pilot: Which Is Best for Families?

There used to be only one vehicle perfectly made for transporting families wherever they needed to go, whether it was after school band practice or a summertime family road trip, and that vehicle was the minivan. Large and in charge, capable of handling even the most rambunctious passengers, minivans were forces to be reckoned with in the 80s and 90s; however, we now have more options. Bidding adieu to the minivan as the staple family vehicle, many parents are looking elsewhere for their trusted traveler, intrigued by the selection of SUVs available, including the 2021 GMC Acadia vs 2021 Honda Pilot.

These two options on the market have been gaining more popularity over the years, and when it comes to which can provide your family with everything you need to keep unruly passengers entertained, these two dependable vehicles won’t let you down. Our latest comparison takes the 2021 GMC Acadia vs the 2021 Honda Pilot and puts these family-friendly vehicles to the test when it comes to proving why they’re best suited for hectic family travel.

Functional Designs

Quick… you have three minutes to cram three kids, plus all their gear for camp, in addition to their snacks and their friends into the car – and someone just spilled something sticky in the backseat. Yep, anything can happen on a daily basis when you’re hauling around a family, and being stylish isn’t going to be the only thing buyers are looking for in a vehicle. They want function and space, enough space to accommodate more passengers and their things, which means that the SUV they pick has to be able to do it all.

The 2021 GMC Acadia has space locked down with its roomy interior, perfectly suited for up to seven passengers, and plenty of cargo options for all of their belongings. Although appearing smaller on the outside and definitely more manageable than many of its larger counterparts, the Acadia doesn’t skimp when it comes to being able to handle whatever you’re tossing inside of it.

With three rows to fill up, the Acadia offers up an ideal space for everyone, with some premium upgrades as well in its higher-level trims. Have it all when you’re traveling in the Acadia Denali with leather-appointed seating, a Dual SkyScape power sunroof, and many more luxurious elements throughout, making it the perfect option for those who want style and substance in their family vehicle. Remember, just because you’re on snack duty, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy undeniable style in the process.

Also offering up an extremely functional design, the three-row Honda Pilot is a popular pick for families everywhere. With a plethora of cup holders, ingenious storage solutions, and configurable seating, the Pilot makes it easy to accommodate up to eight passengers without limiting comfort for all inside. Perhaps the downfall of the Pilot is its lack of options when it comes to style. Although it is sufficiently functional, the Pilot doesn’t boast the most refined design, and if you want to focus even a little bit on style, it may disappoint you. Due to the level of designer elements you’re able to get in the Acadia, we’re going to have to give the Pilot second-place honors here.

A blue 2021 Honda Pilot EX-L is shown from the side parked in front of a modern house.

Driveability and Efficiency

It’s not always about how your vehicle can handle everything you’re hauling around with you, and when you are transporting your family, it’s imperative that you have a vehicle that can do it with fierce capabilities and efficiency. You’ll find that the 2021 GMC Acadia is offered with powerful engines and all-wheel drive capabilities, perfect for families who love to get out into nature or who frequently travel in the elements.

Able to navigate effortlessly over iced-capped roads or bumpy trails, the Acadia is a sure pick for families everywhere who are looking to stay safe and secure, no matter the situation. Opt for the AT4 model for an upgraded suspension system, all-terrain tires, and more off-road friendly features. You’ll also find that although the Acadia is well-versed in maneuvering through tricky driving situations, it’s also extremely efficient, getting up to 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

The 2021 Honda Pilot also impresses us with its overall driving dynamics, and its athleticism is showcased throughout with a strong engine and smooth ride. You’ll find that the downfall of the Pilot lies with its bulky build, which can affect how it handles on the road, as well as its lower fuel efficiency. It also doesn’t have as many capabilities off-road as the Acadia offers, which can be a disappointment for those who want to traverse uneven terrain with agility and finesse.

Drivers report that because of the Pilot’s hulking feel, the ride isn’t quite as controlled as many would like it to be, which can raise some concerns, especially for frequent travelers. This is why our choice lies with the Acadia, as its expertly-built frame makes it easy to handle in any driving condition, and with its AT4 trim available, traveling anywhere is a breeze.

Added Extras

It always helps to have some added enhancements to make your ride better than ever, especially if your journey involves your children and their excitable friends. That’s why both of these vehicles have their fair share of features, designed with the everyday family in mind. The 2021 GMC Acadia shines with its host of tech features that turn any ordinary drive into an epic one for all on board. With multiple USB ports to keep everyone’s devices charged and a WiFi hotspot for all to remain connected, the Acadia was built for families on the go. And with superior safety ratings and a multitude of driver-assist tech at your disposal, including a Rear Camera Mirror and High Definition Surround Vision to help you see more clearly all around your vehicle, it’s easier than ever to maintain assurance during any type of journey.

The Honda Pilot also offers an abundance of fun extras to appeal to families, including its in-cabin PA system. Unfortunately, its infotainment system proves tough to use, which is often frustrating for many drivers. After all, when you’re busy shuttling the kids from one activity to the other, having your vehicle’s tech work perfectly is a must, especially if you’re attempting to stay focused on the journey ahead, as well as remain connected to your day. That’s where the Pilot is lacking, which can really have an impact on the success of your daily travels. Because of this, we’ve got to go with the Acadia here due to its seamless infotainment experience.

A white 2021 GMC Acadia is shown from the front parked in the mountains.

The Ultimate Family Transporter

When it comes to your family’s adventures, it helps to have a vehicle that can add to your everyday travels instead of hinder them. With all the function and versatility you get in both of these vehicles, paired with strong engines and more, it’s no wonder why more families are choosing from these reliable travelers. Although both have their perks, it’s the Acadia that really exceeds our expectations here with its refined yet functional style, impressive capabilities on and off-road, as well as its cutting-edge tech to make any journey more enjoyable.

You’ll find that when you’re riding in the 2021 GMC Acadia, you’ll relish in top-level style, unmatched adaptability, and all the desirable features you’re looking for, allowing you to take advantage of the best driving experience possible. So, if you’re shopping for your next family-friendly vehicle, be sure to take a closer look at the 2021 Acadia and see why it’s a top pick, whether you’re hauling the kids to school or setting out on a new adventure.