A black 2019 GMC Acadia is parked in front of a glass building.

Road Warriors: GMC Acadia vs. Honda Pilot


It is time, ladies and gentlemen, for two vehicles to do battle, to be pitted against each other in the arena of automotive bloggery. You’d typically have to go to a Michael Bay movie to see this kind of car-on-car vehicular violence, but not today; here the carnage is complimentary and the only thing you have to do is buckle up and enjoy the ride. Prepare yourself for the battle of the 2019 GMC Acadia vs 2019 Honda Pilot in no-holds-barred combat!

We’ll start off with power and performance, looking at how their engines stack up against each other and who can boast greater numbers. Of course, these are SUVs, so we’re talking about some heavy-weight brawlers today (they’re mid-size models, sure, but they should still pack a punch). That means we’ll look at their overall size, particularly how many passengers they can transport and interior cargo capacity to see which one is the bigger bruiser.

This isn’t a clean fight though, oh no, so we’ll look at what kinds of tech options and features these two warriors can use to get tricky as they rumble. Finally, we’ll consider the safety features on these two SUVs – admittedly that doesn’t perfectly fit into the battle metaphor here, but so what? Safety is important. Now, let’s fight!

Engine and Performance Smackdown

The engine is the heart of any vehicle, and in this type of combat, the engines represent the opening salvo as these warriors unleash their wrath upon each other. And the 2019 GMC Acadia definitely comes out swinging thanks to two different engines available. Keep in mind, however, that these engine options are restricted based on trim level, so you don’t have total freedom here.

The 2019 GMC Acadia has a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine standard, which can produce up to 193 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque. Sure, that’s not amazing compared to the engine you’d find in a sports car or heavy-duty pickup, but it’s fine for a mid-size SUV. Fortunately, there’s an even better option: an available 3.6L V6 engine that offers up to 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque. That is a huge improvement over the standard engine, plus it’s available on four out of the Acadia’s six different trim levels – and is standard on the highest two trims.

By comparison, the 2019 Honda Pilot has only a single engine available, which already puts it at a disadvantage in my book. When going into combat like this, it helps to have options so these fighters can switch up their tactics. With that in mind, however, the engine is pretty solid: it’s a V6 that provides up to 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque.

Now, as you can see, that soundly beats the 2019 GMC Acadia’s starting engine by nearly 90 hp and torque. However, the Acadia’s available 3.6L V6 offers more horsepower and more torque. Since there’s no second option for the Pilot, this round goes to the Acadia thanks to more power overall for greater performance.

A 2019 GMC Acadia is shown in front of a building facing away.

Passengers and Cargo Clash

Now that we know the 2019 GMC Acadia is more powerful, giving it the advantage in this battle, let’s see what they’ve got going on inside. Since you’re going to spend most of your time inside the vehicle, the interior is always important. In particular, let’s see how well these SUVs throttle each other in terms of interior space for passengers and cargo.

These are mid-size SUVs, but even so, they should give you plenty of room inside; otherwise, you might as well drive a sedan. The 2019 GMC Acadia offers up to almost 80 cu.ft. of interior cargo space and provides seating for up to 7 people. The front-row gives you 4- inches of legroom and nearly 41-inches of headroom. A strong start, to be sure.

By comparison, the 2019 Honda Pilot can have seating for up to 8 people, though the highest trim level offers seating for only 7 total passengers. You get up to 109 cu.ft. of interior cargo space with the Pilot, and the front row provides just over 40-inches of legroom and 40-inches of headroom. That makes these two quite comparable in terms of passenger comfort up front, but the 2019 Honda Pilot is a clear winner in one category: cargo volume inside.

Interior Options: Tricky Tech Knife Fight

While we’re looking inside these two warriors, let’s consider the tech features and options they have going on. The 2019 GMC Acadia Denali strikes fast with an 8-inch Infotainment center with Navigation, a Bose premium 8-speaker sound system, and 8-way power adjustable driver and front passenger seats. These seats are heated and ventilated with power lumbar controls, plus there is an 8-inch configurable driver information screen. With tri-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, the Acadia Denali is a vicious fighter.

On the other hand, the 2019 Honda Pilot Elite is also a tricky number thanks to an 8-inch display with Navigation, a premium audio system, and a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat with a 4-way power front passenger seat. These are both heated and ventilated, plus there is a driver information screen and a wireless charging zone for compatible devices. The Pilot Elite rounds it out with a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic dimming rearview mirror, and tri-zone automatic climate control.

In other words, these two vehicles are pretty evenly matched here. Keep in mind that these features are standard at the highest trim levels, the Acadia Denali and the Pilot Elite, and many of them are unavailable or an extra option at lower trims. Overall, both of these fighters have some impressive tricks up their proverbial sleeves, and there’s no real advantage here.

The tech features, which you should check out when comparing the 2019 GMC Acadia vs 2019 Honda Pilot, of the 2019 Acadia are shown.

Safety Feature Brawl

We’re deep into the combat now, so “what about safety features?” you ask (and if you didn’t, then you should!). Let’s take a look – just like with the interior tech features, we’ll compare the highest trim levels, so keep that in mind.

The 2019 GMC Acadia Denali includes low speed forward automatic braking with a comprehensive airbag system. It has a standard rear vision camera, front and rear park assist, and a following distance indicator to help you avoid tailgating vehicles in front of you. There is also a lane keep assist system with lane departure warning, forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, and a lane change alert with side blind zone alert. All in all, the safety features on the Acadia Denali are impressive and substantial.

By comparison, the 2019 Honda Pilot Elite includes front and side airbags plus a collision mitigation braking system. It has a rear vision camera, brake assist, and a forward collision warning. There is also a lane departure warning, road departure mitigation system, and a lane keeping assist system. With adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and cross traffic alert, the Pilot Elite is also a very safe vehicle. This round is a tie!

The Takeaway

Now that the dust has settled, the smoke has cleared, and these two warriors are nursing their wounds, what’s the result? Honestly, it’s a bit of a draw, as unsatisfying as that might be. In terms of raw engine power and performance, the 2019 GMC Acadia comes out on top, with an available engine significantly more powerful than what you can get in the 2019 Honda Pilot. For interior cargo and passenger space, however, the Pilot is the winner with options for more passengers and much more cargo room.

Both of these vehicles have great interior tech options and safety features, so really, it all comes down to what you need. Do you need more power or more interior cargo space? If it’s the former, then go with the Acadia; if the latter, then the Pilot is probably a better choice. These battlers have earned a rest, now go see for yourself what they have to offer at your local dealership!