Pecheles Automotive Compares 2018 Volkswagen Atlas VS 2018 Honda Pilot Near New Bern, NC

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2018 Volkswagen Atlas

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2018 Volkswagen Atlas

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2018 Honda Pilot

Safety Comparison

The Atlas has standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Pilot doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Atlas SEL/SEL Premium has standard Maneuver Braking which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Pilot doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Atlas 4Motion’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The Pilot doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The Atlas SEL Premium has a standard Overhead View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Pilot only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Atlas and the Pilot have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty Comparison

The Atlas comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck. The Pilot’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 3 years and 36,000 miles sooner.

The Atlas’ corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the Pilot’s (10 vs. 5 years).

Reliability Comparison

The Volkswagen Atlas’ engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Pilot’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

The camshafts in the Atlas’ engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The Pilot’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the Pilot’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are better in initial quality than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 20th, below the industry average.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

Regardless of its engine, the Atlas’ engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Honda only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Pilot Touring/Elite.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Atlas’ front brake rotors are larger than those on the Pilot:




Front Rotors

13.2 inches

12.6 inches

The Atlas’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Pilot are solid, not vented.

The Atlas stops shorter than the Pilot:





70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

183 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Atlas’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Pilot (255/50R20 vs. 245/60R18).

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Atlas’ wheelbase is 6.3 inches longer than on the Pilot (117.3 inches vs. 111 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Atlas is .9 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than on the Pilot.

The Atlas SEL Premium 4Motion handles at .84 G’s, while the Pilot Elite 4WD pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Atlas’ turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the Pilot’s (38.1 feet vs. 39.4 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Atlas has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Pilot (8 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the Atlas to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis Comparison

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Atlas SEL Premium 4Motion is quieter than the Pilot Elite 4WD (76 vs. 78 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

The Atlas has 1.2 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front legroom, .2 inches more rear headroom, .7 inches more rear hip room, 1.8 inches more third row legroom and .5 inches more third row hip room than the Pilot.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Atlas’ cargo area provides more volume than the Pilot.




Behind Third Seat

20.6 cubic feet

18.5 cubic feet

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Atlas SEL/SEL Premium’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Pilot doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics Comparison

The power windows standard on both the Atlas and the Pilot have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Atlas is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Pilot prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Atlas’ front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Pilot’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Pilot doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Atlas offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Pilot doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Atlas’ power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Pilot’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

The Atlas SEL Premium’s Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Pilot doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations Comparison

Car and Driver performed a comparison test in its August 2017 issue and they ranked the Volkswagen Atlas SEL Premium 4Motion three places higher than the Honda Pilot Elite 4WD.

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