More accolades for the Highlander… The NHTSA recently awarded the 2015 model an overall 5-star safety rating. This isn’t very surprising given that the 2014 version had a 5-star rating, and the 2015 has the same design.
At the same time, the 2015 Honda Pilot received a 4-star overall safety rating, putting it a notch below the Highlander. This result was also expected, as the 2015 Pilot has the same basic design as the 2014 model, which previously received a 4-star rating.
Both the Highlander and the Pilot received a 4-star rating for frontal crashes and rollovers, and a 5-star rating for side crashes. The difference in the overall rating is the result of better safety technology on the Highlander.
Of course, these features are part of the optional driver’s tech package, so that aspect of the rating only applies to the Limited trim level w/the tech package, or the Limited Platinum (which includes the tech package).
Note, however, that the Highlander scored “Acceptable” in the IIHS small overlap frontal crash test (and was named a Top Safety Pick+) while the Pilot received a “Poor” rating in the same test. Presumably, Honda will address this shortcoming in the rumored 2016 redesign of the Pilot.