I have test driven the MDX and Highlander before settling on the Pilot. I settled on a six speed AWD EX with the sensing package. The Pilot is not as sporty as the MDX. It feels more responsive when accelerating than the Highlander, which seemed strained under rapid acceleration. Safety feature is important to me, I'm somewhat pleasantly surprised that I can get the sensing package even at the EX trim. This provides Adaptive cruise control and collision mitigation, so the car will slow or stop automatically depending on what the car in front of you is doing. The lane keep asssit is great too and will warn you when you depart from your lane. Whereas for Highlander, I have to get the Limited trim to get those features. So I can get this advance feature without ponying up for leather seat ... etc that I don't really need.
In term of interior space, the Pilot is the only one among the 3 SUVs where I can sit comfortably in the third row, and seems the most spacious. If spending an extra $15k is no objection, I would have gotten the MDX instead of Pilot Elite for the more sporty handling. But I think the Pilot gave me the best value.
After a week of driving, I find the Pilot to be really comfortable and enjoys the way it drives. I look forward to it serving us reliably for many years, just like our old 1994 Accord that retired after 200K miles.