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I test drove an '04 Pilot, an '03 MDX and an '03 Highlander today.

They all gave exceptionally comfortable rides, with the Pilot being the quietest. The overall amount of indoor space in the Pilot was fantastic. I was really excited about it BUT....

There we're two things that bothered me about the Pilot:

1] I took it on the open Parkway and was disappointed in the lack of pick up. I could put my foot down to the floor and it just didn't seem to accelerate enough. (Compared to the even less-powered Highlander...)

and, more importantly:

2] I found the seats (cloth) really uncomfortable. They were very stiff and the headrests seemed set too far back. I really felt contorted in them. It didn't appear that the headrests could be adjusted. FYI, I'm 6' and 185 lbs. (I've read about the leather sag issue here, so I thought going cloth would avoid that!)

I really had high hopes for the Pilot - should I go back and try another one? Is the seat discomfort an issue others have commented on?

r
 

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For me, I actually liked the fact that the seats are firm. I just did a 250 mile road trip a couple of weekends ago. I was fine the whole way. No fatigue or soreness.

However, the fact that the headrest is non-adjustable on this $30K car just bugs the heck out of me. Thankfully, I hardly ever have to lean my head back onto the headrest.

With respect to the issue of speed, I'm assuming that Honda and the dealer fills up the tank with 87 octane unleaded whereas the MDX requires 91 octane unleaded. If you were to put higher octane gas into the Pilot, the ECU will be able to take advantage of the higher octane and produce a bit more power.

Glen
 

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I guess it's all a matter of expectations. I found the acceleration of both the Highlander and the Pilot more than adequate, with the Pilot a little beefier. Especially for a 4400 pound vehicle with a 3.5L engine that runs on regular (and I get from 19 - 22 mpg). I can't smoke the tires, but then, I don't care to. I doubt you'll find a mid-size SUV that will beat the Pilot by much, 0-60.

I'd have to point out, be careful about your perception of the power curve. Other SUVs may have a lot of low end torque, so they seem to really kick from a standing start; but then they slug out. The Pilot accelerates more consistently, IMO. I test drove a Jeep Grand Cherokee (V6) and it went from 0-30 in no-time. But then, it seemed to take for ever to get to 60.

As for the seats, I'm 6'2", 220 lb, and I find the leather seats and driving position (w/ the 6-way power seat) nearly ideal.
 

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I think the seat comfort is personal preference. I love the stiffness of the seats because my back is always bugging me. I do agree about the head rest though.
 

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GlenH said:
With respect to the issue of speed, I'm assuming that Honda and the dealer fills up the tank with 87 octane unleaded whereas the MDX requires 91 octane unleaded. If you were to put higher octane gas into the Pilot, the ECU will be able to take advantage of the higher octane and produce a bit more power.

Glen
I think not!

This has been discussed at length.
The HP does not increase with 91 octane fuel!
 

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new motor-tight-

According to CR they are pretty equal 0- 60mph-9.4P VS 9.2 H.More importantly the Pilot is a bit quicker from 45-65 5.7 vs 6.0. Other mags have the Pilot a bit quicker at all speeds.
I have found my Pilot is getting quicker now that it has 5000+ miles on it.Initially it felt pretty sluggish relative to my V-8 Tundra,now(seat of pants) they are much closer.Some of this is just "breaking in" of the motor,buthere is all sorts of "magic" in the fuel injection program.The vehicles seems to have to "learn" what fuel curves to use-seems strange-but if you D/C the battery you will get poor mileage for at least on tankful.Why does it take so long to "learn"?I have no idea!
You are right about the headrest-useless.I haven't needed it but if I did I would jury rig a pillow,or foam up there.
Stiff, over firm seat;Exactly what I thought,especially after my Tundra's nice soft bucket that really"fit" me.Well,I guess Honda knows something I don't.On our 4000 summer trip,the seat was great;no backaches(I am 52 so I usually start aching after 1 hr) despite 25 straight hours of driving(just stopped for gas-eat,and to walk the dogs).Now,I like the Honda seat more than the Tundra captains chair.Toyota is smart to make the seats feel immediately comfortable-1st impression sells-but the Honda seat is great for a long trip.Luck,Charlie
 

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CR -- consumer reports?? their performance data should be taken with a grain of salt...

Car and Driver got 7.6 and 8.1 seconds for 0 - 60 times in a couple reviews. :runaway: the PILOT is quicker than the Highlander, the 2003 anyway, not sure about the 2004 with the additional 10hp and the 5 speed auto. :confused:

C&D 7.6 sec run

C&D 8.1 sec run
 

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Can the driver/ passenger headrests be replaced? Is there something from the Odyssey, MDX or Accord that might fit better, or at least be more comfortable, even if they aren't adjustable?
 

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N_Jay said:
I think not!

This has been discussed at length.
The HP does not increase with 91 octane fuel!
Honda (owner manual) recommends 91 octane when towing.

I didn't tow on my recent trips, but the Pilot was loaded with 900 lbs of people and cargo. I put in premium 1 way and regular on the way back, all else being equalled i.e. cargo load, ac on, same cruising speed, seat of the pants told me that using premium was slightly more sluggish than regular :confused:

I won't bother with premium any more:p
 

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I'm 6'5" and 200 lbs. I find the cloth seats in my Pilot to be very comfortable. Especially on long trips. Virtually no fatigue.

As for Premium Fuel. It's been debated in several threads here. My "seat of the pants" feeling is the Pilot is a bit more lively when fed premium. It's my understanding there is no gain in horse power, but a small amount of extra torque is gained from the better fuel. It's the torque that gets you off the line. The VTEC kicks in after that and, YAHOO!!! Not bad at all for such a heavy vehicle!

:D
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sorry to hear about the headrests. On long trips I like to rest my head slightly back - I couldn't do that in the Pilot without feeling like I'm in a dentists chair!

As to the comments on "perceived" speed: I put the Pilot, MDX and Highlander through some quick maneuvers. In emergency situations I want a positive response. I just didn't get that from the Pilot.

Those two things could stop me from buying a Pilot. I will go back to the dealer and test drive again, just to make sure.

I just read the specs on the '04 Highlander - looks very good. So, unless I have a better 2nd test drive I probably choose between the MDX or Highlander.

On another note, I've decided not to bother with factory NAV. I just read about the Garmin iQue 3600 and it sounds really interesting (I've always wanted a PDA anyway).

Thanks for all the comments.

r
 

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rcasel said:
Sorry to hear about the headrests. On long trips I like to rest my head slightly back - I couldn't do that in the Pilot without feeling like I'm in a dentists chair!

As to the comments on "perceived" speed: I put the Pilot, MDX and Highlander through some quick maneuvers. In emergency situations I want a positive response. I just didn't get that from the Pilot.

Those two things could stop me from buying a Pilot. I will go back to the dealer and test drive again, just to make sure.

I just read the specs on the '04 Highlander - looks very good. So, unless I have a better 2nd test drive I probably choose between the MDX or Highlander.

On another note, I've decided not to bother with factory NAV. I just read about the Garmin iQue 3600 and it sounds really interesting (I've always wanted a PDA anyway).

Thanks for all the comments.

r
It's not been mentioned here, but often times dealers do not inflate the tires properly - choosing to leave them a little on the low side to make the vehicle "ride" softer. If too low (under-inflated), you the handling will appear more sluggish - or perceived poor handling. YMMV

Good luck!


:)
 

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Have noticed CR 0-60 much slower

GreenMachine,I have noticed that Consumer Reports has 0-60 and 1/4mile times much slower than Motor Trend 8.2 and 16.1 and the other car mags.Same story for the Odyssey MT=8.4 CR=9.9,and a 4wd Tundra Access cab MT 8.2 CR 9.4. MT shows the V6 Highlander as 9.1 and 16.8 VS CR 9.2 17.2.The car mags show the Pilot as a bit quicker than the Highlander.
I'm not sure why CR shows slower 0-60 times for most vehicles than the car mags-different testing procedure I guess.Charlie
 

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rcasel said:
Sorry to hear about the headrests. On long trips I like to rest my head slightly back - I couldn't do that in the Pilot without feeling like I'm in a dentists chair!

As to the comments on "perceived" speed: I put the Pilot, MDX and Highlander through some quick maneuvers. In emergency situations I want a positive response. I just didn't get that from the Pilot.

Those two things could stop me from buying a Pilot. I will go back to the dealer and test drive again, just to make sure.

I just read the specs on the '04 Highlander - looks very good. So, unless I have a better 2nd test drive I probably choose between the MDX or Highlander.

On another note, I've decided not to bother with factory NAV. I just read about the Garmin iQue 3600 and it sounds really interesting (I've always wanted a PDA anyway).

Thanks for all the comments.

r
Highlander Prototype
 

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N_Jay said:
I think not!

This has been discussed at length.
The HP does not increase with 91 octane fuel!
That's too bad. Vehicles by Nissan and some other mfgs are able to take advantage of the higher octane by advancing timing, etc. to produce more power. Just assumed that Honda would be the same.

Glen
 

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Charlie, 0-60 times

I would guess that it has to do with where the tests take place. All the car mags do most of their testing in California where the air is thick and rich with oxygen. I have no idea where CR does their testing.
If you want to see that time drop way off, run the 0-60 test at 6K feet in elevation!
There's something to be said for "force feeding" air to an engine, but then again a turbo charger makes a little engine run like a big engine for 1/2 as long
;)
 
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