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Currently driving a '04 Pilot w/217k. It has been a great vehicle! We have been a Honda family for quite a while, as we have had 8 Hondas over the years. Wife ('11 CRV) and both kids ('15 Civic and '09 Accord) are currently driving Hondas as well. I like to maintain and take care of my vehicles and have wrenched on them all a fair amount over the years. I am looking at the '21 Pilot, but the reliability and problems I keep reading about with this generation have me strongly considering a '21 Highlander. I want a RELIABLE vehicle that I can count on for ~15 years, and I am not feeling a lot of positive vibes on the newer Pilots. I have intentionally waited until this generation had a few years on it for Honda to work out the issues, but the issues seem to continue. I am not worried about the 3rd row leg room in the Highlander, as the back row is folded down 98% of the time anyway.

Has anyone else recently gone through similar thoughts?
 
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Has anyone else recently gone through similar thoughts?
Yes! You're not alone in disappointment with the dive in Honda's quality. 10 years ago, reliable mechanicals meant a reliable car. Now you have to balance that with the electronics and infotainment system, all of which if they mess up can make for a miserable experience.

The higher end Pilots have had a bunch of TSBs for issues with the electronics, and they're probably not done yet. The 9AT transmission had some hiccups at first, but has been updated (software and hardware) and seems to be pretty well-received now. If you don't need a large 3rd row that opens up a huge number of vehicles. Not sure anyone is doing it better than Toyota though.
 

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I’d say majority of the 3rd generation Pilots are reliable. You’ll hear more from people who have had problems than people who are 100% happy.
I think the 2021 will be the most reliable of the 3rd generation. Not many unresolved problems. Of course if you want bulletproof reliability you can’t go wrong with a 4Runner.
 

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I'm not sure if you'll be able to get to 200k miles with a third gen Pilot, but there aren't really many other cars that will make it that far these days. I have a 2020 Pilot, and I have no issues with it so far. I think you'll be happy with your decision if you get a Pilot now, until the next generation comes out lol. I feel like they'll make the next generation turbocharged and even less rugged looking now that the Acura products are going all turbo, and Honda now has more off-road looking cars in their lineup. If you want to get a Pilot, I think now is the time. As long as you disable VCM and treat the transmission right, you should be able to make it past 150k easily.
 

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I'm not sure if you'll be able to get to 200k miles with a third gen Pilot, but there aren't really many other cars that will make it that far these days. I have a 2020 Pilot, and I have no issues with it so far. I think you'll be happy with your decision if you get a Pilot now, until the next generation comes out lol. I feel like they'll make the next generation turbocharged and even less rugged looking now that the Acura products are going all turbo, and Honda now has more off-road looking cars in their lineup. If you want to get a Pilot, I think now is the time. As long as you disable VCM and treat the transmission right, you should be able to make it past 150k easily.
I'm in the same boat as the OP. My current lease will be up in a few months on the 2018 EX-L AWD Pilot I have now. It did need a couple things looked at that they took care of under warranty but for sure I'm turning it in.

I'd like to get into another Pilot and was looking at probably going for a 2021 EX AWD.

I've seen some threads about disabling VCM but don't know too much about it - still have some reading to do. I have zero mechanic skills so I'd have to look for someone who can do it. Quest, if you disable VCM, can you re-enable it later?

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I'm in the same boat as the OP. My current lease will be up in a few months on the 2018 EX-L AWD Pilot I have now. It did need a couple things looked at that they took care of under warranty but for sure I'm turning it in.

I'd like to get into another Pilot and was looking at probably going for a 2021 EX AWD.

I've seen some threads about disabling VCM but don't know too much about it - still have some reading to do. I have zero mechanic skills so I'd have to look for someone who can do it. Quest, if you disable VCM, can you re-enable it later?

Sent from my AT&T Samsung Note8 using Tapatalk
Im not mechanically inclined either. Best thing I've done to my car although i waited two years 15k miles to install it. I hope i didnt cause too much damage to my engine mount/ direct injection. I installed the vcm tuner 2 and should be able to take it off if i need to take it to the the dealership
 

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Im not mechanically inclined either. Best thing I've done to my car although i waited two years 15k miles to install it. I hope i didnt cause too much damage to my engine mount/ direct injection. I installed the vcm tuner 2 and should be able to take it off if i need to take it to the the dealership
I just took a bit of time and looked up some youtube videos. You're right, it doesn't look too difficult actually.

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I’d say majority of the 3rd generation Pilots are reliable. You’ll hear more from people who have had problems than people who are 100% happy.
I think the 2021 will be the most reliable of the 3rd generation. Not many unresolved problems. Of course if you want bulletproof reliability you can’t go wrong with a 4Runner.
I agree. No problems with my 2016. Fingers crossed.
 

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Get what you like the most after test drives. If you are that concerned about reliability get one of the hifalutin extended bumper to bumper warranties. If you go to the Highlander forums I'm sure you'd think they are garbage too... most people, especially on non-enthusiast forums (like three row crossovers) only go on them to talk about problems they've had and how to fix them.
 

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Get what you like the most after test drives. If you are that concerned about reliability get one of the hifalutin extended bumper to bumper warranties. If you go to the Highlander forums I'm sure you'd think they are garbage too... most people, especially on non-enthusiast forums (like three row crossovers) only go on them to talk about problems they've had and how to fix them.
Go to the toyotanations forum and you'll see that's not the case. Almost a year in, there are no recurring mechanical and electronics issues like the Pilot. Despite the fact that this is the first year of the 4th generation vehicle, it's been very solid and reliable. Time will tell.

Full disclosure, I purchased one after trading in my Odyssey

Btw, I don't equate extended warranties with reliability which is why I didn't buy one for my current vehicle.
 

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Yes, it's either going to be a Highlander or a Land Cruiser/LX570 for us for the next car.
Highlander is still a compromise. New generation has issues, just like all new cars that are becoming increasingly complex in that mpg and electronics chase. Which is part of a reason we're seriously considering a previous generation LandCruiser - under all the bling it is still a much a simpler more reliable vehicle whose mechanical design started strong and was perfected over the decades.
We had an older 04 Highlander one back in the day and it drove nicely, and didn't need much in maintenance until around 120K miles. But the insurance rate on it was insane for some reason. One of the reasons we bought a Pilot back in the day, was because a) we were getting a bigger vehicle (at the time, newer Highlanders blew up in size, beginning with 2008); b) dollar-for-dollar, it was much cheaper to insure a Pilot, than a Highlander at the time.

Truth be told, it seems that all recent cars are designed to perform decently until they are out of warranty (either nothing breaks or gets fixed under warranty).
Once the warranty is up - total cost of ownership will depend on the cost of spares and your ability to do the work yourself. That's why you can buy a used BMW or an Audi with pocket change.
Manufacturers clued in long time ago that about 70% of Americans and Canadians change their current car for a newer one every 3 years or so. And that's what they are designing and building nowadays. Once you hit those 150K miles and around 3-5 years (the longer that period is the better the car) the proverbial wheels begin to fall of the wagon pretty quick.
 

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Yes, it's either going to be a Highlander or a Land Cruiser/LX570 for us for the next car.
Highlander is still a compromise. New generation has issues, just like all new cars that are becoming increasingly complex in that mpg and electronics chase. Which is part of a reason we're seriously considering a previous generation LandCruiser - under all the bling it is still a much a simpler more reliable vehicle whose mechanical design started strong and was perfected over the decades.
We had an older 04 Highlander one back in the day and it drove nicely, and didn't need much in maintenance until around 120K miles. But the insurance rate on it was insane for some reason. One of the reasons we bought a Pilot back in the day, was because a) we were getting a bigger vehicle (at the time, newer Highlanders blew up in size, beginning with 2008); b) dollar-for-dollar, it was much cheaper to insure a Pilot, than a Highlander at the time.

Truth be told, it seems that all recent cars are designed to perform decently until they are out of warranty (either nothing breaks or gets fixed under warranty).
Once the warranty is up - total cost of ownership will depend on the cost of spares and your ability to do the work yourself. That's why you can buy a used BMW or an Audi with pocket change.
Manufacturers clued in long time ago that about 70% of Americans and Canadians change their current car for a newer one every 3 years or so. And that's what they are designing and building nowadays. Once you hit those 150K miles and around 3-5 years (the longer that period is the better the car) the proverbial wheels begin to fall of the wagon pretty quick.
Landcruiser is at least twice as expensive as Highlander... Have you thought about Sequoia?
 

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We'll be in the market soon for a new vehicle in the next year or so. We passed our '05 Pilot EXL down to our son. The '16 Pilot EXL will go to our middle child in a couple of years. I'm a little underwhelmed with the quality of the '16 compared to the '05, but still generally satisfied. We just had the fuel injectors replaced in the '16 Pilot this week under TSB 19-072, so my attitude may change if we experience more issues with it.

We test drove the previous generation Highlander and really liked it, but we chose to go with the '16 Pilot for the larger 3rd row space. In 2018 I bought myself a new Toyota 4Runner. It falls short in almost every category when compared to the Pilot or Highlander (except true off-road capability, and maybe reliability), but I still love it!

I say do your research, buy what you want, and don't look back.
 

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Go to the toyotanations forum and you'll see that's not the case. Almost a year in, there are no recurring mechanical and electronics issues like the Pilot. Despite the fact that this is the first year of the 4th generation vehicle, it's been very solid and reliable. Time will tell.

Full disclosure, I purchased one after trading in my Odyssey

Btw, I don't equate extended warranties with reliability which is why I didn't buy one for my current vehicle.
You got one of the brand new models? I was disappointed they didn't do more with the looks, I've always found the Highlander to be a milquetoast design. Of course if they go the direction of the Avalon or Corolla I'd rather not have to vomit every time I see one. But the Rav4 is quite a good looking design.

My comment about extended warranties is something I suggest to someone worried about long term reliability. I've never purchased one, my dad did once and didn't use it and won't do it again.
 

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You got one of the brand new models? I was disappointed they didn't do more with the looks, I've always found the Highlander to be a milquetoast design. Of course if they go the direction of the Avalon or Corolla I'd rather not have to vomit every time I see one. But the Rav4 is quite a good looking design.

My comment about extended warranties is something I suggest to someone worried about long term reliability. I've never purchased one, my dad did once and didn't use it and won't do it again.
I bought the 2020 model.

The new design is more evolutionary than revolutionary but that's the way I like it. A few aggressive cues here and there like the muscular rear and the perpetually frowning front end. I suspect Honda will follow a similar path with their Pilot in the next iteration. Regardless of their looks, both Honda and Toyota will sell a ton of them.
 

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Truth be told, it seems that all recent cars are designed to perform decently until they are out of warranty (either nothing breaks or gets fixed under warranty).
Does that suggest because Hyundai/Kia vehicles have a longer warranty they are made better than Toyotas?
 
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