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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I are in the market for a mid-sized SUV. We want one for safety and road trips. The playing field is saturated with mid sized SUV's, and we had narrowed our search down to Toyota (Highlander) and the Honda Pilot. We briefly entertained the idea of a Passport, but liked the idea of being able to get a Pilot with 2nd row captain's chairs so she can watch movies from the backseat while I drive. We chose Honda and Toyota because of their long list of safety, reliability, and resale value. After living with your Pilot for while now, If you were to buy/lease a Pilot again, would you? What are the strengths and weaknesses, or gripes and praises you have for your Pilot?
 

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I don't own a 3rd gen so I'll let those owners fill you in on their opinions.

I will say that the Highlander and Pilot are NOT comparable vehicles. The Highlander competes mostly with the CX-9 due to them both have 3rd row seats that are worthless for anything but pre-teens. The Pilot competes with the Palisade/Explorer/Telluride/Ascent/etc. for having genuinely usable 3rd rows, even for adults for modest trips. Then the Traverse sits at the top of the heap being almost a foot longer than any other 3 row crossover. So if you plan to use the 3rd row I'd rule the Highlander out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I can care less about the 3rd row in all honestly. I am comparing Toyota and Honda mostly because of resale value and long term reliability. I agree that the typical comparison would be with the Palisade/Explorer/Telluride/Ascent/Etc. But I narrowed my focus to Honda and Toyota for the reasons I've stated. Thank you for your input.
 
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My wife loves her 2018 Pilot that we bought new. Now it has 12,800 miles and has been completely trouble free. I would absolutely buy it again. IMO it is the best bang for your buck in the segment. Plenty of power and room, comfortable quite ride, and decent fuel economy. If I have any gripes I would say the lack of charging ports in the back seat. Otherwise, everything has been great.
 

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IMO, look harder at the Toyota.

Many of us Pilot owners are multiple time Honda owners, who keep coming back for the reasons you mentioned (reliability, etc.) and have been disappointed by the 3rd gen Pilot. Honda is known to be reassessing their approach to quality due to their declining reputation.

I like my 2016 just fine; it has a lot of great features and things to like (drives great, solid AWD system, plenty of power). But despite being a factory-certified pre-owned vehicle I've been in and out of the shop multiple times for a variety issues, including the dreaded fuel injector replacement (P0430/misfire problem). Feels like I've had more annoyances with the Pilot in 9 months than I've had with my Odyssey in 5 years!

Maybe some of those issues have been corrected in newer model years. I hope so! Also, why no CX-9 with 2nd row captain's chairs? (Would have been my choice if it had a better 3rd row.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
IMO, look harder at the Toyota.

Many of us Pilot owners are multiple time Honda owners, who keep coming back for the reasons you mentioned (reliability, etc.) and have been disappointed by the 3rd gen Pilot. Honda is known to be reassessing their approach to quality due to their declining reputation.

I like my 2016 just fine; it has a lot of great features and things to like (drives great, solid AWD system, plenty of power). But despite being a factory-certified pre-owned vehicle I've been in and out of the shop multiple times for a variety issues, including the dreaded fuel injector replacement (P0430/misfire problem). Feels like I've had more annoyances with the Pilot in 9 months than I've had with my Odyssey in 5 years!

Maybe some of those issues have been corrected in newer model years. I hope so! Also, why no CX-9 with 2nd row captain's chairs? (Would have been my choice if it had a better 3rd row.)
I appreciate your input. We purchased our 2016 Subaru Outback because of all the allocates for reliability, resale value, dealer support... Unfortunately, like many newer cars from previously reliable companies, the quality has began suffering.

My brother and his family have a trouble free 2015 Honda Pilot. They didn't like the new body style and preferred the boxier look of the '09-15 body style. After trading their '04 in, they were sold. Fortunately, it's been very reliable for them.

My '16 Outback has been plagued with a wide range of issues. Some minor, some a little more major. We drive about 25,000 miles yearly, so finding a safe vehicle that's reliable, safe, and has some resale value is of importance. Our Outback is the state vehicle of almost all the Rocky Mountain states, so resale value is no longer there.

So looks like I have some serious day and night time driving to do in a handful of different vehicles. Thank you again for your input.
 

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I do not own a 2016-2020 Pilot, however from what I have read on here, avoid the 9 speed transmissions and the higher trim like the Touring and Elite. Most of the issues come from the additional technology included. It also does make a difference if you're planning to lease or buy. The earlier Pilots did seem to have some issues, but I think things have smoothed out with the 2019 and 2020 models (although not perfect). Keep in mind, most people don't come on here to sing praises to their Pilots, but rather to ask for help with the problems they are having. So the problems people have represent a very small percentage of actual Pilot owners. It would be easy to see the posts on here and think these cars are crap. I see so many new Pilots on the roads and they have remarkable resale value so I wouldn't hesitate to buy one if I had the need for it.

I like the Pilots because they feel much more sturdy and powerful (this is personal opinion) than the Highlander. You really can't go wrong with either one. Each car will have their quirks so test drive both and see which one y'all like hte most. Good luck with your decision!
 

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Outside of the infotainment issues, we love our '19 Elite. If Honda can get a handle on this, we'll be just as happy with it as we were with our '12. That being said, be wary....
 

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2019 Touring AWD purchased new, now have 12300 miles. Have taken it on many road trips and like the handling and mpg of around 27-28 when doing highway trips. Lifetime actual mpg is 22.3, with about 60% of total miles being around town. Only my wife and I and I thought we would use the rear screen also while I drove and she watched movies, etc. Didn't happen as the only time we even had the rear on was while checking out the car features. The headphones and remote are sitting in the rear storage area with the batteries removed.

The 9 speed transmission and the entertainment system with the standard rear screen video has been pretty flawless. No "popping" or freezing of the speakers or screen. That was a concern before we purchased but has not been a problem at all. Only have had an occasional "funny" shift around 24-25 mph due to the way the transmission gears are shifted in the 3rd to 4th gear I believe.

We would have gone with the Passport but it had literally just started hitting the Honda showrooms a week or two before we bought the Pilot. There were no discounts given locally on the Passports when trying to negotiate a price. The Pilot was discounted around $4500.00 plus an additional $1000.00 Presidents day/Car show rebate and 1.9% finance for 60 months.
 

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Yes, definitely. I would consider Highlander as 3rd row room is not that important for me.
This... outside of it having less tech the highlander has been more reliable of late.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you all for your input. It's helpful. Yes! A test drive on both the Highlander and Pilot will be done. We are looking at leasing. Seems like the newer vehicles on the road aren't built as robust as vehicles of years past. I convinced my wife to do a lease as we've found out with previous newer vehicles, they are almost built to be disposable in shorter periods of time--unlike the more robust cars of the 70's and 80's. I drew comparison to my parents VCR... the model they purchased in 1985 is still humming right along, but the model they purchased in 2005 is in a landfill somewhere. Even our 2016 Outback doesn't feel like it will last the test of time. Sadly.
 

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I do not own a 2016-2020 Pilot, however from what I have read on here, avoid the 9 speed transmissions and the higher trim like the Touring and Elite.
I do own a 2018 Elite. I love the 9 speed. I think its very much about your driving habits and expectations. If you do a lot of work yourself on your cars, don't get the 9 speed, its a pain to do the frequent transmission fluid changes yourself...take it to the mechanic.

My family loves how smooth it shifts, how you forget its even changing gears, and how it gets up and goes when you need it.

My biggest complaint for the pilot is the infotainment system crashes 1-2x a month. I have to turn the car all the way off and back on to reboot the system. Its frustrating.

We chose the Pilot because of excellent financing, carplay, how it drove, and my perception of honda reliability. So far, only the carplay has disappointed (because of the infotainment crashing). I wish it had Adaptive cruise control with low speed follow like the subarus.
 

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We have a 2019 Pilot Touring with 26000+ miles on it. It has been relatively trouble free other than some slight noise from drivers side door and a bad battery (discovered during battery test done at oil change at dealership). If we were to buy again, i would look at the Kia or Hyundai in a year or two (after kinks are worked out). We needed 3rd row space so Highlander and CX9 were eliminated. If CX9 had more passenger room overall, that's what we likely would have chosen. If you are leasing, then why are you concerned about reliability and resale value (buying at the end of lease maybe)? Given the number of miles you plan to drive, you may want to go Highlander Hybrid (assuming gas prices will go back up) but i would still wait a year to give Toyota time to work out the issues on a new model. One last comment re the back seat entertainment system. We bought a Roku to stream movies to it and it works pretty well (one minor irritating issue). However, i have teenagers and they rarely use it even on 15 hour trips. They prefer to watch videos on phones or ipads they are holding or attached to the seat back. They find that more comfortable than craning their neck to look up at the built-in screen. We liked other features of the Touring (including rear heated seats) and the entertainment system was a bonus, but I personally wouldn't factor that into a decision.
 

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Just my 2¢ here. I just traded in a 2013 Honda Pilot Touring for a 2020 Honda Passport Touring and have no regrets. It's just the wife and I, kids are grown and gone. We didn't need the 3rd row seat and found that while the entertainment system in the rear was attractive, it was hardly ever used. We have 3 granddaughters and used it maybe 6 times in 7 years. Most movies are a couple of hours long and we just didn't take that many trips where playing a movie made sense.

The Passport gives us comfortable seating for 5, and good full time cargo space. Besides, with the nature of entertainment these days, with two back seat usb ports individuals can choose their own entertainment via phone or tablet and not have to worry about draining the devices battery.

Would I buy a Pilot again? No, more vehicle than we need. Would I buy a Passport again? Yes, in fact the wife is thinking of getting one as her next vehicle as well.
 

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Coming from a long time Pilot owner as you can see in my signature, my current 2016 EXL RES has been pretty trouble free. I have close to 70,000 miles on the OD and the only real issue I have had was the tranny fluid change issue that you feel shuddering. I have a pretty early VIN so I was one of the first in the new body style. I still like the lines and when clean (not very often) it still looks very good and current. That being said the 2020 hasn't changed in Tech all that much from my 2016. That has been disappointing to see. The new Highlander has loads of tech that I wish was in the Pilot but all that tech is expensive at the top of the line trim alot of that comes from Lexus. If I had the money, I probably go with the Highlander as its a newer revision model. The Pilot is 4 years dated now. The newer electronic tranny has updated software transmission which fixes alot of the older issues. I have the 6 speed in my EXL and besides the tranny cooler flush it has been great. I'm curious to see what the new revised Pilot will look like. Good luck with your decision whichever way you decide. They are both good and reliable vehicles.
 

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NOPE. Next vehicle will not be a Honda - this one has been full of problems and I'm over it. Unfortunately I'm upside down in the loan by over $5k so I need to hold onto it - make it through, until I can get something within budget. I'm looking at the Subaru Ascent, Kia Telluride, Ford Explorer (doubt it will be a Ford as nice as they are - they are priced in the lunarsphere) or the Hyundai Palisade. I don't like the HIghlander because I actually use the 3rd row regularly with the kids, and I won't own a Chevy ever again if I got one gifted to me.
 

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NOPE. Next vehicle will not be a Honda - this one has been full of problems and I'm over it. Unfortunately I'm upside down in the loan by over $5k so I need to hold onto it - make it through, until I can get something within budget. I'm looking at the Subaru Ascent, Kia Telluride, Ford Explorer (doubt it will be a Ford as nice as they are - they are priced in the lunarsphere) or the Hyundai Palisade. I don't like the HIghlander because I actually use the 3rd row regularly with the kids, and I won't own a Chevy ever again if I got one gifted to me.
Telluride/Palisade would be top two on my list. Traverse/Enclave number 3/4. Probably Pilot or Durango 5 and 6. I'm not interested in CVTs or turbo 4 engines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I appreciate everyone's input. You all have a lot of good valid points worth considering. Lots of good pro's and con's. Interesting that the automatic transmission fluid needs changing as often as it does. I'm not sure what manufacturers are gaining from adding so many gears to their transmissions? Better shift points for hilly terrain? Improved acceleration or fuel economy? My Tundra has a 6 speed automatic, and that seems to fair well for towing and such; while my Outback is a CVT (love-hate relationship there).

The adaptive cruise control has really been a nice feature on my Outback. I'm surprised Honda isn't offering that on their new vehicles.

I'll head out to test drive a handful of new SUV's in a few weeks. Thank you all again! I appreciate all of your input.
 
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