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Can someone enlighten me as the actual real-world differences? I imagine it might shift smoother, have different acceleration, or have improved fuel efficiency? But I really don't know.

My wife likes the EX-L and I'm sticking to the Touring. I'm familiar with the other optional differences, but I want to make an informed argument for the 9sp tranny.

I'm looking for both pros and cons.

Thanks
 

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Can someone enlighten me as the actual real-world differences? I imagine it might shift smoother, have different acceleration, or have improved fuel efficiency? But I really don't know.

My wife likes the EX-L and I'm sticking to the Touring. I'm familiar with the other optional differences, but I want to make an informed argument for the 9sp tranny.

I'm looking for both pros and cons.

Thanks
Besides all the already posted review from all the trade journals this might help or you could Google ZF9 transmissions as others have posted opinions....
Honda's info
2016 Honda Pilot - Powertrain - Honda.com
 

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If you are towing the 9-speed tranny seems to be a question mark. The transmission cooler for it is very expensive at this time but we expect it to get cheaper.
 

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The PBS Motorweek TV test noted that the push-button style "shifter" for the 9-speed was un-intuitive to use. Maybe one will eventually adapt to its operation.
The EPA ratings list a one mpg advantage in the city test and no improvement over the 6-speed on the highway.
Bundled with the 9-speed is the idle-stop feature. It can be turned off, but it defaults to being back on every time you start the car. Field reports will indicate which is worse, having it on or always having to turn it off.
The idle-stop feature also requires an AGM type battery, which is likely to be significantly more expensive at replacement time.
 

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The 9 speed is geared lower in first and second so you will get better acceleration if you floor it as that would prevent it from skipping gears. It's also geared taller at the high end so you will have less revs at highway cruising.

Overall these new multi speed transmissions can be very good with the right programming and a nuisance when it's not. If it was me, I would pick the trim level that had the features you want and not worry about which transmission that car has. Honda had built up enough equity that I trust then to get it right, even if it does take a firmware update or two early on.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The 9 speed is geared lower in first and second so you will get better acceleration if you floor it as that would prevent it from skipping gears. It's also geared taller at the high end so you will have less revs at highway cruising.

Overall these new multi speed transmissions can be very good with the right programming and a nuisance when it's not. If it was me, I would pick the trim level that had the features you want and not worry about which transmission that car has. Honda had built up enough equity that I trust then to get it right, even if it does take a firmware update or two early on.
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Check out the video here at the 10:25 mark. It's the Redline Review of the '16 Pilot Elite. He punches it from a dead stop to 60 mph. You can hear the engine revving through all those extra low gears. It's pretty impressive for a crossover/SUV - it goes 0-60 in a little over 7 seconds. :D
 

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I hate to sound like a broken record, but owners of the MDX have reported their experiences on both the 6 and 9 speed transmissions.

The six speed seems to behave like a typical Honda/Acura transmission.

The 9 speed provides a noticeable improvement in 0-60 acceleration. However, it seems that the 9 speed gets mixed reviews for everyday driving. Some owners actually like how the 9 speed behaves, while others despise the way it shifts.

One of the issues is the way the first to second gear transition is handled. Since first is geared pretty low, it seems that engine power is reduced somewhat until the transmission gets to second.

Some owners do not like the way the downshifts go, and report that the transmission takes a while hunting for the right gear.

Another issue that has seemed to crop up is that the transmission shifts as expected during the test drive. But after a month or so when the owner has logged some miles, the adaptive learning of the transmission changes the shifting characteristics in an unfavorable way.

Yes, these issues can probably be alleviated with a software update, but I don't think Acura has come out with one yet. We'll see if Honda got the programming right on the Pilots.

Other things to note.
Please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the touring trims / 9 speeds get the paddle shifters, while the six speeds do not.

Also, the 6 speeds use the DW-1 fluid, which is probably changed at the traditional interval that Honda programmed in the maintenance minder. The 9 speed I believe uses a fluid from ZF (with Honda's name on it of course). I thought that the ZF fluids are supposedly a "lifetime" fill? (With lifetime for them being about 100K.) I don't know if Honda programmed the maintenance minder for the touring models differently, but I think the transmission and transfer case fluids get changed at the same time. The issue here is that the fluid is rumored to be around $30 per quart.

If you don't need a new vehicle right away, I'd definitely wait for a while if I were in your shoes. I understand that you might not be in a position to wait though.
 

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This 9 speed is also used in the TLX. And I just had a TLX loaner over the weekend with the 9 speed.

Ive driven cars with "multi" speeds before (multi = more than 6) so I kinda know what to expect. But the TLX really disappointed me.

I think the gearing is the same between MDX and TLX, and possibly the Pilot too. If you dont floor it off a dead stop, it seems to shift into 3/4 almost automatically (like NJGuy mentioned). Then if you want to get some speed out of it, the downshifts seemingly take forever. Even after you've gotten going and tronch on the go pedal, it feels like the car is pulling itself out of mud. In the TLXs case, I really came away feeling like the transmission is holding the car back big time.

Some people have reported this lag after driving the car for a while, but my loaner had 68 miles on it, so its basically brand new (still has some plastic coverings in the interior!)

However, I do think that Honda will "get it right", eventually. I feel like they've invested too much in the 9 speed to leave it where people hate it. Its in the TLX, the MDX and now the new Pilot. These are not "one sold per month" vehicles for Honda/Acura, so they really should get it right. The only worry I have is that it becomes a finger pointing match between Honda and ZF with the customer standing there in the middle getting hosed.

If you are adamant about a new Pilot with the 9 speed, make sure you can get one for a day or two and drive it in your normal everyday activities. I realize it will be hard since its so in demand right now, but at $45K+ its not something you want to regret later!
 

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Brolan or anyone else - do you have any more info or pointers to info on the transmission cooler availability and cost. I am definitely looking to tow. Was planning on a Touring but now you have me thinking I need to avoid it.
 

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Brolan or anyone else - do you have any more info or pointers to info on the transmission cooler availability and cost. I am definitely looking to tow. Was planning on a Touring but now you have me thinking I need to avoid it.
I saw a price of $4000 (in another thread) for the AT cooler quoted from a dealer. Check some of the other threads on the 2016.
 

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I saw a price of $4000 (in another thread) for the AT cooler quoted from a dealer. Check some of the other threads on the 2016.
There is no way that the $4k number is accurate. They are just completely making that up. Nobody in their right mind is going to pay almost 10% of the sticker price of the car to get a transmission cooler to gain 1500 lb of towing capacity. Once the part is actually available to purchase and in dealers to be installed I'd be shocked if the price was more than $400.
 
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