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I have a 2009 pilot that just doesnt quit and we love it. It is time for another and we were looking at the 2020 pilot touring model. It looks like exactly what we want. The issue is i keep seeing horror stories on the 9 speed transmission and a clunk between 1st and 2nd gears. Is this just a few complaints on thousands of sales or a known issue that hasnt been fixed? Any other suggestions or thoughts on the purchase?

I appreciate your feedback.
 

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The ZF9 was improved for 2019, including software adjustments along with changes to the clutch and hydraulics.

I only have 1200 miles on my 2019 Elite, no complaints about the transmission yet.
 

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I have a 19 Touring, only about 1000 km now but I don't even notice the transmission shifts honestly. Who knows how long it will last, but for now it's really a nice smooth ride, zero complaints.
 

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I have a 2018 Elite and have no issues with the 9 speed. The design using Dog Clutches does make it feel a bit different between 4th and 5th and then again between 8th and 9th. I don't notice anything on up shifts but I do notice the slight neutral feel when coasting and going into 4th. Nothing that I would complain about but it is something that I notice with this transmission. I have never had any clunks or jerks like some other people have commented about. Personally I would not have an issue buying another car with this transmission.
 

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According to what I read there were hardware and software changes for 2019 nine speed.

Mine is very smooth and no issues but I have less than 7k miles.

Goodluck!
 

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I have a 2019 Elite, with 38,000 miles. When I first bought my Pilot, the transmission was very smooth. However, around 25,000 miles, I began to notice that shifts between 30-40 mph, when letting off the gas (such as merging into traffic) resulted in a "jerk & clunk shift. This apparently was the 4th. to 6th. gear shift. Later, I also began having similarly rough 2nd. to 4th. gear shift. The problem seems to be worse when the transmission is hot (long drive). Recently, I had a shift that was so rough, I thought it finally broke! I have taken it to the dealer, however, they did not drive it until it sat overnight, and they "couldn't duplicate". Long story short, I don't think Honda has resolved the problems with this transmission, and if I had it to do over, I would not have bought this Pilot... at this point, I am just hoping the transmission fails before it is out of warranty. Oh, and I HATE the auto stop-start feature, and am driven crazy by the infotainment system glitches!
 

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I have a 2019 Elite, with 38,000 miles. When I first bought my Pilot, the transmission was very smooth. However, around 25,000 miles, I began to notice that shifts between 30-40 mph, when letting off the gas (such as merging into traffic) resulted in a "jerk & clunk shift. This apparently was the 4th. to 6th. gear shift. Later, I also began having similarly rough 2nd. to 4th. gear shift. The problem seems to be worse when the transmission is hot (long drive). Recently, I had a shift that was so rough, I thought it finally broke! I have taken it to the dealer, however, they did not drive it until it sat overnight, and they "couldn't duplicate". Long story short, I don't think Honda has resolved the problems with this transmission, and if I had it to do over, I would not have bought this Pilot... at this point, I am just hoping the transmission fails before it is out of warranty. Oh, and I HATE the auto stop-start feature, and am driven crazy by the infotainment system glitches!
Regarding you hating the Auto Idle Stop system, here is my write up on how to set it to Off by default. Pretty easy to do and works great.
https://www.piloteers.org/threads/automatic-auto-idle-stop-system-set-to-off-by-default-ver-3-detailed.164718/#post-1624767
 

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I have a 2009 pilot that just doesnt quit and we love it. It is time for another and we were looking at the 2020 pilot touring model. It looks like exactly what we want. The issue is i keep seeing horror stories on the 9 speed transmission and a clunk between 1st and 2nd gears. Is this just a few complaints on thousands of sales or a known issue that hasnt been fixed? Any other suggestions or thoughts on the purchase?

I appreciate your feedback.
Congrats on your 2009 longevity! I had the original 2003 and kept it 'till last year with 212,000 miles and on its 3rd timing belt. Only things replaced other than warranty and routine maintenance were a couple of electric windows. My old Pilot was fabulous and I would still have it except my wife said I needed a new car and made me buy a new Elite in May of 2018. I've got 15K on it and I love it. Only thing I notice if I listen is more gear shifts. Don't really notice and I do love the better mileage. I get over 22.5 city.

Bottom line to me is you can't make a 4/5 speed behave like a 9 speed. But I can't notice anything that bothers me, I'm loving this Pilot as much as the old one... OK maybe better with all the new "features"!

I hope this is helpful.

Chris
 

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I have a 2009 pilot that just doesnt quit and we love it. It is time for another and we were looking at the 2020 pilot touring model. It looks like exactly what we want. The issue is i keep seeing horror stories on the 9 speed transmission and a clunk between 1st and 2nd gears. Is this just a few complaints on thousands of sales or a known issue that hasnt been fixed? Any other suggestions or thoughts on the purchase?

I appreciate your feedback.
I just bought a new 2020 Touring. Had a 2016 Touring. Both have the 9 speed automatic. The 2020 model is much improved as far as I can tell transmission wise. The 2016 model seemed to be more aggressive with shifting. Seems as if the 2020 has the gear ratios spread out more making it smoother.The 2016 had nearly 80,000 miles on it. I gave it to my daughter and she loves it.
 

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We've had our 2019 Touring for a year now and have about 15,000 miles on it (upgraded from beloved 2004 Pilot). The nine-speed has been 99.9% flawless, but as smsylvia notes above there can be an occasional odd/rough shift if you happen to let off on the throttle at 35-40 mph just as the transmission is shifting, during what I think is the third gear to fourth gear shift, (but could be 4-5). Because of the way the transmission works internally that particular gear change seems to take a bit longer to complete, and if you suddenly back-off throttle while the shift is in process it gets confused and can be a bit clunky. That said, its only noticable then because the transmission is otherwise so smooth. It's as good or better than any other automatic transmission I've owned and works great for towing a boat (love the paddle shifters for towing) and I believe it helps boost gas mileage. Its pretty easy to get an indicated 27-28 mpg on road trips at 65-70 mph and we topped 30 mpg on one trip, but in-town stop & go or short trip driving will cut that to low-20's.
 

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Let's be real about the "horror stories" related to the 9 speed ZF transmission...

Honda sells 120-150,000 Pilots in the US per year, those figures are easy to find. Let's round that off to 200k world wide. Sales by trim level are not officially reported, but numerous blogs and reputed car authorities say that EX-L is the most popular trim level, I believe around 10-15% are Touring+ with the 9 speed. So 20-30,000 of these per year in Honda Pilots alone, not including Passports, Acura's various models, Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep/Range Rover/Jag/Etc. So probably in the range of 50-100,000 of these sold new PER YEAR across the board.

While there were problems in earlier iterations that lead to recalls, I only see a handful of people complaining about the latest versions. No guarantee as to longevity, and you can always find quirks with anything if you look hard enough, but really, I would not call these "Horror Stories" or say that this transmission is a complete disaster that warrants shying away from with a hex bag!

Keep it real and in perspective.

Cheers
 

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I have 2019 Touring with 7000 miles now, so far very happy with the car, it drives well. The transmission has given me zero problem.
 

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Yes, I am considering doing that... great write up! Has anyone detailed how to remove the wireless charging pad in the Elite?
You can turn it off in settings, if removing it is not feasible.
 

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You can turn it off in settings, if removing it is not feasible.
The point of being able to remove it is for accessing the wiring harness in order to perform the mod for disabling auto-stop.
 
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