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Discussion Starter #1
I ended up with a base 4WD V6 model HL (henceforth shall be referred to as HL) to drive while my Pilot's in the shop. The car has little over 17,000KM=approx 10565mi (my Pilot has little over 16,000KM=9940mi) and even with this little mileage, the car's beat up with stains all over inside, nicks and chips all over the car. I guess it's expected from being a rental.

I did test drive the this car (the Limited Edition, still, the same engine and powertrain) right before the Pilot came out and would probably be driving it if the Pilot wasn't around. But having driven this car for a good couple of days now, making field calls to the clients' offices all over the city, but also travelling on the same roads as much as possible to be able to compare the 2 vehicles accurately, I thought I'd report in here with my impressions. Just as a caveat, please bear in mind that, by no means, I even pretend to be an expert in cars, so, read it with some caution :)

Interior Observations and Assessment:

I know this is common knowledge, but the HL is considerably smaller, both in exterior and interior dimensions and the latter was especially noticeable when I started to chug around town in it. I started missing Pilot's overall roomy and open feel in the car. The second row legroom is also rather lacking compared to the Pilot and of course, there's no rear climate controls either, even in the Limited Edition. I also missed the stereo controls on the steering wheel on the Pilot. It's a handy feature, once you get used to it, IMHO. And of course, again, IMHO, I think the Pilot's a better looking car.

The fit & finish of the dash and the interior panels is, as expected from a Toyota, very nice and tight. Appearance wise, the Pilot's dash and panel look cleaner and understated, with sharp lines, more rectangular in form. The HL's is more contoured with a look of continuity and flow to it. That's probably the reason that the HL's wood trim option does make the interior look more luxurious than the Pilot's since there seems to be more of the continuous wood trim in the HL. It also helps when you have a smaller area to cover though ;P Ergonomically, the Pilot has more thoughtful touches, such as better cup holder position (well, for the front in the HL, it's a rather impromptu and and makeshift one, using the middle compartment) and bigger and more compartments.

As you know, there are 2 netted storage areas in the backside of each of the front seats in the Pilot for the rear passengers to use, whereas the HL has only one for each seat. It's also fabric covered, which would definitely be more prone to stains. Also, the backsides of the front seats in the Pilot is plastic, meaning any dirt or stain can be wiped off relatively easily, but since the HL's is all fabric, it certainly would lend to more work to maintain that area clean. Obviously, I prefer the Pilot's version, even if the HL's might give off a more luxurious look with the fabric. But that luxurious look and feel would disappear in a hurry with blotches and stains all over them, however small or slight.

I won't go into comparing the third row seating or the cargo room, since the Pilot wins hands down in that area.

Performance/Handling/Ride Observations and Assessment:

I don't recall the HL being this quick and nimble when I test drove the Limited Edition before I testdrove the Pilot. May be it's because this one's actually broken in more than the one I testdrove, but Whether the OverDrive is on or not, based on the acceleration and power I felt and experienced from this car, I honestly think that it's just as fast, if not faster than the Pilot. This actually does dishearten me somewhat :( (Please, just in case someone was going to lecture me on this, I'll preempt it right now. Yes, I know I didn't buy the Pilot to drive it like a sports car and that I really shouldn't be concerned with its handling and acceleration capabilities, but that's just the way I am. Besides, I'm making comparisons here between 2 vehicles.)

I know the Pilot's a heavier and bigger car, but still, I thought that the extra 20HP would make it a better accelerating car than the HL. I guess those extra horse power is not enough to overcome the extra weight authoratatively. Strange part is, I read in a couple of car magazines where the reviews put the Pilot's acceleration numbers less than the HL and a few other V6 SUV's with less HP. But I'm not so sure anymore. May be I should start driving my Pilot like a rental too from now on :D To be fair though, I've yet to floor my Pilot. May be I did come close, but I never actually floored the gas pedal let alone keeping it pressed to the floor like I did with the HL. So, perhaps, I haven't really experienced what the Pilot's truly capable of. However, even when not floored, the HLder seem pretty darn quick.

There is one distinctly different feel in the gas pedal though. It seems as like it takes less gas pedal depression distance for the HL's to be floored all the way than the Pilot's. Sorry if I'm confusing you with this, but by "distance" I mean, the actual distance your right foot/toes would travel to have the gas pedal to be floored all the way. Hope it makes sense. If that is a fact, then Perhaps that's attributable to the more sensitive gas pedal. In heavy traffic, I had to get used to HL's, while not overly, but still more sensitive gas pedal, compared to the Pilot's.

It seems to take corners fairly well and there wasn't too much sway during moderately abrupt lane changes going say about 100KM/H=approx 70MPH. But in this department, the Pilot's a clear winner. The Pilot feels firmer and more precise when put under similar driving situations. Again, I read that the Pilot was better in the cornering tests in those magazines than the HL and this time, I concur. Also, I don't buy the notion that the HL's a much quieter car. Even if it is, then very minutely so. I thought that the wind/road noise was just about how the Pilot's is at any speed. I felt more bouncy in the HL than the Pilot when going over say a slight depression in the road. May be I'm just used to the Pilot's firmer suspension, but personally, I don't like cushy rides. My mother drives an ML430 and I hated it. That car's like valium on wheels.

[ADDENDUM]
I forgot to mention that the steering wheel seems to take just a little less effort or force to to move with the HL than the Pilot. Also, the Pilot's steering wheel seemed just a little bit more sensitive. Not too much though. I know it sounds contradictory. The car that takes less effort to move the steering wheel should be more responsive, right? But for eg., my mother's ML430 feels as though you have to turn the steering wheel several inches before you can even get the vehicle to move, even though the steering wheel moves with very little effort. Hope that makee sense.

Problems/Noise/Misc:

Everytime I stepped on the accelerator while the car's either at a standstill or just moving forward slowly with the brakes off, I heard a distinct and noticeably audible low pitched creak from the rear. It's almost like a groan. This is not an intermitten problem, but rather, happens everytime, without fail. Also, on moderately hard braking, the same noise can be heard. I don't know what's causing it nor exactly where it's coming from. This car's a rental and it's probably been abused somewhat by every driver, so you can draw your own conclusions there. But still, should it be making a noise like that?

The fuel consumption is definitely better than the Pilot, or at least my Pilot, as expected with a smaller engine. I pushed this car very hard most of the time, much more so than I normally do with my Pilot. I only filled up 3/4 of the tank so far and even after having driven like I described, according to my calculations, it gave me 15.2L/100KM (15.4MPG) , whereas I usually get about 16.7L/100KM (14MPG) with my Pilot. But perhaps this can't be a fair assessment since I only had the car for a couple of days now.

Conclusion:

Strictly personally speaking, I still firmly believe I made the right choice with the Pilot. No question. I know I have no regrets. However, I'm pretty sure that if I were to have bought the HL and had an opportunity to drive the Pilot for a few days, I think I'd be crying from utter regret and sorrow by now. I just wish my window scrunch and the pinging noise can be resolved on my Pilot. If they were, my Pilot would be perfect.
 

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Great compar-o article RipRock. I'm sure this will come in handy for anyone who's considering a Pilot or a Highlander.

As you stated the size difference of the two vehicles makes a big difference in allot of areas. When I was SUV shopping, I didn't get a true appreciation of how big the Pilot actually is until I saw one parked next to a Highlander.
 

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RipRocK said:

Conclusion:

Strictly personally speaking, I still firmly believe I made the right choice with the Pilot. No question. I know I have no regrets. However, I'm pretty sure that if I were to have bought the HL and had an opportunity to drive the Pilot for a few days, I think I'd be crying from utter regret and sorrow by now. I just wish my window scrunch and the pinging noise can be resolved on my Pilot. If they were, my Pilot would be perfect.
Thanks a lot for the very helpful post RipRock!! :29:

Any comparisons of the sound systems?
 

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Hey Florida Guy - Who gives a **** about the stereo system. Go ahead and buy something already. (Pilot, Highlander, or any of the other 50,000 SUVs available.) Here's an even better suggestion for you, why not lease the vehicle. Then, because we all know that you are the type of person who feels jipped on everything after you make a purchase, the lease will expire just in time for you to trade it in and get the new and improved version.
 

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boiler1991 said:
Hey Florida Guy - Who gives a **** about the stereo system.
It is a very important feature to me.
boiler1991 said:
why not lease the vehicle
I buy vehicles new, maintain them properly, and keep them for a long time. I believe that this significantly decreases my overall vehicle ownership costs.
boiler1991 said:
we all know that you are the type of person who feels jipped on everything after you make a purchase
I rarely feel jipped and I'm a little baffled about what gave you that impression. I sometimes feel that I made a mistake. I believe the best way to avoid being jipped or making mistakes is to never just
boiler1991 said:
Go ahead and buy something already.
One of the things that I like about this forum vs. most others I am familiar with is that messages with the unfriendly tone that your message appears to convey are almost non-existent here.

Your message leads me to believe that my posts annoy you. I have received feedback from many other members indicating that they enjoy my posts. If I felt that my posts annoyed a lot of people I would alter my behavior. I certainly try my best to avoid annoying people.

As a suggestion you might consider adding my name to your ignore list in the Control Panel.

Have a nice day. :)
 

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florida_guy....take note....the pilot rocks....!!!:D :2: :2: :2:
 

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ramirami said:
florida_guy....take note....the pilot rocks....!!!:D :2: :2: :2:
Of this I am quite convinced. :) However, since I keep my vehicles for a long time I am quite willing to wait a few months to get one that I will be even happier with for all those years that I own it. :2:
 

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florida_guy said:


Of this I am quite convinced. :) However, since I keep my vehicles for a long time I am quite willing to wait a few months to get one that I will be even happier with for all those years that I own it. :2:
but beofre you accord reached 200K:D
 

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ramirami said:

but beofre you accord reached 200K:D
:D That's kind of a funny thing. Having come this far I kind of want to reach that milestone. I don't know if I will make it though. That is NOT a reason for my delay in buying my Pilot though. :bonk:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Re: Re: Highladner Redux (Sorry, it ended up long)

florida_guy said:
Thanks a lot for the very helpful post RipRock!! :29:
Any comparisons of the sound systems?
Hmmm...that's a good one. I'm not much of an audiophile at all, so I really never tested out the system. Sorry.
 

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Re: Re: Re: Highladner Redux (Sorry, it ended up long)

RipRocK said:

Hmmm...that's a good one. I'm not much of an audiophile at all, so I really never tested out the system. Sorry.
It's guys like you that cause the auto manufacturers to cut corners in this area and give us audiophiles such lousy systems in our vehicles! :twak: :D

Seriously though. I am not so crazy about great sound that I want to put in a real expensive aftermarket operation but I due want an above average system.

Thanks for responding even though you didn't compare them.
 

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I think toyota will be better as far as in dash stereo players are concerrned . They use JBL products . And i think honda uses it's own , not sure . An i don't find them that great . According to me toyota is better than honda as far as sound is concern . But i personally feel, i am buying an Auto so i should focus on core auto features . There are many other ways to mitigate sound problem .
 

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lalit said:
I think toyota will be better as far as in dash stereo players are concerrned . They use JBL products . And i think honda uses it's own , not sure . An i don't find them that great . According to me toyota is better than honda as far as sound is concern . But i personally feel, i am buying an Auto so i should focus on core auto features . There are many other ways to mitigate sound problem .
Thanks for the input. The stereo will not be a decision maker but if the Pilot has a lousy stereo I have to research aftermarket stereos and weigh their cost in the total cost of my Pilot.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
florida_guy said:

It is a very important feature to me.

I buy vehicles new, maintain them properly, and keep them for a long time. I believe that this significantly decreases my overall vehicle ownership costs.

I rarely feel jipped and I'm a little baffled about what gave you that impression. I sometimes feel that I made a mistake. I believe the best way to avoid being jipped or making mistakes is to never just

One of the things that I like about this forum vs. most others I am familiar with is that messages with the unfriendly tone that your message appears to convey are almost non-existent here.

Your message leads me to believe that my posts annoy you. I have received feedback from many other members indicating that they enjoy my posts. If I felt that my posts annoyed a lot of people I would alter my behavior. I certainly try my best to avoid annoying people.

As a suggestion you might consider adding my name to your ignore list in the Control Panel.

Have a nice day. :)
Bravo, FG! You took the highroad. I was rather put off by his curt tone too. That's reserved for the newsgroups where flame wars begin. We just don't need that in here.
 

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Florida - I wasn't trying to be negative towards you by any means, however, I stick to my guns on this, autos will always be improved as we, the consumer, demand more. I don't doubt that the Pilot will see improvements over the next 2-4 years. It's likely that we will see a sunroof added, an adjustable second row to allow for more legroom in row 3, and yes a better stereo may be in the offering.

I'm glad that the Pilot became available when it did because I was holding on to a 1992 Civic as long as possible. The MDX was out of my range, and the Highlander did not have enough space for my family. I probably would have been sitting in an Odyssee right now if the Pilot hadn't come out.

Good luck with your research and when you do decide to buy the Pilot just enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Re: Re: Re: Re: Highladner Redux (Sorry, it ended up long)

florida_guy said:
It's guys like you that cause the auto manufacturers to cut corners in this area and give us audiophiles such lousy systems in our vehicles! :twak: :D
hehe..it's a strange thing since I have a rather discerning taste in many areas that people would consider silly or me being as picky, but when it comes to stereo systems, I'm not that picky.

Seriously though. I am not so crazy about great sound that I want to put in a real expensive aftermarket operation but I due want an above average system.

Thanks for responding even though you didn't compare them.
Do you usually have the stereo volume turned up quite a bit when you're in the car? Almost all of m buddies crank it up when they're driving. I can never drive like that for an extended period of time. If I don't get enough traffic sound to my ears, especially with city driving, I just don't feel safe for some reason. If I'm out on a highway, then I'll crank it up a bit, but in the city, where I definitely do most of my driving, I need to hear the sound of the traffic.
 

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florida_guy said:


Thanks for the input. The stereo will not be a decision maker but if the Pilot has a lousy stereo I have to research aftermarket stereos and weigh their cost in the total cost of my Pilot.
it is not lousy...only average....but if you have theright bass and trebel settings the sound improves really well....IMHO:D
 

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Highladner Redux (Sorry, it ended up long)

RipRocK said:

Do you usually have the stereo volume turned up quite a bit when you're in the car?
No. I like high quality sound from my stereo, not high volume sound.

I will admit that a complaint I have about my Accord sterio is that on those really nice days when I want to open up all the windows and cruise down the expressway to some outdoor adventure the system doesn't have enough volume to allow me to hear the music clearly over the wind noise. Other than that I am very satisfied with my current stereo system. A few years back when I test drove a couple of mini-vans I was very disappointed in the quality of the factory stereo system sound
 

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ramirami said:

it is not lousy...only average....but if you have theright bass and trebel settings the sound improves really well....IMHO:D
Now in that regard I am a bit of a prude. I am a stickler for "sonic accuracy". I feel that only purpose of treble and bass controls should be to compensate for the occasional poor recording. I have a couple of CDs that sound unpleasantly shrill for instance.

To me using tone controls all the time is kind of like having a car that pulls to the right unless you turn the steering wheel to the left all the time.

But that's just me (and the more serious audiophile folks). Music is to enjoy and if you like the sound of yours then that's all that matters.
 

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Highladner Redux (Sorry, it ended up long)

florida_guy said:


No. I like high quality sound from my stereo, not high volume sound.
I guess my take on it is that it's a car and I don't expect audiophile quality performance from the stereo. I'm not driving my car around to listen to the stereo, it an aside from the purpose of the car. I think you have to take your surroundings into consideration. At home, I have a different set of standards for my audio equipment. But, we all have different needs and tastes....:1:
 
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