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Is a Pilot right for me?

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We've had Hondas since 1986. I currently have a 2009 MDX. It's been bullet proof until now. It has developed a parasitic drain, and I have to jump start it every other day. The HFL/bluetooth no longer works (nor does the clock). It has 173K miles and is coming up on major service needs. I still love how it drives, but am considering an upgrade. Especially chasing electrical issues.

I found a 2019 EX-L 6 speed Pilot for $34,900. It's going through some some service at the dealer, and then I'm supposed to deposit on it Monday. It has 40K miles. But I'm still not sure. Our kids are in college, so we don't need the 3 rows, but we like to haul stuff around.

I've always bought 3 year old used and never spent more than $28K for a car, but that doesn't look like an option right now. But it irks me to spend $35K on a car that will largely sit in the drive way while COVID keeps us in work-from-home.

I would love any input on whether a 2019 EX-L w/6 speed is a great car or not, and if that's a good price. Looking and reading about MDXs, I'm not thrilled with the 9 speed ZF, so I was thinking of sticking with the 6 speed in a Pilot, though now I'm hearing issues about that, as well. Also hearing about crackling and pops in the audio system. The audio issue would especially drive me crazy.

Should I work to repair the MDX and keep it for another year or so? Or, as both my wife and mechanic are telling me, sell it and get something newer and more reliable. I'm struggling thinking of driving a non-Honda, and the Pilot checks more boxes than others (also tested the newer RDX, MDX, Ridgeline and Pilot - along with Highlander, CX5 and CX9). I don't want to sink $1,000s of dollars in the MDX chasing electrical issues, doing the next major, etc. only to find nothing is still solved.

Ugh. I planned to keep my MDX another couple of years, but it feels like my hand has been forced.

Any thoughts, feedback, or reassurances are appreciated.
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Wife has 2019 Pilot EX-L. Great vehicle. It checked all the boxes we needed. We have about 34k on it.
There is a high incidence of Honda 6-speed transmissions having issues under 100k. It should tell you something that Ridgeline moved from 6 to 9 speed in 2020, and Passport only has 9-speed from 2019+, and now all Pilots starting w/ 2021 are 9 speed only. I did get HondaCare extended warranty, so I'm not too worried about premature tranny failure.

The 9-speed did have some issues early on, but as of 2019 or so, looks like most of them have been worked out.
From what most can tell, the 9-speed may be a more reliable choice for the long term than the 9-speed. I have it in my 2020 Ridgeline, and I tow with it - no complaints there.

Definitely get a 2019+ Pilot, as there were upgrades to infotainment starting that model year.
Yes there were some issues with the audio / display / backup camera - there was a recall (MOST bus issues) which seems to have fixed our issues (and my brother's 19 Pilot Elite, as well).

If you do go with a 6-speed transmission, make sure to religiously service the transmission every 30k.
 

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Based on what you mentioned, a PassPort may not be a bad option. The PassPort is mildly shorter but removed the 3rd row and is essentially built for storage ^^. Coming from an MDX you probably want more fancy interiors but if you can find a leftover 2021 PassPort in the Sport trim (last years entry level trim) they are around the same price brand new as what you are considering paying for a used Pilot. I think the 2022 got a small redesign and they lowered the amount of offered trims in the PassPort. Either way it could be worth looking into brand new and see what rebates are available.
 

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The MDX was known for some parasitic draws associated with the HFL module. Maybe try unplugging that and seeing if that solves the draw and drive it for another year or two. If you you look up draws on YouTube South Main Auto has some great advice for how to troubleshoot them. I wouldn’t be afraid to leave the Honda brand. The CX9 is pretty great if it meets your needs.

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OK, so it was the BT/HFL module was the issue. It's pulled and the MDX is happier.

BUT while I thought I was going to keep the MDX, I might now give it to my daughter. Which leads me back to shopping a new car.

The pilot checks all the logical boxes, but not the emotional ones. It feels like a four door odyssey.

I test drove a Mazda CX9. That was way fun to drive, but the Turbo engine seems to have issues before 100K miles (oil burning, coolant mix, etc.). Of all the issues with Hondas, engines are not one of them! I haven't tried the Subaru Ascent yet, but Subaru's often have engine issues, too -- at least they used to.

I just researched the passport. Odd that it's heavier than the Pilot and gets worse MPG! I don't see many available in my area, and it scored lower in the drive, feel and residual according to Motor Trend than the pilot, though I think it looks just slightly better than the Pilot.

Need to decide by tomorrow whether to pull the trigger on the 2019 pilot that will be available to me on Monday or keep shopping. My budgets expanded to about $35K at this point. Open to any input.

edit: maybe what it comes down to is the "logical" 2019 Pilot or the "feels nice" CX9. The Pilot is better on paper, the CX9 better in person.
 

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I was making a decision between a new Pilot and Passport late last year.

We've had both a 2005 EX Pilot that we both loved, and currently have my mom's 2013 Pilot (while its been going through probate). So we are quite comfortable with Pilots.

Given the first two interior rows of the Pilot, Passport, and Ridgeline are essentially the same vehicle it was other 'stuff' that made the decision for me. I started with the Pilot as 'what I know', then tried the RL (had a 2008 that I liked, but it turns out the new one is just enough longer that it won't fit in our tight garage space), then moved to the Passport. After fuzting about with each, some back-to-back test driving, etc. I decided to grab the Passport. We no longer need the 3rd row seats that just take up space, and I liked both the factory roof rail mounting options and (not a huge point) the exterior appearance a bit better. And, being a bit shorter it lets me fit a Yakima Exo hitch rack into the garage without having to take it off (found out afterwards, but bonus, heh).
 
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