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Discussion Starter #1
I know there's a comparison forum however I figured this would get a larger audience.
A family member's beloved 2006 Odyssey (250,000 miles...crazy!) was totaled today. They are leaning towards a Pilot to be the replacement however, it seems like Pilots are very highly valued in our area so even spending $20,000 you'll be getting a car with 100,000 miles or more. Plus a lot of them seem to have accidents in their history.
Basically I did a search for MDXs (2014-2016) and there seems to be a good many of them. Their mileage is slightly lower and the price is the same or a bit lower.

My mechanic has always said that Acuras are more expensive to own. Putting the gas requirements aside, are the parts more expensive? Acura is essentially a nicer Honda (I know its more complicated than that). Does anyone own both and can speak to cost of repairs on the MDX vs. the Pilot? Otherwise they will look into the CR-V which is most likely too small for their needs.

Any help is appreciated. Thanks!
 

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I haven’t a clue if an MDX is costlier to maintain than a Pilot.

You could price compare typical maintenance items such as air filters, spark plugs, and brake pads to see if there is a huge cost differential between the two. Also compare the maintenance minder codes to determine if there are more items which require replacement on the MDX. Unfortunately you won’t be able to figure out the timeline of the maintenance items since there is no printed schedule.

Also you could drop by your mechanic to get more info about what makes Acura a higher cost maintenance vehicle. Perhaps that was a general statement but not necessarily applicable to Pilot vs. MDX.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I haven’t a clue if an MDX is costlier to maintain than a Pilot.

You could price compare typical maintenance items such as air filters, spark plugs, and brake pads to see if there is a huge cost differential between the two. Also compare the maintenance minder codes to determine if there are more items which require replacement on the MDX. Unfortunately you won’t be able to figure out the timeline of the maintenance items since there is no printed schedule.

Also you could drop by your mechanic to get more info about what makes Acura a higher cost maintenance vehicle. Perhaps that was a general statement but not necessarily applicable to Pilot vs. MDX.
Thanks. I consulted my mechanic and looked at Rock Auto's repair index calculator. It seems generally MDX parts are more expensive. On top of that, there is a lot more technology that can break and lead to expensive repairs. They are going to stick with the Pilot....
 

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Unless you're really into midlife crisis sporty handling, fancy-pants finish, fritz-prone gadgetry, oxymoronic understated bling and wannabimmer "status," stick with a Pilot.

Half the MDX owners I cross in parking lots and gas stations look wistfully at my Pilot and have this look in their eye of "Why was I such a chump?"
 

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To be completely honest, MDX calipers, knuckles and hubs are enviable from the Pilot owner's POV.
The extra 60 HP for about the same fuel economy are not that bad either.
 

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What extra 60hp??? Its 280 in the Pilot, and 290 in the MDX, and to get that you have to use premium fuel. BTW, you can do the same thing with the Pilot although it's not really advertised. With premium fuel the knock sensors advance the timing more giving you the extra 10 hp. So there is zero difference there.

The bottom of the line MDX is already $1000 more than the top of the line Pilot Touring ($54k vs $53k, Canadian versions). But it's stripped of all the good features, just like the Pilot LX is.

To get the same features in the MDX as a Pilot Touring, you need to go all the way up to the Tech Plus version at a $61k, or $8k more, and even then you're still not feature equal, you're missing roof rails, ventilated seats, so you have to step up to the MDX Elite at $65k if you want those.

And in all those versions, it's the same drivetrain.

I look at the Pilot Touring (Canadian version is the same as the US Elite, we have no Elite versions here but our Tourings have the exact same features) as a much better bang-for-the buck MDX. Plus, while I'll agree that styling is subjective and personal, I think the Pilot looks way more sporty, and to me the MDX looks like an old-man's car (I am bordering in being an old-man myself, and would not want an MDX if you gave me the choice for free vs the Pilot).
 

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240 in the pilot, 280 or 300 in the MDX. What years are you comparing?
 

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I think he was looking at brand new or anything say '16 up.

If I needed space I'd get the Pilot. If I wanted more style and luxury and performance I'd grab the MDX. I assume the cost of ownership will be pretty similar through the years.
 

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In earlier year models, there was a larger delta between Pilot and MDX rated horsepower. Over the years that gap has shrunk.
 

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The current Pilot and MDX are exactly the same vehicle from a mechanical perspective. The sheetmetal, interior trim and option packaging is where there are where the differences arise.
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From a cost of repairs and maintenance perspective, the MDX is exactly the same as the Pilot. There may be minor deviations, such as the cost differential between a Pilot which has a single larger muffler with no chrome tip vs the MDX version’s dual small mufflers with chrome tips. But then again, Honda exhaust systems nowadays last the life of the vehicle, so you aren’t likely to need to replace mufflers, etc unless due to collision damage. This generally holds true for all cross-brand models (Accord vs TL/TLX, Civic vs CSX/ILX, etc...). I own a 2005 Accord 4dr 4 cylinder automatic, and used to own a 2005 TL - and I can tell you that both vehicles over a 14 year span had exactly the same cost to do oil changes, battery changes, front brakes, wiper blades, winter tires, etc... they each needed the odd repairs - the Accord ate an alternator and a starter motor, and the TL ate a wiper motor and driver door lock actuator. Taking these things info consideration, the TL was actually less expensive from a repairs perspective, but almost identical to the Accord from a maintenance perspective, as the Accord’s 4 cylinder takes a little more oil (5.5 litres) than the TL’s V6 (5.0 litres) at oil change time. Bottom line here is that anyone who claims that Acura vehicles are more costly from and R&M perspective is either lying or uninformed.
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The Pilot version has a few features that the MDX version doesn’t get. This includes the panoramic sunroof, up to 8 seat capacity, larger cargo space behind the third row, and illuminated cup holders.
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The MDX version gets proper armrests on the first and second row center consoles, nicer interior trim level and blue-tinted door mirrors.
 

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Agreed it the exact same drivetrain... same motor, same transmission and same all wheel drive system. Why bother with the MDX unless you can't find a pilot
 

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When I was doing my comparison shopping, the only feature that stood out as having a slight edge is the MDX’s Super Handling AWD. In addition to some features already mentioned like panoramic roof missing on the MDX and a very tight 3rd row, it also doesn’t have wireless charging. It may look like insignificant until you get an AirPod Pro and the latest iPhones. But all of these can be waved off by an Acura fan as cosmetics.

What is definitely very concerning is the reliability index for the new generation MDX. Now, I don’t rely on CR but what they say about the MDX is noteworthy: “The Acura MDX has had below- to well-below-average reliability since its light redesign, also called a freshening, in 2016, as has the redesigned 2019 RDX. The brands dropped nine positions, the biggest fall in this year’s rankings!” (https://www.consumerreports.org/car-reliability-owner-satisfaction/who-makes-the-most-reliable-cars/). I often compare CR’s reports/findings with that of JD Power and this article does a great job with that: https://247wallst.com/special-report/2019/07/17/best-car-brands-oof-2019/
Acura doesn’t make the list of best 10 but Toyota and Lexus do on both CR and JD Power. I should admit Honda didn’t make the list too but the very specific report CR gave on the MDX suggests to me that anyone in the market shopping for it, should be very wary! It may be a colossal waste of money.


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When I was doing my comparison shopping, the only feature that stood out as having a slight edge is the MDX’s Super Handling AWD. In addition to some features already mentioned like panoramic roof missing on the MDX and a very tight 3rd row, it also doesn’t have wireless charging. It may look like insignificant until you get an AirPod Pro and the latest iPhones. But all of these can be waved off by an Acura fan as cosmetics.

What is definitely very concerning is the reliability index for the new generation MDX. Now, I don’t rely on CR but what they say about the MDX is noteworthy: “The Acura MDX has had below- to well-below-average reliability since its light redesign, also called a freshening, in 2016, as has the redesigned 2019 RDX. The brands dropped nine positions, the biggest fall in this year’s rankings!” (https://www.consumerreports.org/car-reliability-owner-satisfaction/who-makes-the-most-reliable-cars/). I often compare CR’s reports/findings with that of JD Power and this article does a great job with that: https://247wallst.com/special-report/2019/07/17/best-car-brands-oof-2019/
Acura doesn’t make the list of best 10 but Toyota and Lexus do on both CR and JD Power. I should admit Honda didn’t make the list too but the very specific report CR gave on the MDX suggests to me that anyone in the market shopping for it, should be very wary! It may be a colossal waste of money.


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I'm not sure what year you were looking at, but the 3rd gen Pilot i-VTM system is SH-AWD, the older Pilot's didn't have SH-AWD but it's still a much better system than almost every other manufacturer.
 

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I'm not sure what year you were looking at, but the 3rd gen Pilot i-VTM system is SH-AWD, the older Pilot's didn't have SH-AWD but it's still a much better system than almost every other manufacturer.
My understanding is that they are slightly different for the current generation. Same base but slightly different modifications that makes the SH-AWD slightly better. Check out this comparison video:


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My understanding is that they are slightly different for the current generation. Same base but slightly different modifications that makes the SH-AWD slightly better. Check out this comparison video:


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I'll have to check that out when I get home from work... it makes sense that Acura would keep their product one step ahead of the Honda where they can... those are the differentiators that lead people to buy the Acura over the Honda.
 

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My understanding is that they are slightly different for the current generation. Same base but slightly different modifications that makes the SH-AWD slightly better. Check out this comparison video:


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I watched most of it during my lunch break... very interesting video, thank you for posting it! So in terms of hardware they are the same (may be a different part number or two here or there), but the MDX traction control/stability/vehicle dynamics system is set to send more overall torque to the rear and allow a little more rotation of the vehicle.

Also interesting (and supports what I have assumed based on the HUGE fluid capacity of the rear diff) that the VTM, i-VTM and SH-AWD are all designed to handle heavier use than most AWD vehicles. Having owned a number of AWD SUVs, the Pilot by far has the most stout rear driveline, all of the axles are larger, the rear diff is more substantial and can hold way more fluid to keep it cool. By comparison, the Traverse has a minuscule rear diff., I'm comfortable with it on a gravel road, in the snow, in the rain, etc. but I would not be comfortable taking it on the sand like I would the Pilot. Or soft roading.
 

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My understanding is that they are slightly different for the current generation. Same base but slightly different modifications that makes the SH-AWD slightly better. Check out this comparison video:
The video is incorrect about the AWD system in late model CR-Vs being purely reactive.
The Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System, introduced with the 2017 CR-V, can send power to the rear wheels proactively when accelerating and climbing hills and can actively redistribute torque between front and rear wheels as the CR-V goes through a turn.
https://www.hondainfocenter.com/en/CR-V-Family/2018-CR-V/Vehicle-Details/Engineering/Real-Time-AWD-with-Intelligent-Control-System
 

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When I was doing my comparison shopping, the only feature that stood out as having a slight edge is the MDX’s Super Handling AWD. In addition to some features already mentioned like panoramic roof missing on the MDX and a very tight 3rd row, it also doesn’t have wireless charging. It may look like insignificant until you get an AirPod Pro and the latest iPhones. But all of these can be waved off by an Acura fan as cosmetics.

What is definitely very concerning is the reliability index for the new generation MDX. Now, I don’t rely on CR but what they say about the MDX is noteworthy: “The Acura MDX has had below- to well-below-average reliability since its light redesign, also called a freshening, in 2016, as has the redesigned 2019 RDX. The brands dropped nine positions, the biggest fall in this year’s rankings!” (https://www.consumerreports.org/car-reliability-owner-satisfaction/who-makes-the-most-reliable-cars/). I often compare CR’s reports/findings with that of JD Power and this article does a great job with that: https://247wallst.com/special-report/2019/07/17/best-car-brands-oof-2019/
Acura doesn’t make the list of best 10 but Toyota and Lexus do on both CR and JD Power. I should admit Honda didn’t make the list too but the very specific report CR gave on the MDX suggests to me that anyone in the market shopping for it, should be very wary! It may be a colossal waste of money.


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I don't put a lot of faith in consumer reports as they have been wrong so many times. One other difference between MDX and Pilot is the MDX has dual exhaust whereas the 16 and up Pilots are single exhausts.
 

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I don't put a lot of faith in consumer reports as they have been wrong so many times. One other difference between MDX and Pilot is the MDX has dual exhaust whereas the 16 and up Pilots are single exhausts.
Not as much either. However, JD Power collaborates a lot of their findings for automotive reliability ratings for 2019. I wouldn’t totally discountenance their findings.


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