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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Still looking for the right car, been trying to look for one the last couple of months but had some other things to take care of but now ready to get a new suv, either pilot or highlander.
If you had it to do over again would you purchase the pilot again, or a new highlander.
Have been looking at reviews, etc..., probably too much, but it seems like almost every article states how Honda has gone down hill and not as reliable since the 2016 came out. Really like the size and fact son has a 2015 and it is a awsome suv but when you going to dish out about 35-40k you just want to try and make sure.
Thanks for any thoughts.
 

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Still looking for the right car, been trying to look for one the last couple of months but had some other things to take care of but now ready to get a new suv, either pilot or highlander.
If you had it to do over again would you purchase the pilot again, or a new highlander.
Have been looking at reviews, etc..., probably too much, but it seems like almost every article states how Honda has gone down hill and not as reliable since the 2016 came out. Really like the size and fact son has a 2015 and it is a awsome suv but when you going to dish out about 35-40k you just want to try and make sure.
Thanks for any thoughts.
We purchased our 21 EXL in November. 1st time buyers 馃槑, Yes we would do it again!
 

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I have a '15 and I'd have no reservations about getting a 3rd gen outside of the first year or two. I like the way the facelifted 3rd gens look better and that all trim levels have better LED lighting front and rear.
 

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I take it you are asking the same question on the Highlander forums? The 2020 Pilot EXL is my wife's SUV, but I always get to enjoy the process when she goes car shopping. She had a 2011 Santa Fe which I must say was probably the most trouble free car she has ever owned and I hated to see it go, but it is what it is. That being said we spent the better part of a week test driving a bunch of SUV's and to tell you the truth I didn't see a dimes worth of difference in the whole bunch. She settled on the Pilot because it gave her the features she wanted at a price she wanted to pay. A comparable Highlander was priced higher and she wasn't impressed with the third row sitting. I didn't see it as a deal breaker, but then I don't ride back there. When reading posts in the forums or in online reviews we see all of the faults, problems, and dislikes that folks have with any vehicle, but remember, there are thousands of happy customers out there who never post or have ever even read any reviews about their vehicle. I think my wife has the right idea. Buy what suits your needs or makes you happy. By the way, she says she would buy another Pilot.
 

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Pilot is nice vehicle as long you can deal with transmission issues with 9 speed but I do wish Honda puts in a digital dashboard .
 

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I got my 2021 EX in November as well. Coming from an 06 Pilot LX. Test drove Highlander, 4Runner, Explorer, Ascent. For me the Pilot had the features, size, interior space, and price that worked best for my needs.

Would I buy it again? Yes. Only thing I might consider is going up a trim level.

Some of the technology I could live without. I didn't really know about the VCM until after the purchase, but that has been disabled.
 

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LOL -- the way you casually walked by and lobbed that "transmission issues" grenade is impressive. Even better that it's your first and only post since joining 2 years ago.
Yea I thought about saying something, but for those reading this thread that don't know the 9 speed had some software/refinement issues in '16-'17 that we really haven't heard about since.
 

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If you must have reasonable third row seats, get the Pilot, if you want more reliability, then get the Highlander, not to say that Honda is not reliable, but Toyota probably has the edge on that front.
 

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Just purchased one a few months ago. No real regrets. My wife and kids love the car. My main reason to go with the 2019 Pilot was for safety, supposed Honda reliability and the Gen refresh. Only real complaint is the rear cargo space and the fact that I have to disable the VCM.
Some things to keep in mind are:
  • 2016 is the Gen's first year and any manufacturer is going to have some issues in their first year (or two) of a Generation.
  • 2016 vehicles are at this point 6 years old and out of warranty...so any problems people have will be at their expense...so they come here to complain or get advice
  • 2016 vehicles also have much higher mileage than newer models and thus more wear and tear.
  • People with problems or complaints will seek out these forums at a much higher rate than someone with no problems or complaints.
 

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If you don't need the space I would go with the Highlander. I have had a lot of quality issues with my 2018 that I bought new. I am a typical Honda fanboy and would not buy this vehicle again.
 

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I鈥檝e said in other posts that I would not buy again as I simply don鈥檛 care much for the Pilot compounded by the issues we鈥榲e had (an issue with the rear suspension resulting in scary and inconsistent handling with the first few months we had the car, the issues with the 6 speed transmission needing frequent changes (every 15k-30k miles) to maintain smooth shifts).
I wish we had bought a used (or new) Lexus GX or a Sienna with AWD. The infotainment system is very dated and the Honda Sensing (at least in our 2016) feels generations behind that in my Insight (although the lane keeping assist is equally poor in both).
 

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I purchased a 鈥21 SE a couple weeks ago and have about 700 miles on it so far. The Pilot was not my first choice (that distinction goes to the Kia Telluride), but the price and availability of the Pilot landed one in my driveway.

Would I buy one again? Yes, if it were discounted off MSRP quite a bit as mine was. The Pilot is comfortable, smooth, has a well-built feel, and has a good amount of space for all occupants and cargo, but it does have some drawbacks (some of which aren鈥檛 inherently bad, but fall short compared with other SUVs in the class, and many less expensive SUVs):

  • The wireless phone charger does not work with either my and or my wife鈥檚 phones (iPhone 12 Pro Max) even without a case, no matter how they鈥檙e positioned (starts charging then stops after 5-10 seconds)
  • No wireless CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Adaptive Cruise Control does not have stop-and-go functionality (it disengages under 20 MPH)
  • Interior lightning isn鈥檛 LED
  • No electronic parking brake
  • No auto brake hold

All in all, I feel the Pilot is a good vehicle though a bit antiquated. I haven鈥檛 noticed any flaws save for the non-functioning wireless charger. Many people speak poorly of the 9-speed transmission and VCM, but I typically don鈥檛 keep vehicles longer than 2-3 years and am unconcerned. I may be concerned if I were planning to keep it longer, in which case I would factor in the additional cost of an extended warranty into the purchase decision.
 

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Would absolutely buy again, but I'd reconsider trim level because the lack of driver seat & mirrors position memory is a small missing annoyance in an otherwise decent feature package on the EX-L.

Keep in mind that the Highlander is realistically a 2-row SUV. The rear seats in the Pilot are actually pretty usable - I've put front facing child seat and booster seats side by side there with loads of legroom for the 3rd (children) and 2nd (adults) rows passengers. Tried that out with a demo highlander and it was clearly a no-go.

2021 Highlander had nice tech, but felt very cheap mechanically. Pilot feels maybe a generation older in terms of blingy bits, but mechanically much more solid. It's a trade-off I was willing to make, but in a few years I'll want better tech (exterior cameras and parking aids, better safety features, and so on).
 

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Would absolutely buy again, but I'd reconsider trim level because the lack of driver seat & mirrors position memory is a small missing annoyance in an otherwise decent feature package on the EX-L.

Keep in mind that the Highlander is realistically a 2-row SUV. The rear seats in the Pilot are actually pretty usable - I've put front facing child seat and booster seats side by side there with loads of legroom for the 3rd (children) and 2nd (adults) rows passengers. Tried that out with a demo highlander and it was clearly a no-go.

2021 Highlander had nice tech, but felt very cheap mechanically. Pilot feels maybe a generation older in terms of blingy bits, but mechanically much more solid. It's a trade-off I was willing to make, but in a few years I'll want better tech (exterior cameras and parking aids, better safety features, and so on).
Well by that time a whole new generation of Pilot should be out for your perusal. Should up the bling factor and my guess is the Pilot will get a similar (maybe detuned) version of the J35 the MDX is using but not the turbocharged engine. I think we will get the 10 speed as well, which seems to get pretty good reviews from what I understand.
 

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Well by that time a whole new generation of Pilot should be out for your perusal. Should up the bling factor and my guess is the Pilot will get a similar (maybe detuned) version of the J35 the MDX is using but not the turbocharged engine. I think we will get the 10 speed as well, which seems to get pretty good reviews from what I understand.
Honda should drop in the turbo motor, fit some performance tires and make a Pilot Type R.
Bet the kids would be thrilled to rip through those 75 mph curves on the way to and from soccer matches.
 

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Honda should drop in the turbo motor, fit some performance tires and make a Pilot Type R.
Bet the kids would be thrilled to rip through those 75 mph curves on the way to and from soccer matches.
If the system can handle the power (if the MDX can shouldn't the Pilot be able to?) I think it would be fun for Honda to create a Durango R/T or Explorer ST competitor. Neither of those are slammed and both are great as tow vehicles, in bad weather and are still comfortable to drive all day. Type R is unfitting since that's Honda's designation for stripped out, lightweight, hardcore focus. I'm talking more of a Type S vehicle, a sport luxury like the ones I previously mentioned.

Personally I wish they made a Durango R/T without the leather and a couple other niceties and could find a way to get it down between $40 and $45k. Right now, with AWD it's basically $50k to start.
 

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Have same thoughts as others but I鈥檒l chime in anyways鈥
Space I鈥檇 say is the #1 reason to pick Pilot over Highlander.
If I was to do it again I鈥檇 probably go Highlander because, 1) I don鈥檛 need as much space at this point, 2) the Honda 9 speed is super unrefined IMO (shifting is harsh and it hunts for gears at weird times), and 3) I like the option of a hybrid option although realistically by the time I鈥檓 ready to replace our 2019 elite some other full electric option may be available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks to everyone for info, great help. Have to admit, still not pulled the plug. Had about decided on a 2020 toyota highlander L AWD drive i found that had 19000 miles on it but dealer wanted as much as a new 2021 model so still looking. Really wish i could find a white 2015 awd model with only about 60k-70k miles. Have seen them advertised for sale in new york at really good prices but been warned to not buy a used one out of new york.
After reading consumer reports and reading on here and other sites about have giving up on a 3rd generation pilot. Just seems like too many negative issues and now not recommended by consumer reports. Maybe should not pay any attention to consumer reports but everything i have ever purchased over the years and then once i subscribed and started out of curiosity look to see what consumer reports said, they was dead on with every pro and con.
May change my mind about a pilot, but now looking at the Traverse which from 2018 up recieves outstanding reviews. Anyone ever owned one of those, if so how would you compare it to the pilot. Also anyone ever looked at the Pathfinder over the pilot? Hate to ask so many questions, and probably reading too much but dishing out 30-40K is a pretty big move, at least to me.
Thanks
 
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