VCM really isn't OK. Just do a search on here. Countless people have had problems with misfires requiring a partial engine rebuild. It's so bad that Honda has been sued in a class action law suit. On top of that it damages other components because the engine is no longer producing steady consistent power. My 2013 gingerly driven needed CV axles at about 50k miles. No boot leaks, just worn out INNER axles. That's NOT normal for a car. It also to put it mildly causes the car to "drive like s4!t". Honestly... it's a terrible technology that even when it wasn't breaking my car made me complain to Honda. My new owner Honda survey to the question of "How likely are you to buy another Honda" was something along the lines of "I will never buy another car with VCM technology". This was when the car had 5k miles on it and the vibrations started coming... all 100% normal. Horrible throttle response too. Ever wondered what throttle response would feel like if your car was running on 1/2 the cylinders and then "magically" would turn them back on about 1/2 a second later? Well Honda answers that question for you daily everytime you drive at a steady speed and have to go up a slight hill. Am I running over rumble strips or is that just my VCM sucking? At the time there was no way to disable it. You just had to suck it up and hate the car - so that's what I did. I never really got over it.Thanks for the advice. I'm partial to the Pilots for a few reasons. First, the space. Move back and forth to college AND working at a farm will require her to move some bulky stuff.
Second, my previous experience with my Pilot. I know that may not make much sense since it will be another model year and individual attention to maintenance will differ but from reading all the posts on Pilots (regardless of year), most are very happy with their Pilot.
Again, my big question involves the engine and VCM. Most are saying its OK. I really do think my Vtec from the '03-'08 models is almost bulletproof and once they moved to the VCM engine, things changed as far as efficiency. I do not hear much about engines failing and/or excessive oil consumption so I guess the VCM engine is fine?
Filling up a tank will be pricey but I want safety, security, and reliability.
It sounds like whether you go with a 2nd or 3rd gen,. we'll be fine...we just need to do our due diligence in finding the used Pilot with right mileage, condition, and $$
It made me love our Honda so much that we just bought an Audi - though we do still own the Pilot for my wife. The goal was I'd never have to drive the Honda around taking her and the kids places. Instead it's looking like my wife can tell the difference between an Audi and a Honda too.... so my plan maybe backfiring. There is a strong chance I'll never buy another Honda automobile despite me being a long time Honda fan. Frankly they aren't making Integra's anymore. It's just not what it all once was. Boring soulless cars with average reliability with crazy high parts costs. What's not to love?
Things to think about with a 2nd gen Pilot:
1) VCM Sucks - Just buy a disabler and forget about it. It really is needed.
2) Brake rotors - I get 20k miles before they start shaking. It's just a thing no matter how easy I try to be on them.
3) ATF Fluid - Make sure you're changing the fluid very frequently. DW1 is really only good for about 30k miles. Valvoline MaxLife is probably better for longer.
4) Timing belt - The tensioner is a weak spot. Make sure you're doing this on time and using either all OEM components purchased from a dealer OR Aisin kit from a repubable source like Rock Auto.
Do the above and a 2nd gen Pilot should be plenty reliable. The 3rd gen? Probably significantly less reliable but no personal hands on experience with those... but Consumer Reports hasn't been impressed.