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vs Toyota Highlander 4WD

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Ive owned all three generations of Pilot, currently a 2019 AWD Touring. I recently rented a Highlander XLE AWD for a family vacation in the mountains. I ended up driving about 650 miles mixed highway and town. Ive had my pilot in the same locations and I was missing my Pilot big time. The Toyota transmission is clunky especially when climbing and descending hills. It would frequently downshift and run at 4000 rpm with cruise control on. I expected this to be better than the Pilot's 9 speed but it just wasn't at all. The central display is much better organized on the pilot although carplay worked identically. The steering wheel controls are a hot mess compared to the pilot. On Toyota you have volume on the left side and track on the right under the cruise control. I love how Honda puts all the audio controls on one side and the cruise on the other. The dash on the Toyota looks like a malignant tumor with bumps and lobes sticking everywhere. The pIlot dash looks so sleek comparatively. If you are using the 3rd row the 2nd row seats have almost no leg room. The pilot is so much roomier and has better cargo space. I tried adjusting the seat every which way but I could never make the drivers seat as comfortable as the pilot. There is no center arm rests on the Toyota - you are expected to use the center console which isnt padded well for my bony elbow. Gas mileage was 22.3 for the highway portion of the trip in the Toyota. I did the same trip last summer in the Pilot and I got 25.8 and was using the A/C. Eco mode was on for both. The ride in the Pilot is much smoother on the highway - the Toyota rides much more like a truck.

One thing I did like on the Toyota were the slots in the center console and above the glove box. Perfect place to store a phone. I also appreciated that Toyota includes a mix of USB-A and USB-C charging ports. I felt like Toyotas Lane Keeping cruise control did a little bit better job staying centered. Without cruise control, the alert is annoying and repetitive beeping when you leave your lane without a turn signal. The pilot is less irritating.

For me there is no comparison. For typical family driving, the Pilot is a superior car in just about every way.
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That is very interesting and thank you for posting that. I am in a situation where if the mechanic doesnt figure out what is going on with my pilot today, I am buying a new car. I was looking at the Toyota Highlanders this weekend (online). Ive never owned a Toyota, ive had 4 pilots and an Acura MDX. My neighbor has a Toyota 4 Runner with 500,000 miles on it
 

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IMO the Highlander is not a Pilot competitor, it competes with the CX-9, Sorrento and other "3 row" crossovers that have very small third rows that can't accommodate adults in all three rows.

Haven't driven a Highlander in probably ten years, but I will say the transmission tuning on our Pilot (ours is a '15 5 speed) is one of the better vehicles I've driven, especially compared to our Traverse 6 speed which is very unrefined and quite frankly idiotic in its behavior.
 
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Haven't driven a Highlander in probably ten years, but I will say the transmission tuning on our Pilot (ours is a '15 5 speed) is one of the better vehicles I've driven, especially compared to our Traverse 6 speed which is very unrefined and quite frankly idiotic in its behavior.
In my experience, Honda has long had some of the best automatic transmission programming in the industry. Our 2005 MDX, which was the second year for the then-new 4-shaft 5-speed design, is probably my favorite of all the cars I've owned, and the transmission programming is a big reason. It's the only automatic that I've owned where it just seems to be in the right gear all the time. And the few times it's not, kickdown is very predictable. It's just a real pleasure to drive. Our 2009 Ridgeline isn't quite as good -- it'll sort of lug the engine around at times more than the MDX will.

Our 2022 Pilot has done well for itself so far. We test drove a 2020 Buick Enclave when we bought a 3-row SUV back in 2020, and its GM 9-speed seemed to always be shifting up or down, and it just didn't feel all that good to me. When we were back in the game for a large SUV last Christmas, it was with some hesitation we drove a Pilot, because the "weird" ZF 9-speed was the only choice. I've been quite pleasantly surprised at how well it does. It's smooth, it's predictable, it's not so "shifty" that it's annoying. Well done, Honda (again!).
 

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No that's not the difference between 4wd and awd at all. Awd is where power is sent to all four wheels but there is still an open or limited slip differential, meaning power can be sent to different wheels in different amounts depending on the road conditions and which wheels have traction. 4wd is where power is sent to all four wheels but the differentials are locked, meaning all four wheels each get exactly 25% of the power at all times. There's a good chance your Highlander is awd with the option to put it into 4wd; I'm not too sure about Highlanders but that's how my Sequoia is.
 

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I switched from owning 4 pilots and a MDX to a 4Runner. First Toyota I’ve ever owned. I really like the 4Runner but again to compare the two isn’t really fair. The Pilot is a fantastic comfortable car great for road trips and staying on paved roads. The 4Runner is designed to go off roading. We enjoy taking the 4Runner off of the paved roads. With the Pilot I wouldn’t recommend that. Like a poster above my neighbor has a 4Runner with 450k miles on it and it still looks fantastic for being an 18 year old car.
 

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In your mind. General market, industry analysts and auto enthusiasts say otherwise. Just because you keep repeating it doesn't make you right.
He/she is correct. A highlander and Pilot are not comparable. Maybe a Pilot and 4 Runner is more comparable. And just because you feel you know it all doesn’t make it so.
 

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In your mind. General market, industry analysts and auto enthusiasts say otherwise. Just because you keep repeating it doesn't make you right.
In fairness, I did preface with "IMO" - In My Opinion. And quite frankly, the only person I care about in those three "groups" you suggest are the auto enthusiasts. And I can tell you any of them that look at these vehicles also agrees with my opinion. Lastly, Toyota clearly agrees with my opinion because they are coming out with a Grand Highlander that has more third row space to make it more competitive with the larger three rows.

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I had a 19 or 20' Highlander rental a couple months back.

It's definitely smaller overall them the Pilot and it felt more 'sporty', like it can be thrown around corners a little easier.

Couple things I liked:
1. Comfortable front seats
2. Cubbies and storage in the dashboard
3. My wife likes the overall size since it's smaller, she felt it was easier to park and easier to drive on narrow roads. When the time comes we will probably go look at the Lexus version.


Couple things that I didn't like:
1. Infotainment system seemed unintuitive. Felt like the screen resolution was from 2010. All side buttons are annoying and the entire thing will look dated very, very quickly.
2. I think there was a gnome in the transmission with a 10lb hammer. For a vehicle only a couple years old, when I treated it like a rental, it sounded like someone was beating and banging as it shifted. Definitely not as smooth as the pilot.
3. Again treating it like a rental... Front wheel drive but initial traction / acceleration getting off the line reminded me of a 90s GM product. Lots of noise and not a lot of grip.

I only had it for a few days but still managed to put 35 bags of mulch in the back. Got to see it low ride and not make a mess in the pilot.

I know the rental trims are paired down base models so it's hard to compare properly ymmv.
 

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third row space to make it more competitive with the larger three rows
Every vehicle comparison has variations in features and/or size. The Pilot, Highlander, Ascent, CX-9, Pathfinder, Santa Fe, Enclave, etc. all fall within the same vehicle segment or class - midsize SUV. Following your logic, I can selectively pick a feature Highlander has or is better than the Pilot and say it's not a Highlander competitor. In the industry, they are competitors to each other.
 

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Every vehicle comparison has variations in features and/or size. The Pilot, Highlander, Ascent, CX-9, Pathfinder, Santa Fe, Enclave, etc. all fall within the same vehicle segment or class - midsize SUV. Following your logic, I can selectively pick a feature Highlander has or is better than the Pilot and say it's not a Highlander competitor. In the industry, they are competitors to each other.
I'm not opposed to the "industry" having more generalized categories that allow for fewer overall categories, that's where us as enthusiasts and savvy customers can narrow down their competitive set within each category based on their requirements. If looking at third row space, I maintain they aren't particularly competitive with each other. If looking at acceleration, features, cargo area, mileage, etc. you may find they are much more competitive in those categories. Each buyer needs prioritize those categories and decide which vehicle better suits those needs based on its performance in those categories.

Many who come on this forum currently or have used their Pilots for third row space. I regularly put multiple children and/or adults in the third row of our Pilot and Traverse. 3rd row space is very high on my priority list, as it tends to be for a lot of people looking at Pilots. The fact is that the Highlander is not competitive with the Pilot in third row space. I like the Highlander a lot and have always found them to be excellent vehicles, but it ranks low in my highest priority feature.
 
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