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Honda Pilot vs Mazda CX-9 vs Toyota Highlander

Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,020
We keep a couple seven-passenger crossover SUVs in our long-term test fleet and they're indispensable for carting around kids, terriers and lawn furniture. Of course, we still crack the obvious jokes. We'll tell you that these are minivans with hinged doors, SUVs trail-rated for the Starbucks drive-thru, tall wagons that think they're too good to be called tall wagons.

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2009 Honda Pilot vs. 2008 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2008 Toyota Highlander

Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email, karen@edmunds.com, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

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Comments

  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,210
    I noticed they picked on the Pilot for its brakes. Compared it to the Edge which was hammered for its brakes when it first came out. Look at the chart from the latest mid-sized comparo C&D did and you'll find that the Pilot's brakes aren't all that bad. Note: The Murano won that comparo even with its awful brakes.

    C&D CUV comparo data

    C&D has no 70-0 braking data for the Pilot yet. They do however estimate it to go to 60 in 7.6 seconds. Either the Edmunds editors can't drive or C&D is waaaaay off. ;)
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Observed MPG's

    Highlander 20mpg (270hp / 248tq)
    Pilot 18.6mpg (250hp / 243tq)
    CX-9 18.4mpg (273hp / 270tq)

    From the looks of this comparo, the Highlander has the best combo of power and fuel economy with the CX-9 right behind it due to the fact its observed fuel economy was on par with the Pilot while boasting a 23hp and 27lb-ft tq advantage over the Pilot. From this, I read that the VCM does not do much to help real world fuel economy.
  • rexfrexf Posts: 20
    I like everything about my 2006 Pilot EX-L AWD.

    When I first looked at the 2009 Pilot, I was very disappointed to see it did not get the new 3.7 liter motor of the Acura MDX. Now, it's clear. Dear Honda, as soon as possible, fix the brakes, change the tires and give us the new motor. Then, I'll buy one. For the moment, I can see NO reason to sell my 2006 and buy a 2009.

    Oh yeah, while I'm at it. Price the cars you offer in Canada fairly. There is almost a $11,000 PENALTY if you buy a 2009 Touring in Canada. That's $11,000 more than the identical car in the US. WHY?

    Thanks for listening.
  • Why do reviews neglect the importance of the center seat in the second row? The center seat in the Higlander is a joke and the CX-9's is not much better. Of the current crop of crossovers, only the Pilot and the Lambdas have enough room for three normal sized humans in the second row although the seat cushion in the middle spot in the Lambdas is not too comfortable. If you need the option of transporting 5 adults/teenagers and a significant amount of gear inside the vehicle, the Toyota and Mazda are not realistic options. Frankly, the Toyota is a four seater since the third row is not fit for human occupation. The center seat in the Audi Q7 is also an afterthought suitable for no one over the age of ten. Lest anyone think my girth is causing this squeeze, I assure you my 6'2" 170 lb frame is not the problem here.
  • cx7lovercx7lover Posts: 48
    Right, sit them in the very back then, because adults can fit back there, the seat in the middle is for children, not for grownups.
  • rf600rrf600r Posts: 3
    Shouldn't the title have read, "Asian Crossover Comparison"? No Lambdas, no Flex, no Journey, and so on. Please explain.
  • omfgomfg Posts: 1
    !!!!!!!!!!!!?
    Where is it seriously though?
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Posts: 588
    I was just wondering the same thing. After all, they *do* have a Lambda in their stable too (the Enclave). Or would that have put all the Asians to shame, so they just decided to leave it out?
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    I did not have a problem sitting in the middle row of the CX-9. I'm 6'3" and 195lbs. Shoulder room is a little tight and the seat its self was not as comfortable as the outer seats, however, it is doable.
  • albookalbook Posts: 1,282
    That's exactly how I would have placed these CUVs. But you guys are missing some competitors. Like the GMC Acadia (Chevy Traversr?) and Hyundai Veracruz. And eventually you'll have to compare the Ford Flex to something.
  • prosource1prosource1 Posts: 234
    As a 06 Pilot owner, the failure of my air conditioning system with only 51,000 miles and the general arrogance displaying by Honda towards consumers in both customer service and the abysmal design offerings by Honda force me to go elsewhere, I'll either buy the quality offering by Hyundai in the 'Veracruz' or wait for the 4-cylinder Santa Fe in 2010. But I'm done with Honda. This company just isn't the company they once were. The Koreans and domestic seem to be hungrier for my business. The Pilot has to be the worst design Honda has ever produced. And how 'bout that horrible plastic interior?
  • No freaking Outlook/Acadia/Enclave in this comparo? So was it Mazda that bribed you so they could be #1?
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    If the comparo was named "Japanese CUV Comparison" would you be so angry? Just because GM makes a billion versions of the same car, does not constitute them being in every comparo.

    I hope you have some evidence to support your Mazda bribery claim. Why is it hard to believe that a small auto manufacturer can build an extremely competitive car that's better then the majority out there??
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    There have been plenty of comparos against the Acadia and CX-9. i believe the CX-9 won all of those including North American Truck of the Year. I assume the little guy bribed all the Detroit journalists too?
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,210
    Why is it hard to believe that a small auto manufacturer can build an extremely competitive car that's better then the majority out there??

    Especially since the CX-9 has won multiple comparisons from multiple sources now. It's not just Edmunds that likes it.

    Does that mean the CX-9 is the be all, end all of CUVs? No. But it seems to be the enthusiasts choice.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Well said.
  • ericheseriches Posts: 7
    A 2008 Saturn Outlook XR AWD model was supposed to be part of the test, but the week before, our contacts at GM informed us that the Outlook has been in an accident and was tangled in a messy insurance claim. "Perhaps you have another all-wheel-drive Outlook we can use?" we asked, "or even a Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse or GMC Acadia?" But the answer was no.

    As in, no, there's not a single all-wheel-drive, Lambda-platform-based, General Motors SUV in the western United States that could be made available for this comparison test.

    We decided not to use our long-term Buick Enclave, because that vehicle is front-wheel-drive, while the Pilot and Highlander we'd requested were AWD.

    I wish we could have had a Lambda SUV in this comparison test, but when we can't source a vehicle, there's nothing we can do. Not having a Ford Edge or Dodge Journey is less worrisome to me, as neither of those vehicles are class leaders. A Ford Flex might have been a good fit, but it's too soon to get one of those.

    Erin Riches, author of the comparison test
  • cericceric Posts: 1,093
    I believe there is another thread that compare GM quadruplet to other CUVs (CX-9 included).

    I bought my CX9 back in Jan, 2008. If I had to choose a CUV today, I would make the same decision one more time knowing all the new entries. All it takes is a test-drive to appreciate why many magazine editors chose CX-9 as winner of comparison tests.

    CX9 actually can accommodates 7 adults. Something that I can't say about Highlander or Pilot. The extra 10 inches of length really shows on the inside.
    But, Pilot is 8-passenger, you said. Yeah, right?! Have you ever tried to sit three adults in that tiny space? It is a torture chamber if you put three adults there. Putting one more seatbelt on the 3rd row does not make it 8-passenger, IMHO. It is just marketing, people. Besides, I don't have three small kids to sit there.

    Of the three, CX9 should be on par with Highlander in performance since Highlander is the lightest among the three.
    Edmunds tested 9.5sec for new Pilot and 7.6sec for CX9 in 0-60mph. No data on Highlander (maybe someone can chime in here) CX-9 also shines in braking. Pilot did poorly in that department. All ventilated rotors do help CX9 after all.

    I absolutely love the SmartKey system of CX9 (not available on Highlander or Pilot). 20" inch wheels are amazingly good looking. One thing surprises many people who sat in my CX9 is the low noise level. Mazda did not went cheap when it comes to sound insulation on CX-9.

    I once raced a new Camry (4-cylinder, I bet) up the highway ramp, and I won!
    (No, I am kidding, I have been a good driver.)
  • mdhuttonmdhutton Posts: 195
    I'm looking at my '08 Highlander's SmartKey right now. Why do you say it isn't available?

    A small factor in my purchase decision was Mazda's attitude. When I told them I was seriously leaning toward the HL, they arrogantly said,"but don't you realize that over 100 editors rated it best-in-class?" I said, "That's good, but I don't feel that way. Are these 100+ editors going to chip in and make my monthly payment for me? If so, I'll reconsider." Haven't heard from them since.
  • cx7lovercx7lover Posts: 48
    FYI that isn't Mazda, that was your dealer, Toyota the company itself is pretty arrogant.
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