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Honda Pilot vs Mazda CX-9 vs Toyota Highlander



  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    I'm surprised with the Pilot sales being higher then the Highlander. The CX-9 sales seem right on par with what they (Mazda) expected.
  • eagle63eagle63 Posts: 599
    I'm in the market for a new SUV and both the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander are on my short list of rigs to check out. I currently own a 2001 Tahoe, and am looking for something a bit smaller. (but definitely not a compact suv - more like a medium sized suv)

    I've got a million questions, but my primary one right now is with the size difference between the Highlander and the Pilot. My assumption based on seeing them on the highways is that the Pilot is considerably larger. But after looking at the cubic feet of cargo room I'm perplexed - the Highlander shows a max of 95 cu. ft and the Pilot only 88. (I'm assuming "max cargo" means with all rear seats folded down)

    Are these 2 suv's really in the same class? Are my eyes deceiving me?? :) Thanks!
  • qs933qs933 Posts: 302
    That is what is cynical about it.

    Sorry; now I think I know what you were referring to: the cyclical (not "cynical") way that Toyota adds features. The product plan is probably set for the entire life cycle of the current design. I'm sure we'll see those memory seats in 2011, which should be the mid-cycle refresh.

    I'd go back to my original statement, though: if the lack of memory seats was a huge factor for people not purchasing the Highlander, then it's pretty obvious that Toyota is missing the mark by not equipping its vehicles with them from the very start. I would be willing to wager that's not the case and that the feature just isn't as important relative to others. That's not to say it isn't important to you.

    I guess the same "cyclical" criticism could be applied to all manufacturers and how they manage their products. Honda usually adds a "special edition" in the final year of a design to boost sales. Should owners during the early years of the design feel deprived that it wasn't offered from the very beginning?
  • cericceric Posts: 1,093
    I believe Mazda is very happy with the sales of CX9, which used to be around 2000 units/month. Heavy incentive did help. With more CX9s on the road, people will start to pay attention and put CX9 on their shopping list. Sales will pick up slowly.

    If I had to make the choice all over again, I still would buy CX9. Highlander and Pilot simply don't have all the features that I wanted, besides the styling and driving dynamics.
  • cericceric Posts: 1,093
    All those numbers could be very misleading.
    You should go sit in them and check them out carefully.
    I usually pick an autoshow (there should be one near you at certain time of the year) and sit in vehicles before my decision is made. Doing this can avoid pressure from salespersons.

    You should also check out the CX9 while you are at that. It has 100.7cu.ft of cargo space.
  • do we know how many cx-9s have actually been put on the market? the volume might be less due to availability.
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    No, I was referring to Toyota as CYNICAL not cyclical. And if you followed all the posts you'd see that memory seats have already been annoucned for the 2009.

    My point remains the same -- to intentionally hold back Limited options Toyota has already developed for the same seat and that they know some of their customers will want just so they can use it as a selling point for a new model a few years later is cynical, or certainly not very respectful to their customers. I will grant you this -- clearly if Toyota believed it was a make-or-break for a huge portion of customers they wouldn't do this. But they know it is an issue for a subset of customers and they don't hold it back as you suggest for economic reasons (since they would profit from it) or because they can't prioritize it (since they've already developed it for the seats they are re-purposing from other models). Their sole reason is to have a marketing point for a new model year. They have it planned that way from before the first car of the first model year every sees the light of day.
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    I don't think so. There are a LOT available. There is no shortage. Which is why Mazda is offering $3-4K incentives on them. Try searching inventories online. There are hundreds in-stock within 20 miles of me. I really like this car so this is not a dis, just refuting the idea that their sales figures are low due to limited availability.
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    I'm curious what features, unrelated to drive and styling, you liked in the CX-9 but coudln't get in either of the other two?
  • cericceric Posts: 1,093
    To me, what were missing..(in Jan, 2008)

    Highlander: HID headlights, split 3rd row, power front seats (w/ memory)
    Pilot: HID headlights, smart-key system, amber signal lights (dislike red ones),

    also, 6-speed tranny with M-mode.
  • qs933qs933 Posts: 302
    And if you followed all the posts you'd see that memory seats have already been annoucned for the 2009.

    Yes, I've been following the posts. Thanks for asking. You may want to double check that post you're referring to (#217, I believe), as it mentions that an 8-way power driver's seat will be optional on the 4-cylinder model that's introduced in January. An 8-way power driver's seat is already standard on the Sport and Limited.

    There's nothing about a memory option being added. If I'm looking in the wrong place, please share your source.

    I'm curious where the Highlander's seats are being repurposed from? Which model shares the same seats?

    Maybe you'd be happier if Toyota took the approach Chrysler did with their full size vans, where a mid-80s van was essentially the same as one bought 10 years later, with no new features or improvements over the vehicle's life cycle?
  • Everybody knows it costs more than a billion to launch a new model (with platform sharing, portions of costs be shared too, good for'em). Obviously, you can't give new model (which cost'em billion+), and all the possible features.

    If there is one thing Toyota good about doing -- it brings Lexus engines/transmissions to common folks vehicles (Toyota) real fast. Talk about VVT-i, variable intake, variable exhaust, direct-injection, 6-speed transmissions, electric-steering, 50-state strict emissions, excellent MPG, and Hybrids. These are buzzwords talked-about by any other Luxo-makers, where as, Toyota brings'em to low-priced models real fast., more importantly, makes'em real affordable to you-and-me folks !! By the way, all these features work now, and will work 12 years from now (its not like a pricey 5-transistor radio is necessarily better than 1 transistor radio, 60's lore :-) )

    What it can't offer is free/cheap-priced third-party/suppliers sourced parts., because real money goes-out for each such feature !!

    If all you want is more bang-for-buck, but have questionable reliability/resale/warranty-support/dealer-network/reputation., try a korean-make/korean-sourced-vehicle or something ..
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    This back and forth is getting nowhere. We will just have to agree to disagree and let others decide for themselves. Nothing I say will change your mind about how great Toyota is and so far nothing you have written has changed mine about why they hold back the memory seat features (among others). BTW, I think Toyota is, overall, the best car company in the world. So I'm no hater. I own a Toyota now and have had several Toyota/Lexus' in the past. I'm confident I will again.

    But to me you're responses seem unnecessarily defensive of them. My point is not that they don't make great cars, overall, or aren't a great engineering and marketing company. My point was that they have made a choice to consciously hold back features that would cost them virtually nothing to offer (due to the fact that they have already developed them and are already basically reusing previously designed parts) and generate a profit as user options on high end trims, for the sole purpose of being able to add it later. I have and still reject your notion that they left it out year one simply to prioritize what they develop or save money on the trim or because they didn’t believe their customer’s wanted it until they got feedback from the first couple years of production. None of these make logical sense given the facts (they have already developed it and are re-using seat designs that include it in other vehicles; it would only improve the profit margin of a Limited trim since it could be an option so the economic argument makes no sense; and they do this consistently with most of their higher-end vehicles in year 2-4, so the idea that each time they didn’t perceive a customer demand for it and only responded after the fact is ludicrous, especially given the lead time for development – they had to already have the memory sat in the ’09 plan before the re-designed ’08 even hit the showroom). Now we may disagree on whether Toyota consciously holding it back from customers for a couple years to introduce as a model upgrade later is cynical. I think it is but that’s just my opinion. But I am stumped that you can cling to the ideas that they held it back for economic, design priority or customer demand reasons. Again, I have no expectation of changing your opinion so I’m just moving on…
  • qs933qs933 Posts: 302
    My point was that they have made a choice to consciously hold back features that would cost them virtually nothing to offer...

    1. Every feature costs something to offer.
    2. None of the Toyota press documents regarding the 2009 Highlander mention the addition of a memory seat option for 2009.
    3. Still waiting to find out which model shares the same seats as the Highlander.
    4. This is all basic product management. There are trade-offs in every product that's developed; you simply can't offer every feature to satisfy every individual need.
    5. If basic product management is considered a "cynical" way of doing business, then virtually every for-profit company doing business today is a "cynic."

    I'll leave it at that. We can pick up this debate in 2011, when I'd expect the mid-cycle refresh to occur and those memory seats to become available. ;)
  • Enough already, to the both of you!
  • nxs138nxs138 Posts: 481
    That's not bad at all for the CX-9. If you compare sales as opposed to 2007, the CX-9 does very well in terms of not dropping off sharply month after month. And those 3000 plus CX-9 sales make up a substantial percentage of total Mazda sales--and total Mazda sales have never been anywhere near Honda and Toyota.

    So Mazda has to be happy with the numbers, probably not as happy with the incentives they have to give, but hey, they have to keep the lines working near capacity, I guess.

    The Highlander and Pilot, while nice cars, were too "trucky" for my wife's taste. She loves the CX-9, so I guess I have no choice but to be happy...
  • The reason why Mazda adds in things is because owners complain about it, inorder to get people to upgrade. They did it with the CX-7, Mazda3, Mazda5, etc. They wait 2-3 years then introduce small upgrades owners requested.
  • cericceric Posts: 1,093
    The mid-model change (MMC) usually involves face-lift and more significant upgrade.
    My daughter who often sits in the 3rd row was not shy to inform me that there is
    no A/C vent for the 3rd passengers. :( As an ex-minivan owner, I am very surprised by it. I hope Mazda fix that over-sight soon.
  • look under the second row seats and you will see two large vents that supply the air/heat to the third row.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Let's not get crazy here and say Toyota's offers Lexus features in their vehicles and makes them "real affordable". When you get a Toyota with any kind of equipment, they are usually very expensive. Toyota is not a bargain company. Have you ever seen what they charge for the many stupid packages they put in their cars like their stupid $500 arm rest package they are known for doing

    Toyota is not the only company with variable intake, variable exhaust, direct-injection, 6-speed transmissions, electric-steering, 50-state strict emissions, excellent MPG. I can think of a half dozen other mfgr's that offer that same technology.
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