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Honda Pilot vs Mazda CX-9 vs Toyota Highlander



  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I'd wager that you're the minority, using your Crossover to tow and go off-road. Glad you actually use it though!

    That said, it's a free-market - buy what ya want! :shades: It make the prices on the more practical cars a little lower!
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Yep... silly me. I'm a 21 year old who has never carried a balance on his credit card. Golly, I'm unamerican! :P :sick:
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Damn you! Hurry up and get into debt and join the rest of America. Geez! :shades:
  • cericceric Posts: 1,093
    Toyota HighLander (exclud. Hybrid): 6010
    Honda Pilot: 4980
    Mazda CX-9: 1812

    Hyundai Veracruz: 699
    GM quadruplet: N/A (I will update when I have the data)
  • Hello! My first post here. I have a 2004 Sienna XLE AWD w/ 55K miles (had since new) and am starting to think about a new car. Even though I am a 52 yr. old father of 4, I still like minivans for their versatility. There's a lot I like and a lot I hate about my Sienna. The AWD option and it's associated issues have been a real love-hate relationship unto it's own. At any rate, I still can't seem to find anything that I like better. I just read the Edmunds and C&D shootout, and the mazda did surprisingly well, so I must go see the Mazda. First question..what is bluetooth? Hands free cell phone of some sort?

    My main hot button is a sharp turning circle. I have a driveway that makes a sharp 180 curve into the garage and it looks like the Mazda is the only one I've seen so far that is competitive with the Sienna and can do it w/o a 3 point turn required. We shall see on the test drive. Our last Mazda was a lemon. 20 years ago we bought a 626 4 wheel steering model. Although the parallel parking was superb due to the 4 wheel steering, the car maintenance problems were a real hassle.

    I'm afraid that with all the kids and pets, I might be relegated to a minivan for quite a few years more. I get chided for driving one but I really don't care what anyone thinks. I would like to just get back to driving sedans at some point, but that is years away. My wife drives an Escalade for 4 years and loves it, but I hate driving a behemoth that big. I guess we have reversed the normal roles of what American couples might drive. Thanks for reading and I'll post again after seeing the Mazda. Nice group you all have here.

    Dave in Philly
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    No matter who makes the car, a lemon is always possible.

    Consumer Reports, whom many regard as the most accurate in vehicle reliability, rates the CX-9 very highly and also gives them a recommendation to buy.
  • cericceric Posts: 1,093
    Welcome to post more here.
    I have a CX-9 so I visit here very often (almost on daily basis :surprise: ).

    Bluetooth is for hand-free cell phone.
    With 2009 GT Assist package, it has A2DP support so that you can stream music (from iPod, music-capable cell phone) through the Bluetooth to the stereo of CX9.

    If you look at the list of CX-9 TSB (another threads), you would see that Mazda is actively trying to fix complaints of CX9 owners. I would say CX9 built after 08/2008 have no applicable TSBs. i.e. the quality is very stable now. Build date can be found on door stickers.
    (TSB: technical service bulletins)

    2007/2008 model owners might need to take care of some production/early model issues. With all the running changes made by Mazda, the later ones are getting better and better. I would probably buy 2009 if I were you, but there are great deals to be had with 2008. Just pick one that is built as later as possible (less TSBs to fix potentially).

    CX9 has very tight turning circle (37.4ft), which is on par with Camry and Accord.
  • Even though I'm leaning towards Pilot - this one is definitely interesting -for-09-highlander/

    (almost) as good as hybrid without the price penalty
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Yeah, I noticed that. However, with road tests of the new Toyota Venza with the 2.7L I4 comming back calling it a "dog", I highly doubt it will be a good choice for the heavy Highlander.
  • Thanks ceric. I see that I can't get the rear power liftgate without the NAV screen? I love the former, don't care for the latter. It's a shame I am forced to buy the Navigation system when I don't want it. The power rear lift gate should be standard in all Touring and GT models. I love it in my Sienna. How does the cell phone hook up to the car via bluetooth? Does it come through the sound system in the car and is two-way, like a speakerphone in an office? Thanks!
  • cericceric Posts: 1,093
    Can't help you on the packaging. I see no difference in 2009, either, on power hatch.

    For Bluetooth, the incoming sound comes out of the driver's side speak. The microphone is located near the interior light control panel. The nice thing about it is that it also cuts off music when phone call comes in automatically. Depending on your cell phone implementation of Bluetooth, the usage might be slightly different from one phone to another.
  • Hi,

    I am, reluctantly, looking to change my Subaru Legacy wagon for a CUV due to the impending birth of twins (to add to my 2 year old daughter). My question is : can three car seats (two rear facing and a toddler forward facing seat) be fitten on the second row bench in any of these vehicles?

    I like the Honda except for the front styling. The Mazda sounds great and I will be looking at it in more detail soon. The GMC Acadia/Saturn Outlook are also possibilities.

    Thanks for any information.
  • I bought a CX-9 in June of 2008. I struggled with the navigation w/ the power lift gate issue until the dealer quoted a price within my budget with the nav package. I never needed a navigation device, but now I wouldn't do without it. I wish my map was more up to date.

    As far as bluetooth, I found it very easy to pair my phone with the bluetooth. The sound comes from the front driver's side speaker. I have trouble using the voice dialer as too many of my contacts sound similar, but everyone says the sound quality is clear on the other end.

    As far as handling and turning radius (from your nov. 3 post), I'm very pleased with my CX-9. I drove Ford trucks before this, including 2 Expeditions, and my wife has a Honda Odyssey, and I can say that the CX-9 handles the best of all of them. Parking is very easy. I've also had no problems now in 5000 miles other than the peeling door handles, which is addressed in a TSB and will be replaced by the dealer.
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    This was an issue for us too so we tried putting 3 car seats in the second row in most of our test drives. All of ours are front-facing at this point. However, we've been there with the rear-facing. Actually, alternating front and rear facing is usually easier than all front facing in most cases, though that is a short term issue as you'll be turning them around soon enough...

    One of the reasons we ended up with the '09 Pilot was this exact issue. The Highlander simply cannot fit 3 car seats side-by-side in most cases (it obviously depends on the exact models). You can try to force it, but you're risking their safety to force them over one another. And when you upgrade to a booster seat as we now have in one case, forget about being able to click the seatbelt in and out with three side-by-side. The Highlander is really only 2.5 seats at best in the second row... The Mazda could do it but it was tight. The Honda was the most roomy side-to-side, and was the only one with capacity for 3 people in the third row too (and thus the only one with a 60/40 third row split seat that matches the second row which is more flexible for mixed passenger / storage options). We hated the Honda styling too but if seating capacity and flexibility is a critical issue for you, the Honda is the winner among the Totota/Honda/Mazda.

    We did look at the GM line but didn't do our seat test because we didn't like them enough to do the deeper dive. But they were pretty spacious so I suspect they will be similar to the Honda in this regard. Personally I would be nervous about buying a GM vehicle right now, given the uncertainty abou the future of the company, but maybe that's just me. Even if you assume they are bailed out and survive as a company, they may have to close a lot of dealerships which means you may have to travel further to get warranty support. And it may be harder to get parts, etc. down the line.
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    For what it's worth we have an '04 Sienna (same design as the current model year) and an '09 Pilot now and the Pilot has become the car of preference for family trips when the grandparents are visiting (and with any other adults for that matter). They substantially prefer it in terms of seating comfort and convenience over the Sienna mini-van. The reason is the 3-seat second row. One of our three kids is young enough that we still have to buckle him into the 5-point harness straps built-into his car seat. That makes putting his seat in the third row and impracticality in the Sienna. Plus the third row isn't big enough in the Sienna for all three car seats side-by-side. So the grandparents are forced to either split up or both go in the third row. In the Pilot they were able to sit together in the second row next to our youngest and found it dramatically more comfortable and spacious than being forced to climb back to the third row in the Sienna. Also for what it’s worth, they themselves own the current model Highlander Hybrid and after having spent some time in our Pilot prefer it in terms of rear-seat comfort and in features (they loved being able to plug their iPod in and have it play through our car system and thought our nav system was significantly better than theirs). We’ve also been getting better gas mileage out of our Pilot than our Sienna ever did. The net result was what was supposed to be my car and the “trip” car has become our main “family” car for everywhere. The poor Sienna only gets used when we need both at the same time… We have absolutely no “mini-van stigma.” We could care less what we’re seen driving in. We’ve just naturally gravitated toward the Pilot from real world use and convenience.
  • Citivas - thanks for a great reply. I recently sat in a Chevy Traverse and a Honda Pilot (and an Odyssey - although I just can`t stomach a minivan!). The Chevy is more spacious but it is a little bigger so that is as expected. My wife who usually favors imports said the Chevy's interior was better than the Pilots in terms of design and quality of materials (glovebox material was the only truly hard plastic surface). I share your concern about GM and will be holding off until the new year but what annoys me is people who ignore GM and Ford products out of a 1980'2/90's mindset of domestic = bad and import = good. All companies make good and bad vehicles (however you measure that - design, fun, reliability, fuel economy) and GM deserves credit for some great large crossovers.

    The other question I have is do people recommend having a child in the third row if you have three children? Captains chairs are not an option in the CX9 or Pilot but are in the GM's and Ford Flex.

    Opinions from experienced parents welcomed.
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    In my experience if you have little kids (i.e. pre-teen) it will be hard to keep them from the third row because they will want to be there, assuming its comfortable enough for them (even my 7 year old rejected the third row in the Highlander as too cramped, but I think she would cry if I told her she had to sit in the second row of our Pilot instead of the third). The kids like to climb out of the rear tailgate of the car rather than have slide the second row forward. We don't let our 3 year old back there (despite his wanting to be) because its too hard to strap him into the car seat. By the time they are 4-5, they can do it themselves and its not an issue. These newer cars have full side-impact air bags that extend to the third row and unlike some older or still smaller CUV's the seats are not right up against the rear of the vehicle in the event of a crash.

    I definitely don't dismiss the American cars out of hand, though I know some do. I've owned a Ford SUV. For me the lack of good tech (like bluetooth) eliminated the GMC line this time. And despite all their supposed incentives and "employee pricing" the deals still were not as good as Honda, Mazda or others were offering off of their MSRP's.
  • I noticed that the good tech as you call it are in the 2009 Lambdas - bluetooth, rearview camera in the auto-dimming rear view mirror (a very cost effective option to the usual rear view camera in navigation option), onstar with navigation etc.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Do they have an actual Navigation system, or the pay-by-month voice guidance, with no actual maps?
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    Yeah, I heard the the '09 GM;s were finally going to catch-up with the world on Bluetooth but that didn't work for my buying schedule (and I was already uneasy about GM's future... Unfortuantely, their nav system (like Toyota and Mazra who use the same vendor) still is useless while driving (i.e. can't be programmed by even the passenger). That feature alone may have been the feather that tipped the scales for me to Acura/Honda, which the seating capacity tipping it to Honda.

    Also, in my case I just didn't get a good vibe from the local dealerships. They didn't seem that interested in selling cars. They weren't eager to offer a test drive or humor me on detailed questions, their pricing wasn't competitive (even when I tried getting Internet quotes from multiple local dealers they were the least responsive or competitive brand), etc. It's really surprising given their market situation that they seemed so complacent, but then again maybe that helps explain their market situation...
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