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Honda Pilot vs Mazda CX-9 vs Toyota Highlander



  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    While Mazda does not have the greatest in dealer satisfaction, it is a matter of fact that Toyota is at the bottom. Toyota dealers are statistically the absolute worst when it comes to customer satisfaction, and don't like to deal. If it were not for the fact that Toyota's are decent cars, that company would not due business in North America. It's a pitty that, as a whole, Toyota dealers are so disgraceful. As always, there are acceptions.
  • cericceric Posts: 1,093
    My mistake on the availability of SmartKey on Highlander. It is standard on the Limited. However, I stopped looking at Highlander when I see the cheaply made 3rd row that is not 40/60 split (my co-worker owns one). Besides, the ride on Highlander is much more floaty and steering is not as precise as CX-9. I know some people love soft ride of Toyota, but it is just not me. I have been basically a BMW/Honda guy (more handling oriented). The styling of the new Pilot just turned me off. I had been waiting for Honda to release the new Pilot. I stopped waiting for it when I saw the first photo of the new Pilot.

    P.S. Look and styling are subjective.
  • cericceric Posts: 1,093
    Dealer dissatisfaction is a local phenomena. In my area, there is one Toyota dealer that I absolutely hate, while I like the other one much much better. (I have a Prius). Similarly, there is a Mazda dealer (a Ford/Mazda combo - don't go to this kind of Mazda for service) I dislike very much, while there is another one that actually gave me a free Mazda3 sedan as a loaner for service. I have never been treated with a loaner at Honda/Toyota dealers. Have you?
  • cericceric Posts: 1,093
    Not to be a fanboy of CX-9, I must warn people who are considering CX-9 that the after-market support of CX-9 accessories is much worse than Highlander and Pilot. Basically, all you can choose from are whatever Mazda offer. Even OEM accessories, Mazda offer fewer for CX9 than Honda and Toyota for Pilot and Highlander.

    If there are specific accessories that you must have, please take that into consideration. Besides, the most complaints on CX9 center around so-so fuel economy and lack of trip computer (US model). The latter is said to be standard for '09.

    On navigation, both Highlander/CX-9 use Denso system (different GUI, but basically the same) that has speed-lock. Once the vehicle goes beyond 5mph, the NAVI locks up so that you can't enter address or phone numbers. Honda has not been doing this, but I am not sure about the new Pilot's system. Other than the locking, Honda's NAVI system has been well-known to be better than Toyota's (also Mazda's).
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Like what?? Can you provide some examples?
  • cericceric Posts: 1,093
    Like side step or running board.
    Due to the design of the doors, it seems hard to design a side-step to ease the entrance for small kids and old folks. I haven't had any luck finding one. If you do, please inform me.

    In general, go to or accessories websites. CX9 is often not on their radar to offer accessories. It is frustrating, the lack of choices and options to have. In a couple more years, maybe.
  • ericw2000ericw2000 Posts: 3
    The availability of accessories will increase as the popularity of the vehicle increases. I'm seeing more and more CX-9s as time passes.

    I purchased my CX-9 2 weeks ago. I tried the Pilot, and FWIW my wife drives a Honda Odyssey which is the best van out there hands down, so I have a positive experience with Honda. I found the Pilot to be "frumpy" in both looks and performance. The only thing I'd like to see in the CX-9 is auto locks and a trip computer.
  • klossfamklossfam Posts: 7
    The CX-9 is simply more comparable to the OutlookCadia than the Pilot or Highlander...It's substantially longer (it has 11 inches on the Highlander - just like the General's 200 inch long rigs)...So this is a goofy comparison in many ways...The Veracruz is a better size/price equivalent. That being said - I traded a 2004 Pilot EX-L for a 2008 Highlander Limited (due as much to the lack of Pilot power as the horrific look of the 2009 Pilot - both totally unacceptable). Honda/Acura is also WAY BEHIND in outfitting proper brakes on their vehicles...I had a TL-S and TSX - and the brakes where weak at best/dangerous at most...I have a 2008 G35 - so now I know what actual automobile brakes are! The Highlander review is accurate...Great acceleration and powertrain, great brakes but little feel from the electric steering and a little soft when you are coming from an older Pilot (and my last two cars were the G and a 2006 A4). Still - I tow a 4200 lb boat which eliminated all but the Pilot and Highlander. The 2004 Pilot pulled this boat pretty well but I saw no way the new Pilot with the extra pounds could handle it. The Highlander has no issues and the 5000 lb towing capacity is not over really is the only choice for a V6 crossover tow vehicle. I liked the General's Lamda offerings but an extra foot of length and the associated weight did me no good...and I can vouch for the Highlanders mileage (around 21 mpg in mixed driving and even close to 15 mpg pulling the boat and having 4 passengers and all kinds of crap). An impressive crossover and you can smoke almost any other truck in a stoplight drag...
  • nxs138nxs138 Posts: 481
    We bought a CX-9, but the Highlander would have been our second choice. I liked the acceleration on the Highlander, it feels faster off the line than the CX-9, and liked the fact that it has captain's chairs in the 2nd row.

    However it's the little things that started adding up: the cheap felt lining on the roof, the lack of a split 3rd row seat (we've made use of the split row many times on the CX-9), the numb electric steering, the fake looking wood in the Limited, the small amount of space behind the 3rd row, and most importantly, the high price that dealers force on you with all the dumb package options. We would have likely chosen a Sport model since we really didn't like the wood in the Limited, and it was at a better price point, but in the end the Mazda just rode more like a car and we got a much better deal from our Mazda dealer on the GT.

    I think the Highlander is perfect for those who might have 2 kids and have very occasional use of the 3rd row.
  • mdhuttonmdhutton Posts: 195
    You're right - the attitude display was from the dealer, not Mazda corporate. But...he's representing the brand. He IS the company to his customers and prospects. If that's the type of treatment folks receive, they're bound to go elsewhere -- either to another dealer or a competitor.

    So far, my treatment by Toyota has been abysmal at one dealer (I walked out), yet supurb at another 40 miles away. Night and day to the highest degree! Service after the sale, follow-up, very flexible and fair negotiations, I could go on and on. There are good and bad stories at every dealer, so find what works for you, as we all should.
  • qs933qs933 Posts: 302
    I have never been treated with a loaner at Honda/Toyota dealers. Have you?

    My Toyota dealer provides loaners when they have to keep the vehicle overnight (in other words, more than just an oil change). The last time I required a loaner, they had a fleet of Echo loaners, though last time I was there, I think they upgraded to Corollas. :)
  • cx7lovercx7lover Posts: 48
    Some might think that they're representing Mazda, but anyone that has bought multiple cars from multiple dealers should soon realize that most dealer service is YMWV and is not a representative of the Company. Mazda dealers vary a LOT, Honda dealers, you're usually going to need an appointment and the service is going to be poor.

    Mazda-Galpin in CA gives you a loaner whenever you ask for one, you just need to put a deposit down.
  • cericceric Posts: 1,093
    My local Mazda dealer gives loaners for major service (such as 30K/60K) and repairs (hopefully not happening) just like your average Lexus dealers. I used to be a Honda guy, but I think I am switching camp to Mazda because I am getting to like their designs and the service of my local dealer.
  • cx7lovercx7lover Posts: 48
    I just wanted to add my comments, the CX-9 feels every bit as manageable as my CX-7... although it's dimensionally longer, it doesn't feel that way.
  • qs933qs933 Posts: 302
    Mazda dealers vary a LOT, Honda dealers, you're usually going to need an appointment and the service is going to be poor.

    Sorry, your generalization does not work both ways. What you stated right before that, about the YMMV-ness of dealers, is going to be true for all manufacturers, including Honda.

    Some dealers are just plain better than other dealers that sell the same vehicles. It doesn't matter if it's Honda, Mazda, or Toyota.
  • cx7lovercx7lover Posts: 48
    Honda dealers everywhere are overworked and understaffed. - And they're quick to deny a warranty claim.
  • mdhuttonmdhutton Posts: 195
    You're right about Honda being shi* with warranties. About 20 years ago, I owned an Accord that had a recall for the fuel filler neck - it was prone to rusting and the flakes of rust would work themselves into the fuel tank, and ultimately the engine.

    Honda offered to replace the fuel filler neck and gas tank, but didn't want to hear about the $4300 worth of engine damage I had suffered due to the original problem.
  • qs933qs933 Posts: 302
    Would you care to provide any reputable reference for those statements?

    I mean, we can throw out anecdotal claims all day. The last person in my office who bought a Mazda ended up pursuing a lemon-law claim due to multiple serious defects in the vehicle that the dealer either couldn't or wouldn't repair under warranty.

    I wouldn't even try to expand that one experience (or even several experiences) to being an example of Mazda and its dealer's quality everywhere
  • Mazda isnt that small as your making it out to be like a 'David vs Goliath' thing.

    If it was named Japanese CUV Comparo it would be different. But it wasnt. GM makes 4 versions of the Lambda. Pick one Edmunds. Chevrolet Traverse? Saturn Outlook? GMC Acadia? Buick Enclave? The Saturn Outlook is probaby the most comparable. Saturn is like the Mazda of GM. So there you go, perfect comparison.

    Your probably one of these people who still bash GM because of their cheap interiors, when the interior on the Outlook is better then the CX9. The rear seat of the Outlook is better then the CX9. I've sat in all of them, I have driven everyone except the new Pilot. The Lambda is the best.

    Honestly though I can understand that there might not be one in the press fleet. There can always be another comparo that GM can win.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    Why do you suppose the CX-9 has beat the Acadia/Outlook in every other meeting?
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