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Honda Pilot vs Mazda CX-9 vs Toyota Highlander



  • msammsam Posts: 15
    It seems to me people are trying to convince one another based on their own needs. Everyone's needs and expectations are different and hence different vehicles are going to suit their differing needs.

    Why would a person who earns 200 K a year worry about fuel economy as much as a person earning 100 K a year (if money spent towards fuel is the main consideration)?

    Why would a person who wants regular 3rd row seating for adults consider a Toyota Highlander?

    Why would a person who likes the nice comfy ride of a mini van, go for a vehicle that is more tuned towards sportiness?

    Also, in some posts people are talking about price to own after a few years and seem to be saying that Toyota will turn out much better than a Mazda. Looking at available data, the difference is much lesser than what people would imagine.

    See ya...
  • ch1rravuch1rravu Posts: 14
    100K or 200K a year earnings ? you ought to shoot for X5 or some other fancier models to befit your lifestyle. Betcha, many Highlander customers earn less than that. Ofcourse, many sensible 100k-200k+ guys buy it too, but largest volumes comes from middle class families, I surmise.

    Somewhere I recall reading about Highlander's sales drop in June: Discontinuing of 4-cylender models, while gas prices are hovering over $4+ ! If you notice on prices paid discussion, even in Car's sale prices, the difference between V4 (or I4 you may want to call it) and V6 models has narrowed significantly. ie., what used to be V6 premium is fast evaporating under prevailing $4+ gas prices. No wonder this broader phenomenon affects SUV/CUV purchase decisions too. I am /making an educted guess/ at this point, but has anybody got sales figures where folks who once were in market for V4 Highlander cross shopped for RAV4 ? Also, has V4 RAV4 made more sales compared to V6 ?

    Now, what /real/ choice do people have that want 4-cylender alternative to CX-9? Try RAV4 mebbe, seriously !

    Like somebody said earlier, its your choice what vehicle you want to buy, but make a sensible one at that.
  • msammsam Posts: 15
    Even with V6 when I test drive these 3 row SUVs it feels a bit underpowered. So, I think V4 will be worse. For 2 row SUVs V4 may be acceptable. Though since I am in the market for 3 row SUVs and only own V6 vehicles I don't know how that will work out.

    If one is looking for space, X5 is not an option.

    For a fuel efficient / gasoline-less vehicle, I am waiting for a plug-in electric vehicle.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,209
    I also don't like the center seating position's ceiling-mounted seat belt.

    I hope that's for the 3rd row! Right?

    Nonetheless, that still sounds like a big turnoff to me too. Makes it look like that position, albeit it's probably a not often used position for most, was an afterthought. Also, how is it legal to trust owners to install something so important to personal safety? Did Honda find a loophole in the annals of safety laws or something?

    They do sell the Pilot as an 8 passenger SUV so I would expect nothing less than 8 FACTORY INSTALLED 3-point safetly belts. Do any other mfrs do this too? I never noticed it before.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    The CX-9 is reality is not selling "3,000 below invoice". There is a $3000 dealer engagement money on the car, that makes it appear "$3000" below invoice.

    The CX-9 is not on a stretched Ford Edge platform. The Ford Edge is on Mazda's platform. Any educated automotive person know that the platform does not make the vehicle what it is, but rather what is placed on it.

    While CR had red dots for every catagorie on the CX-9 except for the audio system controls, it appears that CR based their reliability on that alone. Makes no sense. Besides, Toyota is not CR's favorite anymore with constant issues in quality and reliability as of late. We all know CR is not perfect, and you are nieve if you think they are.

    The CX-9 is not a "one trick pony". It happens to do everything better then the Highlander, except straight line acceleration and a slim FE average.

    To me, Toyota's are highly over rated. Yes, they are good mechanically, however, they have some of the cheapest materials I have ever seen on the interior. Styling makes me want to hang my self. And the the most slushy, non responsive vehicles on the market. While they get good remarks for dependability (which has taken a HUGE hit lately) they consistently rate near the bottom in comparison tests.
  • qs933qs933 Posts: 302
    I also don't like the center seating position's ceiling-mounted seat belt.

    I hope that's for the 3rd row! Right?

    If I remember correctly, both the second and third row in the Pilot use a ceiling-mounted seatbelt.

    It's actually fairly common. Both the Nissan Murano (a two-row CUV) and the Mazda CX-9 use roof-mounted belts for the center position in the second row.

    As I mentioned, the Highlander has a seat-mounted center belt for the second row.

    Keep in mind: I'm sure the ceiling-mounted belt is just as safe as a seat-mounted belt. and it's far better than just a lap belt only that used to be common in center seating position.
  • nxs138nxs138 Posts: 481
    Mazda is offering more discount (over $3K-4K under invoice!!), if CX-9 roped in that many awards, why does it need that /rebate/ push ? All we are hearing is one is lucky if Highlander can be had for under 1K below invoice.

    Let me illuminate you on why the Highlander might sell only $1k below invoice:
    MSRP Highlander Limited AWD: $34,350
    Invoice Price: $30,571
    Difference: $3779

    MSRP CX-9 GT AWD: $34,655
    Invoice Price: $32,041
    Difference: $2614

    Basically, the Highlander has a much lower invoice price than the CX-9. That's why dealers would likely not sell for thousands below invoice, since invoice is already low!

    So you're making fun of the CX-9 by saying you can get it $3000 below invoice, which would be $29,041. Yet you're somewhat proud to say that you can get the Highlander $1000 below invoice, which would be $29,571...IT'S THE SAME PRICE AS THE CX-9!

    You obviously have a bias against the Mazda, that's fine, but come on, at least do a bit of research before spouting off.
  • ch1rravuch1rravu Posts: 14
    No bias here, letting the cars speak about themselves and their sales/volume/appreciation/safety/better-value-proposition sell themselves. Obviously, I have no incentive to sell a highlader or a Pilot or a CX-9. Since you did not make it clear earlier, I don't know about you though!

    Aviboy - time to finish your education, fast! Recession coming ..

    "So let me explain more gently: genetically speaking, the CX-9 is actually a closer relation to the Ford Edge" NYTIMES:

    "It looks like a longer version of the CX-7 but is based on the stretched platform of the Ford Edge" -- consum' 'rports

    Good choice award from consum' 'rports, Highlander TOPS all competitors, CX-9 lower mid-pack 4th.

    You like CX-9, please go ahead put your money in one, but first-drive alone is not what you should plunk your money over.

    No need to explain pricing - be your own judge on what people paid experiences rigbht here on TownHall for all three models. And we are not even pricing low-maintenance and resale values into the equation.

    // MSAM //

    Highlander beat every other SUV/CUV either loaded/unloaded in every category., and it also brakes/stops better! Mebbe to some v4 still a viable option., obviously, until last model year V4 sold in decent volume, its not like every AMERICAN grew larger and grew their families in just one year to make V4 a history !! Some folks need more volume doesn't necessarily haul 7 folks all at the same time!

    Let the better, well-rounded vehicle take the category, and sales., just not a one-trickeroo
  • nxs138nxs138 Posts: 481
    So why are Highlander sales volumes down 31% over last year, and CX-9 sales down only 6%? And remember, as you like to repeat, this is a top-rated Consumer Reports recommended vehicle, and it still loss 31% in sales! I guess the people are voting with their wallets and figuring out that the new Highlander doesn't really bring that much new stuff to the table as compared to the outgoing version.

    To show you how well the CX-9 is doing, the GMC Acadia is down 40% in sales as compared to last year. Even the Pilot is down 20%.

    So the CX-9 is not really the one-trick pony you think it is, sales remain steady as other CUVs are tanking. That kinda blows your argument, doesn't it?

    And as for myself, I'm just a guy that did a lot of research before buying the CX-9. The Highlander would have been our 2nd choice, but we thought the CX-9 drove more like a car, which is what we wanted.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,209
    I've seen ceiling mounted shoulder belts before. What was it you meant by having to install it in the Pilot though?

    I've been in the back seat of the CX-9 a few times and never noticed a ceiling mounted shoulder belt. That's not to say it isn't there. I just didn't pay attention to it I guess. Do you just pull it down from the headliner or what?
  • msammsam Posts: 15
    Remember between 2007 to 2008 the curb weight of the Highlander increased close to 400 lbs. This may have made a V4 not a viable option. At least it seems like Toyota thought so. In any case, it is my personal opinion. I agree that some folks don't necessarily need to haul 7 all the time, but some may need to. So, it still comes down to individual needs.

    "Highlander beat every other SUV/CUV either loaded/unloaded in every category"

    I am not sure that this statement is completely true. It just depends on where you look.
  • qs933qs933 Posts: 302
    What was it you meant by having to install it in the Pilot though?

    "Install" was the wrong word. You don't have to "install" the actual seatbelt hardware. You do have to connect the belt to the buckle on the seat before it's usable.

    Either you leave it connected all the time, or you could leave it stowed on the ceiling so it's out of the way. If you do the latter, someone will need to connect it whenever the center position is used.
  • ch1rravuch1rravu Posts: 14
    Like /nxs138/ said, Pilots are down, so are Acadias. Obviously, general trend in this category is 20+ percent down. As earlier pointed out, niche-market (sidelined, may I say?) models play to different market-forces as compared to broader markets. As said again, discontinuing V4 certainly took away some Highlander sales with raising gas prices. Anybody got break-out of V4 to V6 model split sales figures among Highlanders prior to model year change ?

    If Highlander had V4 engine, it woulda reduced the weight compared to current V6 model, hence increased weight wouldn't be as much as 400 pounds between model years., yet it will still be higher than previous year model though, agree. But, for whatever's worth 'yota folks figured V4 Highlander isn't worth spending their design time, and cut that configuration out, and left that segment to RAV4 play.

    What general public fully understand is Highlander's real-world fuel economy/MPG under many conditions TOPs "Monroney" sticker posted numbers (lets say easy, EPA MPG figures). Where as other CUVs/SUVs struggle hard to reach their-own already low MPG-figures under /ideal/ conditions. Its clear and evident from /real/ people experiences and postings right here, that Highlander gives very good MPG., where as that is not the case with other CUVs.

    Surprising thing is - Pilot with that wonderful Cylender Deactivation thingie (I used to get a kick when GM used to refer it as DoD, displacement on demand), doesn't match Highlander's numbers close enough. Thats so un-typical of Honda, which usually does fairly competent with V4 engines performance and their MPG. Highlander one-upped Pilot in MPG category, and Toyota in general one-upped Honda in V6 performance/MPG. Mebbe next round goes to Honda., lets wait..

    Somebody said, some of Highlander's interior materials visually are not upto Toyota level, I see in some areas they could possibly increase material quality. But, they wouldn't want to make it too luxurious, if they would, what is the incentive to buy them Lexus models? It may be somewhat well-thought idear. But, I see those materials are durable though, hence quality wise, surmise it won't be an issue. Visually, some of the trim-pieces may not be as much appealing, got a point.

    A neighbor complains about her CX-9's visibility, and rather-stiff driving. Anybody else felt the same way?
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    "It looks like a longer version of the CX-7 but is based on the stretched platform of the Ford Edge" -- consum' 'rports

    Yes, same platform, CD3, which Ford borrowed from Mazda (GG/GY platform). I don't need an education from you. Thanks for the offer.

    The overall sales figures do not speak for themselves, Toyota is the worlds largest automaker. Mazda is 4th in Japan. I have owned a Toyota before, and I believe they are over rated. Until they build a product that is actually fun to drive (IMO), I will not step foot in any of their show rooms.
  • nxs138nxs138 Posts: 481
    A neighbor complains about her CX-9's visibility, and rather-stiff driving. Anybody else felt the same way?

    Actually the major complaint I would have is the act of getting into the CX-9: the roof line is low since the windshield is curved at such a low angle, and the first few times you tend to bang yourself on the head. Then you get used to it.

    The 20" wheels on the CX-9 will make it feel like a sports sedan, which means you feels the bumps more. We preferred that over the 18" wheels, which do isolate you better from the bumps, but we didn't feel as connected to the road. People that have never driven sports sedan should not blindly buy the GT with its 20" rims, it won't have the cushy ride of a floaty Buick, that's for sure. Of all the CUVs I tested, the Highlander has the most terrible road feel (might be the electric steering, might be the somewhat floaty ride), but that's a general Toyota thing, I guess, since its customer base is likely older than Mazda.

    My wife, who is short, has no issues with visibility. Personally, I think that all these CUVs suck with visibility, but you do get used to it. I've always driven sedans, so even a wagon is terrible for me.
  • cericceric Posts: 1,093
    What is "V4 engine"? :)
  • ch1rravuch1rravu Posts: 14
    Check post#103 "V4 (or I4 you may want to call it) and V6 models " -- no point to quibble on nomenclature differences of V4 or I4. Considering existence of V2, V3, V6, V8, V10, V12 engines, folks at time refer I4 simply as V4., though architecturally I4 is inline-4, where as V4 - means V shaped cylender positioning.

    You mean to say Mazda and Ford interchange platforms too much, to the extent of using same platform on many of their multiple models. Is that a good thing? Also, you know how old is the CD3 platform (hint: 7+ years running)? Just check Wiki - . LOL, this platform soon to be replaced by Ford Contour (US)/Mondeo (EU) platform? Ya'll know how well Ford Contour did in US?

    I do admire hard-love some of you guys have for your SUV/CUV (whatever make it may be) you own, or in market for.

    I would like to hear experiences from real-world towing experiences of your respective SUVs/CUVs .. my friend in GA trying to figure if a Highlander can do a job of decently tow his 4700 pound boat. Read an excellent review about Highlander on Trailer Boats - Going the Highlander route, his MPG during non-towing times will be excellent compared to rails-based SUVs.

    But, hez looking for more real-world experiences. Much appreciate it, y'all
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    Nice little mix and match of facts there. The Contour platform is dead and will not replace anything. Also, I can tell that you never had the privilege of driving a Contour SHO or you'd bite your tongue.

    Platform sharing within or between brands is highly effective as used by almost every automotive manufacturer and I'm certain you are not qualified to discuss the pros and cons.
  • msammsam Posts: 15
    "I do admire hard-love some of you guys have for your SUV/CUV"

    The love is probably because it works really well. Have you seen a owner love their vehicle when they were disappointed with it after their purchase? Looks like you are in love with the Highlander. Why don't you get one? or do you already own one?

    Anyway, I don't own any of these. I am just in the market for one of these. I will probably consider a Toyota Highlander if it has 3rd row split seats.

    Though I feel that Toyota is certainly overrated for their reliability. I owned a Mazda about 5 years back and loved its reliability. Drove it until 160K miles and had very few repairs and none of them costly. I currently own a Toyota Avalon and it currently has 108K miles and have run into quite a few problems and the problems started at about 60K. Every year I have been repairing something or the other. Never was the case with my ex-Mazda. So, I should say I am disappointed.
  • nxs138nxs138 Posts: 481
    Looks like you are in love with the Highlander.

    You know, it's amazing how some people will just focus on one car that they love and basically dismiss everything else as crap. Love is blind, I guess. The CX-9 has been quite a target lately, since it's won so many awards. One guy in another Edmunds forum clearly loved the Acadia and found every single living fault with the CX-9 when the awards started coming out, even though he was aware the Acadia has had many, many issues. There's no convincing people like that.

    If you don't need much room behind the 3rd row, I would definitely suggest the Highlander, and I'd stick with the Sport Edition so that you don't get that awful fake wood. You can't fit a stroller behind the 3rd row in the Highlander, so if you have kids and are planning to haul people occasionally, you'll have to be creative with storage. You might also want to try out the Hyundai Veracruz, I was impressed with the overall quality. A little floaty ride, but comfortable. Depends what you like in a car. We opted for the CX-9 because of the additional room behind the 3rd row, and the sporty tuning.
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