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Honda Pilot vs Mazda CX-9 vs Toyota Highlander



  • cericceric Posts: 1,092
    Thanks. I seem to remember seeing that in the manual.
    I need to go check if they are blocked by the all-weather mats I installed. :)
  • I ended up buying the 2008 CX-9 GT. On my initial list also were Acura MDX, Highlander and Pilot.

    I excluded the 2009 Pilot for the bus-like look and ride. Also '09 interior looked more like a bus rather than a family CUV. LOL, even 2008 Pilot interior looked much better than 2009, but when I was ready to buy most of the '08 Pilots were gone.

    Highlander didn't excite me for the following reasons: a) Everyone and their mother drives one. Certain color combinations were sold at a premium( don't believe me? go find Pearl Highlander with Black leather). The 2nd and 3d row seats didn't pass a test with my 2 boys. They complained that the seats are not very comfortable and the third row space is joke. I hated the non-split 3d row bench too. And finally, the styling of Highlander didn't talk to me. It reminded me a Nissan Maxima 2002-2004: decent car with no character.

    So in final running there were Acura MDX and CX-9. Given I was not looking for a Navi package, they came very close and I might've ended up with Acura if I was not offered a great deal for CX-9 Grand Touring that basically had exactly the options/ext color/interior color I wanted. I absolutely like the handling of CX-9, the silky smooth transmission (although would prefer the 1st gear a bit longer). The manual override on CX-9 is absolute best IMHO. The ebony interior looks fantastic with grey leather accents (much better than ebony interior on Acura). And of course, the exterior style is astonishing.

    If you end up getting a CX-9, get Liquid Platinum Metallic Crystal White. IMHO the best colors for this car.

    Use this link compare CX-9 with Highander or Pilot.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    "Liquid Platinum Metallic Crystal White"

    Well i got the Liquid Platinum Metallic but really liked the Crystal White Pearl Mica. I have yet to see a blend of the two colors but it sure sounds interesting. ;)
  • good catch: the last line should read: Liquid Platinum Metallic or Crystal White. Actually, their Stormy Blue and Black are looking good too.
  • Hi Everyone:

    After reading these Forums for the better part of the last month, I felt like I had to tell you about my deal in hopes of helping someone else out.

    I decided to Lease a CX-9 GT, List Price $41K for $503 (including 9% PA Sales Tax) for 24 Months W/15K/Year. All I put down was 1st month and inception, which came to $8xx dollars.

    While I might be giving up some more functionality from both Physical and Technical Aspects with the Pilot, I feel good knowing I am getting a 2nd Year Production Vehicle that meets 95% of my families day to day needs.

    Also, I went with the 24 month lease because I have no idea where gas prices will be in the future and I do not want to be stuck to a long term commitment realizing that there will be a great deal more fuel efficient SUV's coming to market in the next few years.

    Hope this information helps someone out in SE Pennsylvania.

    Thanks and Good Luck.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    You may want to follow up your earlier comments in Mazda CX-9 Lease Questions for the benefit of those who read that discussion. :)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • kreekree Posts: 10
    Hi - I'm in the market for a CUV and considering all three

    a couple of questions I have (any info. would be greatly appreciated)

    1. do any/all of these cars require premium gas?

    2. does the glass on the rear gate open independently of the gate itself (I know that it does for the Pilot, but not sure of the other two)

    3. also, does the remote allow you to pop the rear gate open like a remote open trunk feature on some cars?
    This is actually an important feature for me as me/wife are often approaching the car with both hands full of groceries, and a remote trunk/gate open is very handy
    I know that there is a "powergate" option that allows you to close the gate remotely, but I'm asking about a more simple feature that just allows you to pop open the trunk/gate remotely (not close it remotely, which requires a piston/motor)

    4. for the dvd systems, can the dvd player be controlled by the stereo/media controls on the front panel, or can it only be controlled by the remote control?

    thxs again!
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    I'll answer for the Pilot. I know some of the answers for the others but will mostly defer to their owners...

    1) None of the three require premium gas.

    2) As you said, the Pilot has this feature.

    3) Yes, you can open the tailgate with the remote. You can close it with the remote too (at least with the Touring)

    4) You can control the audio of the rear DVD from the front controls but not the DVD features itself (menu navigation, play, pause, etc.). However, the remote detaches from the DVD system itself (which is better than having to store it somewhere) and can then be controlled from the front or anywhere in the car. However the front nav screen does not play the video so it can be challenging to control from the front without seeing it. The Toyota can display the video from the front but only when parked. I believe the same is true of the CX-9, but I am just guessing (since the nav is provided by the same company as the Toyota).

    Good luck.
  • I own an '08 Highlander:

    1) It does not require premium gas.

    2) Rear glass does open independently of the gate itself.

    3) Not sure about just popping the gate open, mine is equipped with a power open/close that can be controlled from the driver's seat or from the fob, and I'm glad it goes all the way up. I too have been approaching the car with a cart full of groceries and the power open is awesome! If you open remotely, you can close manually and vice/versa.

    4) Don't have the rear-seat DVD. Don't believe in kids.

    Hope it helps!
  • kreekree Posts: 10
    thanks so much for all the useful information everyone!
  • cericceric Posts: 1,092
    Highlander: 5729
    Pilot: 5192
    CX-9: 2108
    Veracruz: 827
    GM (quadruplet): >14,000
    MDX: 3669
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    'twas a nasty September for CUVs (and other cars).
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    ...the CX-9. It is now comes highly recommended by Consumer Reports. Only the Toyota Highlander, Highlander Hybrid, and MDX scored better in Consumer Reports for 3 row SUV's. I find this to be great news!
  • kreekree Posts: 10
    I have the CR buyer's guide for 08 with the 09 preview, but CX-9 is not among the recommended.
    Is this a new recommendation? If so can you provide a link or tell me where to find this new rating? Thanks so much - great news for the CX-9!
  • cericceric Posts: 1,092
    Can't read it w/o subscription.
    Other than reliability data (lack of other better source), I trust other auto-magazines than ConsumerReports. They called CX9's braking performance "poor" while all the rest of magazines praised otherwise. Strange, isn't it?
    On top of that, reliability data is not "how many problems". There are big problems like engine failure, and there are small problems like window regulator failure. When one lumps all problems together, you lose the severity. I believe CX9 have had some issues on electronics integration, but overall, its reliability is superb. I had two recalls on my Prius, and none on my CX9. Does ConsumerReports counts "recalls" as problems? After all, I did need to visit my dealer to fix them. One of the two recalls of Prius was related unexpected shutdown. Sounds bad, isn't it?
  • lucky_777lucky_777 Posts: 205
    No recalls on my 08 HL that I purchased back in August 2008 and it's been flawless.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    I forgot about that, sorry.

    CR places a check mark inside a red circle. That denotes their highest recommendation. If I recall, it is rated at above average for reliability.

    As with all cars, there was a couple first year bugs, not related to the drive train. I have not really heard of any unhappy CX-9 owners. It's been a really good car.
  • qs933qs933 Posts: 302
    The test with the CX-9 should be in CR's November issue, according to this article.

    Interestingly, the new Pilot wasn't in the Top 5 -- it's not even in the Top 10.

    The top ranked SUVs according to CR? The Highlander Hybrid, followed by the Highlander and the MDX.
  • nikbertnikbert Posts: 20
    I believe the Pilot is still highly recommended though. Not all in Top 10 are.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Recommended, yes. Long term reliability is really the only edge it may have over the competition. However, in today's market, these big vehicles are usually leased. Who cares about longevity when you are only in it for 2 or 3 years??

    Resale in the Pilots have tanked too. I tried to wholesale a 2003 Pilot EX w/leather with 60,000 on it, and no wholesaler would even give me over $10,000 for it. Yikes.

    To be fair, ALL SUV's have taken a huuuuge hit.
  • badselfbadself Posts: 39
    Manheim prices and NADA values for your '03 Pilot are like $7,800, even with allowance for the low mileage. If you want $10,000 for the vehicle, you most certainly have to sell it yourself, and it should be near flawless. Basically, that's how brutal the market is currently for these types of vehicles.

    I recently traded an '03 Pilot EX-L with DVD, 102,000 miles in fair condition and got the Carfax price of $5,000 (and the $300 tax savings at 6% in MD). I had one dealer quote me $2,500.
  • I have test drived everything and I bought a CX-9. I have 3 boys and they have friends. I push a button the the outside doorhandle and the car unlocks. I have even stuck my husband in the third row. All three cars are good but it depends on what your family and lifestyle is like. The CX-9 is the last CUV we test drove only because a Mazda dealer was the farthest away. I drove it loved it and bought it all in the same day. It is true if you like a zoom zoom just test drive it. I also like that it has a blind spot monitor system and we got the mazda DVD in the headrest so they can watch 2 different movies or play a video game and watch movies or have one movie and have it play through the sound system in the car. Great on the long drives to vacation. The only flaw the glass on the back does not open. although im not to worried about it
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    I'm a dealer. So, we have been trying to sell it ourselves!

    The customer wanted $13,000 on trade, because he said it was "a Honda, and they are worth it"
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  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    Car and Driver just did a CUV comparison of 6 models, including all three in discussion here, which rounded out the top three. In ranked order (lowest to highest):

    #3 -- Higlander
    #2 -- CX-9
    #1 -- Pilot

    The Pilot got its vote primarily because it blew the others away when actually using it off-road. They also liked the steering and feel of the brakes. They acknowledged it had less one less gear and slightly less power. The CX-9 was a close second and they implied it probably would have won if they only did a highway test instead of mixed driving.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Personally, I don't know of many people that actually take their CUV's off road. The CX-9 was designed for on-road use. It's AWD system is designed that way, suspension is designed that way. The Highlander is build to be a family cruiser. Soft ride and comfort are their main priorities.

    Consumer Reports, the biggest Honda advocates, have rated the Pilot #11 for 3 row SUV's. 11th!! That does not boast well for them...

    The whole purpose of a CUV is for on road use, not off road. People desire a people mover that drives like a car, not a truck. If people want to go off road, they buy a real SUV, not a Pilot, CX-9 or Highlander.
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    I don't get why people need to be such advocates for one vehicle over others and respond to every post that doesn't specifically enforce their position. Of course I already knew about the CR ranking (as would anyone else reading this discussion), because that is the post I was replying to. Why the need to repeat it in reference to the C&R review?

    I made a point to try and summarize the C&R review without putting any endorsement or spin on it, even listing the pros and cons and narrowly selective reasons for their ranking. Do we now have to get into a contest over which magazine is better to align ourselves with whatever one supports our preferred vehicle? Personally I stopped using CR reviews a long time ago because I can usually find more specialized sources for any given product category, be it cars or electronics or appliances, etc., that go into more detail or reflect the more specific criteria important to me. Others still like it. More power to them – to each their own.

    It's all silly. There is no one reason why people buy one car over its competition. There is such a broad market in CUV models because there are so many different reasons people buy and therefore different models to suit each of their priorities. No ranking will be topical to all or even most buyers, be it CR or C&R or any other source. So on the one hand its all just noise. That said, it’s probably helpful to some people to post about these reviews as information, but when we start selectively holding them up as some sort of validation of one choice over another, and defending that only those that reach a certain conclusion matter, it ceases being relevant to most potential buyers.

    I’ve posted repeatedly over the months that I think all three of these vehicles are strong. I would have been happy with a CX-9 and wish they had the tech I wanted sorted out. I am very happy with the Pilot that I surprisingly ended up with, since it was the last one I expected to choose of the bunch. And I am disappointed I couldn’t make myself love the Toyota given my loyalty to that brand. For me it came down to the cabin tech (principally a great nav and iPod integration) and the seating capacity, and it’s hard to argue the Honda wins there of these three CUV’s. My only fear was that it would prove out that I didn’t take advantage of either enough and I would regret not getting the CX-9. As it happens, the integrated iPod has already become my family’s preferred music option and we use it extensively. It’s been like when we first got TiVo (8 years ago) for my wife – she didn’t care about it beforehand and now can’t believe how she lived without a DVR. And we’ve already used all 8 seats on multiple occasions and use the 3rd row split every day (which would have made the Toyota a disaster for us if we had gone with it)… If it had been about the drive first (or in our opinion the appearance), I would definitely have picked the CX-9. If it had been about the fuel economy or familiarity first, it would have been the Highlander.

    BTW, I predict within 2 years all of these vehicles will have true iPod integration. There was just a report released that said 50% of all vehicles will by the end of 2009 (though it wasn’t clear whether they simply meant AUX ports versus true USB-based integration). It will become a standard feature, just like Bluetooth will. That’s one of the reasons I hedged my bet in the end and converted my sale price to a 3-year lease. I love my car so far, but I like the idea of knowing I can revisit where everyone has landed on features and fuel economy in three years. In the meantime I am a satisfied customer.
  • cericceric Posts: 1,092
    I remember a TV ads. It went like this...
    "An average marriage in California lasts for 5 years. An average California owns a vehicle for 7 years. Shouldn't you choose your vehicle more carefully than your spouse?"
    You should choose a vehicle that best suit your needs, and, yes, very carefully.

    Other than taking my CX9 to snowy sierra mountains, I don't think my CX9 is ever going to ford rivers or plow through muddy trails.
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