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Acura MDX v. Honda Pilot



  • hodog16hodog16 Posts: 53
    Just wanted to give some input as somebody who bought a 2008 MDX Tech + PTG and who test drove a 2009 Pilot EX-L AWD with RES.

    Some observations:

    1. Honda and Acura's navigations should be identical, so no difference there.
    2. The Pilot's 3rd row is definitely more user-friendly, and a knock on the MDX is the fact that you can only access the 3rd row on the right side. Also the 2nd row does not adjust positions. These were points to consider but not ultimately important ones in my decision as I hardly use my 3rd row (in fact they are usually folded down), but it is there if I need to take a 6th person somewhere. The backseats for the MDX are very comfortable if you are carrying 4 adults.
    3. It's subjective of course, but I think the MDX looks a million times better than the Pilot from any angle, especially the front and rear.
    4. For those with children, MDX has 3 LATCH connectors all in the 2nd row (probably can only use 2 at a time) whereas the Pilot has 4 LATCH connectors, I believe 2 in each rear row. I would have preferred the 4 LATCH's but personally for me it was not a huge deal as my family won't warrant that many LATCH's for a few years anyway and by then it will be time to replace my wife's car.
    5. I get 19-20 MPG on the MDX mixed driving and 23 MPG on the highway. I imagine the Pilot won't get much better, maybe by 1 MPG. Premium gas is 10-15 cents more expensive per gallon than regular, but as an annual estimation it's probably just $200 more per year in gas, which shouldn't be a big deal if you're shopping for an SUV in the $38,000+ range anyway.
    6. Last I checked, the Pilot was going for MSRP or maybe $500-1,000 off MSRP (not sure if this has changed as the Pilot has been out for a little bit longer now). The MDX now has a $2,500 dealer incentive if you purchase or $1,500 if you take Honda's special financing. This should narrow the gap considerably as you can bargain off invoice for the MDX but have to bargain off MSRP for the Pilot.

    When I bought my MDX Tech in mid-June, a Touring Pilot would have cost me MSRP ($40k+) before tax, titles, and fees. I bought my MDX Tech for almost $2,000 below that before the extra fees. If anything I maybe gave up RES, rear bumper sensors (MDX Tech comes with a camera) and a USB iPod connection (rumor is this will be in the 2009 MDX's), but got HID lights, a better interior, and let's face it an Acura instead of a Honda. The MDX is only in its 2nd model year as well so it's not an old design.

    Anyway, just wanted to give my (probably biased) observations. Good luck with your decisions! Can't go wrong either way but I do love my MDX!
  • comet123comet123 Posts: 9
    I don't see much activity on this comparing the MDX to the Pilot. I have driven both....and both seem great.

    Am leaning towards MDX..just because I already own a Honda van and don't have the need for the 3rd seat. If it was our only large vehicle and I needed extra room, definitely Pilot.
  • Never compared MDX vs Pilot, but we did have a hardtime to make call betwee MDX against Highhlander, and we bought MDX, driving it feels great. Although to cut the MDX price close to a fully loaded Highlander, we gave up quite a few gadget on MDX, but I'm glad about the decision after owning the car for a few days.
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    I started focusing on the Highlander, new Pilot and CX-9 (I also checked out the Arcadia, etc. but eliminated them). I wanted to like the Highlander but it has too many flaws for someone who wants a luxury trim and really needs the third row for trips (no split fold-down seat, no memory seats, no iPod integration, nav can't be controlled when driving, RES completely kills rear view, etc.). I didn't love the look or the drive on the new Pilot. I ended up checking out the MDZ closely as a result, especially with prices so low. But the MDX really loses on seating. The third row is useless for adults (I had to bend my neck sideways to sit there and my knees jammed into the second row) and even the middle seat in the second row was useless for me. We would use this for long car trips with adults sometimes in these seat positions. I also didn't like the worse fuel economy and premium fuel requirement.
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    Ended up getting the Pilot for what it's worth. I test drove it, the MDX, the Highlander and the CX-9 at least several times each. The dirve is nicer on the MDX (and CX-9) but fine on the Pilot. And its baffling to me (and, they admitted, the Acura sales guys) that even the '09 Pilot still doesn't have iPod integration. The Pilot is using the exact same nav system but with more features. It really is a great tech car. And the seating is equal to if not best in class (the GMC line being the only competition). If the third row is an after-though, a "nice-to-have" for the rare occasions, the MDX is probably the better choice. But if it is an important factor in the buying decision, the Pilot is a better choice by far. Also, around here the Honda dealers are being more aggressive on pricing (proportionately) than the Acura dealers...
  • Hello all-

    I am leaning towards purchasing a used (2006-2005) MDX but also considering the Pilot. What do you think the financial incentives will be post-labor day?

    Any 0% for 36 month financing, or extending 0.9% for more than 36 months?

    And anything I should be evaluating between the pilot and mdx other than cost?

  • 10sfan10sfan Posts: 136
    Last I heard, the low interest financing on the Dealers inventory of used models is available if they are Certified by the dealer, which add $1,800. to the cost. I have a 2005 that is great but AHF want $3,000 over Market value to purchase so I extended the lease for a few months. Looking for a deal on a 2005 or 2006 MDX.
    Assume with every manufacture ending their big sale 9/2/08 and with vehicles, SUV's especially not moving, better financing deals may be forthcoming to move the 2008s.
    Will wait to see what happens in the next 60 days or so.
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    I'd be guessing on the financing so I'll leave that for someone better suited... In terms of evaluating other than cost, off-hand:

    * How important is seating capacity to you? The Pilot seats 8 pretty comfortably. The Acura seats 4 very comfortably and 3 not at all comfortably (as in not practical for most adults unless you want to bend your neck sideway the whole time). It's also easier to access the third row seating in the Pilot and there is more leg room (which is adjustable).

    * The Pilot has more cargo capacity.

    * In theory the Acura should have a better residual value but it doesn’t at the moment. Perhaps the ’09 will.

    * The Acura drives nicer, no question: More responsive, zippier, better suspension, etc.

    * The interior of the Acura is much better appointed. Many people have correctly complained about the obvious plastic finishes on even the high-end Pilot – they don’t even attempt fake wood.

    * Acura will have 1 year more warranty and probably more white glove treatment at the dealer when serving. When I had a Lexus they wasted the car after every visit and offered me a loaner. Not so much with Toyota, for example…

    * The Pilot has a little better MPG. It has variable cylinder management (i.e. it can save fuel by shutting some off when not taxing the engine). And the Pilot doesn’t require premium fuel like the Acura.

    * The Pilot has iPod integration into the nav screen controls and voice control. There is a rumor the ’09 MDX will but the dealers I spoke to said no and it definitely isn’t in the ’08.

    * The Acura has an option for real-time traffic re-routing in major markets. It requires a monthly subscription. Other than the iPod and traffic differences, the navs and audio systems in both vehicles is identical (at least when comparing to the Touring Pilot).

    * The Touring Pilot has a numerous standard features that are always options in the Acura, such as the tow package and hitch. So make sure to factor that into your cost comparison if they are important to you.

    * The exterior stylings are very different. Chances are if you are leaning toward an Acura you will not like the exterior of the Pilot. It was designed to appeal to people who liked the classic SUV boxiness. I personally don’t care for it but the other features won me over. That said, I am indifferent to the exterior of the MDX – its fine, but it doesn’t wow me either. I prefer the exterior of the CX-9 or the XC90 myself.

    In my experience with competitive bidding there is about a $5-6K difference in price between the 4WD Pilot Touring and an ’08 MDX w/ Tech and Ent (though before the optional towing, etc.). It makes the MDX tempting. If seating had not been a priority for me I would have strongly considered it. If seating and cargo capacity is a priority, it is a total no-brainer decision for the Pilot.
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    To clarify my residual value comment, I meant proportionately. It doesn't hold a percentage of its value better, at least in the lease terms being offered right now. Obviously it holds a higher absolutely dollar value as it started higher...
  • I have just started shopping for a SUV. Along with the obvious criteria of handling, safety and price, I also care about the third row seat. Specifically, I want a SUV that can seat 7 adults, but do not want to buy one of the oversized SUVs (like Escalade or Navigator).

    Can the folks on this forum please offer their insights to help me decide between the three models?

    I have driven the MDX and really like it. I did not drive the X5 as it seemed like the 3rd row seats were extremely tight - even more so than the MDX (is that true or just my imagination?).

    I also like the Lexus GX470, but don't know enough about it yet. I plan to drive test it soon. I also drove the Audi Q7 but, to be honest, didn't find it to be worth the price.

    Thanks in advance.
  • Here are my options:
    2006 MDX Touring w/NAV and RES, 35K miles $20,895
    2006 MDX Touring w/NAV and RES, 28K miles $23,887
    2006 Pilot EX-L w/RES, 26K miles $20,711
    2008 Pilot SE w/RES, 19K miles $23,980

  • you get alot more with the acura. but 4wd + premium gas and general cost of ownership will be higher.

    i had to make the same choice and went with the honda, but it was tough cause i really liked HID lights, memory seats, and having nav and res together.
  • '06 MDX does not have HID's, rather "projector" headlights, they switched to HID's w/ the '07 MY. There is a lot of controversy over whether you can use regular in a "premium only" vehicle. I used premium in my '04 MDX for most of it's life, I recently started using 87 oct because it was $1.50/gal. Didn't notice much difference mileage or performance wise.
    As far as cost of ownership, many Acura owners have maintenence done at the Honda shop where its generally cheaper, however most honda shops will not do warranty work.
  • jason330ijason330i Posts: 35
    wow, all this time i assumed the mdx had true HID headlights. isn't it suppose to be a luxury brand? and doesn't the older model TL's have HID?

    still miss the memory seats though.
  • enforcerenforcer Posts: 40
    We bought an MDX 3 months ago and could not be more pleased.

    We looked at the Pilot v. MDX v. Highlander. The Toyota salespeople were incredibly lame and the car looked cheap inside, plus the discounts were pretty mediocre (almost as pricey as MDX which had huge rebates) so the Highlander was soon eliminated.

    We also drove the Pilot but it just wasn't as nice. For $3k more we got a much much nicer car - better interior, nicer lines, better features - there really is no comparison. If you don't have the extra $3-5 grand then I guess you have to go with the cheaper model. But if you are buying new and financing with .9 or 2.9% this is really an easy choice.

    Also check out April 2009 consumer reports - the MDX gets a much higher rating than the Pilot - in fact the MDX is highest in its class. And the whole Acura experience is so much better.
  • upstatedocupstatedoc Posts: 710
    '07 thru '09 MDX's have HID's as well as '04 thru '09 TL's.
  • x5killerx5killer Posts: 368
    the pilot just got redesigned in 08 right or was it 09. the new redesign is decent but it it is stilla little big and boxy.

    some ppl say the pilot is the same as the mdx for less money but all they really share is the chassis. the pilot is maybe a little bigger so maybe you get some more room but the MDX is one of the larger mid size suvs as it is and your getting a good bit more luxury sportier fun to drive with it so to me its a case where its totally worth the little extra in price. Its not like it sthe same car with an acura badge on it for more money.

    you do get more. the pilot to me is just too big and boxy and drives like a truck. The MDX is the perfect combo of the sportier car like mid size suvs but still feels more truck like then say the RX or other simiiar mid size suvs. for me its the perfect larger side for mid size suvs but not too large like the pilot or others. sporty enough but also truck like enough and not so car like as some of the mid size suvs based on a car platform. mine as well get a sedan then while to me the mdx is one of the perfect combos in the size and sporty drive dept. there are others that will feel a little lighter and sportier to drive but others like the pilot that will be less sporty so again for me the MDX is the perfect combination best of both worlds.
  • raj_eraj_e Posts: 5
    Hi dapnkap,
    I am in the market for either Pilot/MDX (2006). Can I know which city you are in? In Virgnia/DC metro, there are hardly any private party MDXs available and all the dealers are asking for lot more than you quoted.

    2006 MDX Touring w/NAV and RES, 35K miles $20,895 is heck of a deal, the least that I got $25K.
  • Hey all,

    Resurrecting this thread to ask if anyone has recently picked between a 2008 MDX and a 2009 Pilot. We like both and are trying to figure out if the '08 MDX is worth the additional 4K (33K list for MDX, 29K for Pilot, Boston area). Both have 3 LATCH in the back seat (important for eventual 3rd kid) and dual climate control, which were really the only must-haves for us.

  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    How did you end up with your decision?

    I'm coming up on my three year lease end with the '09 Pilot in late July and am back researching the 3-row crossover SUV options again. The Acura is high on my list because I liked it the first time (3 year ago) but couldn't get over a few issues versus the Pilot (and it had nothing to do with price -- I wouldn't have ended up with the Acura even if it cost less than the Pilot). I plan to go in for a test drive soon, but I am concerned that some of the major benefits of the Acura vs. the Pilot still haven't been addressed. It's definitely not as simple as "you get more with the Acura but it costs more" -- I find it's a real trade-off of features between the two.

    What I didn’t like about the Acura v. the Honda:

    -- In ’09 the tech package was better in the Pilot. It had the UPS-iPod control where the Acura only had a dumb AUX port. This at least was fixed in ’10 apparently.

    -- The seating capacity is SO much better in the Pilot. It seats 8, all comfortably. I have had grandparents on long trips in the third row. By comparison I say the Acura had 4 comfortable seats and 3 marginal seats with the 2 in the third row being pathetic (I couldn’t sit up straight without tilting my head) and the middle seat of the second row being incredibly uncomfortable too. And I have been surprised how often we have used all 8 seats – I would say we do at least once a week.

    -- More and better storage capacity options with the Pilot. Because the third row is a 60/40 split, I can have someone sitting in the back and still have 60 percent full rear storage. This comes in handy almost every day.

    -- Despite all this extra capacity is actually gets better gas mileage than the MDX and does it on standard, not premium fuel. I pay less and get more when it comes to fuel.

    I love the nav system in both vehicles – they are identical but for striping out the real0time traffic from the Honda, which was a bummer though I have yet to use one I can really rely on. Of course I greatly prefer the drive of the Acura and the look and interior quality. But this is ultimately a family utility vehicle (yes, our other car is already a mini-van so we have no bias against them).

    So I guess the question is, other than the iPod improvement have they addressed any of my other issues with the MDZ versus the Pilot?

  • Honestly, the MDX is better. It really is best in class, and not all Pilot's have what the MDX has. For example, leather and sunroof are standard in a luxury car like that, but the Pilot? Its an SUV that is just bigger and boxier. The MDX has bucket 3rd row seats that fold flat into the floor, (not sure about the Pilot). In most MDX's, you will find navigation, memory seats, and entertainment system. The MDX will last longer, and it is a much better deal than the Pilot. If you have a couple more thousands, why not?
  • citivascitivas Posts: 144
    rafidahmed, it sounds like you are comparing the two vehicles without having investigated one of them. You admit now even knowing what features are in the Pilot, and all the features you mentioned – leather, sunroof, entertainment system, navigation, memory seats, stowable third row, etc. – are available in the Pilot and standard on some models. Statistically, your comment that the MDX will last longer is not true. As some of us have written, there are plenty of reasons to prefer the Pilot that have nothing to do with price. Three years ago I would have paid more for the Pilot than the MDX if necessary because it had the features I prioritized most. This year I’m looking at the MDX again and still struggling to accept all the benefits of the Pilot I would have to give up to move to it. I personally like the styling, finish and drive of the MDX more than the Pilot, but that is subjective to the driver. What’s not subjective is that the Pilot has more seating capacity, more comfortable (okay, that is subjective but hardly if you have ever sat in the middle seat of the MDX) and roomier second and third row seats and more storage capacity and still gets better gas mileage from cheaper fuel.
  • citivas - what did you decide?
    i am in a similar situation and your points are dead on with my thoughts as well. i do like the style of the MDX much better and since this will be used for other things other than just the family - a little style is important, just not sure if it's practical. afterall, pilot is less expensive and (very importantly) is roomier. i am pretty loyal to the honda/acura brand as i've never had a bad experience with any of their cars i owned, so i am keeping the decision on the mid-size SUV to only honda & acura. i'm not overlooking the price differential between the MDX and Pilot but it's pretty marginal and not a big concern of mine.

    im interested to hear what you decided.
  • We just bought a Certified 08 Pilot EX- there was also an 08 MDX at the dealer when we bought the Pilot. There's no question the MDX is more luxurious, powerful, refined, etc. than the Pilot- but I see the Pilot as more economical, practical, roomy and really in a different market than the MDX.

    Both SUV's have their strengths and weaknesses, and an EX-L w/ Navi 4wd Pilot blurrs the line even more, but in reality I can't see either vehicle doing all tasks the best. Clearly a Pilot will better haul bulky items and furniture, the family, dogs, and all the stuff that comes with that to the beach, park, or long distance destination- I don't think you'd want wet kids and dogs all over that buttery MDX leather and the MDX is just not built to haul as much gear. The MDX is far more suited than the Pilot to shuttling retired empty-nesters to their golf game, arriving at a black-tie event or that power business lunch - it's clearly the more expensive and upscale SUV. But both vehicles are both built by the same manufacturer and share the reliability and value Honda is known for- the Acura also gives you the added status and luxury of an upmarket marque.

    Saying the MDX is better than the Pilot is like saying the Pilot is better than the MDX- both will shine and fail at different tasks. The solution is to own one of each-lol.
  • I'm having to replace a vehicle due to a wreck. The only vehicles I'm interested in are the 2007 Pilot, 2007 Highlander, and 2007 MDX. These 3 are on the list due to my budget and what I want. The 2007 MDX is on this list because a dealer has a MDX base model with minor hail damage that has forced them to lower the price.

    After reading many posts on edmunds about torque-converter and leather seat problems on the MDX I'm wondering if I should walk away from the MDX and get the pilot. The Highlanders are nice but they are more money especially to get leather which is what I want.
  • I know this is an old thread, but in case anyone is still interested in this topic, here is my input – I was trying to decide between a used 2008 Acura MDX and a new 2011 Honda Pilot last year. The prices for the two, at the time were close. I paid $29,999 for the MDX with 53K miles (dealer sticker was $31k) and a new Pilot, was I think about around $32000. I went with the MDX because my research and test drives indicated the MDX was much more vehicle, had significantly enhanced performance, handling, acceleration, breaking, etc., plus about every all the luxury features I think of and looked cooler than the Pilot. The two are not all the same mechanicals or performance. The MDX handles like a heavy sports car (or police package for that matter) not at all like an SUV, Pilot, Kia Sorrento, etc. The recommended premium gas is an issue/expense for the MDX, but when driving around town, I fill up every third or fourth fill up with midgrade but always use premium for highway. I have no “knocking” or noticeable performance issues after 30k miles. I expect this to be a 15 year plus car for me and while Honda quality is excellent on Pilots and all their other models, Acura appear to me, to a cut or two higher (paint, leather, etc.). I must admit hoever, that the the leather seats on the 2008 are not in keeping with the high qulaity of the rest of the vehicle..
  • I bought a 2008 MDX when they came out. I test drove the Pilot, too. My decision came down to a simple fact. I am a mom with 3 kids but I did not want to be in a mini van, which the Pilot felt and drove like one. I wanted a sports car but in reality, I have 3 kids. So what better way to compromise! I also LOVE the AWD and have felt it in use in many terrains here in Texas. I think the Pilot has a lot to offer and is more inexpensive...I just wanted the sports car and AWD. My kiddos fit just fine. One in the front, one in the middle and one in the back for road trips.
  • Any one else have problems? Thought it was just a $99 headlight (!!!) but turned out it was the ignitor for the halogen bulb. It cost $700 to replace. My car had 63,000 miles on it. NOT covered under warranty.

    I, too, think the leather seats are not lasting the quality of the Acura name.

    I have also had battery issues and have had the emergency service to come jump start me. Right after the warranty expired I had to pay $350 for a corroded battery cable. Didn't maintenance see that coming?

    I LOVE my car, needless to say, and have taken it to the dealership for every maintenance. I am just surprised at some of the issues...
  • lar14lar14 Posts: 2
    I have had battery problems also and have been extremely upset with the quality of leather on my seats. My car is immaculate, but the quality of leather on the seats (especially the passenger seat which is not used often) is awful. I would think twice about buying such an expensive car for this reason. These are the 2 major complaints I have about my car. I would expect this of lower end car, not an Acura. I take great care of my car, and can honestly say that this has really diss appointed me.
  • lar14lar14 Posts: 2
    My Bluetooth stopped working also. After reading more complaints about these things form others, I am even more dissapointed.
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