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Honda Pilot 2003 through 2005



  • moonkatmoonkat Posts: 265
    bostnwhlr & robertsmx;
    Good to see some familiar names as we begin a repeat of the Honda (Ody & MDX) wait. Looks like a good time to trade up my 99 Ody EX. I know I will lose some interior space but not as much as with the MDX. Been there..

    Seems like only yesterday (its actually been two years) that we were speculating on the transmissions and hp on the MDX. Now you can get 5spd auto and 240 hp on the Ody and upcoming Pilot!
  • sjwsmwsjwsmw Posts: 131
    I have found it extremely convenient to have the rear window flip up for easy loading and long objects to stick out the back. But I noticed that the MDX as well as the Highlander don't offer this option.
    I see that is does appear to be available on the CR-V. Does anyone know what the Pilot is going to have??
  • varmitvarmit Posts: 1,125
    This is complete speculation, but it's possible that the side airbags Honda uses (body bags?) keep the body in position so that the head can't go anywhere. Whereas the head airbags allow the body to move, but protect the head from impact.

    Re" demand. I expect that the Pilot will command MSRP for quite a while. But with the Pilot giving the Ody some in-house competition, prices on the Ody should ease up. The same should apply to the MDX as the Pilot will steal a few sales from Acura as well.

    Artdecho - I was wondering about the weight too. I would think that the Highlander is considered competition and that isn't a particlularly hefty vehicle. I guess Honda could claim that the third row puts them into another category, but that's a pretty lame technicality.
  • SpyponderSpyponder Posts: 128
    It's hard to tell from the pictures of the concept, but the Pilot does not appear to have a flip-up back window on the tailgate. The rear window looks pretty flush to the gate, which does flip up.

    I would think that if they had a flip-up window, they would've released a picture of it "flipped-up", right?

    Maybe they will include it in the final production version.
  • inkyinky Posts: 370
    Will be a sellout at 60k units per year.
    Honda has smartly shared Odyssey, MDX and Pilot basics to save money. Everybody wins--consumer also. If Honda ends up making a total of 300,000 combined units per year which they can once Alabama fully on line that represents about $7.5 Billion per year assuming 25k average per vehicle. Not bad.
    Looks like about 1 Billion dealer profit assuming $3000 per vehicle. Again not bad.
    However the Pilot looks like a big CRV to me. Boring.
    A better deal than MDX. I am losing my resistance to MSRP. When Honda started with reasonable MSRP on Accord EX V-6 in 97 folks were happy to pay 24k for a loaded car like that. The 99 Odyssey EX at $25.5k was a great deal also. Reality is Honda is going to one pricing by raising holdback to 3% and lowering dealer margin (invoice-MSRP). Presently Honda and Acura dealers are getting fat. Surprised Honda did not raise prices more to get them (Corporate) more profit and force dealers to discount aka Caravan, Windstar etc. No, they held MSRP down and allowed dealers to profit. fine in America. One problem: I have not seen the Lexus-like service come out of these higher profits. Happy to take our money but no even token return. I own a 2002 Acura TL and a 2002 Odyssey. The Acura had a moderate discount the Honda did not. I was treated OK by both dealers but not like when I owned a Lexus--and Lexus quality of materials is better than anything Honda or Acura makes.
    Is the Pilot coming from Alabama or Canada? My guess is Canada since MDX made there, but not sure.
  • carguy62carguy62 Posts: 545
    I can tell you that the side airbags did their job when my Accord was in an accident. Obviously I can't say if the side curtain set up would have been better or worse. But like someone else said, Honda knows what it is doing pretty well----I don't think it's up to me to question which system they use.
  • Dateline suburban Chicago----

    Spoke with 3 local Honda dealers. 2 of the 3 said release of the Pilot is scheduled for around late June, they will not start taking orders until probably, April. They have all ready had inquires and they anticipate that when the Auto Show comes to Chicago in February and word continues to get out about this new SUV, inquiries will begin to flood in...Price likely be mid-upper 20's base LX to lower-mid 30's loaded.

    I have 2 boys, ages 4 and 2 and am tired of our older Mini-Van. I'm probably going to order the DVD package on the Pilot and am willing to wait. I don't mind paying MSRP, as long as I know the value will be retained in the long run and everyone else is also paying the same amount.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Pilot will be made an hour from here in Alliston ON. Honda is making fat money on these vehicles as are the dealers. You are right, Honda service is not great considering they are doing so well. Good product, but poor sales practices and service make me wonder. I guess they figure people will buy anyway, which they seem to do.

    Local dealer is really bad. I was looking at a 02 CR-V and list was the price. No negotiating and if I didn't want it that was fine because they would probably sell it to another guy tomorrow. Very arrogant which rubs me the wrong way.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Nope, doesn't look like the Pilot will have the ones that slip up. Same as in the MDX.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    the '03 Expedition (and Navigator) now have IRS, and a similar 60/40 split-folding 3rd seat as the Pilot.

    So, for those who find the Pilot purchase lines too long, and don't mind owning a Ford, there are other 8-passenger SUV options that will offer similar features. The Expedition also has a low range for better off-road use, and much better towing capability.

    Just a thought...

  • Yes Honda sales reps may come across as arrogant, by not budging on price; Hell, who wouldn't?.

    If I was in business with Honda, I would probably be fed up with some customers demanding and becoming upset that I will not sell a vehicle for less than MSRP. Why should I?; Especially if I know I will sell that same vehicle at MSRP to someone else tomorrow?.

    Simple supply v. demand. MacroEconomics 101.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    And I'm sure it'll be bigger than the Pilot by a lot. I would cross shop the Pilot against the new Explorer (I doubt the Pilot can REALLY carry 8 passengers).
  • Carguy62, I'm glad to hear your side airbag worked well. Was anyone sitting in your BACK seat when you had the accident in your Accord?

    I'm not questioning Honda on their side air bags on FRONT seats. They are known to be very good. The problem is that BACK seat occupants don't have the same side-imapct protection on ANY Honda.

    Don't take my word for it, check out Insurance Institute's Highway Safety's report at http://www.highwaysafety.org/srpdfs/sr3601.pdf. It states "Almost 10,000 occupant deaths occur each year in side impact crashes, and head injuries cause more than half of these deaths".

    Since children are specifically recommended to be seated in the back seats, why shouldn't they get the same side protection as adults do in the front?

    All Saturns, VWs, and Volvos have these? Why not Honda?

  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    So...it's arrogant for us to demand below MSRP, but perfectly fair for dealers to mark up the new vehicle because of overwhelming demand?

    Granted, that's how the business world works, but doesn't that make the car salesman the arrogant one, while the customer, for lack of a better word, is naive? Arrogant are the dealers who don't even sell for MSRP by adding options that the customer probably doesn't even want/need.
  • Yes, I'm interested in the Honda Pilot, it will be a good choice IMHO to the Toyota Highlander and Acura MDX but does it come with a Sun Roof? For 30k I would be disappointed, even the new CR-V has an available "Power Moonroof w/Tilt Feature."

    Thanks in Advance

  • I just got an email back from my local dealer and they already have a list started for the Pilot. I am going to run down in the next two days. They want $500 to get on the list. They know no more than we do but we will be contacted later to pick out the details.

    Unfortunately he didn't answer my question about charging more than msrp. They didn't do it for the S2000 and Ody so I am hopeful.

    Boy it is going to be tough to wait since I was ready to by an SUV before the end of the month.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    That $500.00 you give the dealer is going to earn interest for him, not you, while you wait.

  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059

    At today's interest rates, one would have to be fairly desperate in expecting to make money off of the deposits!

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    But it's still beer money. :)

  • I am more worried about getting my wife to agree to going for it than I am the lost interest. I will be sure not to point that out to her as that may give her yet another reason to not want to. At least it is refundable.

    She has a problem with me buying a new car every year or year and a half. As long as every other one is for her she doesn't put up too much of a fight.

    Thanks rsholland for the point.
  • SpyponderSpyponder Posts: 128
    yeah, but only if it's a domestic brand... ;)
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Honda hasn't introduced side curtain airbags because of one simple reason -- they have lagged behind their competitors in doing it. It's no excuse, obviously, but it's not that they're building a better mousetrap. Honda has been lagging some competitors in a number of safety innovations. It usually takes an extra model year or two or even three before they will add the feature.

    E.g. the MDX doesn't yet have xenon headlamps, which its Lexus, MB, and BMW competitors all have, some for 1.5 years or more. They couldn't just take the TL's headlamps because Honda doesn't yet have the auto-leveling implementation that is necessary for putting xenon HID's on a taller SUV.

    Honda obviously does some things very well but until more recently they have not emphasized safety as much as, say, Toyota has. Thus they've also been slow in introducing VSA to their vehicles.

    That all said, the MDX, and thus the Pilot, should be very safe vehicles. The MDX is the second-best performer in the IIHS frontal crash tests, beating out some distinguished (and not-so-distinguished) competition.

    I would take Honda's word that the side impact performance should be very good. I think adding side curtains would be a definite plus, but I personally do not consider them as essential on a higher-riding SUV than on a sedan or coupe. However, it's up to the individual buyer to decide if it's essential or not. MB didn't introduce side curtains to the M-class until the 2002 model year, and buyers of pre-2002 will tell your their vehicle is extremely safe without them (though they had/have rear side airbags for chest, in the second row).

    The side curtains serve two main functions: they cushion the intrusion of another vehicle's nose into the vehicle from the head and shoulders of a person; and they help reduce injuries from impact against the door/window.

    on the first item, in a sedan or coupe, it's easy to see how the nose of an impacting vehicle can intrude toward a person's head, especially if the impacting vehicle is an SUV or minivan. On a higher-riding SUV the chances are lower. IIHS had to resort to the "pole test" to demonstrate how it would reduce injury, where a vehicle slides sideways into a poll, rather than have a tall barrier representing a super-high vehicle smashing you. And if you get hit with a vehicle THAT high, it's probably a semi and the cushion isn't going to do much good. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather have them but not have them, but I just don't consider them as essential in an SUV.

    To the second item, cushioning the side impact of the head into the door/window for impact, that is definitely where side curtains would help.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    When I was interested in the MDX months and months before release, I put down a $500 deposit with my Acura dealership. I got a written receipt stating that the deposit was fully refundable if we changed our mind, and that the purchase price (minus accessories) would be MSRP. I would have not put down a deposit had I not gotten the refund guarantee. This way, if prices looked like they might be discounted more quickly I could cancel and wait it out (though in my case we were having a baby so there was a liveline, of sorts). Also gave us more opportunity to look at competing vehicles.

    I would urge anyone placing a deposit so early in the game to GET IT IN WRITING that the deposit is refundable at the customer's discretion and on the price you're willing to pay (include fees!). Else you're setting yourself up to get reamed by a poorer dealer.

    Granted that the dealership doesn't make a lot of interest money off of deposits, but look at it this way. They collect just 20 $500 deposits from would-be customers, that's $10,000 in cash flow available to the dealership. Dealerships crave having cash around, and they'd rather have it than not have it. And some dealerships ask for $1,000 deposits. Cash is king.
  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    The 3rd row seat of the pilot looks like it goes all the way to wheel well on one side, where on the Acura there seems to be equal space on either side? With a little less plastic and this...maybe that is how they squeeze room for 3 seats in the back?

    I am scrutinizing because I have a deposit on an MDX that is a month old. Not only am I out a few schlitz...but now I am grappling with the TMV of the MDX dropping a month or two after I actually getting it. I am really doing the whole MDX vs. Pilot thing, and I must admit, the Pilot looks good from the start.
  • Diploid- I agree Honda dealers marking up HIGHER than MSRP and adding unnecessary costly accessories to the base model; smells. It's perfectly within their right, but it smells. If they simply ask MSRP for a car in hot demand, they get my respect.
  • varmitvarmit Posts: 1,125
    wmquan - Can't say that I agree with that blanket statement about Honda's pursuit of safety technology. I agree that Honda has been sitting on Technology like VSA, but they've been busy with plenty of other innovations.

    Honda owns the largest indoor crash testing facility in the world. They can test on eight tracks from nearly every angle and do it all year round. Every new model produced since 99 has earned top scores in crash tests (only exceptions being the tiny niche cars; Insight and S2K). Honda is also a leader in auto vs pedestrian crashes. The safety cages in Honda cars are quite possibly the best in the industry.

    IMHO, you can't judge safety based on equipment. The Kia Sportage has airbags for your knees. Why doesn't Volvo, MB, and others offer those? The Hondas are also offering the LATCH system whereas others are not. Honda was the first to introduce ABS. The Pilot includes not one, but two side door reinforcements. There's also the dual pretensioned seat belts that were introduced with the Civic.

    Now, all that might not seem as sexy as curtain style airbags or VSA, but I don't think you can say that Honda has been sitting on their hands doing nothing.
  • Wow, you all seem pretty excited about the new Pilot. Looks like it might be just as crazy as the Ody was in 99. I recall one soccer mom requiring the dealer to detail her new van with special towels! In any case, is anyone concerned about first year quality? It was an issue with the Ody.
  • Not worried about 1st year quality. Pilot shares many features with the MDX (not a 1st year vehicle). I count on Honda to produce good product and take care of problems under warranty. Have owned Hondas ever since getting out of college 15 years ago, and have never been disappointed.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    Special towels...come on over to the Zaino board. Lots of us nuts over there who insist on better towels for the car than we do for ourselves!!

    Vin Weasel - this will be a hit for Honda for one main reason - they will finally have something for their loyal customers to move into. In reality, the minivan and SUV markets have either started to or will slow down. I think Honda isn't in this for conquest sales. Rather they want to be able to offer a full line for people who want another Honda. I know, I'm one of them.

    I look at other cars but have driven Hondas for 10 years now (and push one around my lawn as well). Paid MSRP only for the Ody, but did look at other brands. Next year, I will look at the CRV, Pilot, and new Accord with some consideration to the Mazda 6 and whatever other great stuff that will be out. But I know I will lean towards the Honda product.
  • That's pretty funny you managed to read my message because I only posted it for about 30 seconds before I deleted it.

    I think you're right that it fills a hole in the Honda line-up. It's just the dealers and some owners who have a Honda-superiority complex bug me. I even got it from a Hyundai dealer selling used CRVs. Personally, I think most of the Honda designs ever since they did the major makeover of the Civic and Accord, Hondas have been too generic looking for my taste. BTW, I think the Pilot is going to be very competitive in its class.

    Now I don't know if this was in the post I deleted but I swear I saw in the specs someone posted above that the Pilot comes with an electronic locking rear differential? Is this for real or is the system just like the CRV?
  • I've got a 99 Odyssey EX and have not had any problems with it other than the power sliding doors acting up, which were fixed under warranty. I know others have had more serious issues with the trany and such. On the Ody the power sliders to me are the most likely to have problems down the road too, and for me they are no longer covered by warranty. At least the Pilot won't have that problem, and as someone else mentioned, it's based on Ody and MDX so a lot of the bugs will have been worked out. There will be a few new ones of course.

    As for effect of Pilot on MDX and Ody sales, I can't speak for the MDX (out of my price range), but our next vehicle at the end of 4 year Ody lease was going to be another Ody until the Pilot came on the scene. I'm sure there are many like me who were considering Odys who will now seriously look at the Pilot. Given the continuing demand for the Ody though, 4 years into its run, it may not make a huge dent. At least the Odys are much more available in Canada than they still seem to be in the U.S. Canada always got about twice the allocation based on population. I wonder if the Pilot allocation will be similar.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Thanks for the response. Well, I didn't say that Honda is sitting on their hands doing nothing. As I said, their current vehicles are quite safe, so obviously they're doing something. When the MDX's IIHS crash test results, it proved that Honda/Acura's optimism that the vehicle would achieve high test scores was well-founded by thorough internal testing.

    I just think they're lagging behind the leaders in the safety category. It's not necessarily a bad thing, as if they produce a vehicle with good, if not cutting-edge safety, good content, and good or great quality/reliability, at an economical price, most people will buy it, as have I. Though some folks want an even higher degree of safety and that's why they buy alternatives.

    I don't doubt they make better investments in safety than some manufacturers (e.g some of the domestic makes where crash test results show that it's quite hit or miss). But I don't think Honda aspires to be a leader in this regard, as do Volvo and MB, or even Toyota as far as Japanese manufacturers go.

    Honda was the first to introduce ABS? Is that true, or is that a statement that requires qualification? I believe Mercedes Benz invented ABS and was the first to introduce it.

    Seat belt pretensioners are certainly not exclusive to Honda. Indeed, companies like VW not only have seat belt pretensioners for the front position, they also have it for the rear seating position (at least the outboard ones -- see the Jetta and Passat). I don't believe any Honda/Acura has more than two seat belt pretensioners.

    Who is not offering LATCH? LATCH is being required on various vehicle types by federal regulation. As far as I know, Honda did not introduce LATCH "early," they introduced it when it was necessary. E.g. my 2001 MDX does not have LATCH, Honda/Acura only added it to the 2002 because federal regulations mandated it (and to be fair, even MB didn't offer LATCH in their SUV until the regulations demanded it as well). Companies that introduced LATCH before regulations required it included VW on most models and I think Volvo on all.

    I think that side curtains are a must for my next sedan/coupe purchase, and Honda has not introduced it into the Civic or Accord. They'll probably have it in the next Accord, if not for competitive reasons (Passat, Camry, Altima all have it standard or optional). The Civic is relatively new but does not offer any head protection whereas the Ford Focus, Mazda Protege, and VW Golf/Jetta all offer some sort as an option or as standard equipment.

    Another innovation that is arriving on many vehicles is some form of braking assistance. The RX300 has it, the MDX does not. The new Volvo SUV will have it too, and vehicles like the ML320 have had it for a while now.

    I do agree that adding on more and more safety equipment hits diminishing returns; I don't think one needs the latest and greatest gear to be safe. But I think Honda is a bit slow to finally adopt even relatively proven and desirable safety technology.

    By the time the Pilot introduces, you can get VSA and side curtains on the Highlander. Toyota has had VSA in its minivan for a while now while the Odyssey has not. As we both agree, Honda's been sitting on it -- the MDX doesn't have it (though I think its wider track and VTM-4 system help reduce the need for it, it would still benefit from a properly implemented system). Curiously, the Japanese-market CR-V has/had VSA available while U.S. versions do not.

    The cutting-edge manufacturers are beginning to move on to other useful safety enhancements, such as suspensions that adjust for speed, even more airbags, etc. Obviously their R&D budgets are huge and their vehicles are often priced to reflect that. I hope that Honda doesn't wait TOO long to adopt some of the technologies once they become cheaper to implement.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    I think that Pilot owners will be pleased. I was a bit nervous about buying the first year MDX, especially since the Odyssey hasn't been, statistically, as solid as other Hondas. To be fair, the Odyssey is a much larger, more complex vehicles than many Hondas. The MDX is more complicated still.

    Initial Consumer Reports rating based on 2001 MDX's are available in their Winter 2002 auto buying guide. They have rated the MDX "above average." JD Power, which is a bit looser in their accuracy, also has the MDX at above average.

    The two most common 2001 MDX problems have been excess suspension noise ("the thud") and an irritating "feature" where the mirrors would slowly drip water down the side of the vehicle for days after a rainfall or car wash (drove folks with harder-water rain and dark colors nuts). Acura released TSB's that have, for the most part, corrected these problems.

    To a much lesser extent, some vehicles had faceplates where some of the radio preset buttons would not work, and a small range of vehicles were recalled. Also, the first few thousand or so vehicles had a small recall regarding the deployment of the passenger airbag in a low-speed collision.

    There are complaints about too much wind noise in the MDX. Honda/Acuras are traditionally more noisey than, say, Toyota/Lexus, so this isn't as much of a bug as it is a feature that bothers some folks. That said, the 2002 MDX has a thicker windshield and some more sound insulation. I'd imagine the Pilot will benefit from these things.

    This is not to say that Acura/Honda, like most manufacturers, can't produce a lemon. There have been a few horror stories regarding oil leaks but they don't seem to be too common.

    Given that the Pilot is pretty similar to the MDX (too similar, at least to the current model of the MDX), and will be made at the same plant that has graduated from Odysseys to MDX's and now Pilots, I think you can expect above average quality for the first year, if not even better.

    If anything, being a first year model didn't bring as much reliability/quality headaches as headaches in getting parts and accessories. E.g. with the radio faceplate problem there was great difficulty in getting replacement faceplates. But since the Pilot will share a number of parts with the MDX, that shouldn't be as much of a problem either.
  • Few people who are considering the Pilot will not cross shop the Expedition. However, there will be quite a few people who are Expedition buyers who may decide that a smaller size and improved fuel economy matter. Most Expedition buyers don't go offroad (Ford says so) and few tow heavy items as well. In addition, the Expedition should retail for quite a bit more at $35-$40k. My guess would be that Honda's Pilot will continue to make Ford discount the Expedition heavily, just like the poor Windstar ($3,500 rebates and 0% financing on 2001's) Expect to see the heavily discounted newly redesigned Explorer ($5,500 off at local Ford Dealer) to take an even bigger hit. Count the Durango in on that same parade. The good news is that consumers will benefit. I've always thought most SUV's were overpriced. Only recently have prices dropped as competitive pressures have mounted. The Pilot will only continue this trend. Think about it. 7 passenger (realistic) SUV, AWD, 240 hp, lots of refinement, nice size, under $30k.


    I've been staying out of Town Hall as much as possible so that I could actually earn a living and spend time with my family, minor details in life. Couldn't resist the new Pilot though.

    As for Toyota/Lexus
    The Highlander and especially the RX300 get quite expensive once loaded. I prefer the way Honda/Acura just sells you a loaded vehicle. Yes, the dealer accessories are a pain, but it's much simpler. The Highlander is $35k once you add the toys: AWD V-6, limited, Leather, roof, etc. You can get an MDX for that price! However, one great thing about the Highlander is that it is relatively small. However, on the low end you could cross shop the new CRV against it in terms of space. Honda just gives you more for the money.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    NHTSA/IIHS/Honda's inhouse crash testing results may not represent all real world scenarios, but when you think about it, the ratings are based on injuries and movement of dummies inside the vehicle, with side air bag, curtain or nothing.

    This does not mean that Honda will never add side curtain airbags in future. They may, but it could be more of a marketing gimmick than utility.

    Time flies. :)

    Honda does not advertise safety as much as MB, Volvo or Toyota do, but that does not mean they do not aspire to be safety leader. It shows in the results, not on commercials.
    Safety equipment is only as good as the safety it provides.
    As for VSA in MDX, given the way VTM-4 works, it may not be needed. CR-V's AWD system may need it, and got it in a Japanese version.
    But then, marketing gimmicks would definitely help Honda, as it does to others. They would probably use it too, if market demand slows down.

    BTW, you said that BMW has auto-level headlamp adjustments. To point that out, a bimmer was following me couple of days ago, and the way its xenons were auto-adjusting themselves was really bothering me. I had the rear view mirrors in night more, and with every small bump on road, a pulse of that bright light would flash on my face. Thanks to the auto level feature. I wonder how much it is effective on X5.
  • It's hard to tell from the picture - Does the Pilot have side molding?

    Also, it looks like the entire back hatch lifts as one piece - Is this how others see it?

    I've been debating on a Pathfinder, Highlander and now maybe a Pilot. The Pathfinder has a new model out soon, the Highlander gets kind of pricey when you start adding packages and I'm kind of partial to Honda.

    I may get my name on a list or two while I can.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    I don't know enough about how the BMW system works to be sure. But I understand that autoleveling may become a requirement for xenons. Ask MDX owners what their most requested enhancement is to the MDX, and xenons usually come up in the top three. They really do make a difference when properly implemented. But to me, the bottom line is that you can't get any kind of xenons, autoleveling or not, for the MDX, at least not yet.

    Honda has made great strides. It wasn't that long ago when some of their vehicles were behind Toyota's in crash tests. E.g. the Camry was scoring highly a model generation ago, and the current Accord is still only "acceptable." The current-gen Odyssey, Civic, and MDX have changed that, and you're right, they do very well in the testing which is indicative of real-world safety in an offset frontal crash (IIHS). I was certainly pleased that the MDX is the 2nd-best performer of mid-sized SUV's in IIHS's test. The Pilot should be the same.

    However, more and more vehicles are doing well in the test (heck, a modified Ford Explorer places third right behind the MDX!), so the bar is going to go higher and higher. Of course this is where diminishing returns begin to set in. There are things that are not tested across vehicles, such as rear-end collisions, different types of side impacts, and actual rollovers. This is where the extra safety gadgets come in, and where I think Honda can do a better job of being a leader.

    VSA would definitely help the MDX and Pilot. That said, they do well enough in the snow; VSA would just provide the extra margin of safety. Most MDX owners have reported that they do fine in snow.

    But there have been some owner reports of understeer in snow turns. Consumer Reports, Motor Week, and Car & Driver Television have commented that the MDX is somewhat more prone to have its tail swing out as one approaches its limits. CR gave it a score of "below average" in its emergency handling test, while competitors from Lexus, MB, and BMW all score average or above average. The extra width and some of the VTM-4 features definitely help but VSA would be a nice, useful plus.

    It can be argued that Toyota/Lexus has assumed more of a safety leadership position than Honda/Acura. Evidence of this are the aforementioned crash test scores (with some notable exceptions like how the Civic/CR-V beats the Corolla/RAV4), inclusion of Brake Assist in some of their vehicles, availability of xenons in some, and side curtain airbags. I agree that some of it is marketing, but these aren't gimmicks, they're useful hardware. Time for Honda/Acura to begin adopting them throughout their lines rather than waiting a few years to play catch-up.

    Don't get me wrong, I think the Pilot will be a very safe vehicle. I just don't think Honda is even the safety leader of Japanese manufacturers. But Honda does still do a good job of safety, and a better job at other things.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    The Acura MDX does not have body side moldings either. Allegedly it was to preserve the clean lines of the vehicle. Voila for model year 2002 Acura introduced side moldings as an "accessory."

    Fortunately they're color-matched and easy to install by yourself with templates they provide. About $110. Unfortunate some of the slimier Acura dealerships have tried to charge folks $300 for the moldings installed!

    Don't know if the production model Pilot will have side moldings or not. I would certainly hope so!
  • Hi, new to the SUV forum; Been mostly camped out in the Mini Van area, but since finding out about the Honda Pilot, I've been checking this forum here.

    The ABS system was actually invented by Mercedes Benz many years ago. In the interest of automobile safety, it was never submitted for a patent and was allowed to be copied by other automakers. Some automakers like Volvo jumped on it right away and others took a little longer like the Japanese automakers. Having a brother that works at Mercedes Benz allows you to hear this stuff whether you like it or not. Conversations usually start something like this, "Did you know Mercedes Benz did blah blah blah..." Most of the time I just look at him with a glassy eyed stupor and say, "Huh?"
  • Just saw the pre-production photos at www.hondanews.com. What a let-down! I agree with INKY and a lot of others; boring. Looks like a big CR-V, but the old model to boot! If I am going to spend $40K(CDN), then a vehicle should make me feel good looking at it in my driveway. Pilot....no way. This validates my only problem with Honda.....they are too conservative with styling. Everything else about them I like. Now I'm faced with a decision between MDX and Odyssey. Really would have liked an SUV but I fear MDX will be out of my $ range when the buying decision is made. Maybe a used MDX (if I can find one).
  • bostnwhalr: I agree totally about your comments. Can you site where you found these incentives/rebates, especially the explorer ones. That seems really high and I have a friend looking to buy one that would love that info.

  • moonkatmoonkat Posts: 265
    I too had given up the habit to spend more time with the family.

    Good point about Expedition being a direct competitor of the Pilot. We know the Ody has more interior space than Expy, and while the Pilot will have less than Ody it will likely be comparable with Expy. I'm looking forward to the 8 passenger seating as we regularly seat 7 in the Ody (3-4 adults and 3-4 kids, 4-13....fortunately not all mine).

    Seems the best alternatives to Pilot (considering a broad range of alts for me) are Hondas: Ody (possibly the first mid 7 sec, 0-60 minivan (if the MDX can do 8.1 (CR) at 2-300 lbs heavier than Ody, then Ody with hi-octane should do mid-hi 7s), Stream (wish they would bring that over; mini Ody with 6-7 pass seating); Model X (only 5 pass seating, but what versatility!); 03 Accord - 170-180 ivtec four banger larger than present model, and rumoured to be the 4 door incarnation of the S2K?)...

    Did I mention that my wife selected "Tardis" plates for our Ody?

    Ahh well, back to family life..... ;-)
  • carguy62carguy62 Posts: 545
    No one was in the back seat. I see your point, though. BTW, you must be a Seinfeld fan, right?

    IMHO the best thing about the Pilot is that maybe the dealers will have something else to focus their attention on and the CR-V may be had for less than MSRP (and maybe some prospective CR-V buyers will switch to the Pilot). I'll have to look somewhere but I wonder how much more interior room the Pilot has over the CR-V. I know the CR-V was similar to the JGC, so the Pilot must be cavernous.
  • rjgrayrjgray Posts: 1
    I just contacted my local Honda dealer about what arrangements they are offering for the purchase of a 2003 Pilot.

    They let me know that they are "only preselling them to customers that have bought a car from AutoPark Honda or routinely service their car at AutoPark Honda"

    When I pointed out that I was new to the area, and did not currently own a Honda that needed service, I was told:
    "When the Pilot gets released we will be able to sell them on a first come first serve basis to everyone. Right now we are just being loyal to our loyal customers and helping them get a new vehicle.

    Gee, this seems like some kind of exclusive club that I am unable to join...
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Your points are well taken. If anything, the Pilot will benefit those who prefer the Expedition—because they DO go off road, or DO pull large trailers—because it will now be priced to compete. So Expedition customers will also be happy, and say, "Thanks Honda."

  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Will probably be roomier than the Pilot's 3rd row.

    Also, the consensus is that the Expedition is actually quite capable off road.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    I wonder if the Pilot will be rated by Honda to tow without the towing package?

    Originally the MDX was rated as being able to tow up to 2,000 pounds without any additional equipment (aside from the tow hitch, of course). Towing above 2,000 pounds "required" the addition of transmission and power steering coolers.

    However, just as the MDX released, Acura amended the manual and said all towing should have the coolers installed. Unfortunately the net effect is cost -- the package of the hitch and transmission and steering coolers is quite expensive and another dealer-installed accessory. The bad dealers tend to gouge the price of the package to well over a thousand dollars.

    So I wonder if Honda will make the coolers standard in the Pilot, or will they follow the route of the MDX and make it optional. If so, then the Pilot will be slightly more expensive to be made to tow than its base price would indicate. At least if you follow Honda/Acura's recommendations.

    If it is still an add-on, then it'd be nice of Honda could make it a factory option as well rather than leave the pricing in the hand of some of its more greedy dealers.
  • mark189mark189 Posts: 107
    The competition won't be the Expedition because that's probably about 10k more, it's with the Explorer and the other domestic makes.

    If this comes in at $25k to $30k, it'll attract a huge number of people that have or would have bought domestic suvs because of price.
  • varmitvarmit Posts: 1,125
    Wmquan - My little rant was running long, so I didn't get into the details of it. You're right, some of that needs clarification.

    With regard to the seatbelts, Honda is using dual pretensioned belts. Both the shoulder and lap belts are active in the event of an impact. Most others only provide tension on one end. These are available on the Civic and new CR-V. I've never read about another manufacturer using them. I remember that they were a prime reason for why the Civic scored so well in crash tests and the article remarked about them being brand new technology. I took that as, "new to the industry".

    IIRC, ABS was first used in track cars. I wasn't claiming that Honda invented it, just that they were the first to bring it to mass produced cars. Perhaps this was exclusive to the JDM market.

    My general concern with your comments is that you seem to be passing judgement based only on equipment. I think that is selling Honda (and probably others) rather short. It's kinda like the difference between offering an airbag to protect you from hitting the B-pillar, or placing the B-pillar where you won't come in contact with it. On paper, the one with more airbags looks like a better deal. However, in an accident, that may not prove true.

    Robertsmx - The JDM CR-V also has four channel ABS (I would assume it's required for VSA) while the US model does not. They just added rear disks with the '02 redesign.

    IMHO, brakes are Honda's biggest let down. While all Hondas seem to have decent brake feel and resistance to fade, they always seem a bit long on stopping distances.

    I'm expecting no more than 85cu.ft. of cargo space in the Pilot. It can't that much more than the MDX. This would be one of those areas where Honda exaggerates when they say things like, "class leading capacity". Not that 85 is a number to sneeze at. Most utes in the mid-size class have around 80 and the shape of that space is also important.
  • mark189mark189 Posts: 107
    The Odyssey is 201" long vs. the MDX at 189" because they shortened the platform, maybe for handling.

    Maybe they'll add back most or all of this extra foot and really smash the competition in storage. Durango is listed at 88cf, as is the Explorer XLT vs. 82 for MDX.

    Your right to mention shape (or usability). If you need to seat 5, the 2/3/3 seating is better than 2/2/3 (seen in the Odyssey), because you will be able to fold down the rear seats. The 60/40 split on the rear seat, is a huge advantage. I rented a Mountaineer on vacation, which seats seven. However, we have six and were forced to fit luggage around the fixed seating. Even with a huge Expedition, luggage space is lousy. With the Pilot, you'll be able to seat seven and use the storage from the part of the third seat that's folded down.
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