Acura MDX v. Honda Pilot
Looking to get rid of my 1997 Volkswagon Jetta and upgrade to an SUV. Have done a bunch of research and feel the Pilot or MDX are the best options. Criteria is:
* $25k or less
* 40,000 miles or less
* 2004 or newer
What's the best option? Do I get more bang for my buck by going with the Pilot or is it worth to buy a MDX with more miles?
* $25k or less
* 40,000 miles or less
* 2004 or newer
What's the best option? Do I get more bang for my buck by going with the Pilot or is it worth to buy a MDX with more miles?
I went with an MDX, but only because I prefer the tighter suspension.
Does anyone have this year and model? Any problems so far?
Specifically, we have a 2005 Pilot EX-L w/RES
and a 2006 MDX Touring w/Nav & RES
A friend of mine bought 2003 brand new and three months later transmission had to be replaced.
My question: Whether in anyone's opinion the "upgraded" 4 wheel drive system of the MDX and better "luxury" appointments make it worth taking the general used car risk (which I'm hoping to negate somewhat by purchasing certified) instead of just purchasing a brand new car (and the upgraded crash test ratings for head restraints)?
I'd also be interested to hear whether the Nav systems in both cars are relatively identical, or whether the Acura Nav is superior to the Honda Nav.
I owned a 01 MDX (base model) and had no problems with it (but sold it at 40k), and the 06 MDX seems to drive a little less like a SUV than an 05 Pilot I tested (I've yet to actually test drive an 08 Pilot).
Thanks in advance for any responses.
So I guess my choice basically boils down to whether the Acura Nav system is superior to the Honda Nav system, and if not, whether a two-year old MDX is better than a brand new Pilot (prices being almost the same).
I'd appreciate any thoughts anyone would like to share.
* I don't know how the Nav systems compare since our Pilot does not have it, but we test-drove an 05 Accord w/Nav and an 06 Ody w/Nav and the systems were very similar to the MDX. The only thing the Pilot Nav may not have is voice recognition/commands, you'd have to check on that.
* We lease our vehicles, so we have gotten to used to the nice, "tight" steering that you get from day one and that lasts until turn-in at 36-45K miles. But I will say that right now I am closing in on 30K on the MDX and the vehicle feels just like it did the day I got it.
* The MDX offers a lot of little things that you don't get in the Pilot -- bluetooth, back-up camera, memory seats, ambient lighting -- as well as a more refined car-like interior and less road noise. I think it's just a matter of what is most important to you.
* One thing my husband told me just yesterday was that although he enjoys driving the MDX (it's our family vehicle -- I drive on weekdays & he drives when we're all together), there is one thing he REALLY likes better about the Pilot -- the front console. Having the gear selector on the steering column frees up a ton of space, so there is quite a bit of storage in that section. Plenty of room for his iPod, wallet, blackberry, a sandwich, whatever. The MDX has a place for two drinks, as well as various annoying nooks and crannies that attract crumbs, and nowhere to rest other things easily. Just something to keep in mind if you spend a lot of time in your vehicle commuting, etc...
The main selling point for me was that the Pilot runs on regular while the MDX has to use preminum.
Hope this helps
The premium fuel requirement of the MDX is certainly a negative from my perspective, but I may overlook it to get some of the little things that the MDX provides that the Honda Pilot does not (although I also wish the MDX had the Variable Cylinder Management that the 08 FWD Pilots have).
If anyone else has any other thoughts, I would still appreciate them.
I needed a vehicle in 2001 so I bought the MDX but I would have probably bought the Pilot....had it been available. Personal preference. The NAV system in my 2001 (made for Acura by Alpine) has paid for itself over the years.
I have a lead on a nice 2006 MDX in TX, and since this car isn't for me but for my wife, I think she will probably end up choosing the MDX for the luxuries it offers over the Pilot (as well as for the styling, which is still much better imho than the blocky Pilot).
I did a lot of testing with the car and found that with 93 octane, we got approx 5-6 MPG better than when running 87 Octane.
I tested this on my commute to work, which is the same route, same traffic.. everyday. The commute is about 70% Highway, 30% city
I ran with 93 for a few months and with 87 for a few months. I tested this in the late Spring to be sure that winter fuel blends didn't get in the way.
I suppose it depends on your commute and style of driving, but after doing the tests and calculating MPG by fuel in/miles out, we found that the MDX does better on the higher octane fuel.
Yes, you spend more at the pump, but with the miles out being higher, you're actually saving money.
Perhaps using the lower octane does, as Scott has proven, prevent the engine from operating at it most efficient point, even at lower points on the power curve. Hence, owners manual's that recommend premium verses those that require premium. There are some compression ratios that require 93 Octane to prevent engine damage.
Personally speaking, if I can afford to buy or lease a new MDX, with an average price of $42k, paying the extra $210 per year for premium fuel shouldn’t be an issue. The extra cost would be less once the better gas mileage, with premium fuel, is factored.
Just my .02.
But I think the point of all this, is that with only a couple hundred dollars a year difference, it needn't be a major deciding factor in which vehicle to get.
The price difference convinced me to live with the following Pilot shortcomings vs the 2006 MDX (some of which have already been mentioned above):
1) No power adjustable passenger front seat; no memory seating for driver's seat (which doesn't matter much to me because both my wife and I keep the seat as far back as it will go)
2) Fan speed for second row of car linked to front zone (MDX has independent fan speed control; Pilot only has independent temp. control)
3) No hands-free cell phone capability (not even offered as a Honda accessory, but as an after-market accessory by the dealer for an excessive price)
I'm sure there are others, but those are the ones that I noticed right away during our test drive.
Any advice on how to choose would be greatly appreciated. I'm particularly curious whether others who have compared the 2009 Touring version of the Pilot to the MDX also have felt like the difference is not as vast as it once was between the Pilot and the MDX.
Of course, all that being said, the MDX is still our first choice due to the superior handling characteristics and extra power (we live in Colorado and the high altitude saps engine power like nobody's business). Hope this helps.
Pilot gets about 10% better MPG, and does not have to use the Premium gas - which here is about 15 cents per gallon...
However, am still disappointed in the looks of 09 Pilot. I was hoping for something more stylish? Less Boxy...sort of the way Honda re-designed the CRV. I did test drive the Pilot and it was great.
I think if the MDX was a bit smaller and got better Mileage than the Pilot...I would still probably go w. it..I love the interior of the MDX, the "cockpit" feel. ...I also am not 100% sure I like the looks of the MDX either.
I don't appreciate driving enough to judge the MDX feel vs. the Pilot. Seems like the experts rave about how great it drives compared to other SUVs.
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!
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.
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?
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.
* 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
still miss the memory seats though.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?