I currently have a 2004 Honda Odyssey, and after 169,000 miles and doors that don’t work, it’s time to move on! Living in the great state of Massachusetts, I’ve become a wimp in my old age, and do not like to drive in the snow anymore and the Odyssey was not the best. I am looking for an SUV with a third seat, plenty of storage, handles well in the snow, and has a built in trailer hitch so I can attach my bike rack. Everything points to the Pilot, and we are heading to look at a certified pre-owned 2012 EX-L. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
Well…I have a neice that owns a Pilot and she loves it. She doesn’t drive through too much snow but she has no complaints about the quality or handling. Just have the “certified pre-owned” Pilot inspected by a good independent mechanic before you decide to buy. In my book “certified pre-owned” inspections are worthless for a variety of reasons.
Beware, some owners are reporting problems with the ECO Variable Management sytem:
Here’s more on the problem:
As someone who test drove a few, I concur to check for the cylinder deactivation and associated shudder, usually noticeable at 35 MPH esp in local driving.
Other than that, beware that a CPO 2012 might cost very close to a good deal on the brand new one. Honda’s hold their value well and that makes buying them up to 3 years used, a futile effort in saving money.
I have a 4Runner and my neighbor is on their third leased Pilot. It’s roomier and goes just as well over the road we travel. If you don’t take it off road, they are one of the better handling SUVs and quite good in snow conditions…but not made for off road. My neighbor got them expressly for the third row seats. The have been very good on long trips for their large extended family. Personally, I would include a Highlander, which tends to be quiet and refined and try one out too.
A Highlander would be worth a look, if the 3rd row is big enough for you.
I’d look for a 2013 model they’ve got left on the lot and try to negotiate for one of those. 2014 models should already be on the lots, so a left over 2013 would be a better deal than a CPO 2012.
Stop by the bookstore and pick up a Consumer Reports New Car Preview. That’ll give you all the available choices as well as reliability information and good data to do a comparison. Then spend a few weekends doing test drives…as soon as this doggoned weather clears a bit!
Vehicle choices are so very personal. It’s best to gather data and choose your own.
The Pilot seems nice enough, but the vehicle in this class that impresses me most is the little-known Mazda CX9. It’s just gorgeous, with a Lexus-quality interior, much nicer than those in the Pilot and Higander. The third row seats are not as roomy as the Pilot’s (but close to the Toyota’s), but I’m a six-foot guy and can sit back there, if needs be. If you need it for kids it will be plenty big enough.
The Highlander is a new redesign for 2014, so they would not negotiate much on the price and might have some bugs that need to be worked out, engine is the same though. I would look at the 2013 and see if any left over.
I do have the CX-9 (after exhaustive searching), but I would say between the HL, Mazda and the Honda, the 3rd row of the Honda is most usable. It is the noisiest one though.
The ride and handling is best in the Mazda. The acceleration was best with the Toyota, but torque steer was annoying.
The 2nd row for the highlander has two captain chairs and one middle arm rest, so the 5th person would be uncomfortable in the 2nd row (this was the deal breaker for my 11 yr old since she would be the one sitting there if we had MIL or BIL along which is quite often).
I have a 2009 pilot EX-L this was the first year of the restyle. I have 92k on it and knock on wood it’s been perfect. Regarding the ECO system you will feel a little shudder at low speeds when the system is working but after a short while you won’t feel it. It’s great in the snow and I get like 22/23 on the highway not bad for such a heavy vehicle.
I am sitting here looking at the Feb 14 issue of CR, and in this issue they tested the new Dodge Durango. CR has given this SUV an excellent rating, better rating then the Pilot. However to new to recommend, It wouldn’t hurt to check one out at a Dodge dealer for comparison.
Like The Same Mountainbike suggested. Pick up Consumer Reports New Car Preview compare and look at all the many options.
Yes, they really liked the Durango a lot, but that doesn’t say anything about its reliability, which is unknown. I’d be wary of buying an unproven Chrysler product, no matter how attractive and practical. The Durango is related to the Grand Cherokee, which is also very handsome inside and out. Fiat seems to have whipped Chrysler’s interior designers into shape, or is just spending more on materials. OK, the Dart is pretty lousy, but most of their recent products have been nice.
Remember that winter tires are always a noticeable step up in snow performance, on any vehicle.
I woud look at the Highlander, the Pilot and the Mazda CX-9. All good vehicles. None come with a trailer hitch as standard, but any hitch shop can put one on for about $250, excluding the bike rack itself. Our Neigbor’s son has a Hyundai Santa Fe, but I’m not sure if it is as good.
The Highlander is a new redesign for 2014, so they would not negotiate much on the price and might have some bugs that need to be worked out, engine is the same though.
I hadn’t paid attention to that, but that confirms what I said about a left over 2013 on the lot. They should be even more willing to negotiate on the 2013 leftover with the redesigned model just coming on the lots.
The GMC line of mid size SUVs , Enclave, Traverse etc. have a lot going for them. The big disappointing thing about them was born out by my neighbor’s wife who pulled off in just five inches of snow with her Awd Traverse to let me pass on our one lane hill. The car just sat there and spun one front wheel from a dead stop. The rear just wouldn’t engage. So I had to pull over to let her pass. She apologized for being a poor driver in snow. I just had to tell her it had nothing to do with her but the car instead. It’s OK once moving but is a weak system starting off. I changed my opinion of the GM SUV line. None of the other variations of Awd cars we have in our neighborhood perform as poorly in snow as these otherwise, pretty good cars. The two best seem to be my neighbors 2013 Grand Cherokee and my 04 4Runner. I would give a slight edge to the Cherokee on ice and mine in deep snow because of my ground clearance. In snow and ice, a neighbor’s 2012 Pilot when they lock the differential, is a close third.