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Buick vs. Honda

I have narrowed my used car search down to 2 cars. A 2008 Buick Enclave with 42,800 miles for $18,900 or a 2003 Honda Pilot with 30,000 miles for $10,900. The Enclave is in immaculate condition, looks brand new on the inside. The Pilot is also in great condition. The Buick has clean car facts and never been in a wreck. The Honda has had 2 recalls, but no wreck. I need the car to last about 10+ years. Does anyone have any advice on which one to get?

If you need a car that will last ten years, the Buick stands a better chance. But, 19000 for a newer Pilot would give you the best.

Got to go with the Buick on this one.

Why this comparison? Like @dagosa said, compare cars with the same price. I wouldn’t want the Buick. Plenty of other options for 19k.

Yeah no question to go with the Buick.

The Honda is 10 years old, so even despite low miles, might not last another 10 years without recurring repairs. The Buick Enclave is a nice car, probably one size larger than the 1st generation Pilot too.

Have you considered another brands?

I think the Pilot has a shot at going another 10 years. I have an '03 Civic I’m looking to last that long.

I wonder about the price? I think the dealer is high and likely the low miles is the reason. 30K miles on this car means about 3K per year. Such low mileage isn’t always good. Hopefully the Pilot at least got a yearly oil change? What does say is the true market value for the Pilot?

The Buick is newer and should make another 10 years. But older GM cars tend to have little problems, such as electrical switches for doors and seats going bad etc. Honda tends to make these little parts better and they hold up well in older Honda’s.

I’d go for a lower price on the Pilot. If you get it first thing to do is get all the fluids changed, and I’d use Honda brand fluids to replace the old stuff.

Thanks everyone for your input. The reason my car search is between these two cars is because I have to have 3rd row seating and I don’t want another van. Everything else I’ve found in my price range has upwards of 70,000 miles. I was trying to get as low miles as possible. I was leery of the Honda because it’s already 10 years old and I need at least another 10 years from it. The Buick is beautiful and I really do LOVE it, just hesitating because it’s twice as much as the Honda.

My problem with the Enclave is that it was an all-new vehicle in 2008, and has had ‘much worse than average’ reliability, according to Consumer Reports. The Pilot is typically ‘much better than average’ for all years. Are there no newer Pilots available?

@marquhue I just logged onto Consumer Reports

Stay away from that Buick. The 2008 Enclave is on the used cars to avoid list. I looked up the CR reported reliability, and it’s pretty bad.

The 2003 Honda Pilot, on the other hand, is considered a “good bet.” It’s in the reliable midsized SUV section in the $10K - $15K range. I looked up the reliability for that year and it is above average.

I believe the Honda Pilot would be an oldie, but a goodie.

The Buick, on the other hand . . .

If you think I’m talking s . . . t, log onto CR and check it out for yourself.
I will say something else. I am a professional mechanic. The cars that I work on that turn out to be junk are very often considered unreliable by CR. And they’re very often on the used cars to avoid list. CR is not perfect, but I feel that it’s not to be ignored.

You have been warned.

I think db4690 has given you good advice. I’ve always sought the input of my independent mechanic when purchasing a vehicle. The independent mechanic who works on many different makes knows the weaknesses.
When I was single and had to buy a washing machine, I bought the machine from a store that had its own service department. I had the saleswoman go get the head of the service department. I had known the man for years–he serviced my parents’ applieances. He told me which maching was, in his experience, the most trouble free. By the same token, I ask the advice of our independent shop mechanic when purchasing a car.
The $8000 you save by purchasing the Honda can be put in a savings account which will draw interest and provide funding for any repairs in the future.

" When I was single and had to buy a washing machine . . . "

Do you now get them by some method other than purchasing . . . or does Mrs. Triedaq have to buy them now ?

I had to buy mine when I was single and also now that I am married. I must be doing something wrong.


@common sense answer–This is a job for Mrs. Triedaq. That way, I can blame her when things go wrong. For example, one morning, I was in a hurry and put on a shirt that was too small. I reasoned that I would be wearing a sport coat anyway to teach class, so I didn’t try another shirt. A couple of weeks before we had purchased a new washing machine. At any rate, as I was teaching the class, I got too warm, so I took off my sport coat. I glanced down and realized that a couple of buttons were ready to pop. Realizing that I had been had, I said to the class, “This is my wife’s fault. I didn’t repair our old washing machine quickly enough to suit her, so she went out and bought a new washing machine of a different make”. After classs, one female student came up to me and said, “Professor, if you would tell your wife to use the cold rinse cycle, your shirts wouldn’t shrink”. All I could say was “Good tip. I’ll tell her”.

I just bought new a 2012 Civic. My 2004 Civic, with 320K+ miles on it, went to my wife. She had been driving the 1995 Odyssey with 250K+ miles on it: that went to our niece, who loves it: going strong.

Needless to say (but I will regardless) I think the Hondas are pretty durable/reliable. Having owned GMs in the distant past (pre-'88), I wouldn’t buy another.

Don’t know where you live, but in the rust belt, a ten year old car can easily begin to start to show it’s rust in five more. That’s why, regardless of the mechanics, I would not recommend it for it’s older safety features especially considering you plan to use all seven seats with a bunch of people, possible kids, riding in a fifteen to twenty year old car.

You could pick up a decent 2009/10 Mazda CX-9 for $19k. It has 3rd row seating in it.
@galant can tell you more about the cx-9, he just bought one recently

@dagosa in that case, according to you, the guy may need to keep looking, because the choices are:

10 year old reliable car
5 year old POS

You do have a point with the rust.

Did I miss anything?

I’m not a Buick fan, as every one I’ve driven felt like a pig on stilts, but I would be very concerned with the Pilot’s transmission. I have an Odyssey and the transmission is a piece of S#&T. I think the Pilot may share the drivetrain. Can’t you find anything else? I’m sure there are a lot of decent used cars out there.

@bscar2; yes thanks, I didn’t want to add to the list but asked why the two.

Either way, the CX-9 has it transmission from Aisin who builds Toyota’s transmission and the engine is based on Ford with redesign from Mazda. The whole car is assembled in Japan (for those who think Japanese should be reliable). The reliability rating is good (1st model is 2008), but to me that is short term. Can’t attest to what the long term is going to look, and by long-term I mean 100-200+K miles. But it is definitely fun to drive, esp compared to the others I test drove in this size, including a new Pilot, a V6 Highlander and a Sorento.
I got mine bellow $19K, was CPO with less than 25K miles.

Identifix says that the 2008 Enclave has minimal problems with all systems. They also say that the 2003 Pilot has significant problems with the water pump and EGR valve. Other systems have minimal problems.

I am skeptical of CRs rating system. I’m sure that they always tell the truth. But their ratings are compressed so much that significantly worse than average is not much worse that outstanding. The difference from top to bottom is 5% reported failures. This means that if 5% of the owners report a problem, then a vehicle gets the worst rating. But up to 95% of owners done’t have that problem. I’ve ignored CR ratings for 15 to 20 years and never regretted it. IMO, the age of the Pilot makes it a higher risk than the Enclave.

The price is about right on the Buick if it is a FWD CX from a dealer; a good price if it is AWD or a CXL. I’d go with the Enclave.