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New CRV decision

We are looking at crossovers now and having a difficult time making our mind up. Mostly because in 2011 we bought a CRV that ended up being too small and noisy for us and lacked power, so we got rid of it. Thanks to good resale, we weren’t burnt much, but not planning on trying our luck again. This is going to be mostly a hwy/road trip car. Our Caravan with 150K miles might not have much life in it and we don’t want the decision to be an emergency one. At this point we are not taking the kids out of town with it, mostly due to its history.
Our choices are between the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-9. I am listing our pro cons, so feel free to add/delete your.

Honda; Pro, comes with rear-view camera standard on the base model. Nice interior room. Overall expected to be reliable with good resale. Kids liked their sitting space.
Honda ; Con, has timing belt (still!), needs valve lash adjustment. Has variable cylinder management that goes in & out eco mode with some noticeable vibration-I have been told this could be annoying. I could feel it on test drive. Also sit a bit higher, so wife is able to drive but not too keen on the driving position.

Toyota; Pro; V6 speeds great. Seating was comfortable in the front. No timing belt. Easy to DIY transmission service. Overall expected to be reliable with good resale. Wife happier with seating position.
Con; Middle seat in the 2nd row is useless (kids no thrilled about the 2nd row). Extra $2K to get the rear-view camera.

Mazda: Pro: Great handling, drives like a car. Kids rank this level with the Pilot as rear seat comfort.
Con: re-sale value not so good (might want to buy a 2 year old). Rear view camera should be added as aftermarket on the trim I am looking at. Reliability for the long term remains to be seen. Longer than the other two by 12".

Could you fit an after market camera onto the Hylander ? That seems to be the biggest sticking point. The Honda seems to be more kid friendly, the Toyota more driver/ owner friendly.
You have to live with it and make the payments…Toyota if you can get by the money pit.
But, between the two, I feel you will be happy with either.

They Don’t Have Dealers For These Asian Cars Near Here, But I Can Narrow This To 2 For You.

" Honda ; Con, [1] has timing belt (still!), [2] needs valve lash adjustment. Has variable cylinder management that goes in & out eco mode with some [3] noticeable vibration-I have been told this could be annoying. "

3 Strikes And It’s Out !


P.S. Good research and observations on your part. It’s better to know this before you buy.

My parents have a 2010 Highlander V6 AWD (They call it 4WD, but it’s really AWD). And they like it a lot. I’ve driven it on occasion. The only thing I don’t like about it, is that the electric power steering is way overboosted, steering feel is very vague. But it does ride well, brakes are very good, and it’s surprisingly quick.

The CX9 has been out for awhile now and I haven’t really heard anything bad about it. I do wonder why you worry about resale. Do you plan on turning the ride you buy in in another 2 years?
The good news is that the 9 was redesigned in 2013, so any left over 2012 should be quite a bargain

Sounds like the Pilot to me.

If you don’t need the third row how about a Venza?

Thanks for the responses, keep them coming. The car is being driven in California, so it is going to be FWD.

@bscar2; I am not a big fan of the 2013 restyling of the CX-9. Have been trying to e-mail dealers to get quotes on leftover 2012’s, but not getting any useful responses, just MSRP. I am not “planning” to sell the car, but life goes on and ones needs change. So everything else being equal, I would rather have the car with better resale-or be the one who bought it used/discounted. The CX-9 has the Aisin transmission (makes Toyota’s too), but starting in 2011 there is no dipstick, so a transmission pan drop and ATF change is $145 at the dealer.

@dagosa: the after market rear view camera’s are 2 type. One with a separate screen which could be a thief magnet or I have to put it under the seat every time-I am already doing that to the GPS, so don’t want another gadget added. The other ones are part of the rear view mirror, but apparently, most of them have poor quality mirrors to accommodate the camera LCD.

@texases; The Venza somehow has poor quality interior. Did not like it and price wise very close to HL, so I might as well have the 3rd row seat. It is also a bit between wagon and SUV, I am thinking Toyota would drop the model altogether.

Where you don’t need an awd, another minivan might better serve you. It certainly would offer more comfortable seating in either brand.

You should be able to negotiate more off the Mazda as they’ve never sold well. If they have any 2012s still around they probably want to unload them. In theory. In practice it can be harder, though in October we were talking to a Mazda dealer about a 2012 Mazda3 and he seemed eager to make it ours (he failed.) Just throwing the MSRP back at you suggests he expects you to make the next move. He may need to be told he’s got competition and is running last. Might wake him up.

It sure was nice for us doing all the negotiating via e-mail instead of being kept hanging around the dealership. We did the test drives and went home immediately, never to see the sales people again. I like this modern age.

Okay, so after a lot of back and forth we settled on a CPO 2010 Mazda CX-9. It has 23K miles and we got it for 18.5K plus Tax/lic and fees. It was not a rental, if one cares.
The transmission is sealed-only negative for DIY’er.
Now I think I need a 3 ton jack and stands, not wanting to be crushed under this mass with my 2 tons.

Thanks for the help/suggestions and hoping that this car will serve us well.

Crushed under this beast? Do u have one of those toy hyd jacks they sell at autozone for $25? What do u plan on doing under this rig? Changing oil? It’s 2yrs old. Are you planning on changing out worn suspension parts or exhaust work? Get a nice set of ramps.

Congratulations @galant. That;s a terrific price, even for the base model with no options.

@jtsanders; thanks, yes, it was a good price. I have been looking on the CPO’s for a while and noticed a few that were not selling. Finally they dropped the price on this one. Checked it out, just a few very small touch up dots-bound to happen anyway. Only options were power driver seat and heated seats, neither of which I cared for. I might put an aftermarket in dash radio/nav in at some point.

On further tinkering, I found the transmission dipstick, just looks different from what I was used to, so all is well.

@Stoveguyy; I have a two ton set, probably bought from O’reilly 7 years ago. So far it has been good and has kept my Dodge Caravan up. I have spent a lot of time under that car:)

Looking at the door sticker, the front or rear weight for the CX-9 is 1300 Kg, so might be just fine with the 2 ton. No major repairs planned yet, but I want to be prepared. Never bought a tool that I regretted, so will see how this one goes.