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Honda Pilot vs Toyota Highlander which would you get and why?


Pen
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If you were to get either a Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander which would you get and why?

Is either more comfortable to possibly sleep in overnight if need be?  How easy are the physical aspects of lowering and raising seats, lifting the rear tailgate, etc? 

This is primarily a question for my mother who has been a Toyota person, but will consider Pilot in this case because I told her its reviews look better on several features including the AWD performance.   Anyway things like backseat entertainment systems and ability to talk with backseat passengers which a lot of reviews focus on are irrelevant to her.  Comfortable and safe cross country driving to visit me and grandkids *is* relevant. 

After looking at the reviews on them I would go with Pilot, but I *am* a “Honda person” .  Anyway if I end up getting another vehicle and turning current vehicle over to Ds after he gets license, I will probably decide as between Pilot and Ridgeline (I currently have an older Ridgeline and love it). 

My mother is a little disappointed that Hybrid isn’t possible on Pilot. (But I don’t think given how much she drives that this matters much in her case—it might even be hard for her to keep the battery of a hybrid charged up.)

And she is wondering about switch from accustomed Toyota to Honda. (Her mechanic told her most people stick with whichever brand they’ve settled on happily.) 

She has to drive a couple of hours to visit either, and not in same direction. So she’s hoping that she can visit “the right one” first, and just get it if it seems good.  

 

 

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Honda Pilot.  I have difficulty with getting in and out of the Toyota Highlander when that is what the Uber driver drives. The Toyota Highlander is also less comfortable then the Toyota Sienna. 

My friend drives a Honda Pilot and gives us rides to national parks. It’s easier to get in and out of, and the ride was comfortable. We rented a Toyota Sienna for a two week road trip (from home to LA to SD to LV to Death Valley to Central Valley to back home) and it was great. My husband didn’t have problems switching from Toyota to Honda to Nissan for minivans and SUVs. 

My friend’s husband picked the Pilot over the Odyssey for the towing power. My friend doesn’t have a preference for either so they bought the Pilot.

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I'm downsizing to a midsize suv after 30 years driving a van.  most things I considered at least equal between them.

I was going to get the pilot - you can put adults (not comfortably - based on my 6', 230lb son's assessment, though better than the highlander) in the 3rd row.  slightly more cargo space.  however, I only have one minor at home, so the 3rd row will generally be folded down and not used.  when we do car trips - I do end up in the 2nd row as we swap out drivers.  It needs to be comfortable for me.   the 2nd row reclines <an airplane seat. nope. no way, nada.  I'm done.

the 2nd row in the highlander reclines at least tolerably (about like our recliners in first position) - though not as much as I'm used to in my van.  (van's are more comfortable in the 2nd and 3rd rows for adults as a rule.  they just are.)

- - I bought a highlander.   

the ironic was - my "honda or bust" dsil...(they have a pilot and an accord).   called me very excited how he was all ready to buy a highlander because it's so wonderful, then he read up on the 2020, and is now waiting until they release them in December to buy one. 

Edited by gardenmom5
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We love our Toyotas, and they are certainly not duds.  Not by Consumer Reports and not by us.    Out of the top 10 best selling cars in America, 3 of them are Toyotas (the top are pick up trucks, Ford F series and Chevy Ram series) and only 1 is a Honda.

That doesn't mean Hondas are bad by any stretch, I am just stating that Toyotas are in the top selling for a reason.

We have a 2004 Toyota Sequoia that we drove from the East Coast to the West Coast and back last summer without any issues, you can't say that for all 14 year old vehicles.  It has close to 200k miles on it.  We now also have a Camry Hybrid and a Prius.  No issues whatsoever.

But for the two cars you are looking at, I would say they both will be fine.    I have friends with both and they like them both.

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On the side to side it shows a much higher expected reliability for the Highlander.  

I wonder why they are expecting below average reliability for the Pilot?  

With regard to the seats reclining, is the lack of reclinability in Pilot with Captain chairs, bench seat or both?

Is it possible (in either vehicle with any configuration of seats) to get from 2nd row to 3rd or 1st to 2nd (clambering over center console?) or vice versa without exiting the vehicle.  I’m thinking in an emergency.  Like my mother would be resting in the back area and someone sketchy approaches, could she get back to driver seat without going out?

 Does the Highlander have enough room if both back rows were folded down to put a camping pad back there and sleep comfortably? (5’4” person). 

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32 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

On the side to side it shows a much higher expected reliability for the Highlander.  

I wonder why they are expecting below average reliability for the Pilot?  

With regard to the seats reclining, is the lack of reclinability in Pilot with Captain chairs, bench seat or both?

Is it possible (in either vehicle with any configuration of seats) to get from 2nd row to 3rd or 1st to 2nd (clambering over center console?) or vice versa without exiting the vehicle.  I’m thinking in an emergency.  Like my mother would be resting in the back area and someone sketchy approaches, could she get back to driver seat without going out?

 Does the Highlander have enough room if both back rows were folded down to put a camping pad back there and sleep comfortably? (5’4” person). 

both.  so, neither captain's or bench recline very much.  I first noticed it on a bench in a touring - and went in search of an elite with captain's chairs to check that very thing.  I also checked out a bunch of "luxury" suvs (re: sedan upgrade vehicles.) which happened to be in the used section of my local dealership - very few reclined very much, if at all.

as for climbing between the front seats to get from one side to the other - depends upon how nimble she is.  a nimble person probably could in a pinch. I'm pretty sure I could if I had to, and I don't consider myself particularly nimble. (I've got to get back to yoga.....)

in either one - there should be plenty of length for a person to lay down - especially if she's only 5'4".

 

eta: in the highlander, the 3rd row is a 60/40 split as is the 2nd row version with the bench - a 60/40 split. (and the captain's chairs are independent.) so, half can be folded down, and half upright as a seat.

Edited by gardenmom5
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41 minutes ago, Pen said:

Is it possible (in either vehicle with any configuration of seats) to get from 2nd row to 3rd or 1st to 2nd (clambering over center console?) or vice versa without exiting the vehicle.  I’m thinking in an emergency.  Like my mother would be resting in the back area and someone sketchy approaches, could she get back to driver seat without going out?

 

I could do that easily in either vehicle but my DS13 (5’5”, normal build) would find it tight fitting going from 1st to 2nd. If you flatten one of the 2nd row captain seat in either vehicle, it would be easy to get to and from the 3rd row. I am used to “climbing” from front passenger seat to back seat in my Corolla so I have lots more practice than DS13. My DS14 (5’11”, slim build) could do it easily but he would bump his head while doing so.

If your son has time to drop by a Toyota and/or Honda showroom while in SF, he could try out going from 1st to 3rd row and back for you. I know the dealers would let my DS14 try the seating configuration in the display units (especially those parked inside the showroom).

ETA:

We use Uber a lot and often have to go from 2nd row to 3rd row and back to 2nd row as we are first to get on and last to get off.

Edited by Arcadia
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2 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

 

I could do that easily in either vehicle but my DS13 (5’5”, normal build) would find it tight fitting going from 1st to 2nd. If you flatten one of the 2nd row captain seat in either vehicle,

 

Im trying to picture this... flatten half (or anyway seat part) of second row and use that to climb back over? After climbing back to 2nd row over front center console?

2 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

it would be easy to get to and from the 3rd row. I am used to “climbing” from front passenger seat to back seat in my Corolla so I have lots more practice than DS13. My DS14 (5’11”, slim build) could do it easily but he would bump his head while doing so.

If your son has time to drop by a Toyota and/or Honda showroom while in SF, he could try out going from 1st to 3rd row and back for you. I know the dealers would let my DS14 try the seating configuration in the display units (especially those parked inside the showroom).

 

Ah. Not a good use of his limited time in SF, but basically an excellent idea there: I alone or he and I together could visit dealers in Eugene and try it out and report results to her. 

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4 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

If both are fine, you can look at the ease of control panels and front gauges and location of cell phone spot/holder. 

 

For me the Honda would easily win there.  But I’m used to Honda configuration (basically—even within Honda switching from Accord to Ridgeline put many controls in new spots) so it’s only an update, not wholly new.  And also the Pilot is compatible with Apple which we have. All the icons look as I expect them to.  And the displays are bright and clear.

not sure about for my mother in that regard.

 

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Ok, so your little tip of the day. See if the Toyota Highlander (or Pilot) has the always on butt chiller. :biggrin:

Seriously, my (lexus, made by toyota) has a physical dial, a knob, and so I can set my side to always be on heat at the level I like in the winter or always be on chill chill in the summer. I get in and very quickly I'm a happy woman, even with a black interior and full summer heat. 

It's the little things. Both vehicles will function well, but syncing with your phone better, easier position of cupholders, better spot for her cell phone or way it charges, more comfortable toosh, etc. make it go better every day. 

Edited by PeterPan
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13 minutes ago, Pen said:

Im trying to picture this... flatten half (or anyway seat part) of second row and use that to climb back over? After climbing back to 2nd row over front center console?

 

Flatten the seat part of either the 2nd row captain seat or bench seat (depending on config) to get to and from 3rd row. I find captain seat config more comfortable then bench for 2nd row. 

Going to and from front row over the front center console is a little trickier because you have less headroom in the front row to maneuver and we tend to accidentally hit the rear view mirror while doing so. 

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3 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Ok, so your little tip of the day. See if the Toyota Highlander (or Pilot) has the always on butt chiller. :biggrin:

Seriously, my (lexus, made by toyota) has a physical dial, a knob, and so I can set my side to always be on heat at the level I like in the winter or always be on chill chill in the summer. I get in and very quickly I'm a happy woman, even with a black interior and full summer heat. 

It's the little things. Both vehicles will function well, but syncing with your phone better, easier position of cupholders, better spot for her cell phone or way it charges, more comfortable toosh, etc. make it go better every day. 

for the highlander - the chilled seat (and heated) has three levels - and you can turn it off.  which was good as I didn't need it turned to 3 the day I test drove it!  it's a dial.  you can leave the dial wherever you want it.  it doesn't automatically reset to zero.

2ds has an American with chilled seats - his is also a dial.

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1 minute ago, gardenmom5 said:

for the highlander - the chilled seat (and heated) has three levels - and you can turn it off.  which was good as I didn't need it turned to 3 the day I test drove it!  it's a dial.  you can leave the dial wherever you want it.  it doesn't automatically reset to zero.

2ds has an American with chilled seats - his is also a dial.

Yes, yes, this is what I have!! Such a happy, unexpected thing. All my other cars with seat a/c and heat have buttons you had to turn one every time. It's such a luxury to set it and have it always know what you want. :biggrin:

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15 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

the ironic was - my "honda or bust" dsil...(they have a pilot and an accord).   called me very excited how he was all ready to buy a highlander because it's so wonderful, then he read up on the 2020, and is now waiting until they release them in December to buy one. 

 

I just saw a YouTube of the Highlander 2020 — looks like lots of improvements (including that it will have Apple CarPlay...  which my mother may not care about, but with that the display seems much brighter and clearer) 

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I was a dedicated Honda owner, having had them since I was in college a million years ago. You really can't lose with either though. 

But the last two cars I've bought were Toyotas. I just like the layout and how they drive. It also helps that the Toyota dealer is closer to us. We likely will replace our Honda Odyssey in the next few years for my youngest, and she knows that the balance is looking like a Toyota right now. 

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22 hours ago, Pen said:

 

 

I just saw a YouTube of the Highlander 2020 — looks like lots of improvements (including that it will have Apple CarPlay...  which my mother may not care about, but with that the display seems much brighter and clearer) 

I don't have apple - so I currently dont' care.  but I dont' listen to podcasts on my phone - though probably something I should do.

android auto and apple carplay can both be added after market.  (I actually came across a video of "how to", whilst watching detailing videos. not something I'm adventurous enough to try diy.)  1dd was quite irked hers didn't come with - she had it added.  she's a nerd.

 

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I am a Toyota person and have never enjoyed driving Hondas.  If she is a Toyota person, I would keep that in mind.  Also, I have an older Highlander Hybrid and LOVE it.  With a hybrid, nothing has to be plugged in.  The gas part of the engine charges the battery.   I am not interested in ever straying from Toyota again.  

 

ETA:  My 2007 needs more cup holders though. 

Edited by littlebug42
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23 minutes ago, littlebug42 said:

I am a Toyota person and have never enjoyed driving Hondas.  If she is a Toyota person, I would keep that in mind.  Also, I have an older Highlander Hybrid and LOVE it.  With a hybrid, nothing has to be plugged in.  The gas part of the engine charges the battery.   I am not interested in ever straying from Toyota again.  

 

ETA:  My 2007 needs more cup holders though. 

 

How much driving does it take to charge the hybrid battery?

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9 hours ago, Manager Mom said:

I've had both Honda and Toyota vehicles in the past.  I went with the Highlander because it has a timing chain vs. a timing belt which the Pilot has.  Those can snap and your car just dies.  This happened to me as a young person on a 4 lane highway during rush hour and I was in the fast lane.  It was absolutely terrifying to run across those lanes to get to help.  So that feature is important to me.

Whoa, scary!  

Was your vehicle getting the recommended maintenance where they change out the belt before it dies, and it snapped anyway?

 

9 hours ago, Manager Mom said:

Also my brand new Highlander was in an accident a few weeks ago and we barely felt it.  The car is most likely totaled and we'll know soon but the safety features worked.  

 

That’s impressive.

 

Both of these are significant pluses for Highlander. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/23/2019 at 1:03 AM, Pen said:

 

How much driving does it take to charge the hybrid battery?

Sorry it has taken me so long to respond because I haven't been around much.  The hybrid battery is in a constant state of charging.  You never have to wait for it to charge.  The gas engine charges battery while it is running so when you are driving it just cycles between gas engine and battery.  Our gas mileage is great.  We own two hybrid vehicles and never plan to go back to a non-hybrid. 

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We were a Toyota family who switched to Honda.  Oldest dd drives a Honda and middle dd drives a Toyota.  Both are great cars.

4 years ago I thought I was going to get Toyota or Honda (my need for a Suburban and hauling horse stuff was over).  I happily ended up with a Mazda 9 and I'm still without regrets today.  I routinely transport several teens and the Mazda 9 just has more leg room for them in the 2nd and 3rd rows.  It was also more comfortable for ME to drive.  Now youngest dd has a cute sporty Mazda 3 (hatch)-- that is a fun car to drive.

I think cars are like shoes-- you have to find the one that fits YOU-- your size, your needs...

 

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I have spent more money maintaining our 2012 Honda Odyssey than we have on our 2003 Toyota Tundra. I purchased the Ody based largely on the seating configuration being superior to Toyota's minivan, but based on reliability, I don't think I'd ever get a Honda again.

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