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New Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or Subaru Ascent? #5368787 03/06/20 09:50 AM
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Bowline_Bandit Offline OP
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My wife and I are are looking for a bigger vehicle to accommodate our growing family. We live in New England so AWD/ 4WD is at the top of our list. She is not open to the idea of an AWD mini van.

We have narrowed our choices down between new 2020/ 2019 left over Pilot, Ascent, or Highlander. We are the type of people who try to get 10+ years/200,000+ reliable miles out of a vehicle and don’t foresee these models not fitting our needs as far as cargo room, seating capacity, etc during that time

We have test driven all 3 and really like the Ascent but are hesitant to buy because it is a relatively new model with a new engine.

The Pilot and Highlander are close seconds and both seem to have good reputations. I’m a long time Toyota owner with about 750,000 miles on 4 vehicles so you can guess my bias! Pilots seem reliable and we are looking at a model with the 6 speed transmission. Unsure about Honda’s variable cylinder management/ electric motor mounts. Are these concerns unfounded? Uptime, long term reliability and low cost of ownership are main factors for us vs bells, whistles and aesthetics.

Any additional input from any current owners of these vehicles? I’ve done some forum searching but haven’t seen much info on the nitty gritty that I want to know about. Most people seem concerned with style, new features and dont really get into discussions on how their new car will fare in many years and miles to come.

Re: New Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or Subaru Ascent? [Re: Bowline_Bandit] #5368792 03/06/20 09:56 AM
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jayjr1105 Offline
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Every person I know with a Pilot loves it and 200K is pretty easy with them. I don't know enough about the Ascent and the Highlander is a pretty good vehicle as well.


2013 Mazda 3 - PP 0w20
2005 Honda Odyssey - PP HM 5w20
Re: New Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or Subaru Ascent? [Re: Bowline_Bandit] #5368794 03/06/20 09:57 AM
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Donald Offline
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Subaru. I have (or had) two Subaru, but not the Ascent.

You need AWD in MASS.


2015 Ford F-250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
Re: New Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or Subaru Ascent? [Re: Bowline_Bandit] #5368798 03/06/20 10:04 AM
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jcartwright99 Offline
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Suburu. Legit AWD system, as the other two are posers.

Re: New Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or Subaru Ascent? [Re: Bowline_Bandit] #5368800 03/06/20 10:06 AM
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JustN89 Offline
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I'm not sure how many modern Subarus there are that I'd expect to make it to 200k. Their move to the CVT has not been trouble-free and the Ascent is just another on the list. There's already a recall on over 75,000 2019+ Ascents. If 10/200k is your goal, the Pilot or Highlander would be my choice and of those two, the Pilot is probably where I'd lean towards. I believe you can still get those with the 3.5L V6 and the 6 speed auto- a proven combo. The AWD systems certainly aren't as capably as Subarus, but they're plenty capable for city driving in the Northeast.


You know what they say, cross threads are tighter than locktite!
Re: New Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or Subaru Ascent? [Re: Bowline_Bandit] #5368808 03/06/20 10:19 AM
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jayjr1105 Offline
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The ascent is only a 4 banger? That would seal the deal for me right there. Honda J series V6 are tried and true and so is the Toyota V6.


2013 Mazda 3 - PP 0w20
2005 Honda Odyssey - PP HM 5w20
Re: New Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or Subaru Ascent? [Re: Bowline_Bandit] #5368815 03/06/20 10:25 AM
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OVERKILL Offline
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How did you find the transmission in the Highlander? I know there have been many complaints about it, so that would be a concern for me. I'd probably lean toward the Honda based on that.


2019 RAM 1500 Sport - Mobil 1 EP 0w-20, FRAM Ultra
2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Ravenol SSL 0w-40, FRAM Ultra
Re: New Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or Subaru Ascent? [Re: Bowline_Bandit] #5368816 03/06/20 10:26 AM
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ARCOgraphite Offline
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The Forester is huge! how much room do you need?

A Lot of Folks like the Sante Fe also. IDK about Hyundai Quality.

Save you 10 grand.


2019 VW Jetta S 6MT OCI#2 7378mi-MOTUL Specific VW508.00+VW Service Filter; '17 Subaru Crosstrek CVT OC#9 70254mi-Rotella
Gas Truck 5W20 + Fram Ultra 7317 Filter
Re: New Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or Subaru Ascent? [Re: Bowline_Bandit] #5368820 03/06/20 10:29 AM
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ls973800 Offline
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Suburu. Legit AWD system, as the other two are posers.


The AWD system in the 3rd generation Pilot is almost identical to the Super Handling AWD that the Acura MDX is well known for. A very strong contender in this group

Honda Pilot AWD Review


2019 Honda Pilot Touring AWD
Re: New Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or Subaru Ascent? [Re: Bowline_Bandit] #5368824 03/06/20 10:32 AM
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ls973800 Offline
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Suburu. Legit AWD system, as the other two are posers.


The AWD system in the 3rd generation Pilot is almost identical to the Super Handling AWD that the Acura MDX is well known for. A very strong contender in this group

Honda Pilot AWD Review

Also as pointed out, the Subaru uses a 4 cylinder with a CVT! Big no in my opinion. Not sure what the Suburu he mentioned uses, LOL


2019 Honda Pilot Touring AWD
Re: New Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or Subaru Ascent? [Re: Bowline_Bandit] #5368826 03/06/20 10:34 AM
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dtownfb Offline
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Based on your choices and if the AWD Toyota Sienna is a no-go, I would buy either the Pilot or Highlander. I prefer the V6 to the turbocharged 4 cylinder especially since this engine is new. They all will get about the same gas mileage.

Last edited by dtownfb; 03/06/20 10:39 AM.

2006 Toyota Camry
2013 Toyota Sienna
2015 Toyota Camry
Re: New Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or Subaru Ascent? [Re: Bowline_Bandit] #5368828 03/06/20 10:35 AM
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PowerSurge Offline
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Pilot or Highlander.


1993 Porsche 964, 2001 Ford SVT F-150 Lightning, 2004 Chevrolet Corvette, 2018 Toyota Tundra 5.7L
Re: New Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or Subaru Ascent? [Re: OVERKILL] #5368830 03/06/20 10:38 AM
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Bowline_Bandit Offline OP
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We test drove a 2019 for about 15 minutes on various back roads of Central Mass. Didn’t find anything not to like about it. Then again most of my day is spent in log trucks and forestry equipment so I’m pretty numb to hard shift points and crappy transmission performance

Last edited by Bowline_Bandit; 03/06/20 10:46 AM.
Re: New Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or Subaru Ascent? [Re: ARCOgraphite] #5368833 03/06/20 10:41 AM
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Bowline_Bandit Offline OP
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We are pretty set on a third row. It will be stowed most of the time but used occasionally for when the kids want a friend to tag along

Re: New Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or Subaru Ascent? [Re: ls973800] #5368842 03/06/20 10:45 AM
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jayjr1105 Offline
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Originally Posted by ls973800

Also as pointed out, the Subaru uses a 4 cylinder with a CVT! Big no in my opinion.


Not to mention a turbo. 3 strikes and Subaru is out in my opinion, 4 Cyl, CVT, and Turbo.

Last edited by jayjr1105; 03/06/20 10:46 AM.

2013 Mazda 3 - PP 0w20
2005 Honda Odyssey - PP HM 5w20
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