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Old 09-18-2018, 08:17 PM   #1
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Any Cautions Before Buying a Honda Pilot For Our 19?

Our Highlander has over 170K miles on it by now, and it's towed our 19' Escape nearly 40K miles, plus a Casita before that. We're considering a Honda Pilot with the 5,000 pound tow package. We test drove an F-150 also. The Ford has lots of power, sits tall, and was fun to drive. The Honda is a lot like our Highlander...adequate. We really want some of the modern technologies like lane assist, blind spot protection, etc, so that pushes us in to higher-level packages. That makes for a very expensive truck vs a moderately (by today's norms) expensive SUV. I should also add that my wife is a bit challenged handling a larger vehicle, so going to the local grocery with the F-150 would be a problem. So, the Honda seems like it will do the job and is probably easier for us to live with day-to-day. We're leaning toward the Pilot instead of another Highlander, largely because the new Highlanders have a ridiculous roof rack with very narrow-spaced, fixed crossbars that would not work well with our tandem kayak or a canoe. We're about to pull the trigger on the Pilot, but I thought I'd ask if we're missing anything in our deliberations. I've weighed our Escape and confirmed we're well within Highlander load limits, so I assume the same is true of the Honda. I read some previous threads here that discussed the F-150 and Pilots, but they've gone pretty quiet by now. Grateful for any comments.
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:29 PM   #2
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You can buy after market kayak and canoe carriers that are more suited to the job. Last time I looked at a Highlander build, it cost something like $300 for crossbars for the roof rack.

Son-in-law has a 2008 Pilot. It feels huge to me and looks larger than the newer Pilot. When reading reviews and the like, make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

I'd make sure your wife is on side, or she might use the F150 to haul your coffin the the graveyard.
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:29 PM   #3
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We love our 2011 Pilot, pulling our 3rd Escape: a 17B, then a 19 and now the 2nd gen 19. That's nearly 60,000 trouble-free miles, knock on wood.
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:43 PM   #4
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You can buy after market kayak and canoe carriers that are more suited to the job. Last time I looked at a Highlander build, it cost something like $300 for crossbars for the roof rack.

Son-in-law has a 2008 Pilot. It feels huge to me and looks larger than the newer Pilot. When reading reviews and the like, make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

I'd make sure your wife is on side, or she might use the F150 to haul your coffin the the graveyard.
The new Highlanders have streamlined rails with no place to connect aftermarket cross bars like the Yakima ones we have on our 08 model. The factory cross bars screw into one location fore and aft.

Definitely need to accommodate what my wife will want to drive. She really enjoyed the truck out on the highway, but it would be a challenge driving it day-to-day. And really, towing would be our only need for the truck at this point in our lives.
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:45 PM   #5
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The new Highlanders have streamlined rails with no place to connect aftermarket cross bars like the Yakima ones we have on our 08 model. The factory cross bars screw into one location fore and aft.

Definitely need to accommodate what my wife will want to drive. She really enjoyed the truck out on the highway, but it would be a challenge driving it day-to-day. And really, towing would be our only need for the truck at this point in our lives.
So far, in reading past threads on this subject, I've heard nothing but good comments about the Pilot, and the Highlander for that matter. It has certainly served us well.
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:51 PM   #6
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My buddy has a recent Highlander ( don't remember the year ). Major irritation he has is that the maps in navigation are only updated once a year and that it costs $250 for western US and Canada, and another $250 for eastern US and Canada.

I'd discuss with the dealer ( Honda or Toyota ) and try to get them to toss in updates.
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Old 09-18-2018, 09:25 PM   #7
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We have a 2011 Pilot to tow a 17. We love it. When evaluating tows, it came down to the Highlander or the Pilot. Both are tops in reliability and longevity. Both have about the same HP and torque. For us, it was the local dealers. The Honda dealer, and specifically the service advisors, are great. Toyota dealer, not so much. We have a Prius, and as soon as we hit the year/mileage mark for free or discounted service, I had had enough. We now take it to an independent. The Honda, at 115,000 miles: we still go to the dealer.
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Old 09-18-2018, 10:43 PM   #8
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I don’t own either of these but here is what Consumer Reports says...
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Old 09-18-2018, 11:52 PM   #9
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Hi Parker
I was dismayed that you might go over to the Honda side from the Highlander. Then I saw your reason and thought it totally reasonable. Best of luck with your new Pilot if you go that way. I had a 2005 Honda Accord, one of the best cars we ever owned. Though I’ve only had the 2018 Highlander since May, I thought the salesman said the GPS was free, but I did not ask about maps. I usually don’t use them so I’m not too concerned. I do like the blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control ( when not towing). The 8 speed transmission and 25
more horses are nice too. Fully loaded 21 towed 1680 miles last week at 62 mph got 14.4 miles per gallon. No brag, no complaint, just a fact.
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Old 09-19-2018, 10:31 AM   #10
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I don’t own either of these but here is what Consumer Reports says...
Thank you! The Highlander certainly looks good in their analysis. I drove ours this morning, and I have to say I was quite comfortable in it. I'm starting to think there are Honda People and Toyota People. Both seem to be great choices with very similar capabilities. I'm going to dig a little deeper into the Toyota roof rack situation, which really should not be a show-stopper.
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Old 09-19-2018, 10:59 AM   #11
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I put the Yakima Landing Pads onto our Highlander (mostly because I already owned the towers and racks for them from the topper of our Tacoma) They are very strong and easy to use - but as you have mentioned they are closer together than I would like. My solution to secure our canoe are the straps that mount under the sides of the hood to secure the front of the canoe along with the Yakima KeelOver canoe mounts.

I tried to negotiate for free upgrades in my purchase price for the ridiculously expensive navigation updates, but ran into a brick wall on that one. Google and Waze are much more accurate for us anyway.
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Old 09-19-2018, 11:05 AM   #12
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Thank you! The Highlander certainly looks good in their analysis. I drove ours this morning, and I have to say I was quite comfortable in it. I'm starting to think there are Honda People and Toyota People. Both seem to be great choices with very similar capabilities. I'm going to dig a little deeper into the Toyota roof rack situation, which really should not be a show-stopper.
No problem. Full disclosure: I drive a Toyota 4Runner and would probably look at the Highlander if I was buying new. I believe there are aftermarket solutions to the roof rack issue on the Highlander. The newer 4Runners have the stock rack so far back with little spacing between crossbars that you can't carry anything with any length without conflict with the hatch. At least on that model the rear window still goes down and there are a bunch of aftermarket rack solutions, albeit expensive.
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Old 09-19-2018, 11:36 AM   #13
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I put the Yakima Landing Pads onto our Highlander (mostly because I already owned the towers and racks for them from the topper of our Tacoma) They are very strong and easy to use - but as you have mentioned they are closer together than I would like. My solution to secure our canoe are the straps that mount under the sides of the hood to secure the front of the canoe along with the Yakima KeelOver canoe mounts.

I tried to negotiate for free upgrades in my purchase price for the ridiculously expensive navigation updates, but ran into a brick wall on that one. Google and Waze are much more accurate for us anyway.
We have the older generation Yakima towers attached to our Highlander's side rails. The round bars extend out far enough to put a kayak in the center and a bike on either side, outboard of the towers. I really like the versatility of that setup. Looking at modern equivalents, I see that Yakima and others now have towers for the flush rails, so maybe that's an option. The cost can be partially offset by not ordering the Highlander crossbars, which don't look all that functional anyway. I still don't like how close the cross bars are to each other. With a tandem plastic kayak, it would be easy to reef down too hard on the ends and bow the thing in the middle. I hope there is a better way. I'd also like to look for some kind of loader for the kayak, just to help prevent future scrapes to the car finish while loading. Presently we have the pullout gizmo that allows tipping up one end at a time, but at the risk of skinning up the paint.

On the nav system, we've done fine with our Garmin. At least the Pilot and F-150 allow integration of iPhones and Android systems to their display, so that's an option except for the amount of data used. Data limits became an issue for us while traveling in Canada, so that could be a problem using phones for navigation.
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Old 09-19-2018, 11:39 AM   #14
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I’m using the 2018 Highlander with the Yakima Baseline + 130 Baseclip and it seems like it’ll be fine. I mounted the 48” bars permanently, but use extensions of 18” on each side to get the boat on the car and to use when carrying 2 boats. I might have to add some height to the bars when carrying my white water boat with more rocker, as I haven’t tried that yet. As to the GPS, mine uses the Scout phone app, so I would expect map updates to be automatic. You may want to talk to a brake controller installer about the Highlander if you go this route. There are great instructions on this site if you need them. I’ve got a Honda CR-V for my around town car and the Toyota for towing - both great cars! Best of luck with whichever choice you make!
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Old 09-19-2018, 11:53 AM   #15
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I'd also like to look for some kind of loader for the kayak, just to help prevent future scrapes to the car finish while loading. Presently we have the pullout gizmo that allows tipping up one end at a time, but at the risk of skinning up the paint.
Have you seen the Thule Hullavator? Expensive, but nice engineering. I saw one in action at a local lake boat launch the other day.

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Old 09-19-2018, 02:09 PM   #16
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Have you seen the Thule Hullavator? Expensive, but nice engineering. I saw one in action at a local lake boat launch the other day.
The Hullavator looks really cool and may be worth it for a tandem. We've always hauled our kayak inverted because it doesn't have a cover for the double cockpit. Nor does it have a drain plug. Still, I might look into it a little more.
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Old 09-19-2018, 03:50 PM   #17
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The Hullavator looks really cool snip I might look into it a little more.

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Old 10-03-2018, 05:04 PM   #18
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Honda 2013 Pilot towing ?

Hi, We are looking at an Escape 19 fully loaded and want to tow with our Honda that has a max tow of 4500 LBS. and 450LBS. tongue weight. The approx listed dry weight is 2950 LBS. for the trailer. I've been told to use only 80% of allowed towing capacity so that gets me to 3600 LBS. But with A/C and some liquid am I asking too much of the honda towing at 3600-4000 LBS. Thanks Derek
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Old 10-03-2018, 05:16 PM   #19
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If the Honda is rated to tow 4,500 lbs. max, then that is what you can tow. The safety margin is already built in so the 80 per cent rule is null and void.
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Old 10-03-2018, 06:02 PM   #20
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That’s one of the beauties of an Escape Trailer, Derek. Your everyday driver can also be your tow vehicle. The Pilot will work fine!
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