Highlander vs a Pilot - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 10-12-2013, 03:50 PM   #1
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Highlander vs a Pilot

Howdy, I am looking at purchasing a Highlander or Pilot, to tow a 17b Escape. From what I can see, both will do the job just fine. So I am curious for those of you who have looked at/purchased one of these vehicles, what tipped the scales for or against either of these? Any input would be great - thanks!
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Old 10-13-2013, 01:13 PM   #2
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I think that's going to be personal preference.
But, I do want to report that my buddy finally got his Hyundai Santa Fe back after four months with a loaner. Hyundai could not provide required engine parts for his vehicle ( and more than 250 others ), so the dealer eventually sent it out to an engine shop where the cylinders were bored for new larger pistons.
He got the vehicle back on Friday. Last night he reported that he was at the ferry dock, the check engine light was on, and the Santa Fe felt like it was dragging a 15,000 lb. trailer with no wheels on it.
He is not a happy camper.
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Old 10-13-2013, 01:30 PM   #3
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I think we need more information to give you a recommendation. I am most familiar with the Highlander, they make so many different models of the Highlander, some are adequate, some are outright inappropriate.

Both these vehicles have been used by members, the Highlander gets very good comfort recommendations. With any vehicle I believe a factory towing package is a must, it can be added later but I am not sure I would do it. Next would be a V-8, when towing torque is important, if you compare a V-6 and a V-8 that is usually a difference. Forget about miles per gallon, in the overall scheme of things any towing vehicle capable of hauling your trailer is going to get low mpg or kpg. Diesels would be nice but our countries do not have the choices that are found in Europe.

I have the Highlander on my short list for a replacement vehicle, not on the top, that would be the Pilot followed by another 4Runner with the Ford Flex at the end of the list.
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Old 10-13-2013, 02:06 PM   #4
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Also, note that standard equipment and tow options on a vehicle may be different in Canada and U.S. so you need to make sure you're getting what you think you are getting.
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Old 10-13-2013, 03:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
Next would be a V-8, when towing torque is important, if you compare a V-6 and a V-8 that is usually a difference.
Talking about the Highlander or Pilot, you're talking 4 cylinder vs. 6 cylinder. 8 cylinder is not an option.

Before I bought my Frontier, I considered the Highlander. DIdn't look at the Pilot. The Highlander lost because of up-front cost relative to the Frontier, not to mention that for my needs, the small pickup is more functionally appropriate.
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Old 10-13-2013, 03:40 PM   #6
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I totally agree with the recommendation to forgot about mpg or kpg, performance (torque) is much more important! That's why (unfortunately) I am going to sell my Frontier for a larger truck. I just don't believe it will handle the new 5.0 as needed. I love my Frontier, its a great truck, just not well suited to handle what I expect to be a much heavier 5.0.
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Old 10-13-2013, 03:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
I think we need more information to give you a recommendation. I am most familiar with the Highlander, they make so many different models of the Highlander, some are adequate, some are outright inappropriate.
Although there are a few engine/transmission choices, as well as maybe 2WD versus 4WD, all Highlanders of a given year have the same body and structure, of the same size; they're not like pickup trucks. Most of the variation is just trim level and options, most of which don't matter to towing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
With any vehicle I believe a factory towing package is a must, it can be added later but I am not sure I would do it.
In some cases yes, but some features are not at all reasonable to add later. The non-hybrid Highlander's V6 is Toyota's 2GR-FE; at least in other models, the towing prepped version of this engine has an engine oil cooler which would be prohibitively expensive to retrofit.

With any vehicle, I would certainly be careful to get it properly equipped from the factory with the parts that don't just bolt on.
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Old 10-13-2013, 03:52 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
towing torque is important, if you compare a V-6 and a V-8 that is usually a difference.
If there is that difference, it is due to displacement (size); the number of cylinders doesn't matter much. Those huge engines in big highway trucks hauling 20 to 70 tons are typically six-cylinders (as is the Cummins in a Ram pickup). True, in practice, 8-cylinder engines in light vehicles are typically bigger than 6-cylinder engines (whether V6 or straight 6) in similar vehicles.
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Old 10-13-2013, 04:56 PM   #9
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We own a Highlander and my wife's sister owns a Pilot. Both of our vehicles have been used for towing around 3500 lbs. For towing a 17b either vehicle with the towing package would work well. I also think it comes down to personal preference - both reliable with strong V6's. I suggest take both out for a drive, compare price and reputation of the local Dealer's.
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Old 10-14-2013, 12:02 AM   #10
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Wow! Thanks for all your comments! I should be honest up front, I am an Escapee wannabe . I have a tent trailer now, and it is time to move on. So first the vehicle then the trailer. It does sound like it comes down to personal preference but will certainly keep in mind making sure the engine/towing specs are good. I have heard though, that you should really reduce the stated towing capacity by ~30%, and that would be the true capability of the vehicle??
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