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Family SUV for those who like to have fun; Good for daily commute, long trips, golf trips, and snow trips.

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


Have looked at the 2016 Honda Pilot EX-L, 2015 Toyota Highlander Limited, and 2015 Dodge Durango Limited and each has its highs/lows. We are a fairly tall family with both adults over 6ft and the kids (no car seats necessary) seem to be heading that way. We golf, ski, andtake long (2,000+ mile) trips at least once a year. As kids get older will need room for more of their stuff for activities and want a 3rd row for when family comes into town (wife says minivan is not an option).

The current front runner is probably the Durango as it has the 3rd row seats, seems comfortable for long trips or sitting in ski hill traffic, has some power,kind ofstylish but reliability and safety are a concern. Love the center console, USBports and 110v outlet for the kids, 2nd row seats recline slightly, decent v6 with 8 speed transmission with the possibility to tow a small camper I think. The knob for selecting gears is a little weird and the height behind the 2nd row from the deck to the top of the seats is much less than in the other SUV's...meaning that luggage sticks up much higher and possibly impedes the rear view.

Toyota Highlander is a good vehicle but style is "blah" with less power and the fun options are limited. Center console could be laid out better and why all the buttons when you could go with a touch screen...but maybe a better option for the winter months with gloves. Not sure I like the long storage just under center console all the way to the passenger side.

Honda Pilot has come a long way from the 2015 with better style and getting better with the technology. Currently have a 2003 Honda Pilot that has served the family well but is getting long in miles at 170K. Like the roominess all around but doesn't have quite the power of the Dodge and again lacks some of the fun features on the inside. I don't necessarily like the toggle switches for the heat/cool and the center console is lacking when compared with the Dodge. Don't like that they got rid of the center arm rest and have just the little captain chair arms.

Have not driven any of them yet but interested in opinions even if not the three options above.


Priorities: Front seat support & comfort / Rear seat room & comfort / Powertrain performance / Ride smoothness / Reliability & durability

Preferred Bodystyle(s): SUV

Car Needs: Daily commuter / Family transporter / Long trips

Primary Driver(s): Tall driver

Need minimum of 7 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 45000
Maximum age: 3 years

Maximum price: US $ 40000

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Response from mkaresh

10:03 am September 11, 2015

I have the new Honda Pilot this week. Very roomy, very good outward visibility, plus good mpg considering its size. But the ride is unsettled and it's not fun to drive. I feel like I'm driving a minivan more than in the others. Also, while the Pilot is quieter than past Hondas, something about the interior (even the top-of-the-line Touring Elite) seems downscale or institutional. It's the best appliance.

The Highlander has more of a truck-like feel than the Pilot, less minivan-like. But it has considerably less third-row legroom. I'm working off memory here, and might drive one again while I have the Pilot.

The Durango drives the best of the three (it's really unlike anything else in the segment) and has perhaps the most comfortable seats, but as you note it probably won't be as reliable. I think most of the problems being reported involve the electronics, all of which tie into the infotainment system introduced with the 2014. It's possible they've finally debugged this for 2016.

The Mazda CX-9 is an old design at this point, but it remains among the sportiest crossovers (this being very much relative).

I also liked driving the Kia Sorento considerably more than the Pilot and the Highlander, they've done a great job with the chassis tuning and overall refinement. But it has less passenger and cargo space than any of these--it's really in between size classes. So size might rule it out for you.

My main concern with any crossover except the Ford Explorer and Ford Flex is that there isn't enough luggage space for more than a few bags behind the third row. The Fords have a minivan-like well that opens up space for another couple of duffels. But if you don't need the third row when traveling then no problem.

For those who do need cargo space behind the third row, a minivan will have far more space back there than any crossover. You might want to at least look at the Kia Sedona. To me it looks and drives sportier than the Honda Pilot or the Toyota Highlander. But if you need AWD, then it's not an option.

Drive a few of these and let us know what you think!


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Honda Pilot
Dodge Durango
Kia Sedona

Response from mkaresh

4:27 pm September 14, 2015

One thing that just crossed my mind is that the Pilot probably isn't sporty because that's the role of the Acura MDX. If you want a fun Pilot, they want you to buy the Acura.

I like how the current MDX drives, but owners have been reporting quite a few problems with them, albeit usually fairly minor ones.


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Acura MDX

Response from lizlec

8:08 pm October 8, 2015

You may want to have a look to the Kia Sorento 2016 ... love mine so far (EX V6 AWD). Hyundai Santa Fe cousin (same platform and powertrain) have more space behind third row and also offer bucket seats to the second row as an option ...


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Kia Sorento
Hyundai Santa Fe

Response from stephe3333

5:46 pm October 15, 2015

We ended up purchasing a used 2014 Dodge Durango Limited with 28K miles. So far in the first month of driving I am happy with the purchase overall. I have found it interesting that the ECO mode defaults to on whenever turning on the vehicle. For my daily commute I really don't like the ECO on as it does not have the same throttle response and tends to lag a bit.

Due to the reliability concern I am contemplating purchasing an extended warranty for the vehicle to add a little piece of mind. I think the one from MOPAR is the most intriguing but still have research to do as I don't jump into anything fast.


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Dodge Durango

Response from mkaresh

11:30 am October 17, 2015

Whatever mode is the default is the one used for EPA testing. So having Eco Mode as the default improves the EPA MPG figures.


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