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Should the Honda Pilot be written off due to VCM?

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I'm looking at 7 passenger SUVs. I love everything about the Honda Pilot, except for all the negative reviews of the VCM. I understand it's worse in cold, I live in Colorado. Also hear it gets worse with age, I'd like to keep it 10 years. So is VCM bad enough to knock the Pilot off the list?

Will consider new cars only

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Response from mwcten

11:34 am February 17, 2015

I wouldn't worry about it too much for 3 reasons: First, Honda knows about the problem, has presumably been taking steps to fix it.

Secondly, even based on the past occurances of the problem, your probable liability isn't that much. They have to fix it when you're under warranty, and they'll probably fix it for free if the vehicle is less than 8 years old, per their class action agreement related to this problem. So up to year 8, your liablilty is 0, other than perhaps living with shaking for a little while.

If you're looking to keep the vehicle 10 years, what are the odds of the problem cropping up in years 8-10? Based even on older Pilots, it's not that high. Certainly not more than 10% for that narrow range of years. So if an engine replacement for an 8-10 year old Pilot costs $4k, and you have a 10% chance of it happening, that's a $400 consideration. And it's 8-10 years out, so if your investments double in value every 8-10 years, your present value cost to factor in your decision making is $200, which is dwarfed by the purchase price of the vehicle. Of course I'm using rough numbers here, but you get the gist.

Thirdly, the gas milage the VCM will save you from years 1-10 will just about pay for an engine replacement in years 8-10 should you need it. If VCM saves you 4mpg (18mpg-22mpg) and you drive 130k miles on $3/gallon gas, you've saved about $4k in gas.


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Honda Pilot

Response from jasonmreece

8:57 pm February 18, 2015

Before you decide on the Pilot, I highly recommend taking a close look at the Mazda CX-9! It is an excellent vehicle that is far too easily overlooked by most consumers.

I have owned Honda/Acura vehciles most of my adult life. When I was in the market for a 3-row SUV in 2012, I started my search with the Pilot and I liked it. I also liked the 2012 Acura MDX (redesigned in 2014), but after driving the Mazda CX-9, I chose it over both of them!

The CX-9 outperforms the Pilot in acceleration, braking and handling performance. It is a full second quicker from 0-60mph and the gap widens to 3.0sec from 0-90mph. In 45-65mph passing, the CX-9 takes 3.7sec vs. the Pilot's 4.3sec. Braking form 60-0mph takes 133ft in the Pilot and just 116ft in the CX-9.

Reviews of the Pilot consistently report high levels of road and wind noise and ride quality that borders on harsh. The CX-9 is quieter and, even with 20" wheels, ride quality is smooth on most road surfaces.

Comparing the top-level Pilot Touring vs. the CX-9 Grand Touring (w/ Technology Package), the CX-9 also has several significant features not offerd on the Pilot. They include-

Bi-Xenon HID (High Intensity Discharge) Headlights w/ auto-leveling
Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry & Start System
Blind Spot Monitoring w/ Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
E911 Automatic Emergency Notification (if airbag deploys, will contact 911 with GPS coordinates of vehicle)
Automatic Rain-Sensing Wipers

The CX-9 weighs slights less than the Pilot, but has an addition 23hp and 17lb-ft or torque. It also has a 6-speed Sport A/T with auto-manual shift-gate vs. Pilot's 5-speed automatic. The CX-9 feels noticeably more powerful and handles more like a sporty sedan than a large Crossover/SUV.

Finally, the CX-9 has a richer interior than the Pilot, especially if you choose the Black interior. The Black interior has suede accents on the seats and door panels in addition to contrasting stitching on the door panels, armrests and several other areas. The Sand (beige) interior is simpler with beige seats, black dashboard and black carpeting, but still has a classy and upscale look and feel.

At the very least, give the CX-9 a look! I priced a Pilot Touring 4WD and CX-9 Grand Touring AWD w/ Tech Pkg on TrueCar.co- the Pilot will cost you about $37,124 vs. $34,283 for the CX-9. Mazda is also offering 0% financing for up to 60mos currently. Honda has 0.9% for 36mos or 1.9% for 60mos on the Pilot.

Good luck!


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Mazda CX-9

Response from mkaresh

9:56 am February 20, 2015

I'd be surprised if VCM would end up being a problem in a 2015 Pilot. Honda should have sorted the problem out by now.

The main problem with the 2015 Pilot is that the redesigned 2016 Pilot will probably drive much better. It will arrive at dealers this summer. Since it's all-new, there could be some first-year glitches, but these are usually relatively minor with Hondas.

Good alternatives include the Mazda CX-9 and Toyota Highlander.


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Honda Pilot
Mazda CX-9
Toyota Highlander
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