Automotive

Used 2016 MDX Elite vs 2016 Pilot EX-L or Touring

  • Last Updated:
  • May 12th, 2019 2:52 pm
[OP]
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Used 2016 MDX Elite vs 2016 Pilot EX-L or Touring

Hey all,

Wondering what your thoughts are between these two vehicles. Both can be had in the mid $35k range, the MDXs initially depreciate faster than Pilots I guess.

MDX Pros:
-Better safety tech (low speed follow, blind spot monitoring on all trims, 360 degree camera)
-Nicer interior materials (real wood, nicer leather, etc)
-A bit smaller (less wide) and feels smaller behind the wheel, better handling

MDX Cons:
-Rough ride? Can anyone comment?
-Less space (not really needed though)
-Crappier dash (two screen setup)

Pilot Pros:
-More space, better third row (emergency third row is all we really need though)
-Option of 6 speed auto on EX-L, though you give up other features and that transmission feels slow unless you hammer the RPMs
-Panoramic sunroof

Pilot Cons:
-Cheaper materials (feels very utilitarian)
-More cumbersome and worse handling
-Worse warranty (if any left)

My wife prefers the Sorento/Highlander sized vehicles to the really big ones in the three row class.
20 replies
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
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BIL owns an Elite and two coworkers own Pilot Tourings.
The MDX is a cheater 3 row SUV, as the 3rd row is barely usable, but has a better overall driving experience and tech compared to that of the Pilot.
The Pilot is a spacious no frills family hauler and the tech is nothing spectacular.
Member
Nov 7, 2017
385 posts
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Toronto, ON
Don't forget the AWD. Acura's SH-AWD is better than Honda's i-VTM4
[OP]
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Nev0513 wrote: Don't forget the AWD. Acura's SH-AWD is better than Honda's i-VTM4
My understanding is that they are the same system but with different levels of aggression for torque vectoring
Sr. Member
Nov 26, 2013
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Winnipeg
Didn't the 2016 Pilot have major engine/transmission problems?
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ReaperEXE wrote: Didn't the 2016 Pilot have major engine/transmission problems?
The 9 speed tranny had issues.
Sr. Member
Jan 12, 2013
653 posts
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Halifax
Blubbs wrote: Thanks, this video is great
No problem. I had been wondering about the differences for a while and came across this video. Thought it was well done and informative, lots of misinformation out there about the two systems.

We own a 2017 Pilot EX-L and I have been considering an Acura as a replacement for our second vehicle. The Pilot has been an absolute beast in the snow and reasonably fun for what it is.
Sr. Member
Jan 13, 2007
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Toronto, Ontario
Another difference to keep in mind is that the MDX recommends premium octane fuel while the Pilot only recommends regular.
[OP]
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woofster wrote: Another difference to keep in mind is that the MDX recommends premium octane fuel while the Pilot only recommends regular.
Indeed, I've been reading about that. The engine is actually identical between the vehicles (same compression ratio and everything) so it's fine to use regular in the MDX, it just makes 10 less horsepower.
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Blubbs wrote: Indeed, I've been reading about that. The engine is actually identical between the vehicles (same compression ratio and everything) so it's fine to use regular in the MDX, it just makes 10 less horsepower.
Which one are you going to get?
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Oct 29, 2006
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Blubbs wrote: Hey all,

Wondering what your thoughts are between these two vehicles. Both can be had in the mid $35k range, the MDXs initially depreciate faster than Pilots I guess.

MDX Pros:
-Better safety tech (low speed follow, blind spot monitoring on all trims, 360 degree camera)
-Nicer interior materials (real wood, nicer leather, etc)
-A bit smaller (less wide) and feels smaller behind the wheel, better handling

MDX Cons:
-Rough ride? Can anyone comment?
-Less space (not really needed though)
-Crappier dash (two screen setup)

Pilot Pros:
-More space, better third row (emergency third row is all we really need though)
-Option of 6 speed auto on EX-L, though you give up other features and that transmission feels slow unless you hammer the RPMs
-Panoramic sunroof

Pilot Cons:
-Cheaper materials (feels very utilitarian)
-More cumbersome and worse handling
-Worse warranty (if any left)

My wife prefers the Sorento/Highlander sized vehicles to the really big ones in the three row class.
Search my posts for my 2016 MDX experience. TLDR, now driving a 2019 Sorento SXL. Best car I’ve ever owned.
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philharmonic wrote: Search my posts for my 2016 MDX experience. TLDR, now driving a 2019 Sorento SXL. Best car I’ve ever owned.
2016 MDX Elite?
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Oct 29, 2006
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vkizzle wrote: 2016 MDX Elite?
No, NAVI. Only diff is 360 view, RES, auto dimming side mirrors and cooled front seats.

The 2019 Elite also comes with the mag shocks, I think.

Either way, except for pure driving enjoyment (which is totally a thing, and if you can ignore how big of a turd just about everything else about this CUV is, get the MDX), I wouldn’t touch one.

The MDX was the best driving vehicle I’ve owned. I really loved driving it. If you absolutely need 0-100 in 6.1 sec, get the MDX.

BUT, for the price of less than a base MDX, I get cooled seats with power thigh extension, amazing panoramic roof, 360 camera, front and rear parking sensors, height and lumbar adjustment for front passenger, physical HVAC and audio controls (this one is a huge fail on the MDX), built in app based remote start with temp control, steering LED lights, a beautiful 8” screen and a very responsive, not jerky ACC system. Oh and an actual gear shifter!

It’s smaller, yet somehow has a more comfortable 3rd row (no latch or tether anchors, so small adults or booster seats only). The instrument cluster is much nicer and the sound deadening is miles ahead of even the Elite MDX with its bs ANC module. It shifts smoothly and completely unobtrusively, and gets better gas mileage, while using 87 gas. Yes, you can run the MDX on 87, but you’ll get about 2L/100 less mileage than on 91.

The MDX pros are a roomier second row and driver profiles based on your fob. But, at 6’0”, 185lbs, I’m actually much more comfortable in the Sorento. All Honda front seats compromise driver leg room for some reason. Just go in to a Kia showroom and open and close the doors of a Sorento, then do the same at the Acura dealer. You’ll see that the Sorento is on a whole other level.
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philharmonic wrote: No, NAVI. Only diff is 360 view, RES, auto dimming side mirrors and cooled front seats.

The 2019 Elite also comes with the mag shocks, I think.

Either way, except for pure driving enjoyment (which is totally a thing, and if you can ignore how big of a turd just about everything else about this CUV is, get the MDX), I wouldn’t touch one.

The MDX was the best driving vehicle I’ve owned. I really loved driving it. If you absolutely need 0-100 in 6.1 sec, get the MDX.

BUT, for the price of less than a base MDX, I get cooled seats with power thigh extension, amazing panoramic roof, 360 camera, front and rear parking sensors, height and lumbar adjustment for front passenger, physical HVAC and audio controls (this one is a huge fail on the MDX), built in app based remote start with temp control, steering LED lights, a beautiful 8” screen and a very responsive, not jerky ACC system. Oh and an actual gear shifter!

It’s smaller, yet somehow has a more comfortable 3rd row (no latch or tether anchors, so small adults or booster seats only). The instrument cluster is much nicer and the sound deadening is miles ahead of even the Elite MDX with its bs ANC module. It shifts smoothly and completely unobtrusively, and gets better gas mileage, while using 87 gas. Yes, you can run the MDX on 87, but you’ll get about 2L/100 less mileage than on 91.

The MDX pros are a roomier second row and driver profiles based on your fob. But, at 6’0”, 185lbs, I’m actually much more comfortable in the Sorento. All Honda front seats compromise driver leg room for some reason. Just go in to a Kia showroom and open and close the doors of a Sorento, then do the same at the Acura dealer. You’ll see that the Sorento is on a whole other level.
I actually like the Sorento, it's the best use of space for a smaller vehicle. The problem is, I believe, that lane keeping assist is only available as of 2019, right? And only lane departure alert was available in 2017-2018.

I've looked at 2017s. They have already dropped from a $45k purchase price before tax to about $30k used. But without lane keeping assist I would be annoyed.
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vkizzle wrote: Which one are you going to get?
You really want me to decide eh? Heh
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Oct 29, 2006
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Blubbs wrote: I actually like the Sorento, it's the best use of space for a smaller vehicle. The problem is, I believe, that lane keeping assist is only available as of 2019, right? And only lane departure alert was available in 2017-2018.

I've looked at 2017s. They have already dropped from a $45k purchase price before tax to about $30k used. But without lane keeping assist I would be annoyed.
Yes, LKAS only on 2019+.

The active safety system in the 2019 Sorento is actually excellent. I tested it against the Ascent and my then current MDX. The Honda’s is the worst by far, it constantly gave me false alerts for AEB and was downright dangerous slamming on the brakes when I was nowhere near close enough to the car in front. The ACC in the MDX was slow AF to respond if someone got out of your way and overly aggressive if someone cut you off. I only ended up using it on long car rides.

The Subaru ended up about equal. Not only did they add LKAS to 2019 Sorento, but also lane centring assist (which Kia calls advanced LKAS), which actually is slightly above Subaru in that regard. Only the new Legacy / OB come with lane centring. The ACC in the Sorento is very quick to react to changes. I do wish the instrument cluster graphics for “I’ve detected the car in front” and LKAS were larger on the Sorento, but you get used to it.

Overall, I’ve put 1500kms on it, but so far it annoys me far less than it pleases me, so it’s a win.

The MDX annoyed me every time I wanted to adjust ANYTHING other than throttle. FFS, in the winter, the top screen would take 2-3 seconds to turn on the reverse cam image (which was of the VGA res variety). I would sometimes be done the maneuver before it reacted. What a POS. Did I mention the new tranny at 50K?

Sorry, don’t get me started. lol
Last edited by philharmonic on May 9th, 2019 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
[OP]
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Mar 21, 2013
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philharmonic wrote: Yes, LKAS only on 2019+.

The active safety system in the 2019 Sorento is actually excellent. I tested it against the Ascent and my then current MDX. The Honda’s is the worst by far, it constantly gave me false alerts for AEB and was downright dangerous slamming on the brakes when I was nowhere near close enough to the car in front. The ACC in the MDX was slow AF to respond if someone got out of your way and overly aggressive if someone cut you off. I only ended up using it on long car rides.

The Subaru ended up about equal. Not only did they add LKAS to 2019 Sorento, but also lane centring assist (which Kia calls advanced LKAS), which actually is slightly above Subaru in that regard. Only the new Legacy / OB come with lane centring. The ACC in the Sorento is very quick to react to changes. I do wish the instrument cluster graphics for “I’ve detected the car in front” and LKAS were larger on the Sorento, but you get used to it.

Overall, I’ve put 1500kms on it, but so far it annoys me far less than it pleases me, so it’s a win.

The MDX annoyed me every time I wanted to adjust ANYTHING other than throttle. FFS, in the winter, the top screen would take 2-3 seconds to turn on the reverse car image. I would sometimes be done the maneuver before it reacted. What a POS. Did I mention the new tranny at 50K?

Sorry, don’t get me started. lol
Appreciate your input, thanks!
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Oct 29, 2006
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Blubbs wrote: Appreciate your input, thanks!
Get a 2017 Pilot EX-L RES. Apple CarPlay / Android Auto, proven six speed tranny, physical HVAC controls, no dumbass shifter, better third row.

One last thing, yes the ride was bumpy and choppy on the MDX. Search on acurazine or mdxers. If you don’t get the mag shocks (any year Hybrid or 19 Elite) , you’ll feel every crack in the pavement. The Sorento is butter smooth.

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