Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, or Subaru Outback?

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Posted by Richard on 2013-08-22 19:44:46

I'm looking at purchasing a new (new or used, but new to me) vehicle, and am looking strongly at the Highlander (hybrid or regular?) or one of the new model Subaru Outbacks. A friend just suggested I look at a Honda Pilot or an Acura MDX in lieu of the Highlander, as he claims they still get decent gas mileage but their AWD system is a bit more robust.

I have a Smokercraft Alaskan 14' boat I would tow from time to time; the whole outfit, trailer/boat/outboard/etc. probably doesn't exceed 100 pounds. I hope to buy a bigger boat someday (don't we all???), potentially one that could be in the 2500 pound range.

I've heard some interesting things about the AWD system in the Highlander; something along the lines of when conditions get super slippery, like maybe the ramp when pulling out a boat, that the rig essentially shuts down. That's what I've heard, third hand. The hybrid version, from a gas mileage standpoint, is very attractive, but I'm a little wary of the hybrid system ... don't know if I should be. I like both the older model Highlanders (06 and 07) as well as the newer version.

The newer model Outback has a great 4wd system, but the 4 cylinder is pretty light duty (although it gets great gas mileage for a normally aspirated engine). A 6 cylinder is offered but, by the book, the towing capacity isn't a lot more.

Oh, I typically keep my vehicles quite a while, at least 6 to 8 years.

Does anyone have some input they can share with me about any of these vehicles? I would surely appreciate any insight you might have!


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