Here’s the latest reader question, which is a follow-up question to a previous question regarding whether to fix an old Honda Pilot or replace it:
Ginger asks: We think we’ll replace the Pilot and hold onto it to possibly replace the transmission at some point. We’ve been looking at the following SUVs and are curious to know your thoughts on them: Mercedes GLE 350 AWD w/27k miles; 2018 Toyota Highlander XLE w/40,326 miles; 2018 Acura MDX w/27k miles. Considering driving a Kia Telluride, Volvo XC90 and a Genesis SUV. We’d welcome your opinion if you think there’s an outstanding SUV with a V6 you’d like to recommend.
My reply: I’d lean toward the Toyota first and the Acura second, if the prime consideration is obtaining a replacement that is least likely to drop expensive problems in your lap. The Mercedes is a nice vehicle but if something goes wrong with it, expect to pay for it. The Toyota is like a big Corolla in that it can be counted on to just run, rather than cost. The Acura is iffier – if it has the optional SH-AWD system, which is very elaborate and if that goes south… ouch.
That said, condition is the most important consideration – with any new car, regardless of brand. Even a brand known for quality/reliability new cars – like Toyota – can be a bad buy in a used car, if that particular car was abused, including by poor maintenance. Due diligence is critical – by which I mean having any prospective buy thoroughly checked out by an independent mechanic (not the seller’s) that you know and trust. Ask for service records – and be wary if they are not available. Run a Carfax, obviously – though do not go by that exclusively.
I do think you ought to go see the Telluride – as well as the Genesis GV80. But I’d lean toward the Telluride. It’s a very nice SUV and its standard V6 is powerful without needing a turbo (which I always counsel avoiding, if you’re planning on keeping the vehicle for more than the length of the warranty coverage).
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The Telluride engine has GDI, carbon build up could be a problem long-term.