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Hello folkes,
I am a brit living in the USA and have a growing family. My Subaru Forrester is now too small for me, my wife and my 3 kid family, especially when the grand parents come to visit. I have been considering both the 2018 Ford Explorer, and the 2017 Honda Pilot. I live in the mountains of NC and so need the all wheel dive feature to get me up and down the hillside where I live in the deep of winter.

I have been considering the explorer because 1) I love its looks, 2) its power is adequate, 3) it has three rows, and 4) it comes with roof bars as stadard, 5) my nearest dealership is a ford one so getting it serviced by a well trained teem will be easy. Also, any car that has its own forum has to be well loved. However, I have been put off by news that exhaust fumes have been known to be entering the cabin and that from what I can see Ford's attempts to address the issue seem to be more of a placebo (rather than addressing the exhaust manifold issue that many seem to think is the root cause). Is this still a risk in the 2018, 2019 models or was this overcome after the 2017 year? I had considdered the new model, but at my price point I thought the interior did not have a quality look and feel and it only seats 6.

I've been considering the Honda Pilot purely for reasons of practicality, it was 8 seats vs the explorers 7, and comes with some better tech options at mid-level trims such as Android Auto support, and its interior is said to be (and I've test driven both the explorer and pilot) better quality in the Pilot and I agree somewhat. The only thing that puts me off the pilot is its feminine minivan in disguise looks , its crap sounding stereo system, and that the nearest dealership is some 50 miles away.

Does anyone have any advice? Thanks for reading.
 

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We own both an Explorer and a Pilot. Have bought many Honda's and Fords over the years. My observations are not of the model years you speak of, but the long term issues of maintaining several generations of Explorers and Odyssey/Pilot vehicles.

As to Honda, their quality/reliability was beyond reproach until around 2012 or so. A variety of not fully vetted engineering changes led to some issues with tranny's, radiators and drive train stuff. Honda's telematics (gps/nav etc) has long lagged Ford as well. Still, my wife loves her Pilot. Honda's are fussier wrt maintenance, esp for transmission and differential service. Change fluids every 15,000 miles orctrouble will develop.

As to Ford, Ive had an 05 Eddie Bauer, a 10 Limited and my son, an 11 XLT. My fav remains my V8 Limited. Great power, surprisingly good highway mileage. Excellent ride comfort and telematics. No real issues with any of the explorers. Cheap to maintain. The '11 - '19 Explorers are, like the Pilot, primarily a front wheel drive vehicle. From '20 on, Explorers reverted to primary RWD (both of course offer all wheel drive, but primary drive defines handling 95% of the time) I'd encourage you to test drive a '20 Explorer and compare to the '18.
 
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