Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2012 Honda Pilot VS 2012 Nissan Armada Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2012 Honda Pilot

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VS

2012 Nissan Armada

Safety Comparison

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Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the Pilot deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The Pilot’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Armada’s side airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The Honda Pilot has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Armada doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The Pilot w/Navigation offers an available Multi-View Rear Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Armada only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the Pilot uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The Armada uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

Both the Pilot and the Armada have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all wheel drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Honda Pilot is safer than the Armada:

Pilot

Armada

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Head Injury Index

271

441

Leg injuries (L/R)

402 / 629

774 / 726

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Head Injury Index

374

643

Chest forces

44 g’s

46 g’s

More stars indicate a better overall result. Lower numbers indicate better individual test results.

For its top level performance in frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the Pilot as a “Top Pick” for 2012, a rating only granted to 120 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Armada has not been tested, yet.

Reliability Comparison

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The engine in the Pilot has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engine in the Armada has dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without their vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports predicts that the Pilot’s reliability will be 35% better than the Armada.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Honda vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 31 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 24th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 11th in reliability, above the industry average. With 44 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 25th.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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On the EPA test cycle the Pilot gets better fuel mileage than the Armada:

Pilot

Armada

2WD

Auto

18 city/25 hwy

13 city/19 hwy

4WD

Auto

17 city/24 hwy

12 city/18 hwy

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Pilot’s fuel efficiency. The Armada doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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The Pilot stops shorter than the Armada:

Pilot

Armada

60 to 0 MPH

133 feet

134 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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The Pilot’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 65 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Armada SV’s standard 70 series tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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The Pilot EX-L 4WD handles at .78 G’s, while the Armada SL pulls only .73 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Pilot Touring 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Armada SL 4x4 (28.2 seconds @ .59 average G’s vs. 28.8 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Pilot’s turning circle is 2.9 feet tighter than the Armada’s (37.9 feet vs. 40.8 feet).

Chassis Comparison

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The Honda Pilot may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 950 to 1200 pounds less than the Nissan Armada.

The Pilot is 1 foot, 4.3 inches shorter than the Armada, making the Pilot easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Unibody construction makes the Pilot’s chassis much stiffer, which contributes to better handling, and enables softer springs to be used for a better ride. Unibody construction’s stiffness also contributes to better durability and less body squeaks and rattles. The Armada doesn’t use unibody construction, but a body-on-frame design.

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Pilot has an electronically controlled liquid-filled engine mounts. A computer controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The Armada uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

The Pilot uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Armada doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Pilot EX-L 4WD is quieter than the Armada SL (41 vs. 43 dB).

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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The Pilot has standard second and third row seats which fold flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Armada only has a third row seat which folds into the floor. The Armada’s second row seat doesn’t fold into the floor and eats up cargo room.

Ergonomics Comparison

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The Pilot has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Armada doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Pilot (except LX) offers an optional 115 volt a/c outlet in the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters which can break or get misplaced. The Armada doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages Comparison

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Insurance will cost less for the Pilot owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Pilot will cost $950 less than the Armada over a five-year period.

The Pilot will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. Kiplinger’s estimates that the Pilot will retain a greater percentage of its original price after two and four years than the Armada.

Pilot

Armada

Four Year

32% to 35%

27% to 30%

Two Year

50% to 56%

41% to 46%

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Pilot is less expensive to operate than the Armada because it costs $42 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Pilot than the Armada, including $2 less for a water pump, $1 less for an alternator, $58 less for front brake pads, $842 less for a fuel pump and $79 less for a power steering pump.

Intellichoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Honda Pilot will be $9990 to $17884 less than for the Nissan Armada.

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