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[Solved] Reliable SUV options from Honda/Acura for $10-15k


Topic starter

Hello Scotty and big thanks for the tremendous effort you put into educating people about cars.


My mom has recently got into a rear end accident with her 2010 RAV4 Limited (185k miles) and the car is now totaled. She's only had Toyotas all her life which proved to be bulletproof but my question is this:

I'm currently trying to find her another vehicle to replace hers and looking into the Honda/Acura market. Which SUV from those brands from 2010 and up, in the $10-15k neighborhood would you recommend?

I know that Honda is known for tranny issues so my goal is to skip those models/years. Also, something with a timing chain instead of a belt would be great.



Thanks in advance! 

3 Answers

Try to find one with this legendary drivetrain -


Does she want a Honda? Or does she still want a Toyota?

For Honda/Acura, skip the ones with the ZF 9 speed transmissions. Those are the ones that gave Honda/Acura trouble. 

My preference for Honda/Acura in that generation is one with a non-turbo K-Series engine or non-turbo 4 cylinder engine. I would pass on the Honda/Acura V6, just because of needing to eventually change the timing belt. 

Here are some options:


Crosstour (crossover SUV)



Topic starter

She prefers a Toyota if possible but honestly is open to anything that'll match what she had, more or less.


Can you elaborate some more on the ZF9 please? Were there specific years/models/trims that used it?

I remember Scotty saying something along the lines of Honda making reliable transmissions starting from a certain year. 

Lastly, are timing belts exclusively used on the V6 or is it that after certain years Honda went to use a chain like Toyota did? 

What opinions are there on the MDX and Pilot?



The ZF 9 speed was used in the Pilot 2016–2022 and MDX 2014–2020. Not all of trims. But a lot of them.

Honda does make reliable transmissions, but for certain models and trims, it decided to use the ZF company transmissions alongside their own.

All Honda And Acura V6 will have a timing belt.

Depending on the trim, I am open to either a Pilot and MDX. Knowing that I will have to service the timing belt one day. And knowing that I have to find a way to shut down VCM. Personally, I don’t need that big a car, so the RAV4, CRV, and Crosstour would be my top choices.