Next Honda Pilot, Nissan X-Trail, Fun Minivan and Extended Service Plans? [Ask Nathan]

2014 buick verano nathan adlen
Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.

From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.


In this edition of Ask Nathan:

  • What’s up with the next Honda Pilot?
  • Next Nissan XTrail?
  • I want a fun minivan!
  • Are Extended Service Plans Legit?

2014 honda pilot off-road

This first question comes from a Honda fan who wants information about the next Honda Pilot.


The last Honda Pilot review you guys did was not that good. Not just you, the Honda wasn’t very good either. It’s old and the competition is building better vehicles, I get it. But you guys missed the big point about the Honda Pilot, you can seat up to eight. I like Honda quality and I was wondering if you knew about the next Honda Pilot?


A: Good question. Before I give you the information I have, let me address that Honda Pilot review and put it in to context: The Pilot is quiet, comfortable and has a pretty good all-wheel drive (AWD) system. We already knew this, and our off road review solidified the fact that the AWD works seamlessly. Unfortunately, like you said, it’s old and feels it. Other than seating capacity, the modern competition has it beat.

With that being said, the 2016 Honda Pilot may debut in the fall of 2015. We know it’s testing right now and that it will share the same underpinnings as the Acura MDX. With that in mind; it means a longer wheelbase (about three-inches) which will increase interior space, most likely giving the third-row passengers more space.

The power source might/should be the 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque 3.5-liter V-6 which currently powers the Acura MDX. It may drop a few hp, while it keeps the Acura cylinder deactivation system in the name of efficiency. The Honda Pilot will (most likely) have a six-speed automatic transmission.

Overall, the main changes will be a new exterior, significantly improved interior and many running components from the new Acura MDX.

Hope that helps!


2014 Nissan Rogue Colorado Winter Off-Road Review
2014 Nissan Rogue Colorado Winter Off-Road Review

Here’s an email from a viewer in Brazil who wants information about the Nissan XTrail.

Q: Hi I live in Brazil.

I realy like your reviews they are really helpfull when it comes to buying a new car.

I was looking at your site looking for a review of the NISSAN X-TRAIL 2009/2010 and i didnt find anything.

I´m looking in to buying a SUV and i´m in doubt between TOYOTA RAV4 2007/08, SUBARU FORESTER 2008/09/10,
or NISSAN X-TRAIL 2009/10.

I´ve seen the FORESTER VS RAV4 review it helped alot.

Do you guys have anything on Nissan X-TRAIL 2009/10?



A: Saludos mi amigo! The all new Nissan X-Trail is (pretty much) the same vehicle as the Nissan Rogue in the North American market. As such, it is a crossover built for passenger comfort with an (optional) third row. Unlike the old Nissan X-Trail, the new one is based on a shared platform that Nissan/Renault calls the CMF (Common Module Family).

Here’s what I know: the gas version, which is the only version available in North America, is a pretty good crossover. Both Roman and I think it’s a great family vehicle and it drove well in the dirt and ice.

I’ve included our off-road review below.

By the way, I’m a big fan of last generation’s Toyota RAV4 – especially with the beefy V6. It’s a wonderful choice.

Hope that helps!


2015, kia, sedona, mpv, minivan, everything, video
2015 Kia Sedona MPV

Here’s a tough one, this viewer wants a “fun” minivan. Not an easy one to answer.

Q: uys!

Love your show and I love how enthusiastic you are about the vehicles you drive. So many reviewers sit and complain without looking for the positive parts of the cars they review. You always do. So here’s my question, is there such thing as a fun mini van? I want something that can hold my three kids, big dog and lazy husband while I have power to scoot.

LOL, I know this will be a hard one for you to answer, but I know you can do it Nathan!



A: Thank you for your vote of confidence and all of those compliments – I’m blushing! As for a fun minivan? Well, you have two-ish choices. The current Toyota Sienna SE and Mazda5.

If you get the Toyota Sienna with the SE package, you get a minivan that has more aggressive looks and feel over the regular Toyota Sienna. Inexplicably, Toyota never had a proper press event for the 2015 Toyota Sienna, so we have no idea what’s cooking with the new model (we do know they have a SE trim, but no idea what that means for its performance).

The Mazda5 is fairly fun in the corners and is the smallest minivan sold in the United States. It’s like a giant Mazda3 (which is what it’s based on) with exception road manners for a minivan. It’s cheaper and more economical too. Still, all that goodness comes at the expense of size and room. I had one for my family and it was a hoot to drive with the optional manual transmission.

Roman says the KIA Sedona was okay too. They don’t like it when you call their minivan a “minivan,” but a minivan it is and, fortunately, they made it look more like an Optima and less minivan-ish… but the KIA Sedona is still a minivan. Power and goodies are supposed to be pretty good.

I know its not much, but I can say this: if you need to hold lots of people and want fun, consider a Dodge Durango R/T, Ford Explorer Sport or even the Land Rover Sport!



The last question comes from a viewer who has heard negative things about those extended vehicle warranties that pop up online and on television.

Q:Hey Nathan, how’s it going? I wrote you before and you were nice enough to help me with my sport coup choices a while back. I got the Honda Accord V6 Coupe and I’ve never been happier. But it’s a used car and now I’m passing 100,000 miles. I’m getting worried about maintenance costs.

I saw this one extended warranty place online that say they will cover my car.

So I checked out a few advertisements for extended service warranty plans and most of them look okay. I’m not too sure. If I pay more than $1,200 per year for a extended warranty, and the deductible which can be up to $500, it seems pricey to me.

What do you think?


A: Here’s the bottom line on many of those extended coverage places: they are pricey and it’s a pretty good chance you will save money by not using them.

These extended warranties are underwritten by a company (third party) other than the manufacture. After hearing about consumers fighting to replace basic components while having to surmount ridiculous hurdles, like forcing the customer to forgo the automaker’s OEM parts, garages, or charging ridiculous deductibles for the problem, I remain dubious.

I always recommend talking to your brand’s dealership garage rep about automaker/manufacturer-backed warranties. Some automakers will offer plans that cover their vehicles. If it’s that important to you, at least use the automaker’s warranty as a starting point to finding coverage for your vehicle.

I highly recommend extended service plans that cover your vehicle’s basic maintenance requirements along with regular inspections.

Do your research and make sure the warranty you’re looking at is legitimate.

Next time, if you want a covered used car, get a factory CPO (Certified Pre-Owned) vehicle as their factory warranties are (usually) pretty cohesive.

Hope that helps!

Oh, and congrats on getting the Honda Accord!


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Nathan Adlen Bio Picture Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. His words, good humor and videos are enjoyed worldwide.