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OP, sorry we hi-jacked your thread. There are many changes to the 2020 Sport trim besides the 9 speed transmission including Display Audio with carplay/android auto, power locking tailgate and wider opening rear doors. Though the RTL-E was a good deal, it was outside of my budget. If a 2020 Sport had been available for $4K-$5K more than the 2019, I think I would have been really tempted to buy the 2020. Thankfully, I didn鈥檛 have that choice馃榾. $10K off MSRP and 0.9% financing for up to 6yrs is a once in a lifetime deal on a Honda.
 

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I specifically wanted the 2019 model. The 6 speed transmission is a known entity. Better the devil you know than the one you don't. The 9-speed has only been out one model year in the Pilot and Passport and the first year in the Ridgeline. Yes, it's made by ZF and is used in many other cars, specifically FCA products where it has experienced less than glowing reviews. Now, I'm sure Honda has got the bugs worked out with ZF, but the kicker for me is that I'm a DIY mechanic. I enjoy doing maintenance on my vehicles and I like the ease of maintenance on the 6-speed. Even if it is more frequent, it costs less.

I am planning on trying to keep this vehicle a long time. My goal is to daily drive it until it is paid off (5 or 6 years at the most...I pay vehicles off early as a rule), then keep it for occasions when I need a truck, maybe driving it once in awhile to keep it running good and keep fresh gas in it. Because of that, I did NOT want the following features:
  1. Touch screen display
  2. Auto stop/start
  3. Any of the safety nannies
  4. Sunroof
  5. Leather interior
All of those items I ether don't use, don't want to use, or would be wear items I'd have to deal with down the road. I wanted as basic as I could get and still have AWD. So the Sport to me was perfect. I love having a volume AND a tune knob. Wow!! I love that there aren't fingerprints all over my screen. I use a ProClip iPhone mount for my phone and it serves as my infotainment and GPS and I get a new one every two years versus being stuck with something I can never change or upgrade.

Maybe I'm becoming a Luddite when it comes to cars because when I see all those bells and whistles all I can think of is, "how much will that cost to fix when it breaks". Now, if you are going to drive the thing 3 or 4 years and trade it, get the most fancy one you can buy, but I am looking for this to eventually become my "work truck" that I use only when needed. A friend of mine has a 20 year old F-150 under a cover in his driveway he does the same thing with. It has 150,000 miles on it, runs and drives great. When he needs to tow our haul something, he fires it up. He carries liability only insurance on it, and changes the oil about once a year since he only puts about 2000 miles a year on it. He says he will have the truck until he dies.
 

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Wow, lots of topics in this thread.

You don鈥檛 downshift while braking to save your brakes, you do it to be in the correct gear to accelerate again. The clutch is going in when you braking towards a stop anyway, the transmission doesn鈥檛 care (within reason) whether you are engaging the same gear or a different one, especially if you are rev matching, and some modern manuals do it for you. (BTW I鈥檓 not talking about the dipsticks that dump from 5th to 2nd to slow down at every stop sign without rev matching - that probably does cause more than average wear.)

I would take a Honda manual over a Honda automatic any day of the week. I have had 9 Hondas, 5 manuals and 4 automatics.

The manual transmissions never had one problem, even the cars I beat the hell out of (Civic / Integra / RSX) and were all taken way past 100k miles. Even modded cars pushing far more HP/TQ will usually break half-shafts or rear diff (S2000) long before the transmission fails. There are current gen Civic Sis running 10 second 1/4 miles on drag tires and upgraded clutches on mostly stock transmissions .The only modern Honda manual that I have heard a widespread problem with is the 2nd gear grind on some Type-R civics.

My 98 and 02 Accords with the 4AT, my 07 TL with the 5AT and the Ridgeline 6AT were all in the service dept for transmission issues, slipping/chattering torque converters, pressure switches, TSBs. The 98 Accord and 07 TL both made it to ~ 110k miles before I traded them after being told I was heading for an expensive out of warranty transmission replacement. If they were manuals I鈥檇 likely still be driving the TL.

Even given my issues with Honda automatics, there is no way I would ever buy one with a ZF9. If you want the additional features of a 2020 RL, or a Pilot Elite you are stuck with the it. But I have a feeling Honda / Jeep and others are still using these things because the majority of customers think more gears = better and they aren鈥檛 knowledgeable enough to google 鈥榋F9 problems鈥

If manufacturers are still 鈥榳orking out the software鈥 7 years after the ZF9 has been on the road, the problem isn鈥檛 the software, it is in the inherent goofiness of the hardware design. There is no payoff to dealing with it - it was designed to fudge EPA / EU MPG numbers and there is virtually no advantage performance or MPG wise in the real world (See comparison tests between a Pilot with the 6AT and one with a ZF9).

I remember reading a review of a Jeep that said it could only manage to get to 9th gear going down a steep grade on the highway over 75mph, because any other time engine power or aerodynamic drag prevented 9th from being useable. Add to that primarily starting out in 2nd and you end up with an unnecessarily complicated 7 speed most of the time.

There IS a benefit to having paddle shift on the 2020 RL. But there is no technical reason the 2017-19 couldn鈥檛 have had one. Every iteration of Honda 4AT, 5AT, and 6AT were released on Acura products with a 鈥榮port-shift鈥 / 鈥榮equential mode鈥.
 

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Is there evidence that Honda has re-engineered all of these parts for the 9sp? Is there enough built in over-engineering of all these parts to handle habitual downshifting?
Is there evidence that the 9 speed was not engineered from the start and not needing to be "re-engineered"?
 

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I would take a Honda manual over a Honda automatic any day of the week. I have had 9 Hondas, 5 manuals and 4 automatics.
I really enjoyed the 6M in my 2017 Civic Si, but I enjoy the 6M in my 2019 Miata more - I prefer the direct feel due to the lack of shift cables.

There IS a benefit to having paddle shift on the 2020 RL. But there is no technical reason the 2017-19 couldn鈥檛 have had one. Every iteration of Honda 4AT, 5AT, and 6AT were released on Acura products with a 鈥榮port-shift鈥 / 鈥榮equential mode鈥.
Don't forget the 9th gen Accord which had paddle shifters with the 3.5L/6AT!
 

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I really enjoyed the 6M in my 2017 Civic Si, but I enjoy the 6M in my 2019 Miata more - I prefer the direct feel due to the lack of shift cables.
One of the reasons I will keep my '03 S2000 forever. Although my only real complaint with my 2013 Accord and the '17/'18 Civic Sis that I have driven is the rev-hang (which I understand can be eliminated with K-tuner or Hondata) . After the CV stuff is over and we get back to reasonable normal I may jump on a used Si.

Don't forget the 9th gen Accord which had paddle shifters with the 3.5L/6AT!
True! And don't forget the paddle shifters on the CVT with no gears lol.
 

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Is there evidence that the 9 speed was not engineered from the start and not needing to be "re-engineered"?
Please reread what I said . . . It only makes sense that I was NOT talking about the transmission but all the other drive train parts that are the same between the 6at Ridges and ZF9 ones.
 

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Member @TieHand9 owned '07, '12, '17, and, '20 Ridgelines and has some real-world experience comparing the 6-speed to 9-speed in this post and thread.

 
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