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Discussion Starter #1
I know there is lots of Honda vehicle towing experience here, which is why I ask the question. I tow my 4500lb car trailer with the rl fairly regularly. It does a decent job. So I may need to get into a 7 passenger suv soon. I would like to stick with Honda. The options are a 2007+ MDX or a 2009+ Pilot. I like the pilot better, but it has the lowest tow rating. Why? I get the MDX has the 3.7l which may bump the rating, but then why does the rl have a higher rating then the Pilot?
 

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My guess is the MDX has larger brake pad thus allowing for more towing weight.

I suspect that the Ridgeline, Pilot, and MDX could tow well over 6000 lbs but for safety sake is reduced to what the vehicle can stop from 60 MPH in the required feet at max weight without a brake controller.

Years ago the UNC traffic institute would attach a trailer with 2000 to 8000 lbs in 500 lb increments to a vehicle and see how far it took to stop it from 60MPH and any distance over 350ft was over weight to their test. I remember that the Bronco was rated at 5000 lbs and the institute said 2500 was max, Ford claimed that the Bronco stopped the 5000 lbs without any issue (other than the 550 ft it needed.) Ford repeated the test with much larger footprint tires (not OEM factory offered) and stopped it at 378 ft.

the 1950's towing rate was what a vehicle could get to 65 mph in 45 seconds. not very safe but when engines were 50 to 150 HP that was what you did. Stopping was another story with drum brakes and water.

Joe probably can tell you what the test that Honda/Acura uses to give their towing number. Not every manufacturer rates towing the same way.
 

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Part of it I suspect is due to the cabin's ability to hold more people and "stuff" and thus more weight which would reduce the towing capacity. They are trying to accommodate a bunch of different possibilities and they know the average Joe wont necessarily follow the rating suggestions.

I have towed a bunch of different things with the RL. I can say without reservation that I would MUCH rather tow a 6000lb dual axle trailer with brakes than a 2500lb single axle boat trailer without brakes. The 6000 dual was smoother and way easier to control and stop. Following only the MFR ratings, I could not tow the 6000 even though it was actually safer.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That's a good point about interior capacity. I didn't think of that. I know the Pilot calipers are larger than the RL. At least in the front. Maybe the short wheel base of the Pilot lowers the rating compared to the RL? Then the ability to add more power to the back wheels bumps up the MDX?
 
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