Just wanted to jump on and provide a quick update regarding my 2004 EX with DVD. I made a long post a 300,000 mile review
back in July of 2019 and just wanted to share my thoughts on van at 400,000 miles and how it compares in my opinion to three 2022 vehicles.
First, this van has been extremely reliable and I wouldn't hesitate taking it from Washington State to the east cost again. The advice on this forum has been an invaluable, from providing ideas for custom mods, to diagnostics to tip and tricks for performing routine maintenance. I honestly don't think the journey would have been as fun or easy without this place. Since the above mentioned post I have performed the following repairs:
(1) Rebuilt transmission (1st time)
(2) Rebuilt both heads when I replaced the rear head gasket (1st time)
(3) Radiator and radiator fan replaced (1st time)
(4) All new KYB struts and springs all the way around (2nd time since new)
(5) Front wheel bearings (2nd time since new) and ball joints (1st time)
We recently started looking at replacement vehicles for the van as we have gotten one child driving and our about to start teaching the second one with the plan to give them the van when they turn 16. My ideal vehicle is one; that will be reliable, is comfortable on those long trips, can hold 5 people with gear on occasion, is safe and is something rugged/capable enough that I can go off the beaten path in. We looked at a 2022 Subaru Ascent, 2022 Honda Passport and a 2022 Toyota 4runner. After conducting research online, visiting forums and watching youtube videos I had decided on the either the 4runner or the passport and I really wanted to like to the Passport due to it being a little more on road focus with the latest tech compared to the 4runner. However the 9speed transmission and the start and stop was really horrible, and My wife and I both thought the vans power train was smoother then the Passports, and neither of us liked the front seats, so it was out of the running pretty quickly.
Next on a whim we decided to drive Subaru Ascent Limited and boy was I surprised and impressed. Eyesight worked extremely well but all those flashing lights will end up setting off someones epilepsy. Every time it found or lost a car or lane marking to track, lights would go off and alerts would display on the dash and I found it very distracting, though I am sure I would get used to it. The powertrain was the smoothest and if felt like it had the most power even though the CVT is only mated to a 2.4L turbo. The ride was nice and compliant and the interior in that thing is huge and luxuries. The front seats were comfortable, though not as comfortable as the van or the 4runner. They had just sold a Touring trim, which has slightly different seats, due to ventilated front seats, so we only sat in it (with permission of the new owner). In that limited amount of time i would say the front seats in the touring are more comfortable than those found in the 4runners but we are waiting for a touring model to come in that we can drive before I can truly compare them. Lot's of tech and safety features and like all Subarus does well in crash test results. (2023 will have a 360 degree camera, panorama moonroof, and essentially tablet that everything is controlled from)
Next in stark contrast to the Subaru we drove a 4runner in the TRD Off Road Premium ritm with KDSS. Though the age of this vehicle is clearly showing the seats were more comfortable then the other two vehicles and the powertrain was very smooth. It doesn't have dedicated air to the second row or even automatic climate control but I do like all the physical buttons, knobs and switches. My kids joked that it looked like an airplane or space ship cockpit. The 4runner also scored well in crash test results with only one score falling below good (small frontal offset). It doesn't have all the latest safety features such as lane keep assist but there is a lot less to go wrong. I liked the cabin but it will take some getting use to and the 2 teens and their younger sibling aren't excited about the prospect of having to sit next to each other in the second row if this is what we end up getting.
We did put a refundable deposit down on the 4runner, as they are 7-18 months out, and will wait for the 2023 Subaru Ascent to hit the lots before making a final decision since a new Ascent only takes 3 months to get.
Ratings for Power Train (Best to worse)
Smoothness: Ascent, 4runner, Ody, Passport
Power: Ody, Ascent, 4runner, Passport (likely due to the 9speed)
Ride, Comfort and connivence:
Front Seats: Ody, 4runner, Ascent, Passport
Second Row Seats (ranked by kids): Passport, Ascent 4runner, Ody
Second Row Seats (ranked by parents: Ascent, Ody, Passport, 4runner
Ride Quality: Ody, Ascent, 4runner, Passport
Handling: Passport,Ascent, Ody, 4runner
Interior Features: Ascent, Ody, 4runner, Passport
Infotainment: Ascent, Passport, 4runner, Ody
Active: Ascent, Passport, 4runner, Ody
Passive: Ascent, Passport, 4runner, Ody
Overall Ranking: Ascent/4runner (depends on if I put more emphasis on traveling with the kids or exploring more off road and reliability), ody, passport.
What I learned from test driving these vehicles is how well and how much thought Honda put into these vans. At 18 years old with 400K miles it still rides and handles great (If I replaced more of the front and rear suspension I'm sure it would handle even better) and is still extremely comfortable and versatile. The van has more passenger and cargo space, than any of the new ones I looked at, and the ease of entrance and exit combined with the interior layout jut can't be beat. The 3.5L in the van seemed to bo provide just a little bit more get up and go both from a stand still and from 40-75 mph.
At the end of the day I don't think the Subaru will make it to 300K miles, not without needing considerably more repairs at any rate. 4runners in general are capable of hitting 300/400K miles though that would come at the expense of gas mileage and some on road comfort.