Originally Posted by andreasduess
To give you an example of arbitrary tow ratings, the Oddy has a tow rating of 3500lbs.
The Honda Pilot, which looks bigger and tougher, has a tow rating of 4500lbs.
The Honda Oddy and the Pilot share the same engine, the same transmission, the same brakes and numerous other parts. Yet there's a miraculous difference of 1000lbs in tow capability.
I'm not arguing the overall point that the ratings are often based on questionable criteria, but I think I can answer the Pilot/Odyssey discrepancy:
The front-wheel drive Pilot is rated at 3500#. The Odyssey, which (according to a quick check at cars.com) is front wheel drive, is also 3500#. The all-wheel drive Pilot is rated at 4500#.
I imagine that this issue is one of tongue weight: Increasing tongue weight on a front-wheel drive tow vehicle lifts weight off of the only powered axle. Presumably a 4x4 would handle somewhat better with a light front end, because its rear axle is also powered.
(I should also note that the manual for my Pilot says "don't use weight-distributing hitches." With a WD hitch, my logic wouldn't work, of course.)