Pathfinder (QX4) , 4Runner, or Montero Sport


Greetings from Gator country - Gainesville, Fl.

I am in need of a 4x4 SUV for exploits in the Ocala National Forest. I had a 92 Pathfinder which has finally given up the ghost, and I need a replacement. I had considered a Jeep Wrangler, but I need more cargo capability - and reliability overall. I’ve got it narrowed down to the candidates in the title, but I need some honest opinions.

Pathfinder/QX4 - I did have a Pathfinder, and it performed admirably in the forest, but I know that the 98 and newer models are different - can they really do Jeep-like things? I’ve also heard not great things about the 2001 model ( engine difficulties ).

4Runner- everyone knows about Toyota quality - except I’ve read that older models blow head gaskets, and some have NHTSA recalls of the “THIS COULD KILL YOU” variety ( don’t see any on Pathfinder/QX4 )

Montero Sport - read a few good comments on its 4WD capability ( but unsure of reliability ).

Any one would be used ( budget of up to $15,000 ). It would be used on soft sand, mud, pitted roads, driving over fallen logs ( not too large ), wallows, and knocking over all kinds of underbrush. No rock climbing ( this is Florida, after all ) and not much in the way of serious inclines. Mostly Jeep trails.

I’ve got in mind to get the Pathfinder - I had one, know others who have them - but I’m just looking for further opinions ( want to make sure I get the right one ).

Any input appreciated!



Given your good luck with Nissan Pathfinder go back. They are good vehicles without the overrated when used Toyota name.


Get the same, especially if the prices are less.


I’ve owned 2 pathfinders since 1990. First one went OVER 300k miles…and my second which my daughter drives now has over 300k miles…Never put much money into either one of them beyond normal maintenance.

My current vehicle is a 4runner…Great vehicle. I find them both comperable. Buy which ever one you can get the better deal on. Either will be fine.

If you do a lot of off-road driving then get one with a full frame. 97 thru 2000 pathfinders were unibody. They went back to body on frame in 2001…BTW…Jeep still is unibody.