Which car to buy-Nissan Xterra offroad, Toyota 4-runner, Honda Pilot

We moved from Massachusetts to Tucson AZ where every other road is dirt with holes. Which is the best buy for a car for combined work commute (24mi ea way) and to go on the dirt roads and not get stuck or bottom out

We keep cars–8 to 13 years, so we are looking for long term best buy

Would appreciate your input

Any of those will be fine. I prefer a true 4wd for any off roading though. The Pilot is AWD…both the Xterra and 4runner are true 4wd systems. All 3 of these vehicles are EXCELLENT long term vehicles. The Xterra is the cheapest of the 3 and probably the most capable to do off-roading.

Of the three Nissan is the lowest quality. The Xterra does not have a high enough safety rating either and it will not last the 8-13 years you want based on poor construction and cheap compononents. The 4-runner will be the most rugged. The Pilot with give you the highest saftey rating, best ride and epa rating, but it is not a rugged vehicle.

Dont try to cross our washes when they are running.Monsoon season is here and every year people try to cross and get stuck.Even the SUV 4WD group get stuck.Hope you come to love the desert like many here have.

I’m not really crazy about any of those choices. If you’re just dealing with a nasty dirt road, you don’t need a full-blown four-by-four, just something that’s a little higher off the ground than a regular car. Something along the lines of a CRV or a Rav4 or an Outback would probably work just fine. I’d even say you’re fine with a 2wd model, but a desert dirt road might get a little treacherous in the rain and the peace of mind might be worth the lessened gas mileage that comes with AWD.

If you plan to do any serious off-road exploring or if your road is in extremely bad disrepair, you might need a serious 4 wheel drive vehicle. Personally, I don’t like any of the 4 wheel drive SUV’s they sell nowadays-- all the frugal compact pickup-based four wheel drive SUV’s they sold in the 80’s & 90’s are either gone or have turned into big luxury cars. The closest thing to an old fashioned 4wd you can buy these days is a four-door pickup truck. I’m partial to the four-door Toyota Tacoma, which has about as much room as an old 4runner and I believe you can still get one with a 4-cylinder engine. I also know a lot of people out here in MT who like the Ford Explorer Sport Trac, which is a smaller SUV with a small cargo bed in the back.

If resale value means anything to you, the 4Runner is the only choice. It is everything you could want in a 4x4 of that size too.

My vote is with the Toyota 4Runner. We have a 2003 V-6 and are very satisfied. The mileage runs from 22-24 on the highway and about 16 around town. It is built on a truck chassis which makes it quite rugged. It can be run in 2 wheel drive or be run in 4 wheel drive all the time. There is also a 4 wheeel drive low range and, if necessary, the differentials can be locked if one is really stuck. As I understand it, the 4Runner V-8 has permanent 4 wheel drive.