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Toyota 4Runner vs. Nissan Pathfinder

It's time to lease a new SUV, after an exhaustive search, it's down to the Pathfinder and the 4-Runner.

Pathfinder LE with Nav
4-Runner Limited V8 with no Nav

Lease numbers are within $25/month of each other.

I really could care less about long term durability, it's gone after 36-48 months

Any input on the way to go?


  • How funny. Just got out of a 2004 4Runner V-8 Sport Edition. I purchased a 2007 Pathfinder SE with Comfort, Premium and DVD packages.

    Here's why I chose the Pathy over getting another 4Runner: Ride, Noise, and Horsepower is all comparable. Pathy V6 vs. Toyo V8- While towing numbers are a plus for the Toyota, 7300 lbs, while the Pathy is 6000, I think MPG is the better compromise. How often do you tow? I got a 22 ft ski boat and I take it out 6 times a year. 6000 is respectable while still 1000 more than a Toyo V6. Getting 4 MPG more(Pathy V6 vs. Toyo V8) is a good trade off. Seating: You get 7 seats standard, optional in the Toyo. And saying "you can only fit children in the 3rd row" applies to both vehicles and most SUVs in the midsize class. Driver Position: In the Toyo you sit in a very low-to-the-floor seat. The Pathy is more of a chair, where your legs are closer to vertical rather than horizontally streached out. Controls: I never really liked the Toyo's set up for HVAC control. I don't have Navi on my Pathy, so I'm not sure if the controls are melded into that system or not. Cargo Space: The Pathy is better in this respect.

    The Toyo does have better 2nd row sholder room. But I'm never back there, so what do I care, right? Lol. I'm not sure if you're getting any premium sound with the 4Runner, but the BOSE in my Pathy is KILLER. I sat in the back with my daughter the other day in a mall parking lot watching a DVD while the Mrs. was shopping, and I couldn't believe how good the sound was. It gives my home setup a run for the money.

    All things considered, I feel I made a great choice and love the styling. The engine is super torquey and gets great mileage while being able to tow a decent load.
  • Follow up on the 4-Runner VS. Pathfinder.

    Went to the local Toyota dealership on Saturday. I had already called several stores and they ALL were very difficult to deal with. Upon our arrival, the salesperson I was e-mailing was tied up, so they sent over another rep.
    He was the ultimate in "cheesy" salesman. After 2 hours of pulling teeth, we sat down to run some numbers. Before they would quote me, they insisted in a credit app being filled out. I informed him of our credit score, and told him that we would not buy that day. We were only going to compare the price of the Toyota vs. the Nissan. He went to "check with the manager" if he could even quote us a price! After waiting around for 30 minutes, we got up, walked out, and drove to the Nissan dealership and bought the Pathfinder.

    Funny thing is, we liked the 4-runner a little more, and may have went with it, if it wasn't for the dealership experience.
  • They're slightly different animals.

    I have been looking at this extensively for weeks -

    The V8 toyota to v6 pathfinder is closer to apples to oranges than apples to apples.

    two major differences between the two is the wheelbase and inrerior layout with the all the seats down.

    The pathfinder has a 4+ inch longer wheelbase than the 4runner.

    To me, that has got to be a noticeable difference in ride, and also in less rollover potential

    In terms of cargo - with all seats folded down - the pathfinder length of cargo area is a full 7+ inches longer - I say plus+ because the tailgate is rounded and bulges another inch longer in the center to give you 8" - I actually measured this on both vehicles

    If you compare the 4.0 liter path, to 4.0 liter toy - the pathfinder comes far out better, IMHO.

    What I did, was go to a local Carmax for weeks, and kept driving and trying them, along with comparing specs - I also wanted to see what they felt like with around 30K on them.

    The Toyota is a tighter, more solidly built, more solid feel and quieter engine - plus has better resale.

    The Pathfinders (compared 4 liter to 4 liter) are more powerful, better braking, more towing, more hauling -

    the pathfinder is a slightly larger vehicle - the pathfinder is closer to being a small suburban than 4runner is -

    As an old fart that has put many, many road miles on his life - if you're on the road much, those 4 inches of wheelbase are going to mean more than most people realize.

    While I just made a deal for a used pathfinder with everything on it but the leather package - I didn't really compare amenities - I am interested in performance, towing, size, wheelbase -

    None of this may matter to you, but these were considerbably important differences to me.

    Last but not least, one other thing I noticed that is also a common user complaint - pathfinder is somewhat noisy under hard acceleration - On the other hand, hard accelaration was surprising - that thing will fly and get up there quickly - I wasn't expecting the very quick way one of the 4 liter pathfinders will move out -

    Whle the two are similar - the mechnical and technical differences are pretty noticeble to me

    Hope this helps
  • Thanks for the research!
    I also noticed the louder acceleration from the Nissan, but it wasn't a deal breaker. I really liked the seating height better, and the overall dealership experience is what sold it.
    As far as resale, and holding up after 5 years, I could care less if the doors fall off the day after the lease it up!
  • for clarity and to correct an error in my previous post -

    Pathfinder is 2+ inches longer wheel base than 4 runner - got that confused with another vehicle I was looking at

    actual specs are

    Wheelbase109.8 track Track
    (Front)62.0Track (Rear)62.0
    OA Width75.2

    Wheelbase112.2 Track (Front)61.8Track (Rear)61.8
    OA Width72.8

    Making the pathfinder 2.4 inches longer, with a slightly narrower width and track
  • 50k50k Posts: 10

    I am in the same boat. I have a 4Runner coming off lease and Toyota has the stereotypical sales force waiting to pounce on uneducated customers. (I suggest you read "I became a carsalesman for 6mo.")
    I am between Pathfinder and Landrover LR3. I have discounted Toyota as the price is not with the value. I think you get better value with Pathfinder, more options for the dollar and equal quality. I do not like the third row seat on 4Runner as Nissan has a workable third seat.
    I know Nissan's sales numbers are down and hope to get a great lease deal. Here the Nissan stores are easier to deal with.

    As for the LR3, the jury is out on the build quality.
    How is your Pathfinder for wind noise on the freeway?
    Is the motor noisy at xway speeds as on acceleration?

  • Just put 200 miles freeway on a used 2006 pathfinder that I picked up.

    Freeway noise not a problem, but my previous vehicle was bad, so may not be a good reference. Was a lot easier for me to talk to my wife

    The "annoying noise" that they are known for is mainly under hard acceleration, not that bad, it just takes a little getting used to. Actually, since I have been prone to speeding tickets in the past, I'm thinking it may not be a bad thing.

    I drove a bunch of cars at CARMAX, trying to determine what I wanted, with cars that had some miles on them.

    One possibly underated area is the Pathfinders brakes - they seem to have the "drive by wire" thing down pat. The pedal feel is perfect during hard panic stops (which I did in everything I drove) - you can easily and quickly take it right to the edge of losing traction and keep it there for a short quick stop.

    Harder to try to write about than it is to do _grin_

    I used to work for a dealer, cars are pretty "generic" tools to me. So, I was pleasantly surpised at the ergonomics, handling, ride, gauges, instrument panel. All in all, pretty well done.

    I bought a 4wheel drive - the ride is a little stiff - but hey, if it wasn't, it wouldn't do well in 4 wheel situations.

    In all honesty - a 4Runner feels tighter and better to me at first. However, the pathfinder feels and acts really good, and compares quite favorably with some miles.

    PS - if I was disappointed, I would say that too!
  • Hi All...

    Thanks for all your informative posts! I've always wanted a 4runner for over 10 years now, but am kind of disappointed in the current body style the last couple years. I am now in the market to buy a brand new SUV probably in June or July once I move back to San Diego from Hawaii. I am now open to a Pathfinder since it's comparable in price...but am also liking the Toy Sequoia and Nis Armada but are more expensive and worse on MPG. I'm afraid that if I buy that Toyota will come out with the new 4Runner...anyone know anything about a new 4Runner coming out anytime soon?
  • redline6redline6 Posts: 2
    yes there plastic,do they make medal ones?
  • jimmy2xjimmy2x Posts: 124
    According to what I saw in writing today at the local Toyota dealer, 4-Runner is not on the list for any major revision at least thru 2009.
  • skisoonskisoon Posts: 4
    I have had seven Pathfinders, in a row, and switched this year for a Toy. A couple of factors: (1) In my region of the country (SW), for the month of March, Toy had a money factor of less than 1% for a three year lease with a 50+% residual. Given the fact that some folks think one is better than the other (and for '07 I believe the Toy is better) DO THE MATH! Path was over 5%.... I've learned in leasing, don't fall in love with any brand. Try to be objective and DO THE MATH!! :)
  • skisoonskisoon Posts: 4
    Hope that's correct I just bought a '07....However, I was "told" different.
  • steevosteevo Posts: 383
    Pathfinder MF=.00084 or 2.02% .
    4Runner MF=00181 or 4.34%.
    March was almost the same.
  • skisoonskisoon Posts: 4
    Not in the SW region Feb and March. The MF for the 4 Runner was.00041, less than 1% (one additional decimal point!). Can't remember the Pathfinder, since I didn't lease it. It was at 5%. The 4 Runner MF went off the last day of March.
  • Decisions, Decisions. I'm currently driving a Toy Seq. I had a GMC Jimmy and at the time I traded I needed/wanted something bigger. Wanted a Tahoe, but after driving one, it didn't compare to the Seq. Now 4 years later, I don't need the extra room, I feel like I'm driving a TANK, not to mention the 17 MPG. I drove a 4Runner and was not at all impressed. I've driven the Pathfinder twice now and I really like it and it even has more bells and whistles than the Seq I have. I had my SO to go drive the Pathfinder. He says the Seq is a better quality vehicle. (But he doesn't drive it everyday). He test drove a Murano and really liked it. He's thinking of getting one to replace his Toy Thundra (265,000) miles. He wants me to test drive the Murano. I was surprised it has as much room as it does. Been reading the reviews and everyone who has one seems to love it and it gets decent gas milage.

    Anybody got any advice/words of wisdom? :confuse: What kind of gas milage are you all getting with the Pathfinder?
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Nissan Pathfinder Real World MPG has the information you're looking for. While you're there, don't forget to report your mileage as well. :)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • skisoonskisoon Posts: 4
    I just got back from a 400 mile boat moving challenge. The challenge was mine! I have not pulled a trailer or a boat in 25 years and then only a few times. After having read some of the reviews (here) on the 4 Runner, I was about to back out of taking my new 2007, 4 Runner Sport, V8. I pulled a 4800lb, + gas, etc, 23' Sea Ray, from Arkansas to Oklahoma. It was the most effortless, easy riding, no problem trip you can imagine. If I hadn't known I was pulling a 5000lb.+ load, I wouldn't have known there was a trailer behind me.
    As it was, I drove between 60-70 MPH and had to be careful not to go faster! Not a bit of sway!!
    Whoever said the shorter wheelbase made a difference, must have been driving a replication of a 4 was GREAT experience!!
  • spaceman210spaceman210 Posts: 50
    Does the Path. have a better or worse ride than the 4Runner, or about the same?
  • jpp5862jpp5862 DenverPosts: 1,093
    I had a 2002 Pathfinder and now have a 2006 4Runner SR5 V6. I think the Pathfinder had a better ride, it was more car like. I definitely notice more bumps in the 4Runner, it just has a rougher ride.

    To add to the other comments in the topic, I liked the Pathfinder better. The 4Runner is a fine vehicle and I haven't had any problems out of it, but I liked the way the Pathfinder drove and rode better. I do think the 4Runner is probably a little better quality, I had a few problems out of the Pathfinder, but I still liked it better and wish I still had it. My lease is up in about 20 months, I'll probably go back to a Pathfinder at that time.
  • ambarbambarb Posts: 1
    I have had 3 4Runners (97, 99, 04) and a Landcruiser (97) before my new 07 Pathfinder LE. I have to agree with jpp5862 in that while I think the 4Runner might have slightly better quality, I simply like the Pathfinder better.

    The 4Runner has smoother engine/transmission and I think a better suspension, particularly with X-REAS. However, it is still somehow not very satisfying to drive. It can be nervous on the highway and very susceptible to high winds. The Pathfinder's steering feels less precise, but you can drive with one finger even in windy conditions. The 4Runner feels faster, but the Pathfinder is actually faster.

    One other thing to note: these cars are within inches of external dimensions, but the interior of the 4Runner feels like a cockpit while the interior of the Pathfinder is more like a Lazy-Boy chair. The 4Runner feels and drives smaller than it is, while the Pathfinder feels bigger than it really is. Go figure.

    In the end, choose your favorite. I'm happy with the Pathfinder.
  • rentschlrentschl Posts: 69
    So now that Nissan is adding their 5.6L, 310 HP V8 as an option for the Pathfinder I wonder if Toyota will try and crap their 5.7L, 381 HP engine into the 4Runner.

    Does anyone have any information on this?

    I'm still wondering why Toyota's 4.7L engine isn't more powerful. Doing the math, if they can get 381 HP out of their 5.7L, they should be able to get about 314 HP out of their 4.7L.

    Any comments?
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    1) Torque is more important that horsepower for an SUV.

    2) My 2003 4Runner V8 has "only" 235 hp and still does 0-60 in about 7.5 seconds. How much faster do you have to go in an SUV?
  • rentschlrentschl Posts: 69
    For me there's no such thing as too much power.

    The problem I run into is with vehicles in front of me in narrow canyons that have very limited passing sections. Many drivers will go very slowly for the entire time you can't pass, only to speed up on the very limited passing sections.

    More power/torque means more safety margin in a wider range of passing scenarios.

    I've got the '03 V8 as well but I'm looking for sub 7 second 0-60.
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    I'd much rather have a significant improvement in fuel economy (e.g., a 3-4 liter turbo diesel) than a heavier, thirstier engine. YMMV.
  • sphisssphiss Posts: 7
    I am currently a Pathfinder owner, but I also rented a Murano during a week-long vacation in New England and was very impressed with it. My recommendation would be that if you don't need the towing capacity, 7-passenger seating or off-road capability of the Pathfinder, then the Murano will give you a better ride due to the car chassis it sits on.

    My wife and I are both tall and were a bit cramped when we test-drove a 4Runner. The upright seating position in the Pathfinder was much more satisfying to us.

    Presumably you've already made your purchasing decision since a few months have gone by, but hopefully this posting will be of use to future buyers.
  • sphisssphiss Posts: 7
    You've probably already made your purchase decision, but let me get the word out to others: AVOID THE ARMADA!!! We are just turning ours in after a 39-mos. lease (2004 model) and the lease end could not come soon enough.

    Four major problems. The first is pretty obvious - poor fuel mileage and $75 to fill up. Ouch!

    The second is build quality/body integrity. Squeaks and rattles galore, especially from the dash.

    Third: really poor ergonomics. The door handle hits me in the leg and leaves a crease. The front passenger seat leans slightly forward and forces you to plant your feet into the floorboard to stay seated. Lots of hard plastic in the cabin. Steering wheel controls not lit at night.

    Fourth: powertrain hunts for gears while towing. Holds gears too long and refuses to upshift when prompted to do so.

    Perhaps some of these problems have been corrected since the 2004 model, but Consumer Reports doesn't seem to think so.
  • I just bought a 2007 Pathfinder 4x2 LE last week with 50 miles on it, and took a trip and discovered something that is really making me dissatisfied with the Pathfinder. When you are driving at about 70 mph and hit a small bump on the highway the steering wheel shimmys or vibrates to the right and left. Stiff ride and could feel the bumps also. Gas mileage was also not what is advertised at this speed. Has anyone noticed or had their steering wheel vibrate from left or right like this on a new pathfinder when you hit a bump at this speed?
  • aggie10aggie10 Posts: 17
    Please help! I currently drive a Suburban, but I'm interested in changing to a 4Runner or a Pathfinder. My wife and I have 3 sons. We don't travel a lot, but we need some extra space for when we do travel (or get groceries), etc... The MPG is important, but not a deal killer. I just don't like the Suburban being so big (but the Tahoe only has a small amount of room in the back). Please give me your opinion. It seems like this might be the best time to buy a 2007, so I don't want to wait too long. Thanks.
  • I would look at something else if you are getting a LE price range vehicle. I like the room of the Pathfinder, but the ride is not good. I still have not found out anything on my shimmy in my steering wheel when I hit a bump. The gas is not what it should be for that size engine either. If you get one, be sure to have them knock of $5000 right off the sticker on a 2007. Not including the rebate. If they won't don't buy it.
This discussion has been closed.