SlowNB New Reader
9/13/19 7:50 p.m.

I’m starting to look around for something to replace my Mazda5 daily. Requirements are:

-Needs to have three rows - we have 4 kids and we foster, so we have had as many as 6 kids so far this year. My wife drives an Odyssey for people moving, but I end up doing plenty of carting kids around in my car as well.

-Needs to be able to tow at least 5,000 lbs - I plan on picking up a boat at some point in the next year. All of the ones I’m looking at are in the 3,000-3,500 lb range, so I figure that will end up around 5,000 sitting on a trailer filled with fluids. I have plenty of places to use it that doesn’t require driving on the highway (40 mph or less), so I don’t mind pushing the limit a little. I can always borrow a buddies truck if i need  to tow it longer distance.

-Needs to be under $10k

I was originally thinking Tahoe/Yukon, Sequoia, or potentially Pilot/MDX. When I was poking around Craig’s list yesterday I noticed that the third gen Pathfinders come with three rows (I thought they were only 2 like the previous gen). They have a 6,000 lb towing capacity, and they seem to be pretty reasonably priced. I have found multiple ones locally with less than 100k mikes on them for under $8k. Some as cheap as $6k with lower mileage.  

What are everyone’s opinions on these things? Are there any areas of concern to look out for?

Are there other contenders that fit the above criteria worth considering? I know a 4 runner would fit the bill as well, but they didn’t seem to make many with the jump seats in the back, and I don’t think I could bring myself to pay the Toyota tax that seems to come with those.

MrChaos Dork
9/13/19 8:01 p.m.

Same issues that the same year Frontier or Xterras have. Pre 2008 ones with autos have the possibility to have the radiator mix coolant and the tranny fluid killing the tranny, fuel level sensors, timing chain guides are plastic and likely need replacing by now. will get the same gas mileage as the full size suv's so there is no point.

Dootz Reader
9/14/19 12:36 a.m.

Difference being that it won't ride like a full-size

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
9/14/19 6:29 a.m.

I have no experience with Pathfinders but I do own a Gen3 (01-06) Mitsubishi Montero Limited (the full sizer.)  It is equipped with a 3rd row and has a tow rating of 5,000 pounds.  They can often be quite the bargain priced.   

Cons: slow with just V6 engine but thirsty with 15-ish mpg.  Third row seat is small and best for ages 5-12.   

Some recent GRM Chatter about Gen3 Montero

SlowNB New Reader
9/21/19 7:30 a.m.

Thanks for the feedback guys!

I did some googling on the whole tranny fluid mixing with coolant, that is an interesting one. It seems the easy fix for that is to re-route the line to not use the radiator and add a second external cooler to make up for the cooling capacity. Is replacing the timing guides really that hard of a job? (Significantly harder than a timing belt?)

I’d say the main point for considering one of these over a full size is cost... similar year and mileage seems to be about half the cost (say an '08 with 100k miles ~$6k vs. all over $10k). It will also fit in my garage better. This thing will be parked in a bay with a two post lift.

Thanks for the Montero suggestion. That does look like it would suit my needs, but they seem to be unicorns around here.

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