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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm shopping for a used SUV around $22K for my wife to tote two kiddos every day and for me to "borrow" to tow a Waverunner or two. We're 6'3" and 5'11" and we expect that our kids will be in the 6' range one day. So I've been looking closely at the back seats where the kids will need to "live" every day.

I was shocked to learn that the '11-'12 Pathfinder had 34.2" of rear legroom compared to the 34.4" on the Xterra. When I checked them out in person, the Path 2nd row looked like it had jump seats, ready to be folded for 3rd row access or tumbled for a flat floor. Uh, what about just carrying four normal sized adults? I thought that would be a slam dunk in a vehicle this size?!? X was better, which I believe is because they didn't have to compromise in order to squeeze in the silly 3rd row. X also as 1.9% APR on new units. I test drove one and it was really nice...chirped tires without even trying :)

Or do I just forget Nissan and get a 4Runner (34.6"). Did they really chop down the seat on the MY11 to 32.9"? Was useability retained or diminished? Explorer has 36.9" and the limo-like Pilot with 38.5" of rear seat room? I'll need the AWD version of the Pilot, because FWD is no good on slippery boat ramps.

Thanks in advance for the advice!
 

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Avoid the Xterra then Rear seat room is tiny and the headroom is lacking (with the seat up high) in the front. The Pilot and 4 Runner are much larger and can tow waverunners. You didnt mention off roading so thos pilot and 4 runner would be fine
 

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The rear seats aren't very big on the Xterra. The short wheelbase also makes it so you're basically climbing over the rear wheels to get in. It's not really an adult-friendly backseat everyday but it works time to time. If the backseat is the main priority, try it out yourself and have the salesman drive you around to see how comfortable you are.

Is there a reason you are needing to stick with a body on frame SUV? If you aren't towing a full size boat or RV, there's no reason a unibody SUV won't tow a couple wave runners. My father has an 09 highlander and the backseats are HUGE and he tows smaller stuff just fine. Much better mileage too. Not trying to steer you away from the Xterra because I love mine and the truck feel but I wouldn't consider it a family vehicle myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Great honest and rational replies, guys...thanks!

I did consider the FWD crossovers...I'd consider the Pilot to be one. My issue with those is that I'm not wild about FWD on a boat ramp. A Highlander would be great, but hitches are rare, and the ones I've seen are mostly aftermarket Draw-Tite, which means no factory tow package (if even available?) with "truck" goodies like oil and trans coolers. I've never seen a hitch on a Chevy Traverse...at all.

Yes, don't care about off-roading, unless it's on a dirt bike...another tow requirement :)
 

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The Pilot has an AWD system available. Hitches are available for Traverse- http://www.etrailer.com/hitch-2011_Chevrolet_Traverse.htm
Traverses are actually nice- my dad bought one and it is nicer than I expected for a GM product who I normally do not like



Great honest and rational replies, guys...thanks!

I did consider the FWD crossovers...I'd consider the Pilot to be one. My issue with those is that I'm not wild about FWD on a boat ramp. A Highlander would be great, but hitches are rare, and the ones I've seen are mostly aftermarket Draw-Tite, which means no factory tow package (if even available?) with "truck" goodies like oil and trans coolers. I've never seen a hitch on a Chevy Traverse...at all.

Yes, don't care about off-roading, unless it's on a dirt bike...another tow requirement :)
 

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I believe the Highlander comes AWD and they do have a factory hitch you can install afterwards if you don't get a tow package but it's pricey... like anything OEM Toyota. My father has an aftermarket hitch he installed himself that I thought was curt but I could be wrong. The paint on the hitch was not very good and is showing rust spots after 2 years in the salt belt (Syracuse). Other than that, no problems. The 4Runner is very nice but I didn't realize the rear seats had less room than the X, that's really surprising.

I don't think you'd have any problems towing with something FWD unless you're pulling something very heavy out of the water. We pulled a 20' boat and trailer out of the water on an unimproved ramp with a FWD Honda minivan once...

But if you really dig the X and it's what you want I don't think it'll disappoint you. You could always trade up to something larger when your kids need more legroom.
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I had a 6' 2" friend in the back of my X, he seemed to think it was okay. He slouches a bit, though, come to think of it. I'm 6 even, and find the front perfectly fine. I think the Xterra back is a little better for passengers than it looks on paper because of the "stadium" seating, it's higher up than the front seat, so leg room is a little better.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I believe the Highlander comes AWD and they do have a factory hitch you can install...The 4Runner is very nice but I didn't realize the rear seats had less room than the X, that's really surprising.
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Right. But even of you get the factory accessory for the Highlander, you still don't get an oil and trans cooler (just like a Camry). But maybe if you keep the trailer under 3,500 it won't matter?

To clarify, (on paper) the current '11 up 4Runner has less rear seat room than the previous '03-'10 4Runner and the current Xterra. There may be a recline option that helps, but...

so wait, do you have an xterra and you're looking for a different suv? or you are just on here asking about the xterra as an option?
No SUV of any kind now. Xterra is in the mix for consideration.

I had a 6' 2" friend in the back of my X, he seemed to think it was okay. He slouches a bit, though, come to think of it. I'm 6 even, and find the front perfectly fine. I think the Xterra back is a little better for passengers than it looks on paper because of the "stadium" seating, it's higher up than the front seat, so leg room is a little better.
I think the stadium seating is more of what makes the difference over the Pathfinder than the 1/4" (on paper) extra depth.
 

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Sit in the front and adjust seat then seat behind. That is what I do. Honestly if I were you I wouldnt consider the Xterrs. The MPG isnt great and the rear suspension kind of sucks unless you spend money on it. There is not a lot of storage behind rear seat. You will get more for your money in another vehicle. For your usage an AWD or 4wd Crossover would be roomier, drive better and still tow what you want to. The rear seat hip room is 10 inches wider in the 4 runner. Give up an inch of legroom and get 10 inches wider. There is also more headroom in the front of the 4 runner. I'm 5/11 and with the seat at max height I cant wear a hat in the X. Really irks me.




Right. But even of you get the factory accessory for the Highlander, you still don't get an oil and trans cooler (just like a Camry). But maybe if you keep the trailer under 3,500 it won't matter?

To clarify, (on paper) the current '11 up 4Runner has less rear seat room than the previous '03-'10 4Runner and the current Xterra. There may be a recline option that helps, but...



No SUV of any kind now. Xterra is in the mix for consideration.



I think the stadium seating is more of what makes the difference over the Pathfinder than the 1/4" (on paper) extra depth.
 

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Sit in the front and adjust seat then seat behind. That is what I do. Honestly if I were you I wouldnt consider the Xterrs. The MPG isnt great and the rear suspension kind of sucks unless you spend money on it. There is not a lot of storage behind rear seat. You will get more for your money in another vehicle. For your usage an AWD or 4wd Crossover would be roomier, drive better and still tow what you want to. The rear seat hip room is 10 inches wider in the 4 runner. Give up an inch of legroom and get 10 inches wider. There is also more headroom in the front of the 4 runner. I'm 5/11 and with the seat at max height I cant wear a hat in the X. Really irks me.
Do you really think there's not a lot of storage behind the rear seat? I feel like there's a ton! I was trying to put stuff in the rear of my mother in laws BMW X3 the other day and it was like a 1/4 of the space the X has. :dontknow: I agree its not great for constant rear passengers though, as its a pain to climb into with the narrow footwell due to the short wheelbase.

Op: have you considered a 4 door Fronty?
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what are the dimensions of the boat? any interest in full size SUVs? 2nd and 3rd generation tahoes/yukons tow like a dream. about 39" of rear leg room for the newest gens. however, you'll be paying more for gas with the V8.
 

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Compared to the Trooper I had there is not a lot of room behind the rear seat. It is about the same as my prior 2004 Outback There's mre than some vehicles but Nissan really doesnt understand "Utility" in SUV. The Pilot is the ideal sized for a midsize SUV IMO. It has 10 cu ft more room and 50 cu ft more interior volume.
It seems about the same size as the 92- 96 Troopers. Is the Piot a real truck no and the X surely has it beat for ruggedness and off roading. I'd love to see Nissan get it together and make the next gen about that size with a coil rear suspension of course



Do you really think there's not a lot of storage behind the rear seat? I feel like there's a ton! I was trying to put stuff in the rear of my mother in laws BMW X3 the other day and it was like a 1/4 of the space the X has. :dontknow: I agree its not great for constant rear passengers though, as its a pain to climb into with the narrow footwell due to the short wheelbase.

Op: have you considered a 4 door Fronty?
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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Op: have you considered a 4 door Fronty?
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Wife killed the pickup idea, even for me and something else for her!

what are the dimensions of the boat? any interest in full size SUVs? 2nd and 3rd generation tahoes/yukons tow like a dream. about 39" of rear leg room for the newest gens. however, you'll be paying more for gas with the V8.
The Waverunner trailer I'd like is around 14' or less. Good idea on the full-size SUVs. I looked into them, but I just can't abide 12-15 MPG every day to tote the kids around, just like all of the poser d-bags around here with 24"s on their Armada/Tahoe/Yukon and never tow, snow or off-road. Just don't want to be associated with that. I wish I had dollars and space to just park (hide) one until it's needed for towing or trips...that'd be nice :)

Out of 436 available SUV models on the market today, I had no idea how tight my requirements were. Tight, but doable. I think the list is down to '08-'10 4Runner (full side airbags standard) '09 up Pilot AWD and '08-'10 Explorer, all with factory tow packages. Pilot comes with a Class III but no wiring harness on most LX and EX, it's a $150 part, no biggie.
 

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Compared to the Trooper I had there is not a lot of room behind the rear seat. It is about the same as my prior 2004 Outback There's mre than some vehicles but Nissan really doesnt understand "Utility" in SUV. The Pilot is the ideal sized for a midsize SUV IMO. It has 10 cu ft more room and 50 cu ft more interior volume.
It seems about the same size as the 92- 96 Troopers. Is the Piot a real truck no and the X surely has it beat for ruggedness and off roading. I'd love to see Nissan get it together and make the next gen about that size with a coil rear suspension of course
Gotcha. Thanks. I guess its all relative.
 

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our family car/SUV is the ford flex with 44.3in. middle row leg room. I swear the middle row is more comfortable than the front row. the third row isn't bad either. with the twin turbo ecoboost engine this thing moves. it is rated to tow 4500lbs. with the factory tow package. we only used our tow hitch to tote a cargo carrier a handful of times. only one problem, styling, it is love it or hate it, and my wife loves it. some people can't stand it. I've never had it on a boat ramp but the AWD works great in the snow. there is no comparison between the back seat of my 06 frontier crew cab and the flex back seat. oh yea, you have a choice between 2 captain chairs with a refrigerated console or a 60/40 bench, both of which recline.
 

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I tow a 4200# boat setup just fine with the xterra. The backseat however is hell for any passengers in an xterra. We have a 1 year old in a carseat so she can't complain yet, but it's not a fun ride back there. I'm speaking in general not from the towing.

And with the clipped rear doors you get a complimentary ball tapper everytime you get out of the backseat
 
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