2019 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2019 Nissan Pathfinder

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The 4Runner has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the 4Runner and the Pathfinder have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available four-wheel drive and rear parking sensors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Toyota 4Runner is safer than the Nissan Pathfinder:

 

4Runner

Pathfinder

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

267

337

Neck Stress

438 lbs.

464 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

488/468 lbs.

516/475 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Toyota 4Runner is safer than the Nissan Pathfinder:

 

4Runner

Pathfinder

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

41

114

Hip Force

233 lbs.

457 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

89

101

Spine Acceleration

36 G’s

41 G’s

Hip Force

381 lbs.

557 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the 4Runner for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Pathfinder.

There are over 13 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Nissan dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the 4Runner’s warranty.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the 4Runner’s reliability 32 points higher than the Pathfinder.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 29 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Nissan is ranked 14th.

Engine

The 4Runner’s 4.0 DOHC V6 produces 19 lbs.-ft. more torque (278 vs. 259) than the Pathfinder’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

The 4Runner has 3.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Pathfinder (23 vs. 19.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the 4Runner’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Pathfinder:

 

4Runner

Pathfinder

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.3 inches

12.13 inches

The 4Runner stops shorter than the Pathfinder:

 

4Runner

Pathfinder

 

60 to 0 MPH

131 feet

137 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the 4Runner has larger standard tires than the Pathfinder (245/60R20 vs. 235/65R18). The 4Runner’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Pathfinder (265/70R17 vs. 235/65R18).

The Toyota 4Runner’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Nissan Pathfinder only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The 4Runner has a standard full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the Pathfinder, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.

Suspension and Handling

The 4Runner has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Pathfinder’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The 4Runner TRD Off-Road offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

For better maneuverability, the 4Runner’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the Pathfinder’s (37.4 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the 4Runner has a 2.6 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Pathfinder (9.6 vs. 7 inches), allowing the 4Runner to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The 4Runner SR5 is 8.3 inches shorter than the Pathfinder, making the 4Runner easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The 4Runner has 1.3 inches more third row hip room and .6 inches more third row shoulder room than the Pathfinder.

Cargo Capacity

The 4Runner’s cargo area provides more volume than the Pathfinder.

 

4Runner

Pathfinder

Second Seat Folded

89.7 cubic feet

79.5 cubic feet

The 4Runner’s optional sliding cargo floor is capable of supporting 440 pounds, to make loading and unloading cargo easier and safer. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a sliding load floor.

The 4Runner’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Pathfinder’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Servicing Ease

The 4Runner uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Pathfinder uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the 4Runner is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Pathfinder. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

The 4Runner’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Pathfinder’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically. With the Pathfinder SV/SL/Platinum’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

Consumer Reports rated the 4Runner’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Pathfinder’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The 4Runner’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Pathfinder and aren’t offered on the Pathfinder S.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 4Runner is less expensive to operate than the Pathfinder because it costs $882 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 4Runner than the Pathfinder, including $127 less for a muffler, $42 less for front brake pads, $33 less for a starter, $50 less for fuel injection, $81 less for front struts and $320 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The TRD Pro was selected by Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine as their 2015 4x4 of the Year. The Pathfinder has never been chosen.

The Toyota 4Runner outsold the Nissan Pathfinder by over two to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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