In all honesty it has been 15 years since I drove her Pathfinder and 10 years since I drove her Cherokee. The lasting impression I had was the Pathfinder was a solid vehicle, but the engine drove me crazy. I didn't care for the high revving gutless engine. When you would step on the gas, the engine gets really loud but acceleration did not match the noise of the engine. The Manual transmission felt solid, the suspension was mushy, steering was average at best.
Originally Posted by bloodycape
The Cherokee on the other hand looks great it has solid axles, a legendary inline 6 etc. But the vehicle is underbuilt, it squeaks and rattles, the interior is cheap, the seats are thin and the auto tranny is crap. While it was very off road capable, it's not a very good vehicle for long distance drives. You feel every bump in the Cherokee. After all, it's a Jeep.
If I had to chose between the two of them in stock form I would take the Pathfinder, but if they were highly modified with a few thousand in extras, I would take the Cherokee because the short comings like the small front axle can be fixed. If it were me I was looking to travel all over the Americas I would look for something more refined, with better handling, and less compromises. You may want to consider the Montero Sport. I came in lots of different configurations and it every bit the equal of the Pathfinder and xterra. I prefer the 3.0 with the 5 speed tranny and rear leaf springs. A member recently had his 1997 Montero sport give up the ghost after going 544K miles on the original tranny and engine. They also make a 3.5 Montero sport with an auto tranny and the later model Montero Sports had a coil sprung rear. The things are absolutely bullet proof and there are no compromises. You may also want to look at the first gen Tacomas or 4runner. If you have not need for additional passengers, I would be looking for a truck. I have a little 1985 Mitsubishi Pickup with a 2.3 diesel and I get 40+ MPG on the open road. It has loads of torque, 33" tires and has no problem going 80mph on the freeway etc. Trucks are just so versatile. Most of us select SUV's as overlanding vehicles because we have kids that we like to share our adventures with. I have driven lots of different overlanding vehicles over the years and trucks have tons of advantages over SUV's.
1985 Mitsubishi Pickup, 2.3 H.O. Turbo Diesel, Watercooled Turbo, ported and polished 4D56 Head with Roller Rockers, Custom '83 Injection pump, JK Rubicon axles w/elockers and disc brakes, 14" Fox Coilovers, Centerforce II, 5.0 Atlas II, ARB Bull Bar, 33x12.50x17 General Grabber Competition tires
2005 GMC Sierra 2500HD 4x4, Duramax, Crew Cab, 6 speed manual
2009 Jetta Sportwagen TDI, 6 speed manual, NAV, PANO, most underated expo vehicle ever........