Keep an eye on the mileage roll call thread, that was recently posted. Someone with an 03 v6 so far has 212k on thier's. Keep an eye on it, you'll have your proof right there as more and more high mileage 4th gen v6 owners chime in. It's not as common as you think, for the headgasket to give out on them.
Even so, at least if its caught fast enough, the engine still holds up for quite awhile after its fixed (don't know if the revised gasket works on earlier models or not). Again, I'd choose replacing a gasket and getting another 100+k out of it. Over the bullshit most Fords or any American Brand for that matter will put you through before they even hit 150k. Like, blown trans, faulty fuel injectors, electrical nightmares, failing window regulators, brake failure, leaking windows/sunroof, power steering failure, premature overheating, ball joint failure, spark plugs blowing out the head/breaking in half upon removal, timing chains known to eat themselves by 150k (all over a $10 plastic part. I.e Ford explorers 4.0, or jeep cherokees) so on so forth. The f150 I had prior was prone for ALL of that. How ford managed to get so many defects inside a single vehicle blows my mind.
At least with Toyota, most the time they will find a more permanent solution to fixing an issue asap they find it. Brands like Ford/dodge/gm/jeep will go decades before doing anything, or at the very least slap a band aid on it. That all said, if my head gasket or potential stuck calipers are all I need to worry about in regards to more serious repair. I'll fuckin take it over being nickled and dimed throughout ownership.
These things are fucking bullet proof compared to similar vehicles of other makes. Even with there semi common issues. Even the pathfinder at the time which was pretty much a direct competitor (before they went bitch and are now a glorified crossover) had the pink milkshake as a main problem. More common to happen then early 4th gens HG failures or 3rd gens with the pink milkshake. That's why you hardly see that gen pathfinder around anymore. Same went for the xterra's. And I've only ever saw like 3 v8 pathfinders in the wild.
And to think I was all for buying an 05-12 pathfinder before I found my 4runner. Glad I made the smarter choice.
Edit: since you're an original owner, how long was your payoff term, if you don't mind me asking? That truck fucked me up so bad, because of age and mileage, I have a 5 year term, and that's pushing my budget. Would of been only 3yrs, and like $150 a month less, if I didn't carry over $7k. 😢 get a lot of flack on this sub, for paying what I am. But honestly, even despite that, given the circumstances, is there anything better? Thing was, noone wanted to finance me, because most places do 10yrs or 100k miles. My 4runner was 12k over. I got lucky that the person they spoke with owned a 4runner themselves, only reason they gave the loan. 😄 plus, nothing can swallow $7k slapped onto it like this, other than a Tacoma I think.