Interesting thread and very relatable. I have had discussions with SUV owners and YES these oldies are white elephants!.
I think you should not sell your XLi. I am assuming its your daily runner and so you should keep it. An old SUV is not really a potential daily runner.
I have also been having the same obsession lately where I am thinking about replacing a reliable Civic with an old SUV.
And yes Surfs and Pajeros make the bulk of my saved ads on this platform.
A friend has suggested that I sell my other car ( Cuore ) that's mostly used for household purposes and not really driven that much and buy an old 1st gen Turbo intercooler Pajero (1988-1990). That way I will not lose a reliable family sedan and also will get to experience the drive of a SUV and importantly will experience the process of sourcing parts and finding reliable mechanics. This seems a lot more practical to me honestly but then again everyone has their understanding and way of doing things. And of course if the experiment fails I can always sell it off and buy a small car again.
Someone once told me here on Pakwheels forum (I wish I had remember their username so that I could tag them) If you really do want an SUV that is trouble free then buy something at a premium price or even at a price over the market rate and then spend a little more on it to bring it up to speed and then you should be able to drive with peace of mind that your SUV will not break down while you are driving your family around all dressed up for a formal gathering.
Anyway...I hope you get something good that serves you well. All the best!