Since its introduction in 1986 as a body on frame two door, the Nissan Pathfinder has come a long way. It has grown larger over the years. Late into its first generation it added a second set of doors and switched to a more modern unibody construction. In its second generation, it dropped the two door option all together. Now into its 3rd production generation with a fourth on the way. It is in some ways a jack of all trades and master of nothing. Able to appeal to a more general crowd than most other SUV's. It retains much of its off road prowess while appealing to those who will never get mud on the fenders as well. It's grown large enough now to fit a 3rd row of seats. Also of note is the unusual process of going back to a more truck like body on frame, though it's likely the next generation will reverse that trend yet again and return to a unibody construction.
The current Pathfinder is powered by one of two engine choices: a 4.0 liter V6 good for 270 HP and a monster 5.6 liter V-8 making 310 Hp and a stump pulling 380 Ft. – Lbs. of torque.
Engines: 4.0L V-6, 5.6L V-8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Models: S, S FE+, SE, LE, LE-V8
For 2010, the Pathfinder LE receives a standard moonroof and the LE-V8 gets standard navigation. Opt for the new LE-V8 Value Package and get a DVD player with seven-inch color monitor for backseat riders. A fresh Premium Journey Package for the SE includes 17-inch alloys, backup camera, roof rack crossbars, 10-speaker Bose audio, XM satellite radio, Bluetooth phone capability, and intelligent key.
Pathfinder's signatures design cues are evident in the large headlamps, big flared fenders, and high-mounted rear door handles integrated into the C-pillars. Wheel sizes range from 16 to 18 inches, with all sizes nicely accentuating the 112.2-inch wheelbase.
With standard seven-passenger seating and up to 79.2 cubic feet of cargo, the Pathfinder pampers further with available leather-trimmed seats, a heated steering wheel, navigation with 9.3GB music hard drive, Bluetooth phone capability, and backup camera.
Performance & Handling
The Pathfinder's standard engine continues to be a 4.0-liter VQ-series V-6 that delivers 266 horsepower and 288 pound-feet of torque. If that's not enough oomph, an available 5.6-liter V-8 generates 310 horsepower and 388 pound-feet. Each engine is mated to a five-speed automatic. While all Pathfinders use a front control-arm/rear multi-link suspension, V-6 models can tow up to 6000 pounds, the V-8, 7000.
Nissan equips every Pathfinder with front, front-side, and side curtain airbags, the last for outboard occupants in all three rows. The Pathfinder also gets front-seat active head restraints, stability control, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
EPA Fuel Economy
S, S FE+: 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway
SE 4WD, LE 4WD: 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway
LE-V8: 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway
- Seven-passenger seating
- Available 4WD
- Rugged looks
- Good power
You Won't Like
- Fuel thirsty
- New model around corner
- Bouncy ride
Long in tooth but still solid
If You Like This Vehicle
- Ford Explorer
- Kia Borrego
- Toyota 4Runner