Review: Nissan Pathfinder (2005 – 2014)

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Rugged looks. Seven seats. Strong build. Tidy handling and very capable off road. Good value for money.

Adults will find the rearmost seats rather cramped. Vague manual gearshift.

Nissan Pathfinder (2005 – 2014): At A Glance

Nissan is getting out of volume and into niches. Nissan's X-Trail has outsold its Primera and been much more profitable because it has sold at much closer to the list price asked. And demand for used X-Trails is even greater than for new ones.

So, unsurprisingly, one of the directions Nissan is following is the off-road route. Late last year saw the introduction of the extraordinary Murano, a Lexus RX300 competitor with a detuned Nissan 350Z motor. The enormous V8 Nissan Titan is by far the best big pick-up to drive and is also hugely capable off-road. Later this year we'll get a new ladderframe chassis Navara pick-up. And now, to grab a fat chunk of the 7-seater 4x4 school bus market, Nissan presents us with the large and perfectly formed Pathfinder, also on a tough ladderframe.

It's roughly the same size as the Discovery 3 and does pretty much the same job at prices starting £5,000 lower. These days £25,800 isn't a lot to pay for this much vehicle and, as with the X-Trail, Nissan stands a good chance of not having to discount.

So does it get the nod? Emphatically yes, because it's a huge 7 seater 4x4 that does all it is supposed to, is also very good to drive on the road, promises over 30mpg and at £25,800 is very good value for money. But if you need a 4x4 to take 7 adults any distance, you are going to have to fork out the extra £5,000 for a Discovery 3.

Nissan Pathfinder 2005 Road Test

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What does a Nissan Pathfinder (2005 – 2014) cost?

Nissan Pathfinder (2005 – 2014): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4183–4813 mm
Width 1850 mm
Height 1783–1865 mm
Wheelbase 2850–3200 mm

Full specifications

First thing, the outer two seats of the centre row bi-fold at the pull of a handle, so access to the rearmost pair is very good. The centre outer seats and the middle seat also fold squab-forward and back down so that when the rearmost seats are also folded you can achieve a huge, flat and reasonably low load deck and a volume of 2,091 litres.

The front passenger seatback folds forwards for carrying objects up to nine feet long. And even with all seats up there is reasonable luggage space behind the rearmost pair, with a net to keep everything in place. However, unlike the Discovery 3, those rearmost seats are strictly for kids because an adult cannot get his or her feet under the seats in front.

Climb up using the substantial grab handles front and back and it's easy to get comfortable. The driver's seat has plenty of adjustment and the steering wheel goes up and down. Start the engine and you hear a fair bit of diesel clatter, but that's what you expect from a vehicle like this. The 6-speed box has a long, slightly floppy lever but selects its well-chosen set of ratios very well. Steering is pleasantly light, yet not over-assisted.

Child seats that fit a Nissan Pathfinder (2005 – 2014)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Nissan Pathfinder (2005 – 2014) like to drive?

For driving on the road, you can choose 2WD which directs drive to the back wheels, or ‘auto' which does the same most of the time, only calling on drive to the front wheels if any start to slip. It handles extremely well and diminishes its own size. None of that boat-like roly-poly stuff that older ladderframe 4x4s subject you to.

And, just like the X-Trail, the gear ratios are perfectly matched to the engine power and torque, so whatever sort of gradient you are on there's a gear that enables the Pathfinder to romp up it.

The 2,488cc development of the X-Trail's 2.2 diesel is also very pleasantly smooth, eager and free revving. On spec, you'd think 2.5 litres was too small for a vehicle of this size. But it churns out a very healthy 174PS at 4,000rpm and 297lb ft torque at 2,000rpm so actually has more grunt than a 3.0 D-4D LandCruiser and offers it to you much more willingly. On the road 0-60 is 11.2 and you can actually see a top speed of 109mph so it's no slouch.

Naturally on a launch like this, an off-road course was included. The Pathfinder simply romped through most of it, including the deep, muddy ruts, in high ratio four wheel drive which locks drive to the front and rear wheels. For the really tricky stuff, you have to stop and engage low ratio four-wheel drive, and that enables the car to negotiate impossible descents that would require abseiling gear to do on foot.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.5 dCi 29–33 mpg 11.0–11.9 s 224–264 g/km
2.5 dCi Automatic 31 mpg 10.7 s 238 g/km

Real MPG average for a Nissan Pathfinder (2005 – 2014)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

19–38 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Nissan Pathfinder (2005 – 2014)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What's the best used SUV 4x4 for reliability and performance?

I am looking to buy a reliable 4x4 as our Volvo XC90 keeps getting stuck in our field. I'm considering either a Land Cruiser or a Nissan Pathfinder - which do you recommend?
My money would go on the Land Cruiser. It's unstoppable off-road and will last forever. I wouldn't be concerned about high mileage provided it's been regularly serviced. The Pathfinder has a few issues particularly with corrosion:
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What Cars Are Similar To The Nissan Pathfinder (2005 – 2014)?

Key attributes of the this model are: Diesel engine, Four-wheel drive, Good for towing and SUV.

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What do owners think?

Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.

  • 5 star 33%
  • 4 star 33%
  • 3 star
  • 2 star 17%
  • 1 star 17%

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