The Nissan Pathfinder is a sport utility vehicle made by the Japanese automaker Nissan Motors since 1986. The Nissan Pathfinder started as a small SUV and grew bigger. It originally shared the tiny pickup truck chassis and is currently in its fifth generation.
The Pathfinder is sold as the Terrano outside of North America. It has been a popular choice among SUV enthusiasts for decades due to its practicality, comfort, and off-road capability.
Overall, Nissan Pathfinder is reliable and much loved. However, not all model years are created equal, and some have stood out as particularly good or bad regarding reliability, performance, and safety. In general, the best years for Pathfinder were after 2015, while the worst was between 2005 and 2007.
Best Years For Nissan Pathfinder:
The Nissan Pathfinder has been relatively consistent in recent years. Since there have been no significant complaints, these model years are a great purchase for everyone. Let’s have a look at the best and most reliable years for Nissan Pathfinder:
6. 2022 Nissan Pathfinder:
The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is the only model you should purchase if you’re seeking a Nissan Pathfinder from the fifth generation. Significant improvements have been made to the 2022 Pathfinder.
Those in the market for a long-lasting investment will appreciate its updated cabin and increased efficiency. The SUV has excellent comfort levels. J.D. Power has given the 2022 Pathfinder a respectable 80/100 overall rating. It received an average quality and reliability rating of 77/100 on the same platform.
The 2022 Pathfinder received an almost perfect 9.6 out of 10 safety rating from U.S. News. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has only issued 5 recalls for it.
5. 2020 Nissan Pathfinder:
The 2020 Nissan Pathfinder has received high accolades for its potent engine, great fuel efficiency, and stable handling. Under the hood, there is a V6 engine that offers great performance. It also gives the car incredible towing capacity.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded this model year of the Pathfinder a perfect 5-star rating for overall safety. Additionally, this popular midsize SUV received a stunning 83/100 rating from J.D. Power for quality and dependability.
On Edmunds, the 2020 Pathfinder received a perfect 5-star rating from 50% of customers. Moreover, the driving experience of the SUV is one of the best in its class. Therefore, you really can’t go wrong with this one.
4. 2019 Nissan Pathfinder:
The 2019 Nissan Pathfinder, with its wealth of cutting-edge safety and driving aids features, was selected for the “10 Best Family Cars of 2019” list by Parents Magazine as one of the best three-row SUVs.
With its powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine and plush cabin, this vehicle offers ride quality that its competitors can’t equal. Even the cargo area is roomy enough to accommodate most passengers without issues.
The 2019 Pathfinder has an overall rating of 4/5 based on consumer reviews on Edmunds, with 56% of owners giving it a 5-star rating. Only 2 recalls have been issued for the 2019 model by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
3. 2018 Nissan Pathfinder:
For those on a tight budget who can’t afford to spend the cash on a new SUV, the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder is a fantastic option. Nissan packed amenities into each SUV trim for the 2018 Pathfinder, which won over many customers. Even the cheapest model comes with options like automatic emergency braking.
The 2018 Nissan Pathfinder exceeds the expectations of automobile enthusiasts with its impressive V6 engine and exhilarating towing capacity. According to U.S. News, the 2018 Pathfinder received a fantastic 9.3/10 for safety and an 8.0/10 from critics.
The 2018 Pathfinder has an overall rating of 4.2/5 based on consumer reviews on Edmunds, with 60% of owners giving it a 5-star rating. Only 3 recalls have been issued for the 2018 model by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
2. 2012 Nissan Pathfinder:
Well, if you’re looking for an even older version of the Pathfinder, the 2012 model year is what you want to look at. Despite being 20 years old, the SUV is still popular. You will have a great time driving this SUV because of the VG33 3.3L V6 engine and the excellent suspension. You can also go for the V8 version.
The 2012 Pathfinder received a noteworthy 82/100 from J.D. Power for quality and reliability.
Like its immediate predecessor, the 2012 Pathfinder has a great resale value, with an impressive score of 81/100 on the same page.
The 2012 Pathfinder has an overall rating of 4.4/5 based on consumer reviews on Edmunds, with 61% of owners giving it a 5-star rating. Only 2 recalls have been issued for the 2012 model by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
1. 2011 Nissan Pathfinder:
The 2011 Nissan Pathfinder was designed with efficiency and versatility in mind. It has a standard V6 engine inside that generates a strong 266 horsepower. There is also an option for a more powerful V8 engine with a whopping 310 horsepower.
Apart from its potent engine choices, the 2011 Nissan Pathfinder is a more practical SUV than many rivals. It received an overall 78/100 J.D. Power Quality and Reliability score and an 80/100 resale value score.
According to data on Car Complaints, the 2011 Pathfinder has 67 complaints, one of the fewest of any model year. Moreover, the 2011 Pathfinder has an overall rating of 4.4/5 based on consumer reviews on Edmunds, with 57% of owners giving it a 5-star rating.
You might also be interested in Nissan Xterra, if so, here are the best years of Nissan Xterra to buy today.
Worst Years For Nissan Pathfinder:
Even though Nissan has improved the quality of its SUV, some models managed to make this list. Here is a list of years to avoid of Nissan Pathfinder. You’ll see that most of these models were produced before 2010.
6. 2014 Nissan Pathfinder:
The major complaints against the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder revolved around its subpar engine and sloppy handling. The 2014 Pathfinder has 774 complaints on Car Complaints, with issues ranging from interior accessory issues and gearbox issues to AC/Heater issues and external accessory issues.
The transmission system would produce vibrations and stutters. Additionally, it occasionally slipped, which is quite risky. Consumer reviews on Edmunds gave the 2014 Pathfinder a rating of 3.3 out of 5 stars, with only 36% giving it a perfect score.
Similarly, J.D. Power gave the 2014 Pathfinder’s quality and reliability rating of 68/100, which is below average. It had a poor overall rating of 74/100 on the same platform.
5. 2013 Nissan Pathfinder:
Many owners of the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder were irritated with the vehicle’s many issues. Transmission issues, engine concerns, and even some of the features themselves caused problems. It has one of the greatest recall rates of the model, with 1000 complaints.
There were a total of 11, with the most serious being the ABS braking system, which might lengthen rather than cut stopping distance, increasing the likelihood of a collision. Over 151,000 Nissan Pathfinders from 2013 and 2014 were subject to this recall.
Another significant recall was brought on by vehicles with CVTs losing transmission fluid, which led to transmission failure. The oil cooler hose could come apart and spill fluid due to poor clamping force.
4. 2008 Nissan Pathfinder:
According to Car Complaints, more than 580 complaints are associated with the 2008 model. Owners stated that the system would produce a lot of vibration. Others reported the transmission’s total failure, which is quite expensive to replace.
Even though it’s a step up from the other vehicles here, you still shouldn’t go for this SUV. The 2008 Nissan Pathfinder also has engine problems. This model had the same timing chain issue as the 2005 and prior models, but it wasn’t as frequently reported.
3. 2007 Nissan Pathfinder:
The 2007 Nissan Pathfinder continued the negative trend started by its predecessors. Nissan should have learned from their mistakes and fixed the problems plaguing the Pathfinder before introducing the third generation. Nevertheless, they didn’t.
According to Car Complaints, the 2007 model also has more than 1,000 complaints associated with it. The list of issues is dominated by transmission and engine issues. Other problems include issues with the AC or heater and the electrical system.
Surprisingly, J.D. Power rated the 2007 Pathfinder 78/100, which is a moderate total score. The 2007 Pathfinder received a reliability and quality rating of 77/100 on the same platform.
2. 2006 Nissan Pathfinder:
The 2006 Nissan Pathfinder performed no better than the previous model. It is present on this side of the article since several problems have reportedly plagued it. There are more than 1000 complaints about different parts of the car on Car Complaints.
The issue with the coolant leak was not fixed. Additionally, the transmission slipped on occasion. The same problems with the engine, fuel system, and transmission made owning this model a nightmare. Avoid the 2006 model year as much as possible if you’re looking to get into the market for a practical SUV, a Pathfinder specifically.
1. 2005 Nissan Pathfinder:
The 2005 Nissan Pathfinder tops our list of “worst years” not because of the four minor recall issues it had but rather because of the more than 2,000 complaints about it that were reported to the NHTSA and Car Complaints. The transmission is the primary focus of most of this negative feedback overload.
The next two most common complaints are about the engine and fuel system. The largest transmission issue, which attracted over 400 complaints, involves 2005-2007 Pathfinders, which may have a faulty radiator where a coolant leak may result in transmission failure at about 90,000 miles.
The cost of the repair may exceed $3,500. Additionally, there were four formal recalls for the 2005 Nissan Pathfinder, with the defective crash zone sensor being the most serious.
Is the Nissan Pathfinder a Reliable Car?
The Nissan Pathfinder’s reliability has improved from its less-than-stellar early years. First, it has a solid and long-lasting structure. It also boasts a strong engine that can handle a range of terrain and environmental situations.
Additionally, it contains several safety mechanisms that aid in protecting passengers in the event of an accident. Nissan provides a 3-year/36,000-mile standard warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
A special extended warranty covers all CVTs manufactured by Nissan. The 10-year/120,000-mile CVT guarantee protects the CVT against significant failures and flaws.
Common Nissan Pathfinder Problems:
The Nissan Pathfinder, like any other car, has had its fair share of typical issues. These include brake, transmission, and engine problems. While some issues can be resolved quickly and affordably, others might need more involved fixes. Here are some of the common issues that Nissan Pathfinder owners have reported over the years:
1. Transmission Failure:
Some owners have reported problems with the transmission, including slipping, shuddering, and failure to engage or shift gears properly. The strawberry milkshake problem might already be on your radar.
There were reports of the SUV’s coolant mixing with the gearbox fluid in a few vehicles. This produced a liquid that resembled a strawberry milkshake in color, hence the name. Typically, the issue appears in cars after 100,000 miles of driving. Although an extended warranty was provided, it is now no longer valid.
2. Automatic Emergency Braking System Failure:
Nissan’s emergency braking system in the Pathfinder is a welcome feature. The automated system can avert tragedy in situations where human reaction time would be inadequate. Another plus is that this improvement is standard on all current model trim levels.
However, there have been cases where the system has gone off for no apparent cause. Most customers claim that the car’s AEB sensors can be readily tricked. If a car is coming up behind you, a sudden halt could result in a collision. To address the issue, Nissan released a service bulletin in 2016 and 2017.
3. Sunroof Issues:
There is a problem with the tempered glass used to make the sunroofs in some Nissan vehicles, including the Pathfinder, which can cause the sunroof to shatter or even explode. This issue has irritated many drivers, even though it is not a major concern. The Pathfinder years 2013 and 2014 are affected. To resolve the issue, a class-action lawsuit was filed.
4. Anti-Lock Brake Problems:
Due to brake leaks, Nissan issued a recall for its 2016 and 2020 model years. Over 200,000 automobiles were affected by this serious safety problem. Nissan resolves this problem without charge. However, it’s possible that used cars won’t have resolved the issue and will still have it.
5. Timing Chain Issues:
Owners of Pathfinder vehicles have noted that the components keeping the timing chain in place were prone to breakdown. You may already know that a slack timing chain can result in rattling, poor acceleration, and even engine failure. The guides, shoes, and chain tensioners apparently suffered from these problems. Another class-action case against Nissan resulted in settlements.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Here are some frequently asked questions about Nissan Pathfinder’s best and worst years:
1. Is Nissan Pathfinder A Good SUV?
Pathfinder is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a medium SUV. It has a V6 engine under the hood, which makes it an amazing road performer. The SUV also has a good amount of cargo room and strong towing capacity. Overall, it is the ideal all-arounder for anyone searching for a high-performing SUV.
2. Is A Nissan Pathfinder A Good 4×4?
The Pathfinder is a superior four-wheel drive vehicle. Even though you shouldn’t anticipate miracles, the midsize SUV stays upright on all terrains. You will always have control over the vehicle, whether on or off-road. Under the hood, the V6 engine is also made to handle any situation. Thus, you won’t experience any performance issues in any situation.
3. Is Nissan Discontinuing The Pathfinder?
Nissan has not stopped making the Pathfinder; it is still available. The Pathfinder is in the fifth generation. The Nissan Pathfinder 2023 model year is now available for purchase. Regarding Pathfinder generations, the fifth is still the one with the least problems.
Like any other vehicle, Nissan Pathfinder has its fair share of issues and innovations. The above article lists the best and worst years of Nissan Pathfinder, along with their common problems and expert reviews.
We hope this guide will help you finalize the most suitable model year for you if you are planning to buy a new or used Nissan Pathfinder.