Nissan Pathfinder 2021 review

The Pathfinder is a rugged seven-seat 4x4 that was sold by Nissan in the UK between 2005 and 2014

£8,471
Average price
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1
Out of 5

Pros

  • Very practical
  • Very capable off-road
  • Good towing ability

Cons

  • Poor to drive
  • Much better suited to trails than tarmac
  • Poor manual gear change
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    0 - 0 g/km

Model review

Though Nissan might be best-known for its Qashqai and Juke crossovers these days, not so long ago this firm had a speciality when it came to rugged 4x4s – the likes of the Patrol, Terrano and Pathfinder. And it’s the latter model we’re interested in here, with this seven-seat off-roader arriving in 2005.

Based on the same ladder frame chassis as the Navara pick-up, the Pathfinder is a capable but not especially sophisticated 4x4 that brings imposing styling and a surprising amount of high-tech features (at least for 2005), such as a reversing camera and keyless entry. 

The first change with the Pathfinder came in 2007 with the arrival of a slightly refreshed model, boasting the choice of new colours, alloy wheels and interior improvements that Nissan said aimed to add an ‘air of discreet sophistication’.

Latest model

The most recent update to the Pathfinder, though, came in 2010 as part of a mid-life refresh. Key changes included the introduction of a new 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine that served as the flagship. Nissan also tweaked its existing four-cylinder engine, improving both performance and offering quite noticeably lower CO2 emissions. 

Design changes aren’t major, though there’s a new front bumper – which makes the model 8cm longer than its predecessor –  along with a new bonnet and revised grille. Inside, the Pathfinder had a more modern look thanks to the integration of a new touchscreen, while material quality was also improved. 

The Pathfinder was discontinued in the UK in 2014, though next-generation models continued to launch in other markets, where it remains on sale.

Value for money

When it came to the amount of car you got for your money, a new Pathfinder was an impressive option, being available from £28,495 in 2010, which got you a very capable 4x4 for not a huge amount of money. 

Though with the Pathfinder not being on sale since 2014, used options are now the only way to go. And they certainly start cheap, with well-used models available for as little as £4,000. It’s actually quite difficult to find low mileage examples, with many for sale having more than 100,000 miles on the clock, so buy on condition and maintenance history, rather than age and miles. That said, the tidiest top-spec versions will set you back upwards of £10,000.

Looks and image

The Pathfinder is certainly a 4x4 that looks like it means business, with big imposing styling thanks to its chrome front end and generous dimensions. Even earlier examples haven’t aged too badly, though the later facelifted models are certainly more modern-looking. 

The same rugged look also extends to the cabin, which has a solid and robust feel to it, which is important in a model like this, though it does lack the sophistication of rivals like the Land Rover Discovery. Later Tekna trims do have a slightly more modern feel, though, thanks to their seven-inch touchscreen system. 

The Pathfinder is a true 4x4 in the sense that it’s fantastic off-road, with a grippy four-wheel-drive system that means you don’t have to worry about getting stuck, regardless of conditions. That said, it’s a poor choice on tarmac, lacking the refinement of many rivals and feeling especially coarse and agricultural. If you spend the majority of your time on main roads, there are far better options available. 

Space and practicality

Just about all Pathfinder models come with seven seats, though like many models with three rows of seats, the rear-most are best suited to children. The Land Rover Discovery is a better option if you want to seat seven adults. 

With all seats in position, the Pathfinder’s boot measures 190 litres, though with the third row folded, it serves up a generous 515 litres. With just two seats in position, the boot offers a van-like 2,091 litres. A split-rear tailgate and plenty of storage spaces certainly makes it a useful family car choice.

Engines

At launch two engines were available on the Pathfinder – one diesel and one petrol. The petrol is rare to say the least, with a huge 265bhp 4.0-litre V6 engine delivering good performance, but at the expense of incredibly high running costs. 

For that reason, most buyers chose a turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder diesel, which produced 168bhp and was available with both a manual and automatic gearbox options. Nissan would revise it as part of the 2010 facelift, with the firm taking the power up to 187bhp, delivering stronger performance and improved fuel consumption. 

At the same time, Nissan also introduced a new V6 diesel, delivering a punchy 228bhp and 550Nm of torque. It delivered stronger performance and was far smoother than the regular model, though is quite rare to find on the used market.

Running costs

Though the Pathfinder might be cheap to buy, you’ll need to counter in the model’s high running costs. Even the most efficient diesels return just a claimed 33.2mpg, and this is based on the old economy testing cycle, which means you’re far more likely to see figures in the 20s. 

You also need to consider road tax costs, too, as for pre-facelift models you could have to pay as much as £600 per year. However, with the lower emissions of the 2010 onwards cars, it drops to a more reasonable £340 per annum. 

Things to look out for

The Pathfinder does have a decent reliability reputation, though – like the Navara it shares plenty in common with – it’s quite prone to corrosion. This is particularly worrying on the chassis – which holds the car together. Though it’s not a widely regarded issue, you should look out for signs of any excessive off-roading, which is most likely to be the cause. It’s worth having a model mechanically inspected before buying.

Rivals

If you’re looking for a utilitarian 4x4 that can seat seven you should look at the bulletproof Toyota Land Cruiser, Land Rover Discovery and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. As a slightly left-field option, the SsangYong Rexton could also be considered.

Depreciation

Given the Pathfinder hasn’t been on sale for some time, all models will have had that main depreciation hit, and are unlikely to lose a significant amount of money now, provided they’re kept in good condition. 

Trims explained

Though the Pathfinder was available with a range of different trim levels during its lifespan, here we’re focusing on the post-facelift version, which was available with a choice of two trim levels – Acenta and Tekna. Equipment highlights and pricing are as follows.

Acenta

Standard equipment on the Pathfinder includes heated electric folding mirrors, climate control, all-round electric windows and 17-inch alloy wheels. It also comes with front fog lights and MP3 and AUX input, a leather steering wheel, Bluetooth, automatic lights and wipers, a full-size spare wheel and an auto-dimming rear view mirror.

From £6,000 (used)

Tekna

Upgrading to the Tekna brings a seven-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, a speed limiter, wood finish centre console, larger 18-inch alloy wheels and headlight washers

From £7,000 (used)

Summary

  1. Big seven-seat SUV
  2. Very capable off-road…
  3. But flawed on the road
  4. Decent reliability reputation
  5. High running costs
  6. Well-built interior, if lacking quality of rivals
  7. Based on the Navara pick-up
  8. Introduced in 2005, revised in 2010
  9. Spacious interior
  10. A good utilitarian 4x4, but there are better rivals available

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