By KBB.com Editors
The 2011 Nissan Pathfinder offers room for seven, a choice of V6 or V8 engines, and a design that is both rugged yet elegant. As it is one of the few mid-size SUVs still offering a body-on-frame platform, the Pathfinder is ideally suited for off-road adventuring as well as towing heavy loads. Tow rated up to 7,000 pounds, the Nissan Pathfinder surpasses similarly sized crossover SUVs without sacrificing interior comfort or overall drivability. And, while the fuel economy of the V8 is hardly impressive, the potent 4.0-liter V6 actually returns fairly decent EPA estimates and should prove more than enough for most SUV owners' needs.
If you're looking for a way to haul seven people without the "Soccer Mom" stigma associated with driving a minivan, check out the 2011 Nissan Pathfinder. The Pathfinder's four-wheel-drive system is capable of challenging the best off-road vehicles in the industry, proving that its rugged image isn't just for show.
In celebration of the Pathfinder's 25th anniversary, Nissan introduced a limited production Pathfinder Silver Edition. In addition to specially designed machine-finished aluminum wheels, the 2011 Nissan Pathfinder Silver Edition includes such luxuries as leather seating with Silver Edition badging, heated seats and side mirrors, and a Bose audio system.
Driving Impressions After spending a few days behind the wheel of both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive 2011 Nissan Pathfinder, including the LE-V8 model, we came away thoroughly satisfied with both our off-road and...on-road experiences. One feature that won universal praise from our editorial staff is Nissan's XN All-Mode four-wheel drive system found on the LE V8. Unlike rudimentary four-wheel drive systems, XN-All Mode can distribute torque to all four wheels, and up to 50 percent to the front wheels when needed. The system's ability to overcome all obstacles was particularly appreciated during our steeper, more strenuous off-road exploits. When not playing in the wild Texas outback, the Pathfinder behaved like a perfect family wagon, delivering smooth shifts, confident turning ability and a stiff but still civilized ride.
Folding Three-Row Seating
The Pathfinder converts quickly and easily from seven-passenger troop transport to cavernous cargo hauler.
With its ten speakers, including two powerful subwoofers, this system may not literally be able to blow the doors off the Pathfinder, but it sure feels like it.
Like so many mid-size SUVs, the 2011 Nissan Pathfinder offers room for seven passengers, but in reality its third-row seat can only comfortably accommodate kids who are around 10 years old. When not in use, the Pathfinder's third-row seat folds completely flush into the floor, and its second-row seating can be folded flat without needing to remove the head restraints. As for comfort, the Pathfinder's interior is equipped with firm but supportive seating, a logically designed dash and instrument cluster and plenty of storage throughout the cabin. We particularly fancy Nissan's choice of cloth seating material, which is both durable and attractive.Exterior
The 2011 Nissan Pathfinder doesn't try to impress with whimsical styling and new-age architecture; it's just a straightforward, slab-sided SUV with a purposeful look and the goods to back it up. With a familial front end shared with other Nissan trucks such as the Armada and Frontier, the Pathfinder is easily identifiable as a Nissan product. Whether in a crowded parking lot or boulder-strewn wash, Pathfinder's short front and rear overhangs and somewhat narrow body allow easy maneuvering. While we applaud the factory roof rack's handsome good looks, we fear it might not match up with the weight ratings or versatility offered by leading aftermarket systems.
Noteworthy as standard on all three 2011 Nissan Pathfinder trim levels are the impressive V6, fold-flat third-row seating, five-speed automatic transmission, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) system, front side and side curtain airbags and a tire pressure monitoring system. The LE V6 includes 18-inch alloy wheels, leather-appointed first- and second-row seats with four-way power front passenger seat, heated steering wheel, Bose audio system with 10 speakers and subwoofer, driver's memory package (seat, mirrors and pedals), heated outside mirrors, automatic on/off headlights, RearView Monitor, auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone connectivity and Nissan Intelligent Key. The Pathfinder LE -V8 adds the 5.6-liter V8, XN All-Mode 4x4 system, navigation and special badging.
Option packages for the 2011 Nissan Pathfinder are limited to the LE trim. The Value Package adds a DVD player, 7.0-inch color monitor for rear passengers, rear seat wireless headphones and power moonroof; also available is a navigation package and a DVD entertainment system. Standalone options include fog lights, a hatch tent kit, side running boards, keypad entry and vehicle alarm.
The 2011 Nissan Pathfinder's standard 4.0-liter V6, which is a Nissan workhorse, is a powerful and torque-happy engine that's well suited to the needs of the average SUV owner. For those who need extra horsepower and towing ability, the optional 5.6-liter V8 is the obvious answer, adding an additional 100 foot-pounds of torque and 44 more horsepower.
266 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
288 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 (2WD), 14/20 (4WD)
310 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
388 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18 (4WD)
By Ford on Thursday, April 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,624overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "3rd row seat"
Cons: "Radiator defect will destroy the transmission"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I purchased the vehicle in 2009 and thought it was a great value. 3rd row seat, tow package, nice interior and exterior. I was really happy with this vehicle until the sudden failure of the Transmission. I was unaware of the known issue where a transmission coolant line in the radiator fails and allows coolant into the transmission completely destroying the transmission. Nissan is not standing behind their product even though it is a well documented issue with many complaints, repairs are upward of $4000. I will never own another Nissan again!"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By bsdanne on Saturday, April 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Never any problems, second Nissan for me. Dealership is always great when getting maintenance service."
By Art on Monday, March 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 88,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Most reliable vehicle I've ever owned!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I love this Pathfinder even more than the 1996 Pathfinder I owned until it was totaled. I probably won't buy another one because I don't like the change to the body they made with the 2013 and forward. The original body style is classic. The rear doors with the handle up on the side was a signature look! Why did they change it?"
By millineum falcon on Monday, March 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "very reliable and in good condition"
Cons: "I dont use it as much, just need minor work"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Overall, the vehicle is in good condition, minor scratches which are not seen unless you get close to the vehicle. I would like to keep it but is time to let it go, if I wanted would keep the car; only things to replace is a sensor in gas tank and later the tires. You need to come and see it for yourself and we could work something out about the price."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By fubar on Sunday, January 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Right Size auto for our needs, pulled boat"
Cons: "decrease reliability trend/increasing op. costs"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"This was my third pathfinder, 92, 97, 2006. My very best was the first one. They (Pathfinders) started a down hill slide by going away from a "truck" style frame to a "car" uni-body. I wanted the truck ride. I pulled a boat much to heavy for the 1992's 3.0L engine. It never faltered. Never need any additional repair other than battery, oil changes etc. 120,000 wonderful miles of ownership/service. My 1997 needed all the body mounts replaced. It got so bad if you crossed a 2" snow ridge on the highway, you'd be thrown into the ditch before regaining control. My 2006 is on it's third belt and auto tensioner replacement. Then $1300 front end component repair, again it had became unable to drive on the highway. Complete front Rotor replacement at 60k miles, on it's second Heater fan, rear window strut replacement etc. etc. My disappointment of the decreasing quality is only exceeded by the $14,000 in emergency (stranded 5x's) on my Domestic 2005 Ford F250SD pickup. Pathfinder now look like a station wagon? Car's cost 2-3 x's as much...,but their reliability tanked? I bought a RAV4, not the same quality/size/or options. But it is only $10,000 more than the 1992 Pathfinder. Not the $46,000 if I were to stay with Pathfinders."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Sportsman/Family man on Sunday, December 08, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great drive"
Cons: "I wasnt crazy about the color"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We have taken many out of town trips with the whole family. The kids and back seat passengers love to watch DVDs on long trips. I love the headphones so people watching the movie are not interrupted when I'm listening to the radio. The third row is a great size for the kids and the leather cleans up very well. I did put the four wheel drive into play a few times, in mud and in sand, and it was incredible! I have also used the roof racks and rear tie-downs. This truck is great on the highway as well as off road. Well done Nissan, well done!"
4 people out of 8 found this review helpful