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.
If you're seeking seven passenger seating in a vehicle that is both smooth riding and fuel efficient, you may want to look toward a crossover SUV such as the GMC Acadia, Honda Pilot or, if you have the money, Audi Q7 TDI.
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 Ayant (NC) on Tuesday, April 23, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Awesome gas mileage on the highway"
Cons: "Transmission/Radiator issues"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"It has all these features I desired in an SUV. Only problem with Pathfinders of these 2000 models is that they have radiator issues that alter the heat and a/c by causing leakage into the transmission fluid. I think I have it right. Fortunately, Nissan has warranted this issue with an additional 80,000 miles, something like that. This is my second Pathfinder and this issue was in my 2005 model as well. I feel like the transmission is still affected by it even though it was fixed. It makes a roaring noise sporadically with a struggle picking up momentum at times, but it's still driving. I do love it and plan on keeping for as long as I can."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Rob B. (IL) on Sunday, April 14, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 106,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, low amount of repairs, easy to drive"
Cons: "Gas guzzler, 4wd subpar, premature rust"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Overall, it's been a great vehicle for me. I've owned it for five years and other than then normal maintainence, it's been a very lost cost to have. Currently, I have 106,000 miles and going strong. I'll give you the cons. Poor gas mileage, rough ride, four wheel drive is poor in the snow, some rust starting on the tailgate very early. The pros: very reliable, low repairs, easy to drive."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By eddcat (GA) on Saturday, March 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I leased this car because of the third row seating. I wanted to grow my family and be able to use the third row seating. Well the third row seating in this vechile does not come with child restraints. So it was very disappointing to find out after I was already in the lease. Also the trade in value is not good. The gas milage is the worse for a suv this size. The only good part was that the people at the nissan dealership were really nice."
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By BadLands Boy (ND) on Wednesday, February 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliability , great power , solid off road, fun 2"
Cons: "ride is a little stiff."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have had this rig since new, It has had no flaws or failures in 70,000 miles , Rock Solid unit. Very good vision out of it and nice interior. It get it's rated gas MPG 20-16. Only con about it is the ride is on the stiffer side , not bad but not like a crossover . Very powerful motor- V6. It is a hoot to drive."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Kab (ND) on Saturday, January 19, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I love the way this vehicle looks and drives, but it has had sooo many problems. As much as it costed,it is ridiculous. As another person said, they have radiator/transmission issues. It doesn't happen until about 80,000 miles. Then it slaps you in the face. I have already rebuilt and replaced the transmission once, and it is having problems again. It is a money pit. At the moment, it will not pass inspection due to engine light, but no one, not even Nissan, can pin point exactly why. I have been told by several mechanics that Nissans are the worst for this. I will never buy another Nissan."
10 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Joy (CO) on Friday, December 28, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Roomy, drives well"
Cons: "Extremely unreliable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought this car new in 2005. I loved it - it was comfortable, great off road and in the snow, and can easily haul 7 people and lots of cargo. I had zero complaints. And then it fell apart at 92,000 miles. The Nissan radiator is defective and leaks into the transmission completely destroying it. Total cost to fix between diagnosis and rental car (2 weeks to rebuild) was $7100. 6 weeks later, on Christmas Eve, we heard a boom, all the dashboard lights came on, and we lost power steering on the highway. Cost of the repair is $800 because the fan bracket broke. I am done with this vehicle. Nissan won't stand behind their product and recall it for the radiator defect, but they did lose a lawsuit on 10/9/12 and are required to re-imburse owners for at least some of the repairs. They claim the problem is only in a few select vehicles, but that is because 2005 is the first year containing the defective radiator and these cars are just coming up on the mileage where the problem occurs. I will never, ever buy a Nissan after this experience. It's too bad because it's a nice vehicle but a money pit."
12 people out of 16 found this review helpful