By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.9
Although getting a bit long in the tooth, the 2012 Nissan Pathfinder SUV is still a good value, especially for those who still need a rugged body-on-frame vehicle that can tow heavy loads and venture off-road. With a choice of V6 or V8 engines, and the ability to tow up to 7,000 pounds, the Pathfinder is clearly superior to most CUVs. It can even out-tow the new Ford Explorer by 2,000 pounds. The 2012 Pathfinder's 7-passenger seating makes it ideal to serve as the family commuter, as does its long list of safety and security features. Still, when placed up against newer models like the Dodge Durango, the Pathfinder loses ground in the area of horsepower, fuel economy and price.
If you're looking for a dual-purpose SUV, one that can safely get you and family to and fro, but also serve as a rugged off-road and hauling machine, the 2012 Nissan Pathfinder SUV is one of a few dwindling body-on-frame SUVs from which to choose.
For 2012, Nissan gives its Pathfinder SUV a few more features, including navigation on the LE trim and an available moonroof and DVD entertainment system on the Silver Edition.
Driving Impressions We spent some time behind the wheel of both the 2-wheel and 4-wheel-drive 2012 Nissan Pathfinder SUV, in V6 and loaded V8 LE trim, and came away quite impressed with...both variations. Of particular noteworthiness is Nissan's XN All-Mode 4-wheel-drive system on our LE V8 test car. Unlike rudimentary 4-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. And, when we returned to the open highway, we found not a rough, truck-like ride expected of such an adept off-road suspension, but a fairly smooth, easily controlled driving experience.
Folding 3-Row Seating
The Pathfinder converts quickly and easily from 7-passenger troop transport to cavernous cargo hauler.
With its 10 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.
The 2012 Nissan Pathfinder SUV's interior is inviting and comfortable, but not very modern. Hard plastic surfaces abound, although storage space is plentiful and we did like the seat fabric, which was both attractive and durable. The seat foam used by Nissan favors the firmer side of comfort, but we liked the back and thigh support it provided. While the 2012 Nissan Pathfinder SUV claims to seat seven, in truth the third-row seat would be horribly cramped with two adults back there. Most people will probably choose to fold it away and take advantage of the roomy flat cargo floor that is perfect for a week's worth of groceries or a weekend's worth of gear. Additional space is provided by the folding second-row seats that can be laid flat without the need to remove the head restraints.Exterior
Where many new SUVs blur the line between truck and sedan, the 2012 Nissan Pathfinder SUV remains firmly rooted in the rough-and-rugged camp. Slab-sided styling, a tall roofline, and big ground clearance all speak of a vehicle with off-road intent. But, the Pathfinder SUV's purposeful look is also a handsome one, with a familiar Nissan front grille and headlight treatment, bulging flares over the wheel wells and stylish alloy wheels. We do think the placement of the rear door handle high up on the door frame makes it tough for little ones to access the back seat without a grown-up's assist, and the factory roof rack, while appreciated, can't match the weight ratings and versatility of a good aftermarket system.
Noteworthy as standard on all three 2012 Nissan Pathfinder SUV trim levels are the impressive V6 engine, fold-flat third-row seating, 5-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 4-way power front passenger seat, heated steering wheel, Bose audio system with 10 speakers and subwoofer, navigation, 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, and special badging.
Option packages for the 2012 Nissan Pathfinder SUV are limited to the LE and Silver Edition trims. The LE's 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 moonroof and a DVD entertainment system for the Silver Edition. Stand-alone options include foglights, a hatch tent kit, side running boards, keypad entry and vehicle alarm.
The 2012 Nissan Pathfinder SUV'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 pound-feet of torque and 44 more horsepower.
266 horsepower @ 5.600 rpm
288 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 (2WD), 14/20 (4WD)
310 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
388 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 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