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2012 Nissan Pathfinder

Overview
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2012 Nissan Pathfinder Review

By

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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If tow ratings and off-road prowess are not as important as interior styling, the latest creature comforts and a carlike ride (not to mention a usable third-row seat), you'd be far better served in a Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot or GMC Acadia.

What's New for 2012

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 the Pathfinder

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.

Bose Audio
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.

2012 Nissan Pathfinder Details
Interior

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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.

4.0-liter V6
266 horsepower @ 5.600 rpm
288 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 (2WD), 14/20 (4WD)

5.6-liter V8
310 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
388 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18 (4WD)

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2012 Nissan Pathfinder Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.2
Out of 10

Based on 462 Ratings for the 2005 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.3/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.6/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Great truck.

By on Sunday, June 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 185,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Good value"

Cons: "Watch the history on repairs"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I have had my Pathfinder since new. LE package. Very dependable over the years. Only a couple things have needed attention. The brake rotors are thin and tend to warp. The VDC had an issue that Nissan had a hard time trying to get a REAL answer to. The BOSE system had an issue on one of the speakers that sounded like aliens. So for 7 years it has been a pretty good SUV."

I love Pathfinders!

By on Sunday, June 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great visibility, super reliable"

Cons: "Seat belt clips hard to clip when sitting there."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is my third Pathfinder. All of them have been great cars. Super reliable and a great car for the money. I have owned Chevy trucks, suburban and vans (good), Ford Explorer,Aerostar and Truck(bad), Honda Accord (okay), Volvo sedan (okay), Nissan Frontier (great), Dodge Van,Vista and Truck(okay), Jeep cherokee (okay), etc. Lots of Cars and the Pathfinder has been the best. I have had the 2008 Pathfinder bought used for about three years and not one bit of trouble. It has lots of get up and go, great in the snow. My only complaint are where the seat belts clip in-in the back seats. Probably changed in the new models."

6 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Don't buy Nissan

By on Saturday, May 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 123,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
2/10

Pros: "Poor quality"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"I bout the car new November 2006, It has served my family well until recently. The radiator is leaking fluid into the transmission and like so many, I have found out there is no recall. I am stuck with the decision to place $6K to repair or get rid of it. The vehicle was serviced during the regular cycle and has turned out to be a piece of trash. Will never suggest anyone buy Nissan."

7 people out of 13 found this review helpful

have had my pathfinder for four years and love it

By on Monday, May 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,282

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "comfortable and smooth to drive in"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"have had my truck since brand new had one flat tire my fault and had fast easy response would recommend to anyone"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Greatest Investment

By on Friday, May 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 139,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I purchased this truck as a Lease return. I has been the best vehicle to own. I have only had normal wear and tear items to attend to. I does great both on pavement and on off-road (running Grapplers). I have taken this vehicle cross country and have many compliments on the comfort of the leather seats and lumbar support. Running Premium gas I actually average close to 28 miles to the gallon highway (not kidding!). My mechanic shop is always impressed with the quality of the parts used on this vehicle, they say it is heavy built and designed to last. The third room is roomy compared to the other comps I looked at and has reasonable access. I love that when I do not have my trailer I can still load 20 bags of mulch thanks to the fact the back two rows lay completely flat. I would love to get a newer version, but can't part with this truck (thanks for all the offers I get to buy it from me though ) :). Love that this is on the truck frame and not the uni-body like so many now have. Sadly this wonderful design was only produced until 2012 or I would have considered another one. But If you are looking at a 2007 they are great! However,they often rare to find, as most owners keep them, like me."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Good SUV

By on Tuesday, March 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I like the looks, the power and just everything about it. I wish the gas mileage was better but I knew that going into my purchase."

7 people out of 12 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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