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 DlitFull on Saturday, August 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"We bought our Pathfinder LE 4x4 in 2010 used with 22,000 miles on the odometer. Bottom-line is that the vehicle has been a solid, reliable performer. Not impressed on the cost to keep the vehicle on the road but I am meticulous and it does go to the dealership. All this in respect to the fact that we have Nissan’s Gold Preferred Protection Plan. It has paid for itself twice over. If we didn’t have the protection plan and adding the cost covered by the protection plan, I would have gotten rid of the vehicle a long time ago. I do like the style of Pathfinder. It rides and acts like a truck. And so along those lines, not the most sure footed in snow and that is with Michelin LTX MS2s all the way around for the last 60K miles. Interior is adequate and holding up pretty good to a 3 yr old. Finding baby seats to fit the back seat had us wondering if we were going to have to sell the thing trying seats out in front of Babies-R-Us a couple of years ago expecting our child. Car seat number 3 worked after putting it in the middle of the back seat. To this end, outside looks of the Pathfinder can be deceiving. Interior is pretty tight and unforgivable as compared to the more spacious interiors of new (and even smaller) SUVs on the road today. Plastic throughout the vehicle is plenty, can crick and creak, and subject to getting marred up easily. Leather seats are holding up pretty good. Gas mileage for mixed city/highway is 16.7 mpg solid. Long trips…as high as 17.6 mpg."
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Guz on Friday, August 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 99,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "RWD overdrive off button, so much more"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This SUV has been the best one we have owned. We would have bought another, but they went to front wheel drive.The new one seems like a mini van."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By jimbo on Thursday, July 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 223,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"have never have a major problem and all were sold with over 250,000miles.Just the regular upkeep and was in timber business and a lot of hard miles."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Bub on Wednesday, July 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "getting rid of it"
Cons: "the car"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Best feature about this car was the extended warranty I bought! Can't imagine how much it cost the insurer. Drive train failed, motherboard failed, U joints, catalytic converter, Fuel tank issues. emission valve and canister issues. I get a service emission related code, take it to the dealer and they want me to pay 700 to make a modification because of a faulty design...glad to get rid of this thing before I go bankrupt...not to mention the fear of driving it because of potential breakdown."
12 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Island Gal on Sunday, June 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"Personal experience: 2006 Nissan Pathfinder SE Sport Utility 4D offered a lovely beginning with my family and I. From sports games to family gatherings and travel around our island. However, recently, I have had to overcome pricey obstacles with my Pathfinder. A new set of tires, engine problems, steering problems, and now, my vehicle died out and stalled. I am seriously considering a new vehicle."
8 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Gil on Wednesday, June 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I had no problems with the truck until it passed 107,000 miles and then with no warning the transmission went out while I was driving on the freeway, I barely managed to get to the side of the road safely. Then I find out that its not if the trans is going to give out but when is it going to give out. Nissan knows about the problems with the transmissions in the Pathfinder but wont stand behind their product. It cost me $5200 to get car repaired and Nissan wouldn't pay a dime towards the repair. I have owned 3 other Nissans in the past but I will NEVER buy another of their vehicles."
10 people out of 11 found this review helpful