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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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Buying this car?

2012 Nissan Pathfinder Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.2
Out of 10

Based on 446 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

The best SUV I have ever owned,best of all RWD

By on Friday, August 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 99,000

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

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

i have had 7 since 1986 absolutly the best

By on Thursday, July 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 223,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
Not Rated

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

This car was a lemon from the get go

By on Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
4/10

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."

10 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Lasted while it could.

By on Sunday, June 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

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."

7 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Terrible Transmissions in these vehicles!

By on Wednesday, June 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
7/10

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."

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Don't buy one!!

By on Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 96,000

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
1/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

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

"Transmission messed up on the pathfinder and we didn't even have it a year!! What makes it worse is I have read it happens to most pathfinders around that year model. It happens as a result of the way the car was built. The company doesn't stand behind their product either! Don't buy this car!!"

16 people out of 18 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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