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Used Nissan Pathfinder review: 2005-2009

Nissan hit back hard with the all-new R51 Pathfinder.
EXPERT RATING
7
Nissan hoped that the new Pathfinder, with its four-wheel drive capability and seven-seat cabin, would take it right up to the Toyota Prado and Mitsubishi Pajero.

After falling off the pace in the rapidly expanding SUV market Nissan hit back hard with the all-new R51 Pathfinder.

Nissan hoped that the new Pathfinder, with its four-wheel drive capability and seven-seat cabin, would take it right up to the Toyota Prado and Mitsubishi Pajero, the market heavyweights in the class.

MODEL WATCH

The new and bigger Spanish-built R51 Pathfinder rode on a ladder chassis and rolled on a longer wheelbase than its closest rivals. It also boasted seven seats instead of the five its predecessor had.

There was heavy emphasis on flexibility in the neat, no-fuss cabin, which was reckoned to have 64 seating/cargo combinations, with room enough to carry goods up to 2.8 metres long.

Nissan offered the choice of a 4.0-litre petrol V6 engine that boasted 198 kW at 5600 revs and 385 Nm at 4000 revs, or a 2.5-litre turbo diesel that delivered 128 kW at 4000 revs and 403 Nm at 2000 revs.

Those who signed up for the V6 got a five-speed automatic transmission, while those opting for the turbo diesel had the choice of the five-speed auto or a six-speed manual.

The Pathfinder used Nissan's All Mode four-wheel drive system that allowed two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive high and low, plus and auto mode that used sensors and electronics to distribute the drive automatically, up to a 50/50 split front to rear.

With its considerable offroad capability the Pathfinder wasn't as sharp on the blacktop as some of its rivals that struggled once the sealed stuff stopped.

The range was made up of three models, the ST, ST-L and Ti. All had antilock ABS brakes, dual front airbags, air-conditioning, remote central locking, electric windows and mirrors, and CD sound.

The ST had 16-inch alloy wheels, but when you ticked the ST-L box, you got larger 17-inch alloy wheels, plus electronic stability control, side steps and a six-stacker CD system.

At the top of the tree the Ti could only be had with the V6 and auto trans.  Extras included leather trim, rear-seat DVD player and side curtain airbags.

IN THE SHOP

The early Spanish-built cars need thoroughly checking by someone who knows them well before buying; the build quality out of Spain was variable and often poor leading to many and varies issues.  The diesel engine leaks oil and some consume oil at an alarming rate.

Clutch and brake wear is generally very high, particularly with the factory fitted parts, and there can be a myriad of electrical issues.  Parts that should be relatively cheap can be very expensive. For example instead of being able to buy a rear axle seal you have to buy an expensive complete axle assembly.

Later Thailand-built vehicles have a higher quality and represent a better buy.

IN A CRASH

ANCAP rated the Pathfinder Ti at four stars, but that came with dual front airbags, side front airbags, ABS brakes and stability control.  Lesser models were less well equipped, but weren't tested by ANCAP.

AT THE PUMP

Nissan claimed the Pathfinder V6 would average 13.5 L/100 km, while the turbo diesel would do 10.0 L/100 km.

OWNER SAYS

Colin Boyd has owned two R51 Nissan Pathfinder ST- L Diesel Auto's, a 2006 model and the 2009 he's currently driving, and he will happily line up for a third when the time comes. It's a fantastic all-rounder for the city or country with a roomy cabin and good towing power.  He sold the 2006 model to his brother and that's done 120,000 km without any mechanical issues, his own 2009 model has done 50,000 km, also trouble free.

On the plus side he says the Pathfinder is loaded with features, at a much lower price than the Toyota Prado, has a more modern look, plenty of grunt, a very practical interior, and fewer warranty issues than the locally produced cars he's previously owned. Conversely door handles are an issue for older vehicles, and the fuel consumption on the Series II, which has a particulate filter, is disappointing.

LOOK FOR

  • Solid build
  • Roomy and flexible cabin
  • Smooth V6
  • Economical diesel
  • Three-tonne towing
  • Generally reliable

THE BOTTOM LINE

At first glance it's an attractive wagon, but quality issues can sour the ownership experience.  70/100

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2009 $8,800 $17,270
2008 $7,700 $15,730
2007 $6,700 $14,190
2006 $6,200 $12,210
2005 $5,000 $11,660

View all Nissan Pathfinder pricing and specifications

Pricing guides

$10,945
Based on 28 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$6,993
Highest Price
$15,000

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
ST (4X4) 2.5L, Diesel, 5 SP AUTO $7,990 – 15,000 2005 Nissan Pathfinder 2005 ST (4X4) Pricing and Specs
ST-L (4X4) 4.0L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $6,993 – 13,990 2005 Nissan Pathfinder 2005 ST-L (4X4) Pricing and Specs
Ti (4x4) 3.3L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $5,000 – 7,700 2005 Nissan Pathfinder 2005 Ti (4x4) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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