2005 Nissan Pathfinder

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$24,900

starting MSRP

2005 Nissan Pathfinder

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Performance
  • Offroad maneuverability
  • Operation of available Hill Descent Control
  • Solid construction

The bad:

  • Noise levels while accelerating
  • Short seat bottoms
  • Ride comfort on less-than-perfect surfaces

3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • XE

    $24,900

  • SE

    $26,100

  • LE

    $32,800

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2005 Nissan Pathfinder trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • New 4.0-liter V-6
  • Five-speed automatic
  • Seven-passenger seating
  • Related to full-size Armada
  • RWD or 4WD

2005 Nissan Pathfinder review: Our expert's take

By

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

Compared with the competition, Nissan was way, way behind the curve when it came to capitalizing on the sport-utility-vehicle craze. Economic hardship required the company to rely on the Pathfinder and its Infiniti derivative, the QX4, for far too long. By the time Nissan launched its entry-level SUV, the Xterra, for the 2000 model year, Toyota had been selling the RAV4 for four years.

An influx of cash from new owner Renault allowed Nissan the luxury of designing and building more vehicles. Nissan and Infiniti now offer a total of six SUVs, and a new car-based, sub-Xterra model may soon be added.

The problem with having lots of SUVs – and it’s a problem Toyota and Lexus have encountered with their eight sport-utes – is that, at some point, you are competing not only against other manufacturers but against yourself.

Case in point: The all-new 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The original Pathfinder was a compact, nimble, rugged SUV that remains a very good used-car buy. But as Nissan has sent the Xterra slightly upmarket, it had to make the Pathfinder bigger and more deluxe to create some level of product differentiation.

But as it made the Pathfinder more upscale, it now treads close to the same territory as the Nissan Armada, the company’s SUV flagship.

The Pathfinder shares the angular, slightly lumpy styling of the Armada, which is not exactly setting the market on fire. The Pathfinder is, in fact, built on the same basic platform as the Armada, as is the Titan pickup truck.

At first glance, the Pathfinder does not appear to be that much smaller than the Armada, but at 187.6 inches in length, it’s 9.3 inches shorter and nearly 800 pounds lighter. On the road, the Pathfinder feels bigger than it is too. Besides the dimensions, the biggest difference between the two is the engines: The Armada has a 5.6-liter, 305-horsepower V-8, while the Pathfinder has a 4.0-liter, 270-horsepower V-6. The Armada is bigger inside, but both vehicles offer three rows of seats.

Nissan has priced the base models of the Pathfinder very aggressively, with the XE model starting at just more than $25,000. That’s the rear-drive model; if you want four-wheel-drive, it’s $2,000 more. At that price, the Pathfinder is a very attractive buy. When you start adding equipment, though, the difference between the Pathfinder and Armada shrinks. The test Pathfinder was the top-of-the-line LE, with rear-wheel drive. Base price was $32,550, and with shipping, a $2,000 navigation system and a $1,600 rear-seat DVD entertainment package, the total was $36,710.

Base price of an Armada SE is $33,600. If you can live without the Pathfinder LE’s leather upholstery, power sunroof and the aforementioned options, the Armada SE is the better buy, especially if you tow. The Pathfinder tows up to 6,000 pounds, but the Armada tows as much as 9,100 pounds.

That said, maybe you don’t want a vehicle that big, so the Pathfinder may be preferred. The front and middle seats are plenty roomy, but the third seat is best for children or midgets.

Although the 4.0-liter V-6 may seem smallish for a vehicle that supposedly can tow 3 tons, don’t be put off: It’s one of the most powerful, gutsiest V-6’s ever. Nicely matched to the five-speed automatic transmission, there’s all the power you need. After all, 270 horsepower is 35 more than the 4.7-liter V-8 in the Toyota Land Cruiser has. It also results in fuel mileage that is, well, less terrible than some SUVs: 16 mpg in the city, 23 mpg highway.

I like this Pathfinder LE a lot, but approaching $37,000 for a rear-drive SUV, I’d be tempted to drop down to a less deluxe model and get four-wheel drive. For a rugged, truck-based SUV like this, I’d rather have some off-road capability than heated power mirrors and a power passenger seat.

Feel free to disagree.

CONSUMER INFORMATION

Base price: $32,550.

Price as tested: $36,710.

EPA rating: 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway.

Details: Front-engine, rear-drive SUV with a 4.0-liter, 270-horsepower V-6 engine and a 5-speed automatic transmission.

Sentinel Automotive Editor Steven Cole Smith’s TV reports air Wednesdays on Central Florida News 13.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 3.8
  • Interior design 3.9
  • Performance 4.2
  • Value for the money 3.7
  • Exterior styling 4.3
  • Reliability 3.6

Most recent consumer reviews

3.1

It is one of the worst nissan cars ever made

This car has a lagging acceleration. With sensor issues And fuel pump issues. And lets not forget its alternator issues Its towing capacity for the v8 is quite okay A bit outdated in interior It is noisy both the v6 and the v8 engine size Its is not fuel efficient It is a good family hauler with a nice payload capacity

2.4

least reliable vehicle I’ve ever owned

Engineered to fail as soon as warranty expires. Absolutely no manufacturer support for ongoing issues like transmissions, electronic engine control units and fuel level sensors.

4.1

GREAT OFF-ROAD!! NOT SO GREAT RELIABILITY

(Owned brand new since 2005) Putting reliability aside; I truly love this suv which is basically a family frontier. I have done a couple mods to mine and I’m just under 300 horsepower and this thing can absolutely go! The torque is amazing and the cabin engine noise sounds really really good. The exterior look is also a style that we will never see again from Nissan which is why I treasure it so much. I also noticed that other than the front bumper and hood this thing can take hits hard I ran into some cement pretty hard and all I got was a teeny hair sized dent in my rear bumper. I’ve also been in two car accidents which were fixed for free. However I got in one and the other car was completely destroyed but my Pathfinder got a dent which was fixed by hand. Now in 2020 we have a Mall Crawler rather than the old boxy Off-road capable Pathfinder. I have the outdated interior and center console on my 05’ but the 2010 years and trim levels have a really nice Bose system, and a very nice touch screen that is fitted will into the interior. Reliability (Electronics/Interior) - I’m just at 126,000 miles and my cruise control doesn’t work. My check engine light is on, TPMS goes off sometimes, my driver window doesn’t work sometimes, my temp gauge doesnt work, I have some sort of factory alarm system which goes of sometimes, my mpg doesn’t really work, my radio static sucks, and all of my rear gas struts went out so quickly. Engine/Transmission: I had so many repairs needed to my engine that Nissan just quoted me with a used Engine which was replaced at 90K and I’m now at 126K Miles. My transmission got locked up somehow and I got that fixed. Overall, 15 years later, I do use this car as a daily driver and I drive it an hour and a half to the beach once a month with no problems other than an off and on TPMS and the broken electronics, but they aren’t a big safety concern to me. I live in a safe area of Texas with lots of people ready to help so I don’t worry too much about having a problem on the side of the road and which I haven’t in more than 2 years. I love my Pathfinder and will never get rid of it. The $1000 I’ll sell it for isn’t worth it. I love this versatile suv too much.

See all 59 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Nissan
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
6 years/less than 80,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
N/A
Powertrain
84 months/100,000 miles (includes LEAF electric vehicle system and powertrain)
Dealer certification required
167-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Compare the competitors

2008

Jeep Patriot

$16,485

starting MSRP

2007

Mitsubishi Endeavor

$26,999

starting MSRP

2001

INFINITI QX4

$34,150

starting MSRP

See all 2005 Nissan Pathfinder articles