2003 Nissan Pathfinder
– Tough exterior
– Good-sized interior
– True off-road ability
– Not particularly quick
– Aging platform
– Odd interior details
The Nissan Pathfinder is a 4-door, 5-passenger luxury SUV, and a powerful performer. The 2000 Pathfinder was a carryover model dating back to 1996. It is surprisingly light and lively, and offers amazingly quick throttle reaction. The design has been around the Gulf for quite sometime now, and had started to look old, so Nissan belatedly replaced it in 2006 with a new truck-based model.
Comparable vehicles to the Nissan Pathfinder include the Land Rover Freelander, the Honda HR-V, and the Volvo XC90. The Pathfinder offers luxury features and refinement not found in other SUVs by Nissan, yet still provides genuine off-road capability.
The newer Pathfinders are equipped with a standard 3.5-litre 240 hp V6 engine. Models 2001 and older have a weaker 170 hp 3.4-litre V6 engine. A 5-speed manual is standard while a 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive is optional. The performance you receive from this vehicle you will come to respect it, allowing you to rest easier knowing you made a good purchasing decision.
Newer models also have a Dynamic Control Package consisting of electronic stability control, traction control, and a tire-pressure monitoring system. When reviewing the Nissan Pathfinder we found out that one of the innovative aspects of this vehicle is the safety features. When you are driving the Pathfinder you feel more in control on and off the road. If you have infants or a family, you can admire the additional security features even more. There is plenty of passenger room. The Pathfinder even comes with optional leather upholstery. Side-impact airbags and curtain air bags are also included. The top Pathfinder models got six-spoke 17-inch wheels and titanium-colored interior accents in the later years, while lower models have 16-inch wheels. All Pathfinders feature a four-spoke steering wheel and an electronic rear hatch window release.
Heating and air conditioning controls are mounted at the top of the center stack where they are easy to reach. A big temperature knob and big, clearly marked buttons make it easy to operate. It’s an automatic climate control system, but there’s only one zone. The audio system works okay, but is lacking in aesthetics. However the audio controls on the steering wheel do not include volume, but it’s easy to adjust on the center stack.
In addition to central/remote locking, Pathfinders are also equipped with one-touch up/down windows on driver and passenger side and a one-touch open/close sunroof. The window switches are mounted on the doors where they are easy to find and operate. The inside door handles are small and delicate. The rear glass can be opened by pressing a button on the driver’s door grip or by turning the key in the rear door lock.
The driver’s cup holder is placed on the center console to the left and in front of the shifter, hence being easy to access. Center console storage is two-tiered, and awkward for the driver to reach. Tall people may hit their heads every time they try to fasten their seatbelt due to the odd design. Mounted in the overhead console panel are useful outside temperature and digital compass displays in LED, along with a pair of good reading lights.
Rear seats are very comfortable and reasonably roomy for two adults. A drive down the highway is very soothing for passengers. To aid climbing in, grab handles are provided at both rear doors and on the passenger side. Rear seats are split 60/40 and fold down for versatile cargo hauling. Flip the seat bottom forward and then flip the seatback down for a fairly flat load floor. Finding the lever to release the seat bottom can be challenging and it’s a little uncomfortable to operate. It seems like the coat hooks are placed just for formality as they are too small for a big load of dry cleaning.
The Pathfinder drives like a car thanks to its unibody platform, and it is fairly comfortable due to its soft suspension tuning, but it rolls a lot during corners. It is very good in the desert, and manageable on the roads as it is not too big in size.
Overall, the aging Pathfinder is still a good used car buy, and reliability is first-rate considering it is a Nissan.