6 Best & Worst Years For The Nissan Pathfinder

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If you are looking for a midsize SUV that is reliable and fun to drive, then the Nissan Pathfinder should be considered.

The fifth generation of the SUV, which was introduced in 2021, has been loved by many due to its aggressive looks. It is also great on the road, another plus point of owning this vehicle.

Recent years of the Nissan Pathfinder have been pretty stable. There have not been any major complaints, which mean that the SUV is a great buy for anyone.

But there are some models of Pathfinder that should not be considered at all.

In this article, all-important models will be examined in full detail of the best and worst years for Nissan Pathfinder.

But before I do that, let’s list all of them down.

Best Years for Nissan Pathfinder:

  1. 2020
  2. 2022
  3. 2019
  4. 2018
  5. 2016
  6. 2012

Worst Years for Nissan Pathfinder:

  1. 2005
  2. 2006
  3. 2007
  4. 2013
  5. 2014
  6. 2008

If you are confused about why these models have been listed in these positions, you should continue reading this article to find out more.

Details for all of them will be shared, so you can make the proper decision.

List Of The Best Years For The Nissan Pathfinder: What Years To Buy

What years of Nissan Pathfinder models should we avoid so we can buy a good one to drive longer

The best years for the Nissan Pathfinder are chosen after considering various factors.

Everything is considered, from reliability to features, before placing a model on the list.

After considerable research, I was able to list these years for Pathfinder.

These models are recommended to buy because they have the least chance of giving you headaches.

Let’s get straight into it!

#1 Best Year: 2020 Nissan Pathfinder

The winner in this category is the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder model of the popular SUV.

Although this model is a part of the previous generation of the Pathfinder, there is no doubt that it is the best one yet.

The V6 engine that is present under the hood is an excellent performer. It also provides the vehicle with amazing towing performance.

The driving experience of the SUV is one of the best in its class. The suspension is great and provides decent protection from bumps on the road.

The seats are padded in such a manner that you will not feel the need to take a break during long drives. Even the smaller wheel variant of the SUV is just as good.

So, you really cannot go wrong with this one!

#2 Best Year: 2022 Nissan Pathfinder

If you are looking to get a Nissan Pathfinder model from the fifth generation, then the only one you should get is 2022 one.

Released in 2021, the newer generation has a stunning design, which was praised by many.

It has scored a lower place than its predecessor because the engine may feel slow to some people.

The 2022 Pathfinder has some huge upgrades. From a new interior to better fuel efficiency, it is a great option for people looking to get something that will last long.

The comfort level of the SUV is also great. Thanks to the comfortable seats, it will not cause anybody pain.

#3 Best Year: 2019 Nissan Pathfinder

Taking the third spot is yet another model which is a part of the fourth generation of the SUV.

This 2019 Nissan Pathfinder model is preferred by many due to its powerful engine under the hood and excellent towing capacity.

It has scored the third spot because the suspension may be too stiff for some people.

The 3.5L V6 engine, combined with a comfortable interior, ensures that you get a ride quality that most rivals cannot match.

Even the cargo space is large enough that most people will not have any problems.

Finally, the manufacturer has used a Bose audio system and a 360-degree camera array to make driving the 2019 Pathfinder fun and safe.

#4 Best Year: 2018 Nissan Pathfinder

Coming up next is the predecessor to the 2019 model. The 2018 Nissan Pathfinder is a great option for people on a budget who cannot shell out money for a new SUV.

The only drawback of going with this model is that its cargo capacity is less than other model years. Other than that, you are getting a no-compromise SUV.

The 2018 Pathfinder was loved by many because Nissan included features in all SUV trims. Features such as automatic emergency braking can be found in even the base variant.

The driving performance and feel is similar to the 2019 model. It is powerful, smooth, and quiet, thanks to the cabin’s isolation.

#5 Best Year: 2016 Nissan Pathfinder

The 2016 Nissan Pathfinder is a part of an even older generation, the third one.

Although it may not look as aggressive as its recent counterparts, there is no denying that this six-year-old model is a great choice for people on a budget.

Since the model is a bit old, it does not have some of the safety features found in the recent SUV models.

The Pathfinder has an amazing drive experience. The V6 engine is powerful enough for most tasks. The suspension system is also nicely tuned, which means you can expect a stable ride.

The interior also utilizes high-quality materials, which gives the cabin a premium look and feel.

#6 Best Year: 2012 Nissan Pathfinder

Well, if you are in search of an even older generation of the Pathfinder, then the 2012 model is the one you should be considering.

The SUV is two decades old at this point, but users are still rocking it. Proper tuning can perform just as well as the newer models.

This model has earned the last spot because it does not save fuel very well.

At an average of 17 mpg, you will certainly not be impressed. The model does not compromise on safety features. The driving experience is also great.

Thanks to the VG33 3.3L V6 engine under the hood, and the high-quality suspension, you will have an amazing experience with this SUV. You can also opt for the V8 variant!

List Of The Worst Years For The Nissan Pathfinder: What Years To Avoid

Although Nissan did improve the quality of its SUV, there were still some models that made it onto this list.

Coming up next is a list of the years that should not be considered at any cost.

You will notice that most of these models were in manufacturing before 2010.

#1 Worst Year: 2005 Nissan Pathfinder

The number one contender on this list is the 2005 Nissan Pathfinder.

This model of the SUV was plagued with various issues, all of which required expensive repairs.

The most common issues reported by users were related to the SUV’s transmission system.

There were problems such as coolant leaking into the system and failing. The transmission system on some vehicles would also result in violent shaking.

The fuel system and the engine were also not reliable. The fuel gauge could not be relied on because it would always read incorrect readings.

There were a few complaints about the fuel pump failing as well. Finally, the timing chain was also prone to failure. This would result in a total engine shutdown.

#2 Worst Year: 2006 Nissan Pathfinder

The 2006 Nissan Pathfinder was expected to fix the issues in the previous model, but things were not so good.

The coolant leaking problem was not solved. There were occasional cases of the transmission slipping too.

Similar transmission, engine, and fuel system issues made owning this model a nightmare. Engine issues included the timing chain wearing out quicker than usual.

There were cases of sudden power loss too, which would result in the vehicle stopping in the middle of the road. The fuel sensor would also malfunction, leading to inaccurate readings.

Some users also reported that the mpg would suddenly drop without any reason.

#3 Worst Year: 2007 Nissan Pathfinder

With the 2007 Nissan Pathfinder taking the third spot, you may be seeing a pattern.

This one was again plagued with transmission and engine issues, but the latter had fewer complaints than the previous models.

Nissan did not do anything to improve anything on these models. There were still a few owners of this model who had the timing chain wearing out.

There were electrical issues too, with the most common problem being related to the ECU fuse shorting without any reason. The fuel sensor was also prone to failing on the 2005 Pathfinder.

#4 Worst Year: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder

As was said before, more recent models of the Pathfinder also had issues. Take the 2013 model, for example.

This one was packed to the brim with problems that frustrated many owners. Problems originated from the transmission, the engine, and even some of the features caused issues.

The transmission system would result in jerking, making driving with this vehicle difficult. Sometimes it would not work at all.

The engine would go into limp mode, preventing people from accelerating. It would also shut down randomly.

Finally, the door handles would frequently break away. The seat material was also not high quality and would wear out very fast.

#5 Worst Year: 2014 Nissan Pathfinder

Similar issues were found with the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder. Although one could expect the manufacturer to iron out major issues that was certainly not the case with this model.

The transmission system would result in vibrations and stutters. It would also slip sometimes, which is pretty dangerous.

This model has scored a lower spot than the 2013 one because some of the engine issues were resolved.

Even the door handle issue was not fixed in 2014. Owners of this model also complained about the GPS being outdated and not showing new routes.

They were still present, but their frequency of occurrence dropped by a large margin.

#6 Worst Year: 2008 Nissan Pathfinder

Finally, coming in the sixth and final place is the 2008 Nissan Pathfinder.

Although this model is quite old, it is pretty reliable compared to some other ones on this list. It still has its fair share of issues, with the most reported transmission issues.

Owners complained that the system would cause extreme vibration. Others reported the complete failure of the transmission, which is extremely expensive to replace.

Although it is better than other models on this list, this SUV should still be avoided. There were engine issues in the 2008 Nissan Pathfinder too.

The timing chain issue, which was present in 2005 and other models, was also present in this one, but it was not reported too frequently.

What Are The Most Common Problems With The Nissan Pathfinder?

With all of the models now covered, I thought it would be better to dedicate a section of this article towards all of the most common problems in the Nissan Pathfinder that users have faced over the years.

I recommend reading this section of the article completely as the information can be extremely vital.

1. Sun Visor Falls Down

Although this is not a serious problem, it has frustrated many users while driving.

Owners of the older models of the Nissan Pathfinder complained about the vehicle’s sun visor dropping without any reason.

They would go down on bumps and when turning the vehicle. As these scenarios are everywhere, users have to put the visor back up again and again.

Nissan opted for cheap plastic for the clips, breaking easily. With it breaking, the visor cannot be held in one position.

Surprisingly, a visor assembly is around $125, unusually expensive. This is the only way to fix the problem.

2. Automatic Emergency Braking System Failure

The emergency braking system on the Nissan Pathfinder is a great addition. As human reaction time can be too slow, the automated system can prevent a serious accident.

Another great thing is that the manufacturer has included this feature in all trim variants in the newer models. But the system has been known to activate without any reason.

A majority of users have reported that the vehicle’s AEB sensors are known to be fooled easily.

Sudden stopping can lead to an accident if a vehicle is behind you. Nissan issued a service bulletin in 2016 and 2017 to fix the problem.

3. Transmission Issues

Finally, coming in the third and final place is another problem that has led users to spend thousands of dollars on fixing.

The transmission system on some of the earlier models of the Pathfinder was extremely unreliable. They were often known to fail, which resulted in the vehicle being unable to drive.

You may be aware of the strawberry milkshake issue.

There were complaints about some of the models of the SUV’s coolant mixing with the transmission fluid.

This resulted in a liquid similar in color to a strawberry milkshake, hence the name.

The problem is usually seen in vehicles after traveling for 100000 miles. Although an extended warranty was offered, it has expired by now.

Related: Why Won’t My Nissan Pathfinder Start?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How Long Will A Nissan Pathfinder Last?

You are going to be impressed by the answer. The Pathfinder can easily touch the 300000-mile mark. That is impressive!

Usually, SUVs in this class last around 200000 miles, so the Pathfinder pulls ahead.

This number can only be reached if the vehicle is maintained at all times and major repairs are not delayed. This way, even the 300000-mile limit can be crossed.

Q2. Is Nissan Pathfinder A Good SUV?

If you are in the market for a good midsize SUV, then it is very difficult to beat Pathfinder in this regard.

It sports a V6 engine under the hood, which means it is a great performer on the road. The cargo space is also decent, with the SUV also having a high towing capacity.

All in all, it is a perfect all-rounder for anyone looking to get a good-performing SUV.

Q3. Is A Nissan Pathfinder A Good 4×4?

The Pathfinder is, in fact, an excellent 4×4. Although you should not expect miracles, the midsize SUV holds itself pretty well in all terrains.

Whether it be snow or off-road, you will have control over the vehicle at all times. The V6 engine, under the hood, is also designed for all scenarios.

So, you will not feel any lack of performance in any scenario.

Q4. Which Is Better Pathfinder Or Highlander?

In short, the Pathfinder beats the Toyota Highlander in all regards.

From price to performance, the Highlander cannot stand a change. The Pathfinder is cheaper and has a 1000 pound more towing capacity than the Highlander.

The latest model of the Pathfinder is also more aggressive-looking, which users like more. Finally, the infotainment system on Pathfinder is also one of the best on the market.

Q5. Do Pathfinders Hold Their Value?

The answer is what many of you will already expect. The Pathfinder will depreciate 55% after five years of usage.

This figure is valid only for vehicles in excellent condition that has been driven for around 12000 miles annually.

The depreciation rate is average and is decent. So, you will not have to worry about the value of your SUV dipping too much.


If you have read through this entire article, you may now be aware that the Nissan Pathfinder is a great SUV. There have never been performance complaints related to the SUV.

But as this article of the best and worst years for Nissan Pathfinder progressed, you may have also found out that some models are best left alone.

Regardless, I recommend to you all is the 2020 model. Although it is not a part of the latest generation, it is a great SUV.

It is the most reliable model you can purchase right now with no complaints.