I own the 1999.5 Pathfinder base model XE and it's a great vehicle hands down. Just exceeded 217,000 miles and I've never had a problem - ever. I do take care of it however. I change the oil and rotate the tires every 6k miles. I change the trans. fl. every 33k miles. I replace all seals, the water pump, the oil pump, timing chain, etc. (Nissan's recommended maint.) every 100k miles. I have the brakes checked every 60k miles. The engine still runs like the day I bought it (I've been the only owner). Interior has held up well- but pass. window is real slow. Exterior still looks good- never been garage kept and I hardly ever wash it. For the abuse I've put it through, a great vehicle.
Reliability, hands down. Also, I think it is a very attractive SUV, even at 11 years old. Interior is nice, and exterior still looks great.
My only complaint would be wind noise while driving - it's not bad, but I've ridden in other cars (and trucks!) that are much better. And, if I had to nit- pick, I'd say make the cabin more spacious (which I believe Nissan has done on the newer models). The room is good, but could be better.
Ours is a plain Jane XE. Bought it new - now has 144,000 miles. Timing chain and waterpump@105k new struts@130k. Some brake work - forgot just what. Transmission serviced, oil changed each 3000 mi til 99k. Now using Mobil one 15,000 mile oil -changed each 10k - doesn't seem to burn any. I'd drive it across country tomorrow.
I increasingly something in this world that does what it's supposed to do. It looks near new, and it just keeps on keeping on - never fails, always ready to go. It isn't pretty, but we knew that when we bought them.