2006 Nissan Pathfinder SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Nissan Pathfinder SUV

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Nissan Pathfinder Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.0 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Four Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 270 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 14/19 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2006 Nissan Pathfinder

  • Although it's as capable in the dirt as it is in the elementary school parking lot, the 2006 Nissan Pathfinder lacks the surefooted road manners and interior refinement of competitors.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Powerful V6 engine, above-average off-road ability, well-laid-out interior, flexible seating design, ample storage space throughout.

  • Cons

    Tight rear-seat quarters for adults, on-road handling not as refined as competitors, too much hard plastic inside, inconsistent fit and finish.

  • What's New for 2006

    This year the SE Comfort Package adds a six-disc CD changer, and leather seating is optional on Off-Road and SE trims. Satellite radio is now available.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (7 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Getting rid of it when

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Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Pathfinder SE Off-Road 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

The gas mileage sucks for this type of vehicle. I have a full size truck and it gets much better mileage than Pathfinder. 77K miles and seats wearing thru, logos fell off floor mats, now I have transmission fluid in my radiator and coolant in my transmission. Dealer says cracked radiator! Seems to be a common problem from my on-line research. Maybe Nissan should stand by their product and recall these for radiator design flaw! Now Im supposed to shell out almost $6K for a 5 year-old vehicle! There are many other minor things that are starting to fail on this SUV. Too numerous to list from screws falling out to trim randomly coming lose...

Jack of all trades!!

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Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Pathfinder SE Off-Road 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

This car is "good" in a lot of different ways. Suspension is soft for off-roading, but skid plates, and ranchos serve it well. Highway ride is GREAT, very smooth and quite, long wheel base helps with that. Only complaint is the seats! I'm 6'4'' and I don't fit comfortably, seats could be more supportive. Rear seating is cramped but storage capacity is great. No reliability issues whatsoever yet Yes, the throttle IS touchy, but if you know how to drive a car, this shouldn't be a problem! Interior ergonomics are above average, plastics could be little bit more scratch resistant (have to be careful when cleaning). Can avg 21 mpg if you drive it at 65.

Best vehicle we've owned

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Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Pathfinder SE Off-Road 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

This has been the best vehicle we have ever purchased. We now have 55000 miles and it just keeps going without anything going wrong. Hall Nissan service guys make you feel like we bought a BMW--always helpful, never try to oversell anything you don't need--it is because of their service, We will buy another Nissan. My only complaint is the fold-down front passenger seat--it is uncomfortable after about an hour due to the removed area of lower lumber that allows it to fold flat--don't get that seat--she'll hate it three weeks later and tell you! Xenon headlight option would be great-- they still don't offer it on the 2010-- or I'd be trading in--I'll wait for 2011 and see--!

06 pathfinder

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Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Pathfinder SE Off-Road 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

This car has done everything for us, hauling a boat to moving the kids to college and over the road trips to daily driving. The only drawback is the passenger fold flat seat is very uncomfortable for the wife. The lack of lumbar support and the tilted forward headrest a a pain in the neck. Otherwise, it has been a dream to own and very, very dependable and capable. I will buy another if they make the seating more comfortable. The paint and exterior finish is first rate and looks new today. The dealer service at Hall in Va. Beach is 1st class and I would buy another based on the dealership.

Satisfied nissan customer

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Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Pathfinder SE Off-Road 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

Have owned two other Nissans and this is by far the best!!! Wife and kids love. And I love it when I get to drive it...

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

My 1st new car is

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Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Pathfinder SE Off-Road 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

In the past 8 years I have owned 2 vehicles, 1 - 1997 Jeep Wrangler and 1 - 1999 Nissan Maxima. I liked the 4x4 capability of the Jeep (which I need in Colorado) and the pickup and go / gas mileage and reliability of the Nissan. The 06 Pathfinder is the best of both worlds with style and function all in one. I bought a 2006 SE Off- road edition with less than 200 miles on it and now at just under 2000 miles I have experienced between 17.5 mpg and 19.6 mpg. I go up to Fairplay, CO from Denver at least 3 times a month and to the ski resorts about 2 times a month and get great gas mileage both up & down the mountain and in 4x4 drive. In the city I experience lower gas milage @ 17.5 mpg per tank.

Full 2006 Nissan Pathfinder Review

What's New for 2006

This year the SE Comfort Package adds a six-disc CD changer, and leather seating is optional on Off-Road and SE trims. Satellite radio is now available.


When it was first introduced way back in 1986, the Pathfinder rode on Nissan's small truck chassis giving it the kind of bulletproof hardware and rugged image that consumers craved in an SUV. That configuration, and a distinctive two-door design, made it a hit and put the Pathfinder squarely on the SUV map. But as tastes changed, so did the Pathfinder. Nissan eventually added two more doors and moved to a more paved road-friendly unibody design to help the Pathfinder appeal to a wider range of drivers.

Its popularity continued, but for those who liked the original Nissan Pathfinder because of its go-anywhere, do-anything capability, the image was somewhat tarnished. Nissan fully redesigned the Pathfinder last year. In doing so, it switched out the unibody design for a return to a truck-based platform. This time, the underpinnings are related to the full-size Titan pickup. Although this third-generation Pathfinder is longer, taller and wider than before, Nissan's engineers managed to keep its overall length down compared to its competitors. A third-row seat is standard equipment, putting the Pathfinder in the same league as most of its peers. The standard 4.0-liter V6 puts out an impressive 270 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque. The Pathfinder's four-wheel independent suspension attempts to balance ride comfort and off-road toughness, but ultimately sides with the latter.

On pavement, the ride is still smooth for the most part, but gets a bit sloppy over bumps. Handling is decent, too, but when the corners tighten up, the body rolls and the tires squeal, reminding you that this Nissan SUV is related to the Xterra, not the Murano. With a maximum ground clearance of as much as 9.1 inches on 4WD off-road models, steep approach and departure angles, and an underbody design that tucks everything underneath up above the frame rails, the Nissan Pathfinder is right at home in the dirt. A Hill Descent Control (HDC) system maintains a low speed (roughly 3.5 mph) on steep descents, while a Hill Start Assist (HSA) system eliminates the need for fancy footwork on steep climbs by holding the vehicle in place as you go from the brake to the throttle. It also offers four-wheel electronic limited-slip control that moderates the power to all four wheels individually for maximum traction and a low-speed throttle map that offers more precise control while creeping over boulders.

Now as capable off-road as anything in its class, the 2006 Nissan Pathfinder has returned to its roots, while its standard seven-passenger seating allow it to keep up in the cutthroat world of midsize SUVs. Unfortunately, it sacrifices the nimble handling of the old Pathfinder in the name of off-road capability. And although its cabin is kid-friendly and well equipped, it's not sized well for adults, and build and materials quality is inconsistent. There are many choices in the midsize SUV class, and we recommend that you try some of them before deciding on the Nissan Pathfinder.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The four-door Nissan Pathfinder SUV offers four levels of trim to suit varying desires for simplicity or luxury. The base XE puts together the usual list of expected amenities like 16-inch alloy wheels power accessories, keyless entry, a CD stereo and cloth seating for seven. The SE adds slightly larger tires, foglights and a power-adjustable driver seat, in addition to a longer options list. The SE Off-Road trim comes standard with heavy-duty Rancho shocks, underbody skid plates and even larger tires than the standard SE. The top-of-the-line LE is upgraded with upscale amenities like 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, heated leather seating and a Bose audio system. Optional items include a navigation system and a DVD entertainment system.

Powertrains and Performance

The Nissan Pathfinder is powered by a 4.0-liter V6 engine rated for a stout 270 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic is the only transmission available, and both two- and four-wheel-drive versions are offered. XE, SE and SE Off-Road models have part-time 4WD, while the LE gets a full-time system with an all-wheel-drive mode. SE Off-Road models feature advanced traction systems like Hill Descent Control (HDC), Hill Start Assist (HSA) and electronic limited-slip control for enhanced off-pavement capability.


The Nissan Pathfinder comes standard with stability control and four-wheel antilock disc brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and BrakeAssist. LE models come standard with side airbags for front occupants and side curtain airbags that protect all three rows. These are optional on all other models. In NHTSA testing, the Pathfinder earned four out of five stars for front-occupant protection in head-on impacts. Five stars were awarded for protection of both front and rear occupants in side-impact crashes.

Interior Design and Special Features

The new Pathfinder's large overall size allows for good passenger room in the first and second rows, while fold-flat seats give it a maximum cargo capacity of 79.2 cubic feet, about average for this class. There's plenty of space up front for the driver and front passenger, but the second-row seats are snug when it comes to toe and shoulder room. As in most midsize SUVs, the Pathfinder's two-passenger third-row seat is for kids only. The cargo area on SE and SE Off-Road is coated in plastic to allow the transport of wet or muddy items.

Driving Impressions

The Pathfinder's powerful V6 provides ample power for just about any type of driving. Ride quality is generally smooth, but the 2006 Nissan Pathfinder feels a bit sloppy over bumps. During normal driving, body motions are well controlled and the steering is nicely weighted. Tighter cornering results in more body roll than we'd like, however. Off the pavement, these compromises turn into advantages. The same suspension that has it fumbling in the suburbs gives it plenty of travel when negotiating deep ruts. Impressive as the Nissan SUV is in the dirt, competitors like the 4Runner and Explorer offer more balanced dynamics overall.

Talk About The 2006 Pathfinder

Gas Mileage


  • 14
  • cty
  • 19
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs