2010 Nissan Pathfinder SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2010 Nissan Pathfinder SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Nissan Pathfinder Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.0 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 266 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 15/22 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2010 Nissan Pathfinder

  • The 2010 Nissan Pathfinder can tame the wilderness with its off-road skill, but it's not as adept in the concrete jungle. Consumers just wanting a comfortable seven-passenger midsize SUV will be better served by a large crossover.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Plenty of power from V6 and V8 engines, attractive cabin with good ergonomics, generous storage room, strong towing ability.

  • Cons

    Guzzles gas, cramped second- and third-row seats, less cargo space than large crossovers, feels truckish to drive.

  • What's New for 2010

    The number of available configurations has been significantly reduced for the 2010 Nissan Pathfinder. The SE Off Road trim bites the dust, while options packages have been reorganized.

Full 2010 Nissan Pathfinder Review

What's New for 2010

The number of available configurations has been significantly reduced for the 2010 Nissan Pathfinder. The SE Off Road trim bites the dust, while options packages have been reorganized.


Back in the 1990s, Nissan found a path to success with its Pathfinder SUV -- one of the pioneers in the class of rugged off-roading vehicles that made the transition to family on-road use. Yet with rising gas prices and the advent of crossovers, the 2010 Nissan Pathfinder finds itself on a path that no longer leads to the promised land of abundant sales and healthy profits. While this latest model is the best yet, it's a relic of a different time and really only makes sense for a narrow range of shoppers.

The 2010 Pathfinder is based on the same sturdy truck chassis as the full-size Nissan Titan and Armada. This helps to boost the Pathfinder's off-roading credentials, but realistically its large size and the discontinuation of the Off Road package mean that dedicated mud-slinging and rock crawling aren't very likely. The Pathfinder is still a strong candidate for towing duties, however, thanks to stout V6 and V8 engines capable of towing 6,000 and 7,000 pounds, respectively, when properly equipped. Both of these engines are class standouts, providing ample thrust whether hooked up to a trailer or not.

There are downsides to this truck frame, however. The first is weight, which conspires to drag down gas mileage and handling ability as compared to those of large crossover SUVs like the Ford Flex and GMC Acadia. Additionally, that body-on-frame construction robs the cabin of passenger and cargo space, both of which pale in comparison to those aforementioned crossovers. For people who never plan on towing or finding an unpaved path somewhere, a large crossover is a much wiser choice.

However, if you do routinely tow a boat or venture to a cabin in the woods, the 2010 Nissan Pathfinder is still one of the strongest members of the traditional midsize SUV class. It's quicker and more luxurious than the Dodge Durango and Ford Explorer, though its longtime rival, the Toyota 4Runner might eclipse it this year thanks to an extensive redesign. Kia's refined Borrego might also be worth a look. All said, though, the Pathfinder should suit you well as long as you'll be able to take advantage of its strengths.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2010 Nissan Pathfinder is a midsize seven-passenger SUV offered in four trim levels: S, SE, LE and LE V8. Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, rear tinted windows, a receiver hitch, roof rails, a tailgate with separate glass hatch, a front skid plate, keyless entry, cruise control, air-conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, an eight-way manually adjustable driver seat and a six-speaker stereo with CD player.

The SE adds 17-inch alloy wheels, running boards, foglights, upgraded cloth upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat, power-adjustable pedals, a leather-wrapped wheel and shifter, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air-conditioning, a color multi-information display and an auxiliary audio jack. The SE Premium Journey package adds roof rail cross bars, keyless ignition/entry, automatic headlights, a rearview camera, an auto-dimming mirror and a 10-speaker Bose stereo with six-CD changer and satellite radio.

The LE adds the Premium Journey package items plus 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, heated side mirrors, heated front seats and steering wheel, leather upholstery, driver memory functions, a four-way power passenger seat and wood-grain trim. The LE Navigation package (standard with the V8 model) adds a hard-drive-based navigation system, real-time traffic and 9.3 gigabytes of digital music storage. A rear-seat entertainment system is also optional for the Pathfinder LE.

Powertrains and Performance

Two engines are offered for the 2010 Nissan Pathfinder. The 4.0-liter V6 that is standard on all but the top trim level is good for 266 horsepower and 288 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard, while both rear- and four-wheel drive are available. The four-wheel-drive system available on S and SE models is a part-time system with a shift-on-the-fly transfer case operated with a dash-mounted switch. The LE gets a full-time four-wheel-drive system. In performance testing, a 4WD Pathfinder went from zero to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds. Estimated fuel economy is 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined with rear drive and 14/20/16 with 4WD. Properly equipped, the V6 can tow 6,000 pounds.

The Pathfinder LE V8 gets a 5.6-liter V8 that produces 310 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. It, too, gets a standard five-speed auto, and four-wheel drive is standard. Our tests resulted in a quick 7.0-second sprint from zero to 60 mph. Of course, this comes with a fuel economy penalty of 13/18/14 mpg. Properly equipped, the V8 model can tow 8,000 pounds.


The 2010 Nissan Pathfinder comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control, front seat active head restraints, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags.

In brake testing, the Pathfinder LE V8 came to a stop from 60 mph in 134 feet, which is about the norm for truck-based SUVs. In government crash tests, the Pathfinder was awarded four out of five stars for frontal crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside the Nissan Pathfinder, occupants will find an attractive cabin with excellent ergonomics. Optional amenities like navigation, Intelligent Key (keyless ignition/entry), Bluetooth and a hard-drive-based music server only add to the luxurious ambience. Front seating is quite comfortable, but the same cannot be said for the other positions. Second-row passengers will feel cramped, particularly longing for foot and shoulder room. The third row is suitable for children only, and even they will find access problematic due to the Pathfinder's high-mounted door handles and tall step-in height. The cargo space accommodates a maximum of 79 cubic feet -- typical for this class -- thanks to the ability of both rear rows to fold down flat.

Driving Impressions

With either engine, the 2010 Nissan Pathfinder is an impressive performer. The eight-cylinder variant smokes the Ford Explorer's V8 on the way to 60 mph by a full 2 seconds, and its automatic transmission provides perfectly timed and smooth gearshifts. The steering is surprisingly responsive and sharp, especially for an SUV of this size, giving it an almost sporty feel in traffic. However, the Pathfinder still drives more like a truck than a car-based crossover, with its heavy curb weight and pronounced body roll.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Limited edition pathfinder

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Vehicle: 2010 Nissan Pathfinder LE 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

we own a 2010 Nissan Pathfinder LE and we love it. plus it does have a navigation system and we used it but we are not so crazy about it and it does have heated seats. it has 3rd row seats to but we never use them because we only have 3 people in our family.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Steady and reliable

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Vehicle: 2010 Nissan Pathfinder LE 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

My third one, had an 05, an 07 and now a '10. Love the Pathfinders. I have an LE this time so a little more plush inside. I am a contractor and use this for work so carry lots of tools and materials, no problem carrying the load. When it clean up it cleans up good. Gas mileage isnt great but other than that I can honestly say non of the Pathfinders that I have owned have ever let me down. Excellent build quality and would highly recommend.

Does its job, quality average

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Vehicle: 2010 Nissan Pathfinder SE 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

When we bought it new, it was after a long decision process between Pathfinder and 4Runner. It fits the needs of our family here in Colorado perfectly - it's comfortable around town and on the highway, great for camping trips, and surprisingly good off-road. Really nice interior design and quality. We are happy with it after 3 years of ownership, and hope to keep it long time. My wife absolutely loves it, however, the built quality to me is questionable. When off-roading, the squeaks and rattles are very annoying, it feels like the truck is going to fall apart. Back on the road, it's surprisingly smooth and quiet. If you don't go off-road, there are much better choices out there.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Dependable, but not exceptional

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Vehicle: 2010 Nissan Pathfinder LE 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

I purchased this vehicle new in April of 2010 as a replacement for my 2005 Chevy Trailblazer which was becoming undependable mechanically. It was important to me to get a nice “cockpit fit” with comfort and electronics, and a dependable vehicle. My first observation is that I had to buy a much more pricey vehicle than what I really wanted in order to get just a few options that I found important. That would not be all that bad, if those features worked as promised. The day I drove the vehicle off the lot, it had two deficiencies: The Bluetooth connection for the phone did not sound good and the windshield was improperly installed, causing an awful noise in the wind and at high speeds. After much effort and loss of use (mostly the fault of Faulkner Nissan in Harrisburg, PA and not Nissan itself other than allowing the actual defect to leave the factory), the noise is fixed. The Bluetooth issue appears to be a result of poor design and is not fixable. I’ve owned several vehicles with a built in cell connection of some type and I frequently rent vehicles for work travel so I have a lot of vehicles to compare this one to. The extremes: Talking on my phone in the Trailblazer was like being in a sound booth; simply perfect, connected via OnStar with a Verizon account—I even got better reception than I did with the cell phone itself. The Pathfinder is the absolute worst I have ever experienced. It is almost bearable if the vehicle is not in motion, but it is impossible to carry on a normal phone conversation when at speed. So, if you are looking for only intermittent emergency use of the Bluetooth/cell feature, this might get the job done for you. If you are looking to return calls and conduct business while on the move, I suggest you look elsewhere. I should also note that the Bluetooth in this vehicle is only for the phone. If you want to play music from your iPhone, you’ll need to use an RCA cable (coupled with the fact that you need to charge your phone then from one of the 12V power outlets, you’ll have at least two wires running around your vehicle. Beyond these issues (which are obviously important to me), the vehicle is average. 18.4 MPG, almost no matter what I am doing. It is a good dog transported as I leave the 3rd row set down all the time so the space in back is bigger. My pooch likes the rear A/C. The 2nd row of seating looks big to me and I imagine it is fine for kids, but my workmates tell me there is no leg room when we go to lunch. I get it serviced on time and there have been no significant mechanical issues beyond those I have already mentioned. You could do worse. Just don’t buy from Falkner Nissan in Harrisburg, PA.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Crash tested 2 of them!

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Vehicle: 2010 Nissan Pathfinder LE 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

Got an 08 for hubs cuz the deal we got. Our love affair w/Nissan began! Someone turned in front of him when it was a week old. Minor, fixed easily. When I got mine, I told sales I didn't want a black or Pathfinder (since hubs already had). Well, didn't have $ for Armada so ended up w/ my black Pathfinder LE! I've had it for 2.5 years and am in love. Few mos ago, a car was came at me head on, hwy speeds. Had to drive into a ditch, he hit my back 1/4 pan at 50mph & spun me 90 deg. in the ditch My 2wd Pathy drove in the ditch like it was a road. Had a bruised knee & neck/back injured. He had no insurance, so mine footed the bill. $8000 in damage, (mostly to rear susp) but she's good as new!

Nice suv

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Vehicle: 2010 Nissan Pathfinder LE 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

I actually have the 2010 diesel pathfinder in Spain. TONS of torque. Unbelievably quiet on the road. It always surprises me how quiet a ride it has when I pull out on to a highway after being off-road. My mileage thanks to the diesel averages around 30-35 miles to the gallon. Fit and finish of the dash is not as good as my Toyota but still not terrible. After 6 months I am pretty happy with it. The 7 seats are great with the kids and in-laws. Bose package is also very nice.

Talk About The 2010 Pathfinder

2010 Nissan Pathfinder Discussions See all Started By

On a 2010 Pathfinder with AT, while at a stop with the brake on and in drive, there is a mild vibration. It seems like a pack of horses are ready to be released. Is this normal? Thanks for any help in...


Model Affected Pathfinder...

Gas Mileage


  • 15
  • cty
  • 22
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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