2011 Nissan Pathfinder SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2011 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 2011 Nissan Pathfinder

  • The 2011 Nissan Pathfinder still has skills off-road, but its size and weight make it overkill in the concrete jungle. Buyers wanting a comfortable seven-passenger midsize SUV are better served by a large crossover.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Powerful V6 and V8 engines; generous storage room; strong towing ability.

  • Cons

    Guzzles gas; cramped second- and third-row seats; less cargo space than large crossovers; drives like a truck.

  • What's New for 2011

    For the 2011 Nissan Pathfinder, a 25th-anniversary Silver Edition joins the lineup and options packages have been simplified.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Full 2011 Nissan Pathfinder Review

What's New for 2011

For the 2011 Nissan Pathfinder, a 25th-anniversary Silver Edition joins the lineup and options packages have been simplified.


Once a compact five-passenger hauler with nimble feet off-road, the Nissan Pathfinder finds itself in the clutches of middle-age gravity. It's now larger, heavier and sturdier than its younger self. In some respects, that's not a bad thing. Powered by a V6 or V8, perched atop the same sturdy truck chassis as the Nissan Titan and offered with rear- or four-wheel drive, the Pathfinder can still scramble over rocks and tow a decent-size trailer. But for getting you through daily life, the Pathfinder is increasingly out of touch.

On the positive side, the 2011 Nissan Pathfinder has a maximum towing capacity of 6,000-7,000 pounds, depending on the engine selected. This is more than what you'll be able to do with a typical crossover SUV. And even with its fully independent suspension, the Pathfinder still has decent off-road chops. But we suspect most Pathfinder owners will be favoring the trailer over the trail, and head for the river rather than the Rubicon.

Either way, the Pathfinder's traditional SUV design brings a number of notable drawbacks. The first is weight, which conspires to drag down gas mileage and handling ability when compared to large crossover SUVs. Additionally, that body-on-frame construction robs the cabin of passenger and cargo space; even though the Pathfinder has three rows of seating, neither the second nor the third row is roomy.

Overall, we think there are better choices. If you really need a tow vehicle, a larger SUV like the 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe would make more sense. On the opposite side of things, crossovers like the redesigned 2011 Ford Explorer, 2011 GMC Acadia and 2011 Mazda CX-9 are roomier, more nimble and more fuel-efficient. And if you really do need an SUV with a mix of towing and off-road abilities, we'd recommend the impressively redesigned 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee or the capable Toyota 4Runner. Middle age, it seems, has not been kind to Nissan's Pathfinder.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Nissan Pathfinder is a midsize seven-passenger SUV offered in five trim levels: S, SV, 25th Anniversary Silver Edition, LE V6 and LE V8.

Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, roof rails, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, an eight-way manually adjustable driver seat and a six-speaker stereo with CD player.

The SV adds 17-inch alloy wheels, running boards, foglights, automatic headlights, 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, a rearview camera and an auxiliary audio jack.

The Silver Edition adds keyless ignition/entry, heated mirrors, body color/chrome side moldings, leather upholstery, a four-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, Bluetooth and a 10-speaker Bose audio system with six-CD changer and satellite radio. The Pathfinder LE V6 comes with 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, driver memory functions, a heated steering wheel and wood-grain trim. The top-line LE V8 loses the standard sunroof but gains the 5.6-liter V8 and a hard-drive-based navigation system with digital music storage.

No options are offered for the S, SV and Silver trims. The navigation system is optional on the LE V6. A rear-seat entertainment system is offered for both LE trims.

Powertrains and Performance

Two engines are offered for the 2011 Nissan Pathfinder. The 4.0-liter V6, standard on all but the top trim level, makes 266 horsepower and 288 pound-feet of torque, while a 5.6-liter V8 that produces 310 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque powers the Pathfinder LE V8. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models.

All models are rear-wheel drive, with optional part-time 4WD featuring a shift-on-the-fly transfer case operated with a dash-mounted switch available on S, SV and Silver models. LE models offer available full-time four-wheel drive.

In Edmunds 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 LE V8 made a quick 7.0-second sprint from zero to 60 mph in our testing. But that performance comes with a fuel economy penalty of 13/18/14 mpg. Properly equipped, the V8 model can tow 7,000 pounds.


The 2011 Nissan Pathfinder comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control, front seat active head restraints, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags.

In Edmunds 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.

The Nissan Pathfinder has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash testing procedure. Its 2010 rating (which isn't comparable to 2011 ratings) was 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

The 2011 Nissan Pathfinder offers an attractive and well-appointed cabin with three-row seating and a generous amount of interior storage space. Front seating is quite comfortable, but second-row passengers will feel cramped and longing for foot and shoulder room. The third row is suitable for children only, and even they'll have a hard time getting in and out due to the Pathfinder's high-mounted door handles and tall step-in height. Both the second and third rows fold flat, as does the front passenger seat, allowing 79 cubic feet of cargo space, typical for this class.

Driving Impressions

With either engine, the 2011 Nissan Pathfinder is an impressive performer, with its automatic transmission providing perfectly timed and smooth gearshifts. Steering is surprisingly responsive and sharp, especially for an SUV of this size. It almost feels sporty in traffic -- almost. Despite four-wheel independent suspension, the Pathfinder still drives more like a truck than a car-based crossover, with a rough ride on broken pavement and pronounced body roll through corners.

Talk About The 2011 Pathfinder

Gas Mileage


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