Used 1996 Nissan Pathfinder

1996 Nissan Pathfinder

Used 1996 Nissan Pathfinder for Sale

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

After a 10 year run, the original Pathfinder has been retired. Despite its overly compact interior dimensions and asthmatic acceleration, we liked the rugged looks of Nissan's sport ute. However attractive the design, the Pathfinder was positively aged in comparison to the current crop of competitors, kind of like Sophia Loren standing next to Julia Ormond.

This year brings a new and improved Pathfinder from Nissan. In its transformation, the Pathfinder has gained length, width, cargo, and passenger volume. Body-on-frame construction has been replaced with a stiffer and lighter unibody structure, and the wheezy old 3.0-liter V6 has been bored out to 3.3 liters, resulting in a gain of 15 horsepower and 16 foot-pounds of torque. Doesn't sound like much, and it isn't. However, combined with the lighter body and a flat torque curve that provides 90 percent of the engine's pulling power between 1500 and 1800 rpms, the Pathfinder is more lively than the old model. It also tows more weight. Equipped with an automatic transmission, towing capacity is up from 3500 pounds to 5000. Four-wheel drive models feature shift-on-the-fly capability at speeds up to 50 mph. Rounding out mechanical changes is rack and pinion steering, which replaces the old Pathfinder's archaic recirculating ball setup.

Dual airbags debut with this redesign, and antilock brakes are standard on all Pathfinders. Designers have improved the ergonomics of the Pathfinder by arranging controls according to consumer preference, and audio control knobs are sized differently than climate control system knobs to reduce confusion. The rear 60/40 split bench seat folds flat, increasing utility, and reclines, increasing comfort. Exterior styling is intended as a refined design created in the mold of the original. We think it might have been created out of mold. This SUV has lost much of its rough and tough look; side rails, fender flares, a tire rack and sheetmetal stampings on the liftgate do little to make this bland new Pathfinder look as spicy as last year's model. This seems to be a common trend at Nissan lately -- one we find disconcerting. The Pathfinder didn't budge our excitement meter stylistically.

Three trim levels are available, and prices range from $22,800 for the least expensive two-wheel drive XE five-speed to $33,900 for a loaded four-wheel drive LE automatic. This price range plants the Pathfinder right in the thick of the competition, from the Subaru Legacy Outback on the low end to the GMC Yukon SLE on the high end. With more distinctive looks, this new Nissan might be able to carve out a successful niche in this crowded market segment.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Nissan Pathfinder.

16 years old and still going strong
gpapgar, 4/7/2011
At almost $4.00 a gallon, I'm driving it less and less. I was riding home from work this winter in the dark and enjoying the Christmas lights at 20 degrees (Fahrenheit) from the back of my even-more-ancient Yamaha. But, mpg aside, when I do drive my 96 Pathfinder, I have an absolute sense of confidence. At 16 years old with only 95000 on the odometer, I think I could get another 16 out of it. Nothing has gone wrong with the vehicle since I have owned it (second owner). Recently, at about 90000 miles, I replaced the timing belt and water pump just because it was time. Most of the exhaust system was rotted away this year. $400 later, with a shiny new exhaust, we're still just rolling along.
Best Vehicle I've Ever Owned
Curt, 3/3/2009
I bought my Pathfinder in 99 with 34000 miles on it. Now, almost 10 years later, it has 170,000. By far the best vehicle I've ever owned. The only non-maintenance items were a manifold, that Nissan covered, and rear suspension bushings. Otherwise, the Pathfinder drives like it did the day I bought it. Fabulous reliability!
17 Years old and still going!
cathcall, 7/13/2013
This 1996 Nissan Pathfinder is my third vehicle. The first time I toke this pathfinder for a test drive i fell in love! Out of all the vehicles I have owned and driven this one is truly the best! All the build materials used don't feel cheap it all feels solid and when you close the door you can hear the quality that was put into this SUV.
It keeps on ticking
edwin ballow, 5/24/2007
Almost 200,000 miles and almost no problems. The car actually gets better with age. I'm getting the best mpg ever from 17 to 18-19 consistantly. With 200,000 miles I'd trust it to go cross country in a heartbeat. I treat it rough and ugly, then clean it up and it looks great. Nissan does not focus on mpg. If you have one, put in a K&N air filter for more power and put on tires rated for low rolling resistance to increase the mpg.
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Features & Specs

MPG
15 city / 17 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
168 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
15 city / 18 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
168 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
14 city / 17 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
168 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
15 city / 19 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
168 hp @ 4800 rpm
See all Used 1996 Nissan Pathfinder features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    0

More about the 1996 Nissan Pathfinder
Used 1996 Nissan Pathfinder Overview

The Used 1996 Nissan Pathfinder is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include XE 4dr SUV, LE 4dr SUV 4WD, XE 4dr SUV 4WD, SE 4dr SUV 4WD, and LE 4dr SUV.

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