Used 2003 Nissan Pathfinder Consumer Reviews - 171 Car Reviews | Edmunds

2003 Nissan Pathfinder Consumer Reviews

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Possibly the worst transmission in world
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Mark
on

Vehicle

2003 Nissan Pathfinder SE 4WD 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 4A)


Review

I currently own a 2003 Nissan Pathfinder SE. It's RWD/4WD and I have absolutely no complaints in terms of performance. It's pretty comfortable for a truck. Haven't had many issues for storage. It has some pretty good features in it for an 03. HOWEVER, I've had this truck for 4 years and I've spent almost as much in maintainence as I spent purchasing it. The biggest problem is the 3-speed automatic trans. It stopped shifting past 2nd gear about a year after I got it. So I bought a brand new, $800, trans for it and now it barely shifts and it won't go in reverse. I'm not saying all Nissans are crap, but all they're Pathfinder models don't seem to be worth it.


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good longevity if you can keep the oil in it
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
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By Kathy
on

Vehicle

2003 Nissan Pathfinder SE 4WD 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 4A)


Review

I purchased my 2003 pathy as a 1 owner with 83000 miles on it. It has been solid except it started consuming oil around the 125000 mark. That has continued to date and is getting progressively worse so it is now a get around towner. The fit and finish is ok and has stood up pretty good but in the door area on the passenger rear is rusting out. I had to repair the evap system at 275$. Many parts on it are original and show no signs of wearing out even with 186000 on it. I was told the engine oil issue was a design problem that they know they have and are doing nothing about. It has lost some of the paint/ black trim color on some of the parts and the door seals are finally coming loose. It has consistently gotten 17 in town and 18-19 on the interstate. I don't like the oil problem because I would drive it till the wheels fell off if it didn't use a half qt every 350 miles. I am thinking of opting for a Toyota this next time around but I appreciate the 102K miles it has given me.


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Great first truck for a new driver
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Dave
on

Vehicle

2003 Nissan Pathfinder LE 4WD 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 4A)


Review

My son's first car (truck). Paid $3500 for this well maintained LE with 4x4 having 119k miles. He wanted a 4 Runner or Cherokee, but they are almost double for a nice one. It performs well: powerful, shifts smooth and is quite comfortable having leather and a sunroof. Now after 1 year and 130k miles it's done well with only about $300 spent to keep in good running condition. This includes replacing the rear suspension for just $140 (Amazon + our labor) and a few dollars for oil, minor parts and a couple of sensors. He lifted it 2 inches along with new AT tires, but this is a separate cost. I like that it has front and side air bags for safety. It does have a minor RMS leak, but so did all five of the others that we looked at. This is almost a given for most vehicles this old. It will cost >$600 to fix, so we are putting it off. MPG is 17, this is ~80% highway, about as advertised and expected. Oh, if you are looking to buy any of this generation (R50) be sure to look for rust in the front wheel wells as this has been a big problem in areas using road salt. If you see any rust, best to pass on it.

Update: now at 139k miles. Everything is still good. Spent about $300 more on repairs ($600 total in 20k miles) on a new starter and front axle shafts. The boots on the shafts failed, but this is probably due to the lift. Still has the RMS leak, but we've been catching the drips in a rag that we replace every 2-3 weeks. A great first vehicle for an active kid, except for the poor gas mileage.


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Ive had my nissan for a decade...still love her...
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
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Reliability
By Tina
on

Vehicle

2003 Nissan Pathfinder LE Rwd 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 4A)


Review

She never fails to be there when she is needed most. Biggest issue is swirl control valve siloniod had replaced many many years ago then few years later was acting up again. Bought anotjer however it didmt solve it. Every 3 months she acts up then take off battery let sit over night and she is fixed or temp fixed.. seats are not comfortable but all in all its a great reliable ride


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I love this vehicle! 2003 Pathfinder
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Noah P
on

Vehicle

2003 Nissan Pathfinder LE Rwd 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 4A)


Review

I can't say enough good things about my Pathfinder. I purchased this vehicle two years ago and it has been one of the best economy SUVs I have ever driven, and despite the hell I've given her, she has treated me spectacularly. It's certainly not the nicest, nor does it have a lot of bells and whistles, but it has grown on me in a way no way any other vehicle has. I got lucky, and after totaling my last vehicle, a family friend sold this car to me for practically nothing. It currently has 278,000 miles (yes, two hundred thousand), but boy, did this engine get taken care of. No out of the norm replacements engine-wise and the transmission is insanely smooth. No strange sounds or weird misfires, just the sweet sound of 6-cylinders combusting fuel. I have had one major repair since I bought the vehicle, but at this mileage, I can't complain. (it was the fuel pump, not very expensive) The engine is POWERFUL for the mileage. When I say for the mileage, really, just in general, this car is pleasant to drive. This engine gets up and goes with a 3.5 V6. I absolutely admire the acceleration! I ride to work every day on the interstate going 85mph, and it has no problem getting up to high speeds. It barely fights me to even surpass 100mph, and for an SUV with this mileage, that is wonderful. It handles marvelously, and sometimes I forget that I'm even driving such an old vehicle. Quiet interior, well-kept. I love that the seats in the back fold down for extra cargo space. Slap some blankets down in the back and its great for camping. It's not the roomiest vehicle in the world, but it gets the job done, and has never left me stranded or worried that something may break. I have taken several road trips that attest to its reliability, and it never runs hot even when being driven for 4+ hours. On the same note, I had a venture 1 year ago involving getting it stuck knee deep in water and mud, water in the cabin, and I have had no issues following the incident. (except a cumbersome mildew smell for a few weeks...) In fact, we pulled her out and went right back to mudding afterward. My only complaint would be poor exterior paint quality. The paint is tremendously faded, and it chips very easily. The MPG may also be a deal breaker for some, as I average about 12-13 MPG. However, I have test driven a lot of new vehicles recently, and haven't quite found a rugged SUV with the smoothness and power that this vehicle offers. I test drove a 2016 Toyota 4Runner, and I was honestly disappointed with the lack of power and ride quality that it provided. (dashboard MPG was reading at about 12 MPG on the interstate on top of that) In all honesty, I may keep this vehicle and just restore the paint and add some aftermarket features. Ultimately, I would recommend this vehicle to anyone looking for a used vehicle with an excellent ride. If me assigning my car a gender in any way attests to the fact that this vehicle will grow on you, I have done my job here. Kudos to Nissan for manufacturing such a great vehicle, I sure wish the market would return to the SUV glory days. Pro Tip: fill her up with premium gas and you will see a huge difference.


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