I've always been a Nissan Pathfinder fan, till now ( I hate the new body style)
I've owned my 2003 for 5 years now. I live in Utah and it's the best 4 wheel drive I've owned. I've had a 1989, 1990, 1997 pathfinders and now the 2003.
I have never had it strand me or had any expensive repairs. I do all the recommended maintenances though.
The gas mileage would be my only "con" but I wouldn't trade better gas mileage for the power it has. I do love the power and control this car provides.
I think for the money this is a solid, reliable, well built car. I see lots of 2003 Nissan Pathfinders with over 200,000 miles. I think that says a lot.
I've always loved the pathfinders since seeing the first one back in the late 80's. my wife and i needed an suv but without the nightmares we had when we owned a jeep. We purchased a 2003 SE with 54K on it. As of today 5/25/11, it has 124,000 miles on it. Gas mileage SUCKS. i'd be lucky to get 17mpg mixed overall, but the vehicle weights over 5000 lbs. Aside form routine maintenance, and a few ware/tare part replacements, the vehicle has been a sound performer. It's not big, but its comfortable to drive. It's been through hell and back the past 4 years, but it keeps on ticking.
I originally had a used 2000 Pathfinder and put over 170K miles on it and never had a problem with it. I traded it in (only because I wanted something newer and sportier) on a 2004 Maxima which turned out to be a piece of crap car! I went back to a Pathfinder this time buying a used 2003 Pathfinder and love it so far.
The only real issue so far has been a cosmetic one; I believe the paint quality is poor.
Keep in mind it has 130k on it but I've never had a vehicle's paint chip like this one does.
Besides that, I have no complaints other than of course the sh-tty gas mileage but fortunately it does not require premium unleaded.
Purchased used from a work aquaintance in 2006 with only 17,000 miles.
Now has 58,000.
So far, so good.
Same issues, CD skips when cold, leather around seat adjusters cracked a bit, heat shield rattle, evap leak - check engine light has been on for about 4 years now.
For those with same issue, I would try a new gas cap for a potential fix.
Also, use Maguire's leather treatment - works great & eliminates the golden retriever smell.
Had new oil pan, etc. installed in December 2011 for about $1,000.
So far cost of ownership is as expected - we live in Vermont & the winters are brutal on vehicles.
I bought my '03 Pathfinder in Aug '05 and ever since it's been wonderful. Yeah, the gas mileage isn't anywhere near a hybrid --but if that's what you're looking for then buy a Civic. But my Pathfinder is great!! I've never had any mechanical problems. The only problem I had was with the heat shields. They became rusted and was removed, but that's what I get for living in Chicago. Let me tell you, I absolutely HATE driving in the snow, but the 4WD helps a lot. I love the bose, heated seats, 6CD changer, programmable driver's seat, & everything else! My boyfriend was mad because I made the decision of buying this car without him, but he (being the car guy he is) even admits it was worth it!!