2004 Nissan Pathfinder Review

Used Pathfinder for sale
List Price Estimate:$1,344 - $2,524
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Smooth and powerful engine, carlike driving dynamics, high-quality interior, solid reliability record, rear entertainment system option.
  • Tight rear accommodations, high price tag, no third-row seat option.

Although newer midsize SUVs offer more room and optional V8 power, the Pathfinder remains an appealing choice, thanks to its handsome interior, smooth V6 and carlike handling.

Vehicle overview

Nissan's hardy Pathfinder has frequently been a good choice for seeking a new path to the premium outlet center. Though the exterior may exude that tough-guy outdoorsy image, the interior has always been comfortable enough for the dilettante woodsman who doesn't like to get his nails too dirty. The current model's last full redesign dates back to 1996. That's a long time, but Nissan has been able to keep the Pathfinder relatively fresh by making frequent updates. In 2001, the company addressed the vehicle's biggest problem -- a lack of power -- by dropping in a 250-horsepower V6 engine. The interior was also restyled, and more standard features were added. We've long admired the Pathfinder for its excellent ride and handling, further enhanced by solid unibody construction. Quality construction, supportive front seats and useful features make the interior one of the friendliest of any SUV on the market. Last year, the Pathfinder received minor updates, including a stability control system and a tire-pressure monitor. Though the Ford Explorer and Toyota 4Runner offer better overall packages, the Pathfinder still holds its own in the midsize SUV segment. It's reliable and offers an excellent compromise between a carlike ride and trucklike utility. For us, that's more than enough to warrant a solid recommendation.

2004 Nissan Pathfinder models

There are only two trim levels available: the SE and Platinum Edition. The SE includes features like 16-inch wheels, heated outside mirrors, cruise control, power windows and locks, remote keyless entry and air conditioning. On the Platinum Edition, you get those features plus 17-inch wheels, leather seats, a moonroof, power front seats, an in-dash six-disc CD changer, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, automatic climate control, electroluminescent gauges, aluminum door sill plates and special dark wood trim. Most of these features can be ordered as optional equipment for the SE. For 4WD Pathfinders, heated front seats are optional on the SE and standard on the Platinum. Both models can be ordered with a wide array of optional equipment. Highlights include an entertainment system that offers a video or DVD player and ports to plug in a gaming console. The Pathfinder can also be equipped with an XM or Sirius Satellite Radio system.

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2004 Highlights

The LE models are now called Platinum Editions and include electroluminescent gauges, aluminum door sill plates and special dark wood trim. Rounding out the minimal changes for this year are three new exterior colors -- Canteen, Luminous Gold and Platinum.

Performance & mpg

The Pathfinder is powered by a 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine. It makes a stout 240 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic is the only transmission. This powertrain provides plenty of power whether asked to haul sports equipment to the mountains on the weekends or merge onto freeways during rush hour commuting. The Pathfinder comes with either rear-wheel drive (2WD) or part-time four-wheel drive. Four-wheel-drive SE models get a shift-on-the-fly transfer case that can be engaged at speeds up to 50 mph. On Platinum Edition models, a more advanced automatic All-Mode four-wheel-drive system is standard. If you want to tow, the Pathfinder can handle up to 5,000 pounds.


The 2003 Nissan Pathfinder comes with antilock front disc/rear drum brakes supplemented by Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. Platinum Edition models come standard with front seat-mounted side airbags and side curtain airbags. These are optional on the SE. There is also an optional stability control system that helps to prevent dangerous skids and spins. If you are planning to load up five passengers, note that the rear seat's center position has just a two-point lap belt. The IIHS gave the Pathfinder an overall rating of "Marginal," the second-lowest ranking possible, for its 40-mph frontal offset crash test. In government crash testing, the Pathfinder earned four stars (out of a possible five) for frontal impact safety and five stars for side-impact safety.


The Pathfinder is easy to maneuver and pleasurable to drive on the freeway and on winding canyon roads. In the dirt, it's not as adept as some other SUVs (the Jeep Grand Cherokee comes to mind), but it is still quite capable when going off-road.


The Pathfinder can haul a substantial 85 cubic feet of cargo, a surprising figure for what appears to be a relatively small vehicle. However, some of this space, in our humble opinion, should have been used to alleviate the cramped rear accommodations. There's just 31.8 inches of legroom for rear passengers, about five inches fewer than what is offered in the Ford Explorer.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2004 Nissan Pathfinder.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
2004 Pathfinder LE Platinum - Awesome
John Patek,02/09/2017
LE Platinum Rwd 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 4A)
I bought my Pathfinder as a used vehicle in 2008 with approx. 70,000 miles and now as a 13 year old vehicle, I wouldn't trade it in for anything out there today. I make sure to adhere to the maintenance schedule which is always a good idea. The only non-maintenance issues I ever had was a problem with the BOSE system cassette player, and replacement of the front window washer motor ...... that's it after all these years. Just for fun, I shopped around to see what's out there in today's market when I realized how great this SUV is and decided to keep it until the car or I dies, which ever comes first :-)
4 out of 5 stars
My first SUV and I STILL love it!!!!
LE Platinum Rwd 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 4A)
Initially, I wanted a Tahoe or Yukon - was looking on a car lot, the Yukon they had wasn't 'up to snuff', so I was ready to walk away. My husband spotted this olive green Pathfinder that I hated from the start!! But I had been looking for months, I was tired of looking for something and it had less than 91,500 miles on it. A year and a month later....I FREAKING LOVE IT!!! I actually started loving it about 3 days after purchasing it. Very roomy, love the sunroof, auto adjustable driver's seat, leather interior. We have driven it to Kansas (within the first month of getting it!), once to middle TN and twice to Arkansas (near the MI state line). I try to keep up with the oil changes (I average every 4000 miles) and it's about time for a tune-up (more out of routine and it hasn't had one in the year+ I've had it). So glad hubby talked me into this one - stuck on Nissan for life!! Might get an Armada next time... ;-) Three years and three months later...yes, I still love my Pathfinder!! I took it to be completely serviced for the first time (other than an oil change). Tune up, oil change, air and fuel filters, both belts, brakes - everything was $700. But considering I had been driving it for 3 years, I was fine with it. My mechanic was surprised it was running, the air filter was so dirty. No major issues, I don't see myself trading it out or getting anything else any time soon, although I did go sit in an Armada and like it as well, but I'll be sticking with my Pathfinder until the wheels fall off!! LOL Update (5 yrs, 8 mos): I’m being swayed by the Murano or an X5, newer models with all the bells and whistles that I want (sleeker design, Apple CarPlay, nav system, heated seats/steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, etc), but I can’t see myself without my baby!! Been on road trips numerous times (AR, GA, AL, MS, northern TN) in 2019/2020, and she’s never let me down or disappointed me. As long as I take care of her, she takes care of me! I put a brand new set of tires on her in July 2019 and I keep up with tune ups and oil changes (just had both done early Nov). I read somewhere recently that she’s supposed to have premium gas - I’ve never put anything other than regular in her since the day I got her (April 2015) 🤷🏽‍♀️😅 6 years, 2 months later: Had my first major issue with her a few months ago - intake manifold gasket and something else that was leaking oil big time. But my baby never stopped running, just had a burning smell if I drove her longer than 30 mins. Thank God I wasn’t making any long trips, just around the city. Cost $940 total to fix and she’s as good as new again! 🤩
2 out of 5 stars
Loved my pathy but engine blew up at 107k
LE Platinum 4WD 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 4A)
known design flaw Nissan won't cover - Google Nissan power valve screws falling into cylinder - if you have one you should do relatively cheap preventive maint to avoid this issue recall covered some models but not my 3.5 which also had the problem
4.5 out of 5 stars
2004 pathfinder
SE 4WD 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 4A)
I like my pathfinder other than the gas mileage and the 6 disc radio gives me trouble in cold weather. Its a very comfortable ride with lots of room. Goes excellent in the snow.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • 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

More about the 2004 Nissan Pathfinder

Used 2004 Nissan Pathfinder Overview

The Used 2004 Nissan Pathfinder is offered in the following submodels: Pathfinder SUV. Available styles include SE 4WD 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 4A), LE Platinum 4WD 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 4A), LE Platinum Rwd 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 4A), and SE Rwd 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 4A). Pre-owned Nissan Pathfinder models are available with a 3.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 240 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2004 Nissan Pathfinder comes with four wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic. The Used 2004 Nissan Pathfinder comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2004 Nissan Pathfinder?

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Which used 2004 Nissan Pathfinders are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2004 Nissan Pathfinder for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2004 Nissan Pathfinder.

Can't find a used 2004 Nissan Pathfinders you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Nissan Pathfinder for sale - 9 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $20,769.

Find a used Nissan for sale - 4 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $8,691.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan Pathfinder for sale - 6 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $20,577.

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Should I lease or buy a 2004 Nissan Pathfinder?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Nissan lease specials
Check out Nissan Pathfinder lease specials