2005 Nissan Pathfinder Review

Pros & Cons

  • Most powerful V6 in the class, above average off-road ability, well-laid-out interior, flexible seating design, ample storage space throughout.
  • Tight rear-seat accommodations, on-road handling not as refined as car-based competitors, some odd interior materials.
List Price

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Edmunds' Expert Review

An excellent blend of off-road toughness and everyday comfort, but its concessions toward true backcountry capability might turn off those who want the image more than anything else.

2005 Highlights

The Pathfinder has been completely redesigned for 2005 and now includes third-row seating and a larger, more powerful V6.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2005 Nissan Pathfinder.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Transmission Problems
LE 4WD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
After reading all this reviews I decided not to wait and / or pay a lot of $$ to get this fix, so what we came up with is totally different cost effective and it works great, I know that this is a problem with the Nissan design but I bought it so now is my problem here goes, we cancel the lines that go thru the radiator and put an independent oil cooler to the side of the radiator with this little gadget you can be sure that you will never ever have this problem again and the transmission oil will be more cooler with this modification so the tranny will work better, cost to do this = 60 buck for the oil cooler, 15 buck to add transmission oil to the oil cooler and that's it well + what you
Coolant fluid leaking into transmission!
Faith Q,04/20/2016
LE 4WD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
It would have been really nice to have gotten a heads up on a defective part in the radiator that will eventually kill your transmission and your radiator. We bought our Pathfinder brand new in 2005. We have never had it serviced anywhere other than the dealership. My theory was that it would be better to have our Nissan maintained at the dealership so we wouldn't have any issues with things coming up that other mechanics may not know about, well that backfired! We never received a letter that some have stated that they received telling them about the potential destruction of their vehicles transmission and radiator do to the defective part. My Pathfinder is now sitting in our driveway while we try to figure out what to do..... This is frustrating to say the least. We have always maintained this vehicle per the dealership and the only thing we were told was it wasn't a problem or it would have been recalled!!!
Best of the best
SE Rwd 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
Got my pathfinder back in 05, never had any problems with the the truck. Its been to texas and back many times. Like couple years back when we got that horrible winter storm here in chicago it handle the road like nothing. The best suv out there for the heavy snow. RWD with the 4x4 option. all i got to say its that its the best and knkw that its 10 years old still runs like new.
Good Car
LE Rwd 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
I got my Path used 3 years ago it's a 2005, I'm very happy with it then I started reading the reviews and got concern I know that this is a Nissan design issues but I was not going to wait till I have to pay a lot of $$ to get the radiator and tranny fix so my friend and me started looking for some options and we found the solution so we cancel the lines that go thru the radiator to cool the tranny oil and put an independent oil cooler so now I will never need to be concern on this issue, cost to do this 70 buck's for the oil cooler + what you mechanic charges you. Good luck


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • 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
    Rollover3 / 5
    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
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2005 Nissan Pathfinder
More About This Model

The Nissan Pathfinder is a bit of an anomaly. It's not often that a company comes full circle with the design of one of its most successful models, but Nissan has done just that with its midsize 'ute. When it was first introduced way back in 1986, the Pathfinder rode on Nissan's small truck chassis giving it the kind of bulletproof hardware and rugged image that consumers craved in an SUV. That configuration, and a distinctive two-door design, made it a hit and put the Nissan Pathfinder squarely on the SUV map.

But as tastes changed so did the Pathfinder. Nissan eventually added two more doors and moved to a more road-friendly unibody design to help the Pathfinder appeal to a wider range of drivers. Its popularity continued, but for those who liked the original Pathfinder precisely because of its go-anywhere, do-anything capability, the image was somewhat tarnished.

For 2005, the Pathfinder has returned to its roots and once again rides on a body-on-frame truck chassis. This time around Nissan used a modified version of the F-Alpha platform that underpins the full-size Titan. With its fully boxed frame rails and all-steel, dual-wishbone design, it's a setup that has all the toughness you could ever want or need in an SUV. Along with this robustness, however, there are also fully independent front and rear suspensions designed to deliver a smooth ride and enough additional interior room to add a third-row seat. Nissan may have returned the Pathfinder to its roots but it didn't forget to include the kind of modern features that today's SUVs need to succeed. After two days behind the wheel we found its combination of off-road durability and on-road refinement a curious combination that should satisfy both the fans of the original and those who never wanted to see the last Pathfinder go.

Like most redesigned vehicles these days, the 2005 Nissan Pathfinder is bigger than its predecessor in most dimensions. Although it's longer, taller and wider, Nissan's engineers did manage to keep the overall length down compared to competitors like the Toyota 4Runner and Ford Explorer. The shorter length keeps its size manageable while a longer wheelbase assures that it has the kind of space inside that today's SUV buyers expect. A third-row seat is now standard equipment, putting the Pathfinder in the same league as most of the competitors in the category.

The larger size and switch to body-on-frame construction brought with it a sizable increase in weight, but the extra heft is compensated by the Pathfinder's marked increase in engine power. The standard V6 was bumped from 3.5 to 4.0 liters, resulting in some pretty impressive numbers. With 270 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque, the Nissan Pathfinder now boasts the most powerful V6 in its class. Advanced features like variable valve timing, all-aluminum construction and electronic throttle control assure that it retains a refined feel despite the fact that it's been tuned to provide the kind of low-end torque that an SUV of its size needs. A five-speed automatic is the only transmission available but there isn't much need for an alternative.

While plunking around tight city streets, we weren't blown away by the push of the big V6 but there was never any lack of on-demand power either. Between the sharp shifts of the automatic transmission and the quick throttle response, the Pathfinder always feels ready to move out in a hurry. Getting a feel for all the power of its 270 horses requires a jaunt on a wide-open freeway. It was in such conditions that we found the Pathfinder's new engine to be particularly impressive as it was able to build speed like a vehicle half its size. Higher-speed passing is a no-brainer and even when it's winding out to redline the engine never loses its refined nature. We did notice a slightly raucous engine note during our test-drive, but Nissan's engineers assured us that a different muffler would be used on production models — we hope it's enough to quiet things down a little.

Discerning the changes in the Pathfinder's ride quality proved to be more difficult than noticing the easily perceptible increase in power. While some might consider the move to body-on-frame construction a step backward, the Pathfinder combines that move with a switch to a fully independent suspension — a notably more modern setup. This mix of old and new gives the Pathfinder a desirable mix of toughness and tunability, but it delivers varying results.

The previous Pathfinder was often lauded for its comfortable around-town demeanor and the new model isn't much different. Body motions are well controlled, the steering is nicely weighted and road irregularities are soaked up with little cabin intrusion. Interior noise levels are low, too, with minimal howl from even the optional off-road tires.

As refined as it remains, the '05 model isn't quite as in touch with the road as its predecessor. There's some flabbiness to it that reminded us of the Xterra, Nissan's smaller SUV that has been a truck-based vehicle from Day One. It fumbles a bit over bumps and responds to inputs at a slightly slower pace than before, but only those who are intimately familiar with the previous Pathfinder are apt to notice the difference. Compared to other vehicles in the class, it's a commendable setup that few will find fault with.

As much as the Pathfinder's on-road characteristics reminded us of the limitations of body-on-frame design, its off-road prowess highlighted the advantages of the truck-derived hardware. Although the previous model was a capable performer in the rough stuff, it was never a first choice of hard-core off-roaders. The '05 version is a true backcountry machine that's as capable as any midsize SUV when it comes to tackling adventures far from the beaten path.

Nissan set about fortifying the Pathfinder's off-road ability from two angles. From a fundamental perspective it has a maximum ground clearance of as much as 9.1 inches on 4WD off-road models, steep approach and departure angles and an underbody design that tucks everything underneath up above the frame rails. From a technological standpoint, Nissan introduced several new electronic systems that give the Pathfinder significant help when it comes to tackling tough terrain. A new Hill Descent Control (HDC) system maintains a low speed (roughly 3.5 mph) on steep descents while a Hill Start Assist (HSA) system eliminates the need for fancy footwork on steep climbs by holding the vehicle in place as you go from the brake to the throttle. It also offers four-wheel electronic limited-slip control that moderates the power to all four wheels individually for maximum traction and a low-speed throttle map that offers more precise control while creeping over boulders.

It's a lot of acronyms to keep track of, but after threading the Nissan Pathfinder through a tight forest trail we have no doubt that it has what it takes to get you just about anywhere. Regardless of what you know about how all the new gadgetry works, when it comes down to picking your way over logs and through streams all you have to do is keep your foot in it and it just keeps on going. Since most of the systems derive their control through the selected application of the brakes, there's plenty of associated noise from the constant clamping of brake calipers, but once you get used to the racket it becomes an acceptable part of the off-road experience.

As capable as the Pathfinder is in the dirt, buyers who are considering it for nothing more than a family vehicle won't be disappointed either. Along with the sophisticated traction control systems, Nissan also saw to it that the Pathfinder would be just as well equipped to tackle carpool duty. The addition of a third-row seat is the most notable upgrade over the previous generation, one that was made possible by the new independent suspension as it frees up floor space in the rear of the cabin. The larger overall size also allows for more passenger room in the first and second rows while fold-flat seats give it a maximum cargo capacity of 79.2 cubic feet — slightly more than the 4Runner but a little bit less than an Explorer.

The Pathfinder has never been the biggest player in the segment when it comes to passenger room and although the '05 is bigger than any previous model its accommodations are still a little tight. There's plenty of space up front for the driver and front passenger, but the second-row seats are snug when it comes to toe and shoulder room. Like most midsize SUVs, the Pathfinder's third-row seat isn't adult-friendly. Kids will fit fine, however, and it does fold flat into the floor when it's not needed for additional storage space.

Nissan paid close attention to the utility factor of the Pathfinder as evidenced by the unique design of the cargo area. A segment exclusive "easy clean" surface makes it suitable for wet or muddy items as it can be hosed out for quick cleaning. Multiple cargo hooks are available to secure loose items and the overall shape of the space is flat on all sides to make the most out of the area available. Additional storage space is available in side compartments as well as underseat storage boxes below the second row.

Safety wasn't overlooked either as the Pathfinder now incorporates ABS, a tire-pressure monitoring system, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and an electronic stability control system as standard equipment. Optional safety items include side seat airbags and side curtain airbags that protect passengers in all three rows.

The Pathfinder offers four levels of trim to suit varying desires for simplicity or luxury. The base XE puts together the usual list of expected amenities like power accessories, remote keyless entry, a CD stereo and cloth seating while the SE adds slightly larger tires, foglights and a power-adjustable driver seat in addition to a longer options list. A new SE Off-Road trim comes standard with heavy-duty Rancho shocks, underbody skid plates and even larger tires than the standard SE. The top-of-the-line LE is upgraded with upscale amenities like 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, heated leather seating, a Bose audio system and both side seat and side curtain airbags. Optional items include a DVD-based navigation system and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

Needless to say, there's not much missing from the Pathfinder's equipment list. It has just about every feature you could want in a midsize SUV — a powerful drivetrain, a manageable size, serious off-road hardware and enough comfort and feature content to keep the family happy. The fact that it has a slightly choppier ride than the previous version is hardly grounds for dismissal, especially when you consider its ability to tackle just about any terrain you can throw at it.

Given the number of strong competitors in the segment that offer similar combinations of versatility, the success or failure of the all-new Pathfinder could very well rest on the acceptance of its distinctive new look. Nissan proved with the original Pathfinder that the right image is a strong sales tool that can't be overlooked and the new version has enough original lines to get it noticed in a sea of like-sized competitors. You might say that the Nissan Pathfinder has returned to its roots in more ways than one, but learned enough new tricks along the way to make it a formidable competitor in the cutthroat world of midsize SUVs.

Used 2005 Nissan Pathfinder Overview

The Used 2005 Nissan Pathfinder is offered in the following submodels: Pathfinder SUV. Available styles include LE 4WD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XE 4WD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), LE Rwd 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XE Rwd 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SE 4WD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SE Rwd 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SE Off Road 4WD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), and SE Off Road Rwd 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2005 Nissan Pathfinder?

Price comparisons for Used 2005 Nissan Pathfinder trim styles:

  • The Used 2005 Nissan Pathfinder LE is priced between $3,999 and$3,999 with odometer readings between 101106 and101106 miles.

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Which used 2005 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) 2005 Nissan Pathfinder for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2005 Pathfinders listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $3,999 and mileage as low as 101106 miles. 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 2005 Nissan Pathfinder.

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Find a used Nissan Pathfinder for sale - 11 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $25,122.

Find a used Nissan for sale - 11 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $22,706.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan Pathfinder for sale - 9 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $11,436.

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Should I lease or buy a 2005 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.

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