2016 Nissan Pathfinder Review

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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Premium interior design with high-quality materials
  • easy third-row access
  • good fuel economy
  • user-friendly electronics interface.
  • Modest cargo capacity
  • less third-row space than some rivals
  • limited Bluetooth availability
  • lacks advanced safety technologies.

With its stylish cabin and respectable fuel economy ratings, the 2016 Nissan Pathfinder is a solid choice for a seven-passenger crossover SUV. But you might find some competitors more appealing overall.

Vehicle overview

The 2016 Nissan Pathfinder is a competent but aging option among midsize three-row SUVs. It parted ways with its truck-based roots for the 2013 model year, beginning a more civilized journey with family-friendly unibody underpinnings derived from the Altima sedan. One result was a notably smoother ride, and the Pathfinder also stood out thanks to its well-trimmed interior and solid V6 power. We still consider the Pathfinder an adequate entrant in this three-row crossover class, but the competition has stiffened considerably in the years since its debut.

The 2016 Nissan Pathfinder is ready for all-season duty with its available all-wheel-drive system.

Build quality and materials inside the Pathfinder remain at the segment standard or above, and there's a competitive suite of features, even if some are bundled into pricey packages. Certain options should frankly be standard, however, especially Bluetooth connectivity, which is unavailable on the base S trim, lacks streaming-audio capability on the step-up SV trim and requires an upgrade for streaming audio on the SL. Even inexpensive small crossovers get Bluetooth by default these days, and they generally get a USB port, too, which the Pathfinder S once again lacks. We also take issue with the Pathfinder's cargo capacity, which is below the segment average despite the vehicle's substantial exterior dimensions.

The truth is that there are newer, more practical and better-driving alternatives that call out the Pathfinder's once-fresh unibody ethos for what it is: old news. We'd start with the roomy and well-equipped Honda Pilot, which is fully redesigned this year, and follow that up with a close look at the perennially popular Toyota Highlander. Both are top picks in this class and have the Edmunds "A" ratings to prove it. The upcoming 2017 Mazda CX-9 will certainly be an alternative worth investigating, while the "B"-rated Dodge Durango offers generous third-row space like the Pilot and dangles the carrot of optional V8 power. The 2016 Nissan Pathfinder is a likable enough crossover, but it ultimately can't keep up with today's best.

2016 Nissan Pathfinder models

The 2016 Nissan Pathfinder is a midsize seven-passenger crossover SUV offered in four trim levels: S, SV, SL and Platinum.

Standard equipment on the entry-level S includes 18-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, tri-zone automatic climate control, a six-way manual height-adjustable driver seat (with manual lumbar adjustment), 60/40-split folding second-row seats (with slide and recline), a reclining 50/50-split third-row seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control and a six-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer and an auxiliary audio jack.

The SV model adds foglights (optional on S), automatic headlights, a front tow hook, rear parking sensors, remote start, keyless entry and ignition, an eight-way power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an individual tire pressure display, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a 7-inch central infotainment display, a rearview camera and an upgraded audio system with satellite radio and a USB input (which replaces the auxiliary jack).

The 2016 Pathfinder's interior is generally well equipped, though Bluetooth isn't standard on the base S trim level.

Stepping up to the SL trim level gets you a blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert, an adjustable-height power liftgate (with position memory), chrome exterior trim, a heated steering wheel, driver memory settings, a four-way power passenger seat, leather upholstery (first and second rows) and heated front and second-row seats.

Opting for the SL Tech package adds towing preparation (also available separately on SL and SV), an 8-inch touchscreen display, a 360-degree parking camera, DVD playback capability, a navigation system with voice controls and a 13-speaker Bose audio system with Bluetooth audio connectivity. The SL Premium package consists of the SL Tech package plus a dual-pane panoramic sunroof.

The top-of-the-line Platinum model starts with the above features and adds 20-inch alloy wheels, a power-adjustable steering wheel and ventilated front seats. Offered exclusively on the Platinum is a Family Entertainment package that adds a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with dual displays.

A Cold package for the SV trim adds heated front seats (the upholstery remains cloth), plus the heated mirrors and a heated steering wheel.

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2016 Highlights

The Nissan Pathfinder sees few changes for 2016. A Cold package (heated front seats and a heated steering wheel) is now available on the SV trim, while the SL trim gets the heated steering wheel as standard. The Almond interior trim comes with contrasting black and beige materials.

Performance & mpg

Every 2016 Nissan Pathfinder is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. It uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and can be paired with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive at any trim level. The AWD system includes hill-descent control and a locking center differential that fixes power distribution in a 50/50 front-to-rear ratio, which is useful on dirt roads and in the snow.

In Edmunds performance testing, an AWD Pathfinder went from zero to 60 mph in 8.0 seconds, which is about even with a Durango V6 but trails the new Pilot by a remarkable 1.6 seconds (the Highlander splits the difference at 7.3 seconds). EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 23 mpg combined (20 city/27 highway) with front-wheel drive and 22 mpg combined (19 city/26 highway) with all-wheel drive. In Platinum trim, the Pathfinder is rated at 21 mpg combined (19 city/26 highway). Properly equipped, any Pathfinder can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Safety

Standard safety features on the 2016 Nissan Pathfinder include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags that cover all three rows of seats. Rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are standard on all Pathfinders except the base S, which can't get these items even as an option. The SL and Platinum come with a blind-spot warning system and rear cross-traffic alert, while the Platinum comes with a more deluxe surround-view camera system that is optional on the SL. That's it for safety technologies, however, so if you want contemporary features like adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, Nissan's got nothing for you.

In Edmunds brake testing, the Nissan Pathfinder AWD came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet, again more or less matching the Durango V6 (125 feet) but trailing the Highlander (116 feet) and Pilot (120 feet).

In government crash tests, the Pathfinder received the top five-star rating overall, with four stars for total frontal-impact protection and five stars for total side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the current Pathfinder the highest score of "Good" in the small-overlap frontal-offset, moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests. The Pathfinder also received a "Good" rating for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Driving

As a suburban runabout, the 2016 Nissan Pathfinder gets the job done. The 3.5-liter V6 and CVT are responsive enough in most situations, and the gearless CVT's simulated upshifts take some of the monotonous droning out of maximum acceleration. It's still an unconventional experience, however, so we recommend a thorough test-drive to make sure you've got a feel for how the transmission operates.

The 2016 Pathfinder is a smooth and refined cruiser, though it feels less responsive around turns than some rivals.

On pavement, the Pathfinder's suspension does a good job soaking up bumps and road irregularities to create a smooth, stable ride. However, if you choose a Platinum model, which has 20-inch wheels, the ride is noticeably stiffer. Although the steering is light and precise, handling is not a strong suit for the Pathfinder, and it feels large from behind the wheel. If you value driver engagement, we'd suggest looking elsewhere, but we suspect most Pathfinder buyers won't view this as a significant weakness.

Interior

A big part of the 2016 Nissan Pathfinder's appeal is its attractive cabin. High-quality materials give it a decidedly premium look, especially in the top Platinum trim level. The gauges and controls are easy to find and operate. We're especially fond of the 8-inch touchscreen: There's nothing particularly flashy about it, but it's very user-friendly and offers helpful redundant controls adjacent to the screen.

The Pathfinder's second-row seats are pleasantly spacious, and they slide and recline for a custom fit.

Both front- and second-row occupants will find their seats comfortable and supportive. The second-row seats can slide fore and aft and recline for greater comfort, and they'll slide forward even with a child's car seat in place, eliminating the need to remove the car seat in order to get people into the third row. When unoccupied, those seats also slide farther forward than those of most competitors. Unfortunately, once you're back there, third-row leg- and headroom trails that of many competitors. Only children or small adults are likely to be comfortable.

The 2016 Pathfinder also has just 16 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third row. With the second- and third-row seats folded flat, it offers a useful but comparatively modest 79.8 cubic feet. Most competitors offer more maximum space.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2016 Nissan Pathfinder.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
2016 vs. 2013 - Let's Compare
M. Hunter,03/02/2016
Platinum 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
3 year update: No major issues, small rattle in dash trim but otherwise solid! We have enjoyed owning the 2016 Pathfinder for 3 years now. The original Bridgestone tires recently wore out and we went with Pirelli Scorpion ATRs, highly recommended! We had a small dash rattle at the stereo trim that we will get addressed. No issues with CVT and we maintain a constant 18.5 mpg with 75 percent city driving. It has been a solid choice for our family! Original Review: Having owned identical '13 and '16 PF Platinum 4wd models with every option available I am overall pleased with the quality of this vehicle. I would almost call it "Infiniti like" in its ride/handling and Platinum trim features. The PF uses more interior plastic material when compared to an Infiniti but they do a good job of dressing it up. We constantly receive compliments from friends about how nice the interior of the PF is. I realize every trim does not offer the luxury of the Platinum but if you are able to purchase I think it is a great value when compared to luxury brand vehicles. The 2016 also does an excellent job in refining the little annoyances we had with the 2013. Some of these include: Being able to leave fog lights "on" with headlights in "auto" position without the lights being on all the time; The rear cargo gate does not beep the entire time going up and down, just a few warning beeps; An updated CVT transmission program that is much smoother. Speaking of the CVT, that was my primary concern with the 2013. As you will see in reviews most people have experienced the "judder/shake" of the CVT in their PF. We were no different and the first time I thought the CVT was going to be found laying in the middle of the road, it was disturbing! I played along with Nissan and had every re-program/recall addressed. Things improved but I would still feel a hesitation in the transmission occasionally. The 2016 seems to have addressed this with a new program and simulated shifts. After 1,000 miles on this vehicle, the CVT feels much tighter and refined. Fingers crossed it remains this way. The CVT is likely responsible for one of the best parts of this vehicle.... an observed 19 mpg around town and 24 mpg on the highway. Not bad for a 4wd SUV that can tow 5,000 lbs and comfortably haul 7 passengers. One of the best features of the PF aside from its comfortable ride and road manners have to be the safety features. My wife loves the "all around view" monitor and doesn't see herself ever owning another vehicle without it. It is seriously convenient when parking but also a necessity when you have little ones who may be running around. I cannot believe that every manufacturer hasn't included this technology on their SUV line. We also like the blind spot monitoring and cross traffic alert included on our '16. The seating configuration in the PF is genius. Having the ability to slide the second row seats makes the third row bearable to sit it. Speaking of the third row, it really isn't that bad. It is one of the most comfortable we found in a SUV of this size and it can even be accessed while a child seat is secured in the second. Some shortcomings I've found on the '16 PF include a dated navi system and slow processor when you wish to play music from a plug-in device (phone, USB, etc). I really wish Nissan would have opted for LED headlights or at least LED running lights to keep the PF in line with the Rogue and Murano. The biggest drawback I see to the '16 is Nissan missed the opportunity to update the exterior and prevent a dated look when compared with similar crossovers. With that said, I still believe this is one of the best values available for the money. Having owned a '13 PF for 3 years, the 2016 PF is a nice update that seems to have addressed both the major (CVT) and minor issues found on the '13. When compared to the '16 Explorer Limited we had an opportunity to drive a few weeks, the Nissan still wins. Ford has done an excellent overall job on the Explorer but we find the PF to be more comfortable. For example, I can't rest my arm on the door of the Explorer while driving due to its design and that becomes a major annoyance on a road trip. Also the rear seat design and all-around view monitor (not just front/back) gives the PF the edge. In summary, I highly recommend you give the PF a test drive. Notice the little things that make a huge impact on every day driving and I think you will find the PF to be a worthy choice. Opt for the Platinum trim and you will find very comfortable cabin with all the features you could ever need and an "Infiniti like" level of refinement.
4 out of 5 stars
Great Ride! Mileage is sub-par so far....
Nate the Great,08/14/2016
Platinum 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
Test drove the Mazda CX-9 and Mitubishi Outlander - and looked at the Honda Pilot and Dodge Durango. Liked the Nissan for plush, beautiful interior the most - the outside is not the best - but not the worst. The Mazda CX-9 was nice and has GREAT gas mileage, but is actually pretty small and had no discount offers, Dodge was nice but wife hated the look, Honda - not much discount... Outlander nice but too small. Nissan was offering 0% financing and a few grand off, which makes it an easy decision. Got the 4 wheel drive cause it happened to be the only Arctic blue with almond leather interior in the entire area - so we got 4wd with it. That said, at only 1 mpg difference, I figured no big deal. WRONG! We are averaging about 16mpg in San Diego, granted it's mostly city driving, and hilly -- but dang.... That said, it's such a nice driving automobile. Has such a beautiful, well apportioned interior -- makes it a pure pleasure to drive. The 360 camera, nice center console, nice sized glove box, easy access to third row from behind passenger seat (magic seat) -- (works even with car seat installed). Impossible to describe all the 'little' conveniences. Can see individual tire pressure, car beeps if you add air when it gets to the right pressure, front camera is AWESOME! Roof rack cross bars, tow hitch, nice nice nice. All in all, pleased with purchase - love the vehicle immensely. Only down point is the mileage. UPDATE: 2021, still liking the 2016 Pathfinder, no mechanical or other issues. Pleasure to drive, comfortable seats, suspension is forgiving, even if a bit of roll. Gas mileage is still at or below the EPA estimate.
5 out of 5 stars
Quality Materials + Smooth Ride = Great SUV
MRK20016,09/07/2016
SL 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
This is my 3rd Nissan Pathfinder (2002, 2008, 2014) – and this is by far the best of the bunch. Sure it has lost some of its off road mojo, but since off road to me is driving down a dirt path going apple picking or skiing – I am have little to complain about. First off the truck looks great. Beautiful lines, striking paint job that totally pops, beautiful leather seats and dark and useful window tinting – really a great job by the designers at Nissan. The controls are all well placed and very functional (electronics work very well with wifi and Siri on an iphone) – and as with all Nissans, the climate control rocks. Very cold AC, very warm heat and strong defrost. Seating is comfortable, third row is easy to access even with a child seat in the second row, and when the third row is down – I have a ton of cargo space. I am not sure what kind of driving some of these people are doing, but with a good mix of 50/50 highway and city, I am getting 20.5 MPG – which is very respectable for a truck this size. Could not be happier with my Pathfinder.
5 out of 5 stars
Fantastic SUV, couldn't be more satisfied..
Mike B,04/01/2017
Platinum 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
Not sure who is writing reviews on the Pathfinder --especially at Consumer Reports-- for if I had followed them blindly I wouldn't have made the purchase on this fantastic vehicle. We have owned it for 7 months, have put 15,000 miles on it and have never looked back. No rattles, no annoyances, no strange blind spots for the driver, MPG as advertised or better, nor any other quirks which nag at you making you think -- did I make the right choice? We got the Platinum trim, which essentially is a discounted Infinity QX60. This SUV has serious get up and go, looks sharp, and is a joy to drive. And it is supremely comfortable for long road trips (we did a 1,600 mile round trip visit to CA from our home in SLC area, including a 7 hour traffic jam out of LA to Las Vegas with two kids). Sound system is fantastic (Bose), and driver controls are logically laid out and easy to use (knobs, ergonomically friendly buttons on steering wheel, etc.). You can with between 2WD, all wheel drive or lock in 4WD. We had heavy snowfall this year, and with Bridgestone Blizzaks and the Pathfinder's automated power distribution and 4WD we carved up serious winter driving conditions with ease. If I had to nitpick one area where I think Nissan can invest more -- it's the navigation interface-- which is completely serviceable, by the way. That said, I've rented cars with Apple CarPlay (Audi, Ford) and I'm not experiencing worlds of difference when it comes to navigation. We get 19-20 MPG driving kids around town and getting to ski resorts (and there is a lot of climbing !)...on long road trips, we average 24-26 mpg. We certainly recommend this SUV..btw, we researched the heck out of the Pilot, Kia Sorrento, Ford Explorer, and smaller SUVs as well (and test drove the Pilot and Sorrento).

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover17.4%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2016 Nissan Pathfinder

Used 2016 Nissan Pathfinder Overview

The Used 2016 Nissan Pathfinder is offered in the following submodels: Pathfinder SUV. Available styles include SL 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl CVT), Platinum 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl CVT), S 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl CVT), S 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl CVT), SV 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl CVT), SV 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl CVT), SL 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl CVT), and Platinum 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl CVT). Pre-owned Nissan Pathfinder models are available with a 3.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 260 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2016 Nissan Pathfinder comes with four wheel drive, and front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: continuously variable-speed automatic. The Used 2016 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 2016 Nissan Pathfinder?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Nissan Pathfinder trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Nissan Pathfinder SV is priced between $10,995 and$27,000 with odometer readings between 42633 and180839 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Nissan Pathfinder S is priced between $16,974 and$18,772 with odometer readings between 63382 and86510 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum is priced between $19,749 and$21,000 with odometer readings between 85894 and87299 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Nissan Pathfinder SL is priced between $22,000 and$24,950 with odometer readings between 42997 and59093 miles.

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Which used 2016 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) 2016 Nissan Pathfinder for sale near. There are currently 17 used and CPO 2016 Pathfinders listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $10,995 and mileage as low as 42633 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 2016 Nissan Pathfinder.

Can't find a used 2016 Nissan Pathfinders you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Nissan Pathfinder for sale - 9 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $13,945.

Find a used Nissan for sale - 10 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $7,670.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan Pathfinder for sale - 11 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $13,037.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan for sale - 11 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $7,386.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 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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