The Nissan Pathfinder is a midsize CUV slotting in between the smaller Xterra, and the larger Armada. When Nissan dropped the first generation Pathfinder on the American market in 1986, buyers were ready for the cooler looking alternative to the family minivan. Nissan offered the Pathfinder as an alternative to the Toyota 4Runner, which had almost single-handedly created the practical SUV segment. Through four generations, the Pathfinder has adapted to meet needs of shoppers so a used Nissan Pathfinder for sale is no exception.
The fourth generation Nissan Pathfinder debuted in 2013 as an entirely new model, however, the third generation Pathfinder, built from 2005 to 2012 is the most Followed version on Mojo Motors. The Pathfinder is a traditional SUV with body-on-frame construction and an optional 5.6 liter V8 engine borrowed from the Nissan Titan full size truck. In the fourth generation, Nissan went with a different route focusing on unibody construction. This, however, limits towing capacity compared to the previous model, but the comfort and handling are vastly improved.
With gas prices seemingly never going down, Nissan was wise to turn to their legendary VQ series of engines for the 2013 Pathfinder. The VQ35DE engine is a 3.5 liter aluminum V6 that has been in everything from the Altima to the 350Z. The 3.5 V6 is known for its reliability and impressive torque. The V6 has variable valve timing and direct injection, which results in 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. This power comes with no mileage penalty, as the new Pathfinder gets 23 combined MPG in FWD while the 4WD takes only a 1 MPG hit.
If the current model doesn’t get the job done for you, take a look at the third generation. The base engine in the 2005 to 2012 Pathfinder was the VQ40DE V6, with 266 horsepower and 288 lb-ft. It is essentially the same engine as the newer model, but the older VQ40 has longer connecting rods, making for more displacement, at 4.0 liters. Still, the V6 achieved 17 MPG combined, which is not bad for such a large capable truck. If that isn’t enough grunt, the Pathfinder received a 5.6 liter V8 in 2008. Sporting 310 horsepower, the V8 gave the SUV a sense of sportiness and a respectable towing capacity. It came with a price at the pump, though, with 14 combined MPG, and it needs premium. Ouch.
Pathfinder VS 4Runner
The traditional direct competitor to the Pathfinder is the Toyota 4Runner. Both models are evenly matched, and have been throughout their production runs. They both added 4 doors, added V8s to their lineup, then backed down to V6s, all within a few years of each other. The 4Runner does have a larger V6 engine that makes more horsepower than the Pathfinder, but it is still body-on-frame which means it suffers from the weight and MPG penalties. The current 4Runner gets 19 combined MPG. Ultimately, it really comes down to which manufacturer, or which styling you prefer – Toyota or Nissan?
The 2013 Pathfinder is visually almost the same size as the previous model. At about sixteen and a half feet long (197.2 inches), this is not a compact. The CUV has grown from the previous truck, due to a longer wheelbase, adding to a more spacious and comfortable interior. This is why the 2013 model is also wider, giving occupants more shoulder room. The new Pathfinder is two and a half inches shorter than the previous model. This is probably due to the need for higher MPG ratings, and surprisingly, does not a thing to reduce the headroom.
Written by Andy Jensen