The 2012 Nissan Pathfinder ranks 23 out of 23 Affordable Midsize SUVs. This ranking is based on our analysis of 52 published reviews and test drives of the Nissan Pathfinder, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.
Though the 2012 Nissan Pathfinder can tow and go off-road like an SUV should, compared with the competition, it isn't up to snuff.
The Nissan Pathfinder is a lonely truck-based SUV in a world of car-based crossovers. It has a towing capacity that's fairly good for a midsize SUV, and it can seat up to seven. Plus, it's one of the few midsize SUVs left that offers a V8 engine. However, test drivers say that in most respects, you can find an SUV that out-performs the 2012 Nissan Pathfinder, no matter what your priorities are.
The Pathfinder doesn't especially excel either in off-roading or towing. And if its seven seats caught your eye, keep in mind that its third row is harder to get to than most midsize SUVs with a third row, and once you get there, it's kid-sized. Finally, many SUVs offer V6 engines as the more fuel-efficient option, but even the Pathfinder's V6 has poor fuel economy than almost any other. And its V8 fuel economy is dismal.
The Pathfinder isn't necessarily a bad SUV. It has a simple interior, seating for seven and a capable V8. It's just that reviewers say that overall, competitors offer more.
Other SUVs to Consider
The Dodge Durango is better than the Pathfinder in nearly every category. Redesigned for 2011, it's now a car-based crossover, but even with its base engine, the Durango can tow more than the Pathfinder. Plus, reviewers say the Durango is fairly sporty for a seven-seat SUV, and its fuel economy is better than the Pathfinder's in comparable configurations. The Durango also has an interior that testers say is high-quality, and its base model costs just a bit more than the Nissan Pathfinder does.
If you've got your heart set on a truck-based SUV, check out the Toyota 4Runner. It also seats up to seven, though its third row is just about as cramped as the Pathfinder's. However, the 4Runner is one of the most respected off-road SUVs around, and it offers significantly more cargo space behind the front row than the Pathfinder does. You'll have to pay a bit more for the 4Runner, but its base model comes better-equipped.
If you're considering the Pathfinder, keep in mind that Nissan is completely redesigning it for 2013. The 2013 Pathfinder will be a car-based crossover rather than a truck-based traditional SUV, so it will likely serve much better as a family vehicle than the current Pathfinder. The new Pathfinder will hit dealerships later in 2012, so if you don't need a new SUV immediately, you may find that the 2013 model is worth the wait.