Midsize SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $7,800 – $30,500*

2005 Nissan Pathfinder

2005 Nissan Pathfinder

2005 Nissan Pathfinder

  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Fuel economy

For everyday driving ease and fuel economy, this truck-type SUV trails such car-type rivals as the Honda Pilot and Nissan’s own Murano. Plus, only the top-line LE offers the convenience of 4-wheel drive that can be left engaged on dry pavement. However, Pathfinder does possess a solid array of true-SUV attributes, including real off-road prowess and a 6000-lb trailer-towing capacity.


Nissan redesigned its midsize SUV for 2005, giving it larger dimensions, more power, and seating for seven instead of five. Pathfinder retained a truck-type design, but adopted independent rear suspension. Compared to the 1996-2004 model, it was 6.3 inches longer in wheelbase, 4.9 inches longer overall, 3.1 inches wider, and about 450 lb heavier. A V6 remained standard, but horsepower increased by 30 to 270. A 5-speed automatic was the sole transmission.

Four models were offered: XE, SE, SE Off-Road, and luxury-oriented LE. All came with rear-wheel drive or with 4WD that includes low-range gearing. The LE’s 4WD system was Nissan’s All-Mode setup, which can be left engaged on dry pavement. The 4WD system on other Pathfinders should not be left engaged on dry pavement. Antilock 4-wheel disc brakes and traction/antiskid control were standard. The LE had 17-inch wheels, the others had 16s. Front side airbags and curtain side airbags that cover all three seating rows were standard on LE, optional on the others.

All Pathfinders had a 50/50 split folding 3rd-row seat. Exclusive to SE Off-Road were standard all-terrain tires, Rancho-brand shock absorbers, skid plates, and unique upholstery, plus Nissan’s Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist systems. Leather upholstery was standard on LE, optional on SE Off-Road. Exclusive to LE were driver-seat/mirror/pedal memory settings, wood-toned interior trim, and available navigation system. Other available features included power-adjustable pedals and DVD entertainment.

Yearly Updates

2006 Pathfinder
There were no changes for the Pathfinder in 2006.
2007 Pathfinder
Pathfinder carried over unchanged.
2008 Pathfinder
The 2008 Nissan Pathfinder got slightly freshened interior and exterior styling, and for the first time, was offered with a V8 engine. Newly available were SE V8 and LE V8 models with a 310-hp 5.6-liter V8. Newly standard on all except S models was a 7-inch color information screen with rearview camera.
2009 Pathfinder
The 2009 Nissan Pathfinder was largely unchanged.
2010 Pathfinder
The 2010 Nissan Pathfinder was largely unchanged.
2011 Pathfinder
The 2011 Nissan Pathfinder entered its 25th year on the market with a new Silver Edition trim level.
2012 Pathfinder
There were no changes of note to the 2012 Nissan Pathfinder.


longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

Pathfinder comes only with a 270-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 and a 5-speed automatic transmission. Newly available in 2008 were SE V8 and LE V8 models with a 310-hp 5.6-liter V8.

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/241
Engine HP 270
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 291
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic



dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.6/341
Engine HP 310
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 388
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic


Road Test

Pathfinder is capably peppy. Our test 2WD SE clocked 7.8 sec 0-60 mph. Passing maneuvers require a brief moment for the transmission to downshift, but power is ample thereafter.

Fuel economy is a sore point. Test 2WD SE averaged an acceptable 17.0 mpg in a city/highway mix despite gas-eating performance tests, but test 4WD versions averaged just 13.6-15.7 mpg in routine driving. Nissan recommends premium-grade fuel.

Pathfinder’s suspension is less absorbent than many car-type rivals, but fine for a truck. The 16-inch tires iron out broken pavement better than LE models’ 17s or SE Off-Road models’ all-terrain treads. Still, bumps and expansion joints can cause some bounce, wheel patter, and even body shudder.

Handling is decent, with direct, responsive steering. But even low-effort cornering induces nose plow–body lean typical of truck-type SUVs. Also note that the turning radius is too wide for close-quarters maneuvering. The brakes are smooth and progressive, however.

Inside, drivers will find well-placed gauges and user-friendly controls. The available navigation system takes time to learn, but doesn’t absorb audio/climate controls–a huge plus. Cabin surfaces are nicely padded in places most frequently touched, but mostly hard plastic elsewhere, which imparts a low-budget ambience. The LE model’s wood-tone trim lends a classier look.

Occupant space is good up front, with ample leg and headroom. Available adjustable pedals allow pilots to tailor a good driving position. Thick roof pillars impede driver visibility over the shoulders.

Second-row headroom is good, even beneath sunroof housing. The third row seats are sized for kids, and are tricky to access even with the standard tumble-forward 2nd-row seats.

All rear seats fold to form a level load deck without removing headrests. A fold-flat front-passenger seatback is available for longer cargo items.


Model Tested: 2005 4WD Pathfinder SE

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 5
Fuel Economy - 3
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 4
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
Cargo Room - 9


Value - 6

Total: 57


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
112.2 187.6 72.8 69.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
76.2 1415 21.1 7
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.0 39.0 42.4 34.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 206 Pathfinder 4-door wagon


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Rear Passenger Injury - 5


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Description: Air bag warning light may illuminate signaling failure of the system due to water intrusion in the front crash zone sensor and a campaign was issued to vehicle owners in salt states. (2005-09)
Dashboard lights
Description: The tire pressure warning lamp will glow steadily when the car is started if the long-term storage fuse (also called electronic parts fuse) is temporarily removed. (2003-04)
Engine noise
Description: A rattle noise from the 4.0L engine at around 2,000 rpm is the power valve actuator dithering and can only be corrected by replacing the manifold complete with new valve. (2005)
Description: On trucks with power seats, the seat cushion may not go up and down due to a failed motor. Also, on trucks with manual seats, the seat back may not move fore and aft due to separation of the linkage, which must be replaced. (2005)
Timing belt
Description: A buzzing or whining sound from the front of the 4.0L V6 engine is likely due to the timing chain(s) which should be replaced along with its tensioner(s). (2005-07)
Vehicle noise
Description: A buzzing or whining sound from the front of the 4.0L V6 engine is likely due to the timing chain(s) which should be replaced along with its tensioner(s). (2005-07)
Vehicle noise
Description: Popping and squawking from the front end over rough roads, speed bumps, etc. requires replacement of sway bar bushings with improved ones. (2004-10)
Description: The power windows may quit working if the battery is disconnected or if the window fuse blows requiring reprogramming the windows. (2005-08)
Description: The auto-up feature may not work if the battery was disconnected or the power window is cycled numerous times without going fully up or down and must be reinitialized. (2007-09)
Electrical problem
Description: The electrical system could be damaged, or even start a fire due to a short if trailer wiring that is connected wrong. The company was updating earlier models with revised body control module and wiring harness, but only on vehicles that entered the shop so it is important to check that this service was performed. (2005)

Recall History

2005-09 Pathfinder
Description: (Vehicles sold or registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.) A mixture of snow/water and salt can enter into the front crash zone sensor housing. It may rust and result in a signal interruption. If this happens, the red air bag warning light will illuminate. This issue could result in the non-deployment of the driver and passenger front air bags in a crash. Dealers will replace the front CZS with a counter measured sensor.
2005-2006 Pathfinder
Description: The intelligent power distribution module (IPDM) assembly contains an engine control module (ECM) relay that has a diode for electrical current noise reduction. The ECM relay may allow silicon vapor to form and, over time, this could cause engine stalling increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will replace the ECM relay inside the IPDM assembly. This service will be performed free of charge.
2006-08 Pathfinder
Description: The fuel gauge may inaccurately display that the vehicle still has some fuel, typically about one quarter tank, when the fuel tank is empty. This could cause the vehicle to run out of gas and stall on the highway, which could cause a crash. Dealers will replace the fuel sender unit inside the fuel tank with a new improved sender card.
2010 Pathfinder
Description: On some of the potentially affected vehicles, the fasteners securing the passenger front air bag module and the steering shaft positioning bracket may not have been tightened to the proper torque specification. In the event of a crash, the passenger front air bag deployment trajectory might be affected. The fasteners could possibly come out of the steering column positioning bracket increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will inspect the steering column and the passenger front air bag fasteners and any missing fasteners will be replaced and all loose fasteners will be retightened to the proper torque specifications free of charge.
2011-2012 Pathfinder
Description: Weak bolts connecting the engine oil filter and cooler to the engine may break and cause an oil leak, causing the engine to seize.
2012 Pathfinder
Description: Front wheel hubs may not meet hardness specifications and may prematurely wear and crack.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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