V6 Pathfinders are peppy from a stop and around town. A 2WD SE did 0-60 mph in 7.8 seconds in our testing. Passing maneuvers require a brief moment for transmission to downshift, but power is ample thereafter. However, some testers feel the V6 labors to deliver brisk uphill acceleration from midrange speeds. No V8 models have been made available for testing.
In Consumer Guide testing, a 2WD SE averaged 17.0 mpg. Test 4WD versions averaged 13.6-15.7 mpg. Nissan recommends premium-grade gas for both the V6 and V8.
Pathfinder is less absorbent than crossover rivals, but fine for a traditional truck-based SUV. The SE's 17-inch tires iron out broken pavement better than the LE's 18s. Still, bumps and expansion joints can cause some bounce and body shudder.
Low-effort cornering induces noseplow and body lean typical of truck-type SUVs. A wide turning radius hurts close-quarters maneuvering. Braking action is smooth and progressive.
Pathfinder is quiet for a truck in gentle cruising, but wind rush rises markedly with speed. The V6 sounds coarse and strained at full throttle.
The gauges are easy to read, and most controls are simple to use. The LE's available navigation system takes time to learn, but doesn't absorb audio or climate controls--a plus.
Cabin surfaces are padded in places frequently touched. Most other panels are hard plastic, which imparts a low-budget ambiance. LE's wood-tone trim lends a classier look.
Room/Comfort/Driver Seating (Front)
Most occupants will have ample headroom and legroom. SE and LE have soft, supportive seats. Driver visibility aft and over the shoulder is impeded by thick roof pillars, the rear windshield wiper, and rear stop lamp. Step-in height is true-SUV lofty. Well-placed grab handles assist entry and exit; the available running boards mostly get in the way.
Headroom is good in the 2nd row, even beneath the sunroof housing. Legroom is tight for tall riders with front seats set far back. The 3rd-row seat is sized for kids and tricky to access even with tumble-forward 2nd-row seats.
All rear seats fold to form a level load deck without removing the headrests. The LE's DVD entertainment system eats into front console space. Cabin storage is otherwise ample, including a clever in-floor compartment under the 2nd-row seats.
Value Within Class
For everyday-driving ease and fuel economy, this truck-type SUV trails such crossover rivals as the GMC Acadia and Nissan's own Murano. Only the most expensive versions offer 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 7,000-pounds towing capacity.
The 2010 Nissan Pathfinder is largely unchanged. This 7-passenger midsize SUV comes in S FE+, S, SE, and luxury-oriented LE trims. The SE Off Road has been discontinued. All have a 266-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 engine. Also offered is the LE V8 with a 310-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 engine. The only transmission is a 5-speed automatic. Maximum towing capacity is 6,000 pounds with the V6, 7,000 pounds with the V8. The S FE+ is rear-wheel drive and has powertrain tweaks designed to increase fuel economy. SE and LE V6 offer both rear drive or 4-wheel drive. The S and LE V8 are 4WD only. LE models have Nissan's All-Mode 4WD system that can be left engaged on dry pavement. The 4WD on the S and SE should not be left engaged on dry pavement. Both 4WD systems include a low-range gear for off-road use. Available safety features include ABS, traction control, antiskid system, curtain-side airbags that cover all seating rows, and front-side airbags. Pathfinders have a 50/50 split-folding 3rd-row seat. Leather upholstery is standard on LE. A navigation system is standard on the LE V8 and optional on the LE V6.
Consumer Guide Automotive places each vehicle into one of 18 classes based on size, price, and market position. Larger than Compact SUVs, Midsize SUVs offer a mix of car- and truck-type construction, V6 and V8 power, and up to 8-passenger seating. This class also includes crossover vehicles.
Our Best Buy choices are the Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot, GMC Acadia, and Mazda CX-9. Our Recommended picks are the Chevrolet Equinox, Dodge Journey, Ford Flex, GMC Terrain, and Toyota Highlander.
New or significantly redesigned models include the Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, Hyundai Santa Fe, Mazda CX-7, Mazda CX-9, and Toyota 4Runner.