11 Best & Worst Nissan Pathfinder Years (Stats & Examples)

It would be an injustice to mention mid-size SUVs that have thrived over the years without including the Nissan Pathfinder. The Pathfinder, now in its fifth generation, is a reliable and dependable vehicle that is strongly built.

It has enjoyed some very fantastic years, and it has also seen some unbearable years too.

In this article, we will be examining the best and worst years of the Nissan Pathfinder so that you can make the best choice when buying one.

The Best and Worst Years for the Nissan Pathfinder Are:

The best Nissan Pathfinder model years include the 2011, 2012, 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2022 model years. On the other hand, the worst Nissan Pathfinder years to avoid are the 2005, 2006, 2007, 2013, and 2014 model years.

These model years should be taken note of when considering buying a used Nissan Pathfinder.

What Nissan Pathfinder Years Are the Most Reliable?

The Nissan Pathfinder is generally a reliable SUV. However, there are some model years that have done outstandingly well in terms of quality, reliability, and performance.

Below are some Nissan Pathfinder model years that have fared particularly well. These are the models that come to mind when we consider how many miles and years a Nissan Pathfinder would last.

1. 2011 Nissan Pathfinder

The 2011 Nissan Pathfinder was built with performance and practicality in mind.

It is equipped with a standard V6 engine that produces an impressive 266 horsepower. There is also an option of a more powerful V8 engine that oozes a whopping 310 horsepower.

Apart from its powerful engine options, the 2011 Pathfinder is a more practical SUV than many of its competitors.

The 2011 Pathfinder has received mostly average scores on various platforms because it’s not as sporty or luxurious as some rivals.

It scored an average of 78/100 for quality and reliability on J.D. Power and scored a better grade for resale value at 80/100 on the same platform.

The 2011 Pathfinder is also one of the model years with low a low number of reported complaints.

From data available on Car Complaints, the 2011 Pathfinder has 67 complaints which is one of the fewest for any model year.

2. 2012 Nissan Pathfinder

The 2012 Nissan Pathfinder is a very reliable SUV that has received some remarkable ratings for its overall quality and its impressive towing capacity.

It may not be seen around the top of its class, but it sure gets the job done when it comes to off-road functions.

On J.D. Power, the 2012 Pathfinder was rated a notable 82/100 for quality and reliability.

Like its immediate predecessor, the 2012 Pathfinder is great on resale value with an impressive score of 81/100 on the same platform.

Based on Edmunds’ consumer reviews, 61% of owners rated the 2012 Pathfinder 5 stars, while it got an overall rating of 4.4/5 stars.

The 2012 Pathfinder has proven to be among the safest SUVs with an outstanding 9/10 score for safety on the U.S. News platform.

It has a meager 36 complaints attached to its name, this amounts almost to nothing as compared to some other model years.

3. 2017 Nissan Pathfinder

The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder has been suggested by some to be the best model year ever.

In the previous model years, the Pathfinder was consistently criticized for its inferior interior materials but this is not the case with the 2017 model year as it boasts a rich interior.

On Edmunds’ consumer reviews, the 2017 Pathfinder was rated 4.3/5 stars as 63% of consumers gave it a 5-star rating. As a very safe midsize SUV, it scored 9.3/10 for safety by the U.S. News platform.

It was given an average overall rating of 77/100 and a handsome resale value of 81/100 on J.D. Power. The resale value backs up the fact that the 2017 Pathfinder is a qualitative and reliable vehicle.

The Pathfinder is also among cars with lots of cup holders.

4. 2018 Nissan Pathfinder

The 2018 Nissan pathfinder boasts a powerful V6 engine and a thrilling towing capacity that does not cut short the expectations of car enthusiasts.

Its steering and suspensions were refined and upgraded for this model year to enhance smooth driving quality.

The 2018 Pathfinder got a critics’ rating of 8.0/10, and it scored a profound 9.3/10 for safety according to U.S. News.

The 2018 Pathfinder has suffered only 3 recalls by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

On Car Complaints, the 2018 Pathfinder has received 241 complaints with the major problems being interior accessories problems and transmission problems.

Of all the Nissan Pathfinder model years, the 2018 model is among those with fewer reported problems.

5. 2020 Nissan Pathfinder

The 2020 Nissan Pathfinder has been widely praised for its engine power, satisfactory fuel economy, and balanced handling.

This Pathfinder model year stands tall when it comes to safety as it was rated a full 5 star for overall safety by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Quality and reliability are other strong attributes of the 2020 Pathfinder. This successful midsize SUV scored a remarkable 83/100 for quality and reliability on J.D. Power.

It also got an overall score of impressive 81/100 on the same platform.

50% of consumers’ reviews on Edmunds gave the 2020 Pathfinder a full 5-star rating. It also has an impressive overall rating of 4.0/5 still on Edmunds.

Please also read our article about the best and worst years for the Nissan Terrano.

6. 2022 Nissan Pathfinder

Beginning the fifth generation of the Nissan Pathfinder, the 2022 Pathfinder has almost everything in check.

From an ample and rich interior to myriads of standard safety and infotainment features, this fully redesigned SUV is an apparent top contender in its class.

The 2022 Pathfinder has a decent overall rating of 80/100 on J.D. Power. On the same platform, it scored an average of 77/100 for quality and reliability.

Elsewhere, the 2022 Pathfinder has been proven to be a reliable and safe vehicle with overwhelming safety ratings.

U.S. News scored the 2022 Pathfinder an almost perfect 9.6/10 for safety.

According to Car Complaints, the 2022 Pathfinder has only 49 complaints so far-one of the fewest for all model years. It has also had only 5 recalls by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

What Nissan Pathfinder Years Should You Avoid?

Although the Nissan Pathfinder is a renowned and reputable vehicle, there are some model years that you must avoid when buying a used Pathfinder. The Nissan Pathfinder model years to run from are listed below.

They’re probably the reasons the Pathfinder is among Nissan cars with the most recalls.

1. 2005 Nissan Pathfinder

The 2005 Nissan Pathfinder got fully redesigned to usher in the third generation of the Pathfinder line.

For the first time, a third seat row was added to its seating capacity.

However, being fully redesigned did not favor the 2005 Pathfinder as it was plagued with varying degrees of overwhelming problems.

These problems included

  • Transmission problems
  • Fuel system problems
  • Engine problems, and
  • Exhaust system problems among others

On Car Complaints, the 2005 Pathfinder has been reported to have over 2,000 complaints, the most for any of the Pathfinder’s model years.

2. 2006 Nissan Pathfinder

The 2006 Nissan Pathfinder did not fare any better than its predecessor. It has been reported to suffer from a variety of issues which is why it appears on this side of the article.

According to Car Complaints, it has over 1,000 complaints concerning various components of the vehicle. The dominant problems that were complained about are transmission problems and engine problems.

Others are

  • Fuel system issues
  • Body and paint problems
  • Cooling system problems
  • Exhaust system problems, and so on

If you are foraging into the market for a practical SUV, a Pathfinder to be exact, make sure to avoid the 2006 model year as best as possible.

3. 2007 Nissan Pathfinder

The 2007 Nissan Pathfinder followed in the footsteps of its predecessors in terms of being very problematic.

One would have thought that Nissan learned their lesson and corrected past defects plaguing the Pathfinder since the introduction of the third generation. However, they did not.

According to Car Complaints, the 2007 model also has over 1,000 complaints tagged to it.

Transmission problems and engine problems dominate the list of problems.

Others are AC/Heater problems and electrical related problems but to mention a few.

Surprisingly, J.D. Power gave the 2007 Pathfinder a moderate overall rating of 78/100. The same platform scored the 2007 Pathfinder 77/100 for quality and reliability.

4. 2013 Nissan Pathfinder

The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder was a big leap for the Pathfinder line as this was the year the fourth generation was introduced.

It was totally redesigned and it was also the first model year to adopt the uni-body design as opposed to the typical body-on-frame one.

The 2013 Pathfinder did not meet expectations seeing that it suffered many uncorrected defects that plagued its third-generation predecessors.

It was able to manage a poor 72/100 overall rating on J.D. Power. To substantiate that the 2013 Pathfinder lacks quality, the same platform scored it a more inferior and unsatisfactory 62/100 for quality and reliability.

It is also one model year with one of the most complaints to its credit with over 1,000 complaints.

5. 2014 Nissan Pathfinder

The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder was criticized basically for its

  • Lackluster engine
  • Unrefined handling, and
  • Limited cargo space compared to the competition

On Car Complaints, the 2014 Pathfinder has 771 complaints ranging from interior accessories problems and transmission problems to AC/Heater problems and exterior accessories problems.

The 2014 Pathfinder was rated 3.3/5 stars on Edmunds consumer reviews, and only 36% scored it 5 stars.

Similarly, J.D. Power scored the 2014 Pathfinder a below-average 68/100 for quality and reliability.

Overall, it was rated a meager 74/100 on the same platform.

What Are Some Typical Problems With the Nissan Pathfinder Models?

Below are some typical problems with the Nissan Pathfinder models:

  • Transmission problems.
  • Engine problems.
  • Interior accessories problems.
  • Electrical problems.
  • Fuel system problems.


Back to best/worst years for all Nissan models.

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.