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I'm looking at these two model years for a possible purchase. Obviously there won't be many PF from '19 or '20 with high miles yet, but did Nissan make improvements to the CVT?
 

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In 2017 they changed a lot of stuff and I remember someone posting that the valve body of the 2017+ had larger channels to allow better flow.
There have been a few cases of CVT issues with these models.
There was also something about the Pathfinder moving to an 9 speed transmission in the near future, wonder why... (insert sarcasm here).
 

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I'm looking at these two model years for a possible purchase. Obviously there won't be many PF from '19 or '20 with high miles yet, but did Nissan make improvements to the CVT?
The CVT is just one of the many worries with a 2017-2020 Pathfinder or a Nissan product in general. 2017+ have an all new direct injected 3.5L engine. I've seen a few quirks and problems posted in regards to them. Rough cold idle, misfires, stalling. Not taking off from a stand-still under certain conditions. I've never seen definitive conclusions.

The only odd ball problem I had with my 2019 at 34K miles was a failed strut mount/bearing. It gave off a rumbling noise, noticeable when turning the steering wheel side/side at slow/no speeds. Mine is an ex-rental that was purchased in Oct 2019 w/ 24K miles on it.

Having owned Nissan CVTs in the past, they're actually lower down on my list of concerns. Is Nissan going to get away from them? I don't see why when Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Hyundai and Kia and others are on board with them in 2020.

Is a PF less reliable than a similar domestic SUV? I don't think so. They're a great value when bought as an ex-rental or used because they have terrible resale. I believe the best way to buy one is direct through Enterprise car sales, Hertz or the other rental co's. I personally would never pay more than the low $20K USD range for a 2019 or 2020 used one.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
In 2017 they changed a lot of stuff and I remember someone posting that the valve body of the 2017+ had larger channels to allow better flow.
There have been a few cases of CVT issues with these models.
There was also something about the Pathfinder moving to an 9 speed transmission in the near future, wonder why... (insert sarcasm here).
Thanks for the response. Do you (or anyone else) know if FWD or AWD make a difference in CVT reliability? From my research it seems a ton of the used ones on the road are ex-rentals. I'm assuming the ex-rental status of many PF could factor in as well to the reliability issues?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The CVT is just one of the many worries with a 2017-2020 Pathfinder or a Nissan product in general. 2017+ have an all new direct injected 3.5L engine. I've seen a few quirks and problems posted in regards to them. Rough cold idle, misfires, stalling. Not taking off from a stand-still under certain conditions. I've never seen definitive conclusions.

The only odd ball problem I had with my 2019 at 34K miles was a failed strut mount/bearing. It gave off a rumbling noise, noticeable when turning the steering wheel side/side at slow/no speeds. Mine is an ex-rental that was purchased in Oct 2019 w/ 24K miles on it.

Having owned Nissan CVTs in the past, they're actually lower down on my list of concerns. Is Nissan going to get away from them? I don't see why when Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Hyundai and Kia and others are on board with them in 2020.

Is a PF less reliable than a similar domestic SUV? I don't think so. They're a great value when bought as an ex-rental or used because they have terrible resale. I believe the best way to buy one is direct through Enterprise car sales, Hertz or the other rental co's. I personally would never pay more than the low $20K USD range for a 2019 or 2020 used one.
Thanks for the response. Buying direct from Hertz is exactly what I'm looking to do. They have several available with very low miles at attractive prices. I have rented two PF in the last month when traveling for business and although the infotainment is bad and the overall look is a little dated, I like the way they drive and ride and also love the fact that adaptive cruise comes with the SV trim. The reliability issues with the CVT are the biggest thing that scare me, but it's hard to justify spending another $10-12K for a similarly equipped Explorer or Highlander that doesn't even have adaptive cruise.
 

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... it's hard to justify spending another $10-12K for a similarly equipped Explorer or Highlander that doesn't even have adaptive cruise.
That's my take on the pathfinder too. It's not the best vehicle in it's class, but you get a LOT of vehicle for the money. They're nice to be in, great to drive and very versatile. Haggle for a ~5yr/100K extended warranty if the electronics and mechanicals concern you too much.

I just purchased my 2019 Ram 1500 classic as an ex-rental through Enterprise car sales and they were absolutely awesome to deal with and gave me KBB "excellent" trade-in value for my trade when it was barely a "good" condition. I do have a Hertz store somewhat local, but Enterprise had better pricing and was more convenient. I wish I had bought my 2019 pathfinder directly through a rental co as opposed to buying it as an ex-rental thru the local Nissan dealer. Even though I 'only' paid $24K plus TTL for it, I probably could have saved some money and gotten a better trade-in allowance for the 2016 Nissan Quest I took a bath on.
 

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Thanks for the response. Do you (or anyone else) know if FWD or AWD make a difference in CVT reliability? From my research it seems a ton of the used ones on the road are ex-rentals. I'm assuming the ex-rental status of many PF could factor in as well to the reliability issues?
None of the data or anecdotal accounts I've read suggest that the drivetrain and transmission are related regarding CVT issues. The vehicle is primarily a FWD vehicle anyway with the rear wheels engaging only when slippage is noted.
 

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Having owned Nissan CVTs in the past, they're actually lower down on my list of concerns. Is Nissan going to get away from them? I don't see why when Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Hyundai and Kia and others are on board with them in 2020.

Is a PF less reliable than a similar domestic SUV? I don't think so. They're a great value when bought as an ex-rental or used because they have terrible resale. I believe the best way to buy one is direct through Enterprise car sales, Hertz or the other rental co's. I personally would never pay more than the low $20K USD range for a 2019 or 2020 used one.
Nissan has had tons of issues with CVT's and not only with the Pathfinder. Murano, Rogue and even the smaller vehicles have had plenty of complaints. You do not hear that many issues from Honda, Subaru or Toyota.

In my opinion, CVT's were a good idea, they seemed to save gas (lower emissions), be cheaper to build and provide a great advantage by maximizing the engine's torque when accelerating. But I see them as the Wankel engine, great on paper and great when new, but not something you can rely on in the long run... or at least until they are perfected and I won't be their guinea pig ever again.

Today's torque converters are much more efficient and new transmissions like the dual clutch automatic ones which seem to provide the same fuel savings as CVT's. I've read from multiple sources that the Pathfinder is going to a 9 speed auto, I hope it is true.

It is important to see how much it will cost to repair that item for which a vehicle is known to be bad for and if it is something you can do on your own. Replacing/repairing a transmission is always something that will be in the thousands to repair.

Many of us bought the PF because of what you said, you get a lot for your money, but I wouldn't buy it again, at least not while they come with a CVT. Peace of mind and better sleep is what I'm after.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm a very patient person when it comes to car shopping. I will not buy until I have researched things to death and really figure out what makes sense. When I started this car shopping journey a few months ago I was convinced I was going to buy either a Lincoln Aviator or a Lexus RX 350. I'm at the point in my life where I can afford those types of vehicles and have put in my time driving junk while raising kids the last 20+ years.

There are two reasons I decided against a luxury vehicle at this time:

1. I have three neighbors and a good friend that have combined to buy a Range Rover, Acura MDX, Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and a Yukon Denali within the last 8 months or so. My wife brought up the point that it would appear that we are trying to "keep up with the Joneses" if we buy a new luxury model at this time. I'm a bit counter-culture when it comes to cars and don't care what anyone thinks about my ride, but I also don't want to appear as if I am trying to chase the crowd.

2. My youngest is 12. I still have another 4-5 years of carting around kids, dirty sports equipment in cars, eating in the car etc. The thought of having a constantly dirty interior in my Lexus would drive me nuts. Better to go with a cheaper more mainstream vehicle for now then get what I really want on the next cycle when all my kids are driving on their own.

I started looking down market at Explorers, Highlanders, Enclaves etc. I drove most of them and while they are all nice and have some desirable features, nothing blew me a way. I also had sticker shock. I could afford the vehicle, but why pay those prices when the vehicle isn't what I really desire anyway?

I hadn't really considered a PF but rented one by chance about a month ago. Loved the cruise control on it and drove 450 miles in one day without a sore back. I started doing more research and found out that the used prices were really good compared to competitors.

Due to the Hertz bankruptcy there are several for sale with less then 10K miles at a $5-6K discount from new. With my driving habits I would have at least 3 years of powertrain warranty and if the CVT grenades itself I'm covered. I have a reputable Nissan dealership less than a mile from my house for any service or warranty needs. If I get near the powertrain warranty expiration and the PF is giving me trouble, then move on from it.

Please feel free to poke in holes in my thinking or tell me what I am missing here.
 

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Please feel free to poke in holes in my thinking or tell me what I am missing here.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with your thinking. I happen to agree with you. You posted elsewhere that it's appears that you get a lot for your money with the Pathfinder, and to an extent, that's true. The only caveat I see is with Nissan as a company. They don't respond to customer complaints well, and will drag their feet when you are trying to get warranty service. They have never formally and publically acknowledged the issues with their CVT transmissions, and that grates on many of the members here. They are also not in the forefront of having the latest technology, but that might not matter to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
There is absolutely nothing wrong with your thinking. I happen to agree with you. You posted elsewhere that it's appears that you get a lot for your money with the Pathfinder, and to an extent, that's true. The only caveat I see is with Nissan as a company. They don't respond to customer complaints well, and will drag their feet when you are trying to get warranty service. They have never formally and publically acknowledged the issues with their CVT transmissions, and that grates on many of the members here. They are also not in the forefront of having the latest technology, but that might not matter to you.
Thanks for feedback on Nissan as a company. I guess it does bother me a bit that they don't back their products and I will have to weigh that in my decision. You are correct that the lack of technology doesn't bother me that much.

Does anyone have an opinion on AWD vs FWD? Is there a big traction advantage in the winter? It's about a $3500 difference in the used market to get AWD which is steep.
 

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AWD on the Pathfinder is part-time. It only kicks in if slippage is detected. In AUTO, you will be in FWD under normal driving conditions. It is a useful feature if you'll be driving in snowy conditions in the winter or if you plan on towing anything, especially a boat, especially if you'll be using a boat ramp. If you seldom see snow in your area or don't plan on towing, skip the additional expense.
 

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AWD on the Pathfinder is part-time. It only kicks in if slippage is detected. In AUTO, you will be in FWD under normal driving conditions. It is a useful feature if you'll be driving in snowy conditions in the winter or if you plan on towing anything, especially a boat, especially if you'll be using a boat ramp. If you seldom see snow in your area or don't plan on towing, skip the additional expense.
Thanks to you and others for the feedback. I am going to discuss all of this information with my wife and make a decision on what to do. If we do go with the Pathfinder I'm sure I will become a regular participant on this forum.
 

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Lots of snow where I live so AWD was a must have, actually no 2WD's were offered back when I got mine.
I hate getting stuck or spinning tires on a little ramp and that has never happened with my PF (with Winter tires). Although it is part time AWD it does make a big difference when driving in snow. I've been in the middle of super heavy snow storms and the PF has never let me down.
I remember once on the 401 (North America's busiest highway), traffic at a standstill, transport trucks parked, afraid of going downhill, little cars unable to move... I stopped at the top, set it to L, enabled 4WD lock and the hill descent control... the PF crawled downhill without a single slip, I was the only one that attempted it and was always in full control.
My wife drives the PF most of the time and I've heard her tell her friends "this thing doesn't get stuck".

To me, all vehicles this size should be AWD, if you get stuck, you won't be able to push it out.
 

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Lots of snow where I live so AWD was a must have, actually no 2WD's were offered back when I got mine.
I hate getting stuck or spinning tires on a little ramp and that has never happened with my PF (with Winter tires). Although it is part time AWD it does make a big difference when driving in snow. I've been in the middle of super heavy snow storms and the PF has never let me down.
I remember once on the 401 (North America's busiest highway), traffic at a standstill, transport trucks parked, afraid of going downhill, little cars unable to move... I stopped at the top, set it to L, enabled 4WD lock and the hill descent control... the PF crawled downhill without a single slip, I was the only one that attempted it and was always in full control.
My wife drives the PF most of the time and I've heard her tell her friends "this thing doesn't get stuck".

To me, all vehicles this size should be AWD, if you get stuck, you won't be able to push it out.
This is good to know, you have me convinced. Where I live we typically get 3-4 snowstorms per year which isn't too bad but the problem is there are some hills. There are two ways to get out of my housing development and both require an uphill climb right after turning a corner. Not easy when the roads are slick. We have had at least one AWD vehicle in the family for the last 25 years and my wife's current vehicle is FWD. I know people say that FWD with snow tires works great, but I don't feel like messing with the tire changing and storing at this point. I will spend the extra money on AWD.
 

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I know people say that FWD with snow tires works great, but I don't feel like messing with the tire changing and storing at this point. I will spend the extra money on AWD.
Actually, I use snow tires here in Connecticut, so still have the changing and storing of tires even with AWD.
 

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Actually, I use snow tires here in Connecticut, so still have the changing and storing of tires even with AWD.
I have never used anything but a good set of all-season tires on my AWD vehicles where I live and have never had any issues. Sure, snow tires and AWD would be the absolute best way to go, but not necessary for me.
 

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As you'd expect, the factory all-seasons on a new pathfinder aren't great, even when 4x4 kicks in. I live in the Buffalo NY area so winters are only 9 months out of the year.
 

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I have never used anything but a good set of all-season tires on my AWD vehicles where I live and have never had any issues. Sure, snow tires and AWD would be the absolute best way to go, but not necessary for me.
In my experience, you can get away with new all-seasons the first year. After that, there's not enough tread left to safely negotiate slushy roads without slipping.
 

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It looks like both of you are further north than me and deal with more consistent winters. I live in Missouri where the major snow storm is rare and it's warm enough in the winters that the roadways melt quickly. Plus, my work life has changed with the pandemic and if I'm not on the road in a rental car I work from home and don't have to commute to the office anymore. The all-seasons should work fine for me 99% of the time.
 
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