Nissan Pathfinder Forum banner
1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Quick background: I’m mostly a Toyota guy. Have bought 4 so far. Currently have A 2011 Sienna XLE in the garage. I also have a Honda CRV right now (my first Honda). Good vehicle--75K miles and no problems at all. Our family of 5 has simply outgrown it as a second vehicle.

Was planning on buying the redesigned 2014 Toyota Highlander. However, the Pathfinder has caught my eye.

A few quick questions for anyone willing to answer:


Generally, how is Nissan reliability? I have no experience whatsoever. I know I a see a ton of Nissans on the road. Reliability is far and away the number 1 priority for me. It’s not even close.

The CVT--thoughts? Long term prognosis? Problems expected? Seems that the CVT is a big reason for the good gas mileage but if you look on some auto forums, some people just hate the CVTs? I will say my least favorite thing about my CRV is the tranny--really herky jerky.

What is the oil change frequency? Both my Honda and Toyota are 10K mile synthetic oil and I love it. Initial research indicate the Pathfinder is more frequent?


Any insight would be appreciated I will likely wait for reveal photos and specs on the Highlander regardless but I think the Pathfinder may be a real option.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
I'll do my best to answer each question. A little about me, we bought a 13 Pathfinder SL 4wd, it now has around 750 miles on it. We traded in a Chevrolet Trailblazer, which was by far the worst vehicle I have ever owned- I could go into it but that isn't what you're asking. LONG time Honda/Acura driver, my car is a 2005 TL, owned since new and won't be getting rid of it anytime soon. The Pathfinder is my wifes truck.

First, I looked at EVERYTHING. From $70k on down. I narrowed it down to 5 based on my research and test drives. They were-
1. Pathfinder
2. MDX
3. 4Runner
4. RDX
5. CX-9
I could give you my impressions, but after looking at everything, she liked the Pathfinder best. Reliability is huge with me as well, and I truly believe that Honda/Acura, Toyota, and Nissan will age similarly given the same amount of care and maintenance. You said it yourself, you see a ton of them on the road, so they must be doing something right.

Second, as far as the CVT, it was by far the biggest question mark for me. But I thought about it- all those Nissans you see on the road, most of them have CVT's in them. It's in over 3 million Nissans. Nissan wouldn't do that if they didn't have it figured out. Now, it does take a little getting used to, but once you're used to it you never notice it. I think most automotive journalist hate the CVT simply because it is a foreign feeling from other vehicles with traditional tranny's.

Oil change frequency is 3mths/3750 miles. That is much more frequent than the service recommendations for my Acura, even though I have never been able to make it past 5k miles before changing the oil. Too stuck in my ways I guess.

I may have waited for the Highlander but I didn't really have the option of waiting around, the Chevy was literally falling apart with only 80k miles on it. The Pathfinder went head to head with everything I test drove and compared nicely. MPG was a huge factor in deciding. 2nd place was clearly the MDX, but it was hard to argue for the premium price (roughly $12k more) and 16/21mpg on premium gas, when you can get the Pathfinder cheaper with better MPG.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
A little about me, we bought a 13 Pathfinder Platinum 4wd, it now has around 750 miles on it. We traded in a Saturn Outlook, which was by far the worst vehicle I have ever owned- I could go into it but that isn't what you're asking. LONG time Honda driver, my car is a Ridgeline, owned since new and won't be getting rid of it anytime soon. The Pathfinder is my wife's truck.

First, I looked at EVERYTHING. From $70k on down. I narrowed it down to 5 based on my research and test drives. They were-
1. Pathfinder
2. MDX
3. Pilot
4. Highlander
5. CX-9

I could give you my impressions, but after looking at everything, she liked the Pathfinder best. Reliability is huge with me as well, and I truly believe that Honda/Acura, Toyota, and Nissan will age similarly given the same amount of care and maintenance. You said it yourself, you see a ton of them on the road, so they must be doing something right.

Second, as far as the CVT, it was by far the biggest question mark for me. But I thought about it- all those Nissans you see on the road, most of them have CVT's in them. It's in over 3 million Nissans. Nissan wouldn't do that if they didn't have it figured out. Now, it does take a little getting used to, but once you're used to it you never notice it. I think most automotive journalist hate the CVT simply because it is a foreign feeling from other vehicles with traditional tranny's.

I may have waited for the Highlander but I didn't really have the option of waiting around, the Saturn was literally falling apart with only 60k miles on it. The Pathfinder went head to head with everything I test drove and compared nicely. MPG was a huge factor in deciding. 2nd place was clearly the MDX, but it was hard to argue for the premium price (roughly $12k more) and 16/21mpg on premium gas (and lack of 3rd row), when you can get the Pathfinder cheaper with better MPG.


LOL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Too funny!

The MDX actually does have a 3rd row. My kiddos are 4 and 2, both obviously in car seats, so in the MDX the 3rd is practically inaccessible. With the Pathfinder we can, and have, used the 3rd row. I can't tell you how happy I am that we bought a vehicle that can transport my in-laws too! Yes, thats sarcasm.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,066 Posts
I'm typically a Honda guy, and this is my first Nissan. I have owned two Pilots and didn't want another one (they're gas hogs). Also, the Pilot's interior is awful and I think the styling of the 2013 model isn't much better than the 2010.

I can't really comment on the long-term reliability of the Pathfinder, but like you, I have seen a ton of old Nissans on the road and place them in fairly high esteem.

So far, I can tell you that the build quality is absolutely first rate on the Pathfinder. Seams are straight, panels are even and just about every inch of this car screams quality. There are no rattles and it feels like a rock in general. Close a door and it sounds like a vault. To me, that says a lot about how well screwed together this car is. Honda's build quality, on the other hand, has gone downhill - and I have owned quite a few of them.

As far as maintenance goes, Nissan's interval is by mileage, unlike Honda's. Honda uses a "Maintenance Minder" system, which is computerized and determines the interval based on how you drive the car. For me, that was generally an 8 month / 8-10,000 mile interval - so it will certainly cost me a bit more in maintenance.

For me, it was a tough call between the Highlander and the Pathfinder. At the end of the day, it came down to dealership experience for me. My local Nissan dealer was just absolutely stellar to work with from start to finish. Negotiation was painless and the facility is very convenient (it's less than a block away from my office building). If the fuel economy holds up and the car remains solid, I can see me becoming a Nissan-guy pretty quickly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
I'll do my best to answer each question. A little about me, we bought a 13 Pathfinder SL 4wd, it now has around 750 miles on it. We traded in a Chevrolet Trailblazer, which was by far the worst vehicle I have ever owned- I could go into it but that isn't what you're asking. LONG time Honda/Acura driver, my car is a 2005 TL, owned since new and won't be getting rid of it anytime soon. The Pathfinder is my wifes truck.

First, I looked at EVERYTHING. From $70k on down. I narrowed it down to 5 based on my research and test drives. They were-
1. Pathfinder
2. MDX
3. 4Runner
4. RDX
5. CX-9
I could give you my impressions, but after looking at everything, she liked the Pathfinder best. Reliability is huge with me as well, and I truly believe that Honda/Acura, Toyota, and Nissan will age similarly given the same amount of care and maintenance. You said it yourself, you see a ton of them on the road, so they must be doing something right.

Second, as far as the CVT, it was by far the biggest question mark for me. But I thought about it- all those Nissans you see on the road, most of them have CVT's in them. It's in over 3 million Nissans. Nissan wouldn't do that if they didn't have it figured out. Now, it does take a little getting used to, but once you're used to it you never notice it. I think most automotive journalist hate the CVT simply because it is a foreign feeling from other vehicles with traditional tranny's.

Oil change frequency is 3mths/3750 miles. That is much more frequent than the service recommendations for my Acura, even though I have never been able to make it past 5k miles before changing the oil. Too stuck in my ways I guess.

I may have waited for the Highlander but I didn't really have the option of waiting around, the Chevy was literally falling apart with only 80k miles on it. The Pathfinder went head to head with everything I test drove and compared nicely. MPG was a huge factor in deciding. 2nd place was clearly the MDX, but it was hard to argue for the premium price (roughly $12k more) and 16/21mpg on premium gas, when you can get the Pathfinder cheaper with better MPG.
Or 5K 6 Months if you do mostly hwy driving.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Ive owned two nissans, my current is a 08 Altima with 130k on it and honestly ive never had anything done to it other than oil changes, tires and 100k tune up. its been awesome for me. also my parents have owned two altimas and love them.

we drove the pilot, explorer, cx9, pathfinder and highlander and wife and i ranked them as follows

Pathfinder
Pilot
Explorer
CX9
Highlander


bang for your buck you cant beat a pathfinder , also i agree with the other guy that the interior of the pilot is awful!! cheap plastics everywhere and the freaking shift is in the center by the radio>>>>


pathfinder just seems like an upscale interior. we really want one and will buy one in the next month.


 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,066 Posts
Here's the maintenance interval right from the Nissan maintenance guide:


I would be willing to bet about 75% of the owners would fall under the "less severe" schedule. Those of you that live in cities, or do a lot of stop and go / heavy traffic driving, will fall into the more severe. And, if you're going to do towing, then that would probably put you in the severe category.

So, it's not as bad as I thought - though I do intend to do the 3750 interval, at least for the first oil change.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Here's the maintenance interval right from the Nissan maintenance guide:


I would be willing to bet about 75% of the owners would fall under the "less severe" schedule. Those of you that live in cities, or do a lot of stop and go / heavy traffic driving, will fall into the more severe. And, if you're going to do towing, then that would probably put you in the severe category.

So, it's not as bad as I thought - though I do intend to do the 3750 interval, at least for the first oil change.
Yeah 3750 on the first Oil change is a good idea. There after 5k for me on regular Dino oil. 7.5K on regular Dino oil just seems a little too much especially on this old motor (VQ35).

If I planned to keep it forever then I would start on a Synthetic schedule.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks to all for the insight...

I had also found that maintenance schedule online but wasn't sure what to make of it. An honest assessment of my driving habits puts me in category 2 (live in the country, right off the interstate, which takes me to work). Given that these are manufacturer guidelines, after the first oil change, I would be comfortable following the less frequent schedule. I just didn't want to run into warranty issues.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
I understand reliability is the most important issue but I will throw out something else.

Nissans are a lot more fun to drive compared to Toyota and Honda.

I can't comment on reliability.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
120 Posts
Just picked up my 2013 pathfinder. The dealer (service guy) told me to bring it in 3 times a year, or 5000 miles per.

I have the Rx350 .. extremely reliable. I follow the maintenance schedule.
I had the 2006 MDX, extremely reliable, but really bad MPG. Traded in.
I had the honda accord coupe, had issues with it starting in the cold.
I had an old camry, which was great until it got old, then lots of electrical issues.

This is my 1st nissan.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
We're a Subaru family. I have owned three and my wife is on her second Forester. So, when it was time to look for a new car we looked at Subarus. We have three kids (one 4 months old in a car seat). We needed the third row. The only Subaru to offer it is the Tribeca, and the third row is laughably small. The dealer also told us they hear rumors they are discontinuing the Tribeca.

I won't own anything GM or Ford, so we looked at the Pathfinder, a Toyota 4Runner, a Honda Pilot, and a Mazda CX9. We eliminated the Mazda because of the dealership. I have had nothing but bad experiences with them, and I'm not alone. So that eliminated the Mazda. Not fair to Mazda, but it's the only dealership around and I'm not going to drive 2 hours to the next dealership to get my car serviced.

I liked the Toyota 4Runner, but there was very little legroom in the second and third row. Plus it was a good bit more expensive.

The Pilot was okay, but it felt like driving a minivan. It also looks a little like one. Or like a minivan and a box van mated and had a child. It just left me feeling blah.

The Pathfinder looks nice, had all the features we wanted, had the room we wanted, and came in at the right price.

It's my first Nissan, so I can't say much about reliability, but there are thousands of Nissans on the road with 200k miles plus, so that says something...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,066 Posts
Not sure if they softened it for 2013, but the Pilot rides like a truck. Take it on a bumpy road and you'll definitely notice it. Much more so than the first generation, for sure.

Our Legacy is our first Subaru and we couldn't be more pleased with it so far. 27K miles and haven't had to do anything other than the routine maintenance. It's unfortunate that Subaru hasn't bothered to update the Tribeca beyond a minor facelift. I had heard rumor that they were going to build the next-gen Tribeca off the Highlander platform - that would have been a good move, but at this point, the Tribeca is a niche player - and its mileage is downright awful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
It's all too late now, but I'm finding all sorts of horror stories over the interwebs about CVT issues in previous generation Pathfinders and Muranos.

Worse are the stories of Nissan failing to honor their warranty or even admit there is a problem and issue a recall.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
No, the 12's did not. Hence the reason they had a 7,000 GVWR tow rating.

I still think we are hearing about a fairly small percentage of total ownership. People love to talk when they think they have been wronged and that somebody else to blame. I'm not saying that there haven't been CVT failures, but are they failing any more often than normal transmissions? I'm not saying there haven't been cases were the owner feels Nissan didn't back their product, but I can find similiar stories for every manufacturer.

Maybe I have rose colored glasses on, but I just can't fathom Nissan developing a transmission and then putting it in nearly every vehicle they make knowing that its prone to failure. It just doesn't compute. I have read about the judder issue, and even though I haven't experienced it in the nearly 1k miles of ownership, I am sure there will be a reasonable resolution for those that have. They are predicting the Pathfinder to be one of their biggest sellers, the last thing they would want is a bunch of owners unhappy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
Crispy, you're bringing misleading, emotional posts to this forum and it isn't helpful.

If you google any vehicle, or vehicle component (ex. transmission), you will discoverl lots of internet complaints and horror stories, this does not mean that this is the normal case or there is a high probability of this occurring. Even Toyota and Honda have many complaints online from their most reliable vehicles, ex. Honda Pilot, but this is very uncommon - all manufacturers will have a certain number of lemons, its just the way life is, no manufacturer can gaurantee perfection, that's why there's a warranty to address issues, should they arise. I do believe manufacturers such as Ford, GM and Chrysler have higher than average numbers of issues compared to Asian manufacturers.

First, prior to this year, Pathfinders did NOT have CVT transmissions, so any information regarding bad tranny's prior to 2013 are irrelevant.

Early Nissan CVT's did have their issues, the 2003 Murano was the first model in North America to have the CVT, and many owners had issues and you can read all about it online with a simple search, BUT there were many more owners who had no issues at all. Since then the CVT has been refined and improved upon many times over, so what we have today is not even comparable to the older models of 2003. The current CVT has been completely redesigned. That's not to say it can't have issues, it's just means that comparing to the old CVT design is a worthless effort because it is a completely different design.

The "next-generation" CVT in the Pathfinder is the second application of this design, the first was in the Nissan Juke. The difference in this curent design is a heavier-duty steel drive chain/belt, a smaller, higher efficiency hydrualic pump, vastly reduced friction, and the addition of an external planetary gearset to allow a wider range of gear ratios while still keeping the CVT unit smaller than its predecessor (like a high/low switch).

The Juke CVT has proven to be very reliable in the first couple years of operation, and all Nissan CVT's have evolved to the point where the CVT is extremely trouble-free. Even older versions, such as in my 2008 Rogue, routinely have reports of 200,000+ miles and still going strong. The more current models should be even more reliable, as is the case with the current Murano which receives very high ratings for reliablity.

To me the issue is not "how reliable is the CVT" - I think its proven to be at least as reliable as comparable conventional tranny's from any competitors. The issue I have is, if I am one of the unlucky ones to have tranny problems, what is the cost to repair compared to competitors conventional units? ALL cars will run the risk of have tranny problems at some point, if this does happen we all hope it occurs under warranty. If it happens after warranty coverage, all tranny troubles are expensive, it can easily cost thousands of dollars to repair a conventional 4-speed tranny, a new 8-speed for example (which is what Honda and Dodge are offering this year), might cost many thousands due to its complexity. Nissan CVT's CAN NOT be serviced or repaired, if you have a problem the only solution is replacement with a new unit. This has traditionally cost around the $4-5000 mark, I'm not sure what the next-gen unit would cost. Of course you could always hope to get a used one from a junk yard. But how does the cost of new replacement CVT compare with rebuilding a conventional? I think when compared to the new 8-speeds that are coming to market now (upcoming 2014 Dodge Durango, Honda Pilot, Jeep Cherokee) it will be close in price. But it still worries me.

Chances of CVT problems - very low. Cost to replace if you do have problems - high. But that can probably be said for most competitors as well, so I call it a draw and say don't worry about the CVT.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
Bottom line, when you make a purchase there's always an element of risk, the key is doing enough research to minimize the risk and have some peace-of-mind with the purchase. The only way to truly research and judge vehicle reliability is to look at real-world data, and that takes years to accumulate, and even longer with expensive vehicles like the Pathfinder which will always sell in much fewer numbers than mid-size cars for example (cars are more affordable, so more people buy them). Since the 2013 Pathfinder is a first model year, we can't do this and must rely more on brand reputation.

For my money, in the absence of detailed info., I still favor Toyota and Honda over all other brands, Hyundai/Kia are quite close, and I think Nissan is still a few notches below in overall build quality. I currently drive an 08 Nissan Rogue and would really love to get into a Pathfinder as my next vehicle, but the logical part of my brain says to wait for real world indicators of Pathfinder quality, and if in doubt stick with the redesigned Highlander or a good used Pilot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
It's all too late now, but I'm finding all sorts of horror stories over the interwebs about transmission issues in previous generation Pathfinders and CVT issues in Muranos.

Worse are the stories of Nissan failing to honor their warranty or even admit there is a problem and issue a recall.


Edit: fixed for accuracy. point still valid.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top