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Josh Rosenberg
Josh Rosenberg

We don't just talk cars ... we teach how to buy them.

Older Pre-2012 Nissan Pathfinder Overview
And Best Buying Price Tips

In today's very high-priced used car market, many shoppers are now looking for "older" models that have aged well as a way to save significant dollars. The Nissan Pathfinder is one of those models and can definitely be a viable and more economical option at this time. I'm really talking about Second and Third generation Pathfinders (produced from 1996 to 2011). And relatively lower mileage candidates can still be found out there with careful shopping.

These older versions were noted for their comfortable driving performance, solid build quality, offroad maneuverability and Hill Descent Control capabilities.

For those possibly interested in exploring the purchase of an older Pathfinder, here's a general overview:

The third-generation Pathfinder was produced beginning for 2005 and through the 2011 model year. This redesign enlarged the vehicle and added a third row. All-disc antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist also became standard.

Nissan Pathfinder SE (2009)

While this Pathfinder returned to its truck-like design (borrowed from from the full-size Titan pickup and Armada SUV) of its first generation, it also adopted an independent rear suspension. Compared to the earlier, second-generation (1996 - 2004), this version was 6.3 inches longer in wheelbase, 4.9 inches longer in overall length, 3.1 inches wider and about 450 pounds heavier. Nissan also built in up to 9.1 inches of ground clearance.

The V6 engine remained standard, but horsepower was raised to 270, an increase of 30. A 5-speed automatic was the only available transmission. Available models included the Pathfinder XE, SE, SE Off-Road, and luxury-oriented LE. All came with either rear-wheel drive or 4WD that included low-range gearing.

For those seeking to tame some of nature's wilder spots, standard Rancho-brand shock absorbers, skid plates, and unique upholstery, plus Nissan's Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist systems are unique features of the SE Off-Road.

This Pathfinder version is a comfortable SUV with plenty of interior space and an easygoing, smooth ride. It's reputation among actual owners was also very strong. At, for example, 268 Consumer Reviewers gave it an average score of 9 out of 10. J.D Power has given past models 4's or 5's (out of 5) for Mechanical Quality, Overall Quality, Feature and Accessory Quality, Performance, and Creature Comforts.

The most significant changes in this generation include the addition of an optional 5.6-liter V8 engine as well as a revised interior and slight styling changes, all added in 2008. In addition, the SE Off-Road 4x4 trim level was discontinued after the 2009 model year. Otherwise, this Pathfinder was largely unchanged during this time.

2006 Nissan Pathfinder SE Off-Road

While there were some minor variations depending on the model year, standard features on the Pathfinder S generally include full power accessories, air-conditioning, cruise contol, 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and a CD stereo, while the SE tacks on a power driver seat, dual-zone climate control, 17-inch alloys, a roof rack, a 7-inch display screen, a back-up camera and a CD/MP3 player with an auxiliary input jack.

Opting for an SE Off-Road adds special shocks and tires, skid plates, Hill Descent Control, Hill Start Assist, a moonroof and a Bose audio system, while leather upholstery is standard on the top-of-the-line LE and available as an option on the SE Off-Road. The LE also adds a front power passenger seat, mirror and pedal memory functions and wood-toned interior trim accents.

Older Pathfinder shoppers should also note that the V8 engine can be found only on the SE and LE models, and when so equipped, also come with 18-inch alloy wheels.

Models can also be found with optional packages such as the SE Premium Package which includes a moonroof, a Bose audio system, automatic headlights and a HomeLink transceiver. The SE Leather Package includes leather upholstery and heated power seats, while the HDD Navigation Package for the LE adds navigation, a 9.3GB "Music Server", Bluetooth, a rear entertainment system and keyless start.

And in terms of safety, this Pathfinder received a score of four out of five stars for frontal-impact crash protection and five stars for side-impact protection for both the front and back rows.

The earlier Pathfinder generation, its second, was produced for the 1996 through 2004 model years, although these are getting harder and harder to find in good condition and with reasonable mileage. You can get lucky from time to time though. At that time the Pathfinder switched to a car-like unibody construction, which allowed it to get bigger, provide more interior space as well as improve on-road agility, all while shedding about 200 pounds.

2003 Nissan Pathfinder SE 4WD

But until 2000, the Pathfinder was equipped with a quite "average" 166-horsepower V6 engine. In 2001, however, this engine was replaced with Nissan's powerful VQ-series 3.5-liter V6 that produced an impressive 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. This is really when the Pathfinder came into its own with an excellent balance of style and performance, and the awards and recognition followed.

At the time, its interior was considered one of the best in its class thanks to its solid build quality, comfortable seating and useful features. With some variations, the primary models included the SE and the LE. The SE was a sportier version that came with either an automatic or manual transmission, while the more upscale LE featured 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, wood trim accents and a Bose stereo.

Options that can be found in some of the latter models of this run include leather upholstery, a navigation system and a mobile entertainment system that included a 6.4-inch flip-down LCD screen, a video or DVD player, and gaming console ports.

How To Get The Best Price

There are actually several different ways to buy an older Pathfinder at the lowest price, and even at wholesale. You can click on the links to each of the following methods to get the specific instructions.

First of all, here's a Lowest Price Used Car Buying Guide that details a super effective method, one that often beats down prices even to wholesale levels. And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.

In addition, you can also try the Public Auto Auctions in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them in your own area.

Also ... for those of you who might be interested in a
brand new Nissan Pathfinder, if the price was crazy good, here's info on exactly How To Get The Best Price On A New Pathfinder. This works just phenomenally well.

Other Pages Of Possible Interest:
  • 2010 Nissan Pathfinder
  • 2013 Nissan Rogue
  • 2012 Nissan Rogue
  • Nissan Murano 2011
  • 2010 Nissan Murano
  • Nissan Versa 2011
  • Used Nissan Maximas

  • Additional Models Of Possible Interest:
  • Used Nissan Altima Models
  • Used Nissan Xterras
  • 2011 Nissan Sentra Info
  • 2010 Nissan Cube Review
  • Used Nissan Muranos
  • Used Nissan 350Zs
  • Used Nissan Sentras

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