The Pathfinder is essentially unchanged since 1996, evolutionary improvements over the years made it quicker, quieter and more capable. But a tight cabin and a so-so ride remained significant drawbacks for this version of the Nissan SUV. While most models have a part-time-only four-wheel-drive system, a selectable full-time system is now standard on the LE.
Alerts
There are 7 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit.
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
2002
NA
2003
NA
2004
NA
2005
NA
2006
NA
2007
NA
2008
NA
2009
NA
2010
NA
2011
NA
2012
NA
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
NA
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
2002
NA
2003
NA
2004
NA
2005
2006
NA
2007
NA
2008
NA
2009
NA
2010
NA
2011
NA
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
NA
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS standard. Side air bags available from 1999, standard from 2003. Head protection air bags available from 2003, standard from 2009. ESC available from 2003, standard from 2005.
Road Test

The Pathfinder is essentially unchanged since 1996, evolutionary improvements over the years made it quicker, quieter and more capable. But a tight cabin and a so-so ride remained significant drawbacks for this version of the Nissan SUV. While most models have a part-time-only four-wheel-drive system, a selectable full-time system is now standard on the LE.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
4WD , Rear
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door SUV
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 4-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 3.5-liter V6 (230 hp)
  • 3.5-liter V6 (250 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2001 Nissan Pathfinder owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"Light went on and off randomly. Finally got it replaced"

Anonymous, WA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"Vehicle would not pass NJ state inspection because of emission problems"

Anonymous, NJ (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

"P0430: Two Way Catalyst System"

Anonymous, CA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)
Fuel pump

"Fuel pump started to not pump at starting and eventually failed completely"

Anonymous, FL (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"Have had these replaced on numerous occasions. Now just ignores the warnings"

Anonymous, AB (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"Chronic multiple O2 sensors failure. SES light on probably half the vehicles life"

Anonymous, AB (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"Check engine light comes on, stays on a few weeks, goes off. Shoe wants $500 to replace 2 sensors"

Anonymous, IL (2001 Nissan Pathfinder 3.5-L V6)

"Service engine soon warning light was constantly on"

Anonymous, NJ (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

"Check engine light came on. Had to replace both oxygen sensors from Nissan dealer at $1000 cost"

Anonymous, GA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"Poor fuel mileage and combustion"

Anonymous, GA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"O2 Sensors fail every 2.5 years"

Anonymous, BC (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

"Lost of emissions issues with sensors, but only after vehicle was 10 years old. No effect on operation of car but had to fix to pass emissions in PA. Now live it GA so it is not an issue"

Anonymous, GA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

"P0140: Heated Oxygen Sensor Bank 1 Sensor 2"

Anonymous, CA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"Peelin"

Anonymous, FL (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)
Rust

"Rust on various body panels"

Anonymous, AB (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"Both rear quarter panels have severe rusting out, with holes"

Cary M., MI (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"considerable amount of rust around rear wheel well and front fenders"

Kevin A., MI (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

"All fenders badly rusted. Rust around wind screen. Car will likely not last because of these rust issues"

Anonymous, AB (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"Rusting around rear door frames and paint is bubbling up on sides just behind the headlights. (Rust doesn't show through yet behind the headlights.)"

Anonymous, MA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"Rust began appearing in certain areas of the vehicle and have created holes through the paint and metal"

Anonymous, SC (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

"Gas filler tube rust causing fuel leak. Excessive body rust in wheel wells"

Anonymous, AB (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"Needed re painting because of peeling and rust"

Anonymous, FL (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"Very small areas around the mirrors & wheel wells, otherwise in excellent condition. Frustrating since we rustproof the vehicle each fall by Rust Check"

Daniel T., ON (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"I lived in NY for about 15 years and the salt from the road ate away at the exhaust, chassis, and some of the larger structural plates in the front of the car. It will cost $3000 to replace all of the above"

George R., NY (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine computer

"cam timing position solenoid"

Anonymous, AB (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"I was getting accelerator surge of about 1000 rpms even when I was breaking into down hill turns. Required to electrical components. The one that failed apparently caused a short to the one that it interfaced with. It required a $1200 repair"

John W., CA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)
Oil leaks

"Both Valve covers were leaking. They had to be replaced at a cost of about $1800.00"

Anonymous, WA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

"rear main seal leak, not severe, however fix would cost more than the car is worth, recommendation is to just deal with it, check the oil level weekly and fill as necessary"

Art F., TX (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"The rear bottom of the engine and transmission has oil on them from a leak"

Daniel A., SD (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"Rear seal on engine leaked excessively, contaminating clutch. replacement of rear seal fixed problem"

Stephen W., MD (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

"Minor leaks I have not seen fit to repair as yet"

Robert C., NC (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"Oil leak from O-Ring associated with filter"

Anonymous, NM (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"Not physically repaired. Additive added to oil and seems to have solved leak"

Anonymous, AB (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"Rear seal leaks. It cost $2,800 to repair. Had to have it replaced twice and the thing still leaks"

Art B., GA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Alternator

"alternator pulley bearing started to squeal, can't replace just the pulley, must replace the entire alternator"

Art F., TX (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)
Battery (not hybrid or electric)

"battery needed replacing"

Anonymous, AB (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)
Coil

"All 6 coils had to be replaced due to intermittent cutting out and not being able to identify which one was causing the problem"

Daniel A., SD (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"Coils started going bad one at a time, ended up replacing all 6 just to make sure I didn't have to keep getting them fixed. works fine now. Gas mileage is horrible though (11 mpg city)"

Anonymous, CA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

"Has coilover plugs and you have to run OE or the engine light won't go off. My home mechanics did not know this so the light is on all the time now. Cost 900.00 to replace them"

Anonymous, OR (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"Position #1 coil was misfiring and had to be replaced"

Anonymous, FL (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)
Spark plugs or wires failure

"My trusted mechanic discovered mis-matched spark plugs and a failing ignition coil in my six cylinder engine. I concurred with his recommendation to replace all six ignition coils and corresponding spark plugs with matched units."

Anonymous, NM (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)
Starter

"I most recently needed to replace the starter...and just did the alternator within the past months"

Anonymous, CA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

"I had a problem where car would not start about 1 year ago. It appeared to be a poor battery. Replaced battery and was ok except for a few times it required 2-3 attempts to start. Yesterday it would not start at all even with battery booster. Towed to auto repair and they diagnosed a bad starter. Repair cost $395"

John W., CA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"Starter motor failed and was replaced"

Anonymous, CO (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

CD player

"The auto is 18 years old. The CD player has just quit working. It's not a significant problem because I usually only listen to the radio."

Anonymous, AL (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"The CD player would not load CD's."

Anonymous, IL (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"Had CD 6 disc changer fixed once, then it broke again. Good thing the tape player still works (if you remember those things)"

Anonymous, CA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

"The multidisc changer failed to work; unable to load or unload CD's; would not play. Found a replacement on Ebay. Disassembled the old changer and found that the insulating/ adhesive material had melted/leaked onto the mechanism making it inoperabl"

Anonymous, KS (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

"CD player has been useless for years. Disks are stuck and since this is the second unit replaced, I just don't need it now"

Anonymous, CA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)
Radio

"Had issues for several years, it would stop then start up. Finally had it taken out and found it had a ground issue. Was repaired and works great"

Anonymous, WA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder XE 3.5-L V6)
Speakers

"The Bose speakers are somewhat poor quality"

Anonymous, IL (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

Antifreeze leaks

"The coolant pipe on the back of the engine leaks. Had to remove the transmission to replace the $2 gaskets"

Mike M., NC (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)
Cooling fan

"idle pulley adjustment bolt failure"

Anonymous, FL (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)
Radiator

"Plastic radiator just sprung a leak due to heat"

Anonymous, OR (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"The hoses were plugged. This was discovered after trying numerous other things first. In fact I discovered this by researching online and suggesting it to my mechanic thus saving a head gasket replacement. (Something like that)"

Anonymous, CA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder XE 3.5-L V6)
Thermostat

"We still have not figured out what exactly the problem was and we installed an after market gauge that sits near my feet and works fine"

Anonymous, CA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder XE 3.5-L V6)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Alignment

"Even after complete overhaul of suspension & re-alignments, the tires continued to wear u evenly"

Anonymous, AZ (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)
Shocks or struts

"New shocks front"

Hugh M., ON (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

"Both shocks worn out."

Daniel L., NC (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"Complete & premature failure of rear shocks"

Anonymous, AZ (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)
Steering wheel vibration

"needed new control arms"

Anonymous, FL (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

"This finally went out last month, had it repaired"

Anonymous, WA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder XE 3.5-L V6)
Blower (fan) motor

"Blower/fan control became inoperable and would not work"

Anonymous, SC (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

"continuous"

Anonymous, NC (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)
Refrigerant leaks

"I started to notice heat not working (mid winter in New England) and coolant was low. Then spotted leak drips. Repair was slow and expensive to get to the gasket/hoses that needed replacing. But it's ok now"

David D., MA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Gauges

"The lighting for the speedometer and fuel gauge seems to have an intermittent short that seems to be more affected in colder temps in which it fails to light up the above mentioned gauges"

Anonymous, KS (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

"Gages work but lights periodically do not come on"

Anonymous, GA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)
Interior lights

"lights for gauges burned out"

Donald C., NC (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Seals and/or weather-stripping

"Door weatherstripping is coming loose and breaking off in places"

Anonymous, CO (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)
Squeaks or rattles

"In the rear end, there has been a persistent squeak when going over a sizable bump. The problem is not considered major and has persisted for over ten years"

Anonymous, CA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

"Its an old car but a tank but as it ages more and more noises emerge. Just from the motor itself as well as the body"

Deborah R., NY (2001 Nissan Pathfinder 3.5-L V6)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Engine rebuild or replacement

"blown head gasket; rebuilt engine installed"

Anonymous, BC (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)
Head gasket

"Firestone wanted over $1600 to fix I had a neighbor help get parts for $33 and fixed it for free in a short period of time."

Donald M., FL (2001 Nissan Pathfinder XE 3.5-L V6)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Muffler

"noise due to leak caused by corrosion"

Anonymous, NY (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Electrical failure

"Alternator failed, car died in the middle of a short trip to a grocery store, had to be towed to mechanic and alternator replaced."

Art F., TX (2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5-L V6)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Windows

"windows work very slowly in cold weather"

Kevin A., MI (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Slipping transmission

"The transmission has been slipping the entire time I have had it. This has been from 50k forward"

Anonymous, CA (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Normal routine brake wear

"Brakes became very noisy when stopping i.e. squealing"

Anonymous, NY (2001 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5-L V6)
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