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Nissan Pathfinder, SUV
#7790 of 8191 2005 Pathfinder - 5,000 Mile Report Card
Feb 24, 2005 (7:28 am)
After 10 years of driving Eddie Bower Explorers (1995 and 1999 models) I needed a change. I couldn't bring myself to buy yet another Ford Explorer and have the same problems pop up at the same mileage over and over again. Too bad, because the Explorer had the most comfortable drivers seat of any vehicle I've owned. The field of alternatives is limited in the mid-size SUV market where styling and quality are crucial. The American choices were out for the same reasons Ford was no longer a contender. Styling had become boring with most of the market settling on the rounded look. The only two choices for me in the Japanese market that fit my narrow mold were the 2005 4Runner and the 2005 Pathfinder. I figured a Japanese product would make up in quality where the Ford, GM , and Dodge products were lacking. And, my new SUV had to be built on a truck chassis and it had to fit in my garage. No back row seating was necessary but they want us to have it whether we want it or not. Toyota still hasn't given in to that in the current 4Runnerand I applaud them for that. My choice between these two came down to styling. I had been seriously considering the 4Runner and I test drove it twice. The ride was nice and the quality was as expected from a Toyota. The drivers seat wasn't roomy enough for a tall person like me at 6'1". And I wasn't crazy about the overall styling, especially the wind deflector over the back window. Then I went to the Nissan dealer on the suggestion of a friend who had heard about the new models. The 2005 Pathy had just arrived on the lot in October 2004 and I might have been the first person to sit in one. I was taken by the rugged squared off styling that was so different from everything else out there. I found myself slipping into impulse-buy mode and there was no stopping me. The test drive was fine for the limited driving you can do on side streets. Within a week I found a good deal on the showroom floor model at another dealership. It had come right off the auto carrier and into the showroom, as shiny as a new car can be with 2 miles on the odometer and never having seen the sun or wind. I sat in it and then bought it on the spot; the LE model, storm gray with dark interior, complete with the nav system and DVD entertainment system. As fully loaded as it comes. I had high hopes for my new Pathfinder. I rolled it out of the showroom on November 4 and for almost a month I never saw another one on the road but mine. I've now had it 4 months and 4,500 miles. Here's my 5,000 mile report card a little ahead of schedule. I don't expect much to change in the next 500 miles.
Exterior Styling - Still the main (if not the only) reason to buy this rig. There's nothing else like it right now and that may be reason enough to have one. It's clearly a guy's truck and women seem to recognize that. They like to drive it when we let them, but they also know we belong behind the wheel. The styling almost makes me look past the other issues I have with this truck.
Interior Styling - Eye catching and impressive for an SUV. Everyone who sits in it for the first time comments on the look and style of the interior. And what's not to like. It's a work of art in design and aesthetics. Functionality is another thing.
Driver Confort and Controls - Like I said, I'm a tall guy. Ford knows Americans can be tall and they build their trucks with that in mind. The Japanese don't rate that as high in the ranking of creature comforts. One thing that seems common to the Japanese made SUVs is that the driver's seat sits too high for a tall guy. I can't quite get the seat adjusted to where I want it and I'm always aware of this limitation. The stereo is nice enough and the controls are easy enough to use. The climate control system is another matter. Rather than easy push buttons they have chosen knobs that require turning to adjust virtually everything in the heating and AC department. This is slow and frustsating even after the overly long learning curve. After 4 months I'm still trying to master this system. Driver visibility is also a concern of mine. The view out the front windshield is fine. However, the view to the sides and rear is limited by the large B pillars and small back window. I'm always concerned when backing out of my garage or a parking space that I might not see another car or pedestrian. I spend more time double checking out of caution.
Other Interior Issues - Like I said before, the car makers feel we need three rows of seats whether we want them or not. That 3rd row doesn't belong in a mid-size SUV. Space is already limited and we want that room to haul BBQ's and appliances and lumber. All the extra mechanical gizmos required for those extra seats just takes up more room that is already presious to us. Skip the 3rd row seats. People who really want them can get a mini van or a full size SUV. More is not always better. Second row passengers also feel the pinch to their foot room because of all the hinging needed to move the seats around. Forget the 3rd row in favor of cargo room and passenger leg room. Rattles and squeaks are another annoyance. I know this is a truck, but I bought a Nissan, not a Rambler. I'm disappointed by the degree of rattles and squeaks coming from all areas of the interior after only a few thosand miles of freeway and city driving. Woe to the off roader who hopes to hear the nuances of his stereo above the rattles coming from the dashboard. The dash rattle has been mentioned several times on this site. Soon that will be the least of your concerns.
Interior Materials - Someone else mentioned this and I noticed it too. The carpet quality is less than expected for this vehicle. I didn't notice at first because the floor mats cover most areas of the carpet. I don't expect this carpet to hold up over many years of hard wear, especially the cargo area where the carpet is already showing signs of wear from sliding boxes and what not over the uneven surfaces. The plastic panels also concern me. The dash and door plastic surfaces are the same material as the carge area which are already scratched and gouged from moving things in and out. In time the dash and door panels will be scarred from normal wear and tear way beyond how they should be. I think the plastic is too soft and prone to gouges and marks that won't buff out. The Explorer had a more durable interior for heavy use.
Ride Quality - The ride was nice and smooth on the test drive where speeds were under 50 mph. Not so good at freeway speeds. On anything but the smoothest roads there's a rather severe front end vibration and steering wheel shimmy at speeds over 60 mph. I know I shouldn't expect car ride quality in an SUV on a truck chassis, but this is considerably worse than expected. It could be a tire balance issue but it isn't a problem on very smooth freeway sur
#7791 of 8191 2005 Pathfinder - 5,000 Mile Report Card
Feb 24, 2005 (7:37 am)
Here's the rest of the message that got cut off...
Ride Quality - The ride was nice and smooth on the test drive where speeds were under 50 mph. Not so good at freeway speeds. On anything but the smoothest roads there's a rather severe front end vibration and steering wheel shimmy at speeds over 60 mph. I know I shouldn't expect car ride quality in an SUV on a truck chassis, but this is considerably worse than expected. It could be a tire balance issue but it isn't a problem on very smooth freeway surfaces, which tends to rule out balancing as the cause. Add a few bumps and the front end is shaking like crazy, mostly from the left front it seems. I can even see the hood vibrating as the wheel shimmy sets in. I've also noticed a loud squeaking or creaking coming from the rear chassis area over bumps and during turns at lower speeds. Could be some of the frame or suspension bolts need tightening or maybe it's coming from the rear coil springs. This will be an issue for the dealer at the first oil change.
Drive Train - For the first 2,000 miles the engine and tranny were smooth and shifting was almost seamless. Then all of a sudden shifting began to feel sloppy like the tranny was slipping between gears, most noticeably from first to second. It's also developed a low end vibration that seems to be coming from the tranny at lower rpm's. It's almost like the engine is lugging and the vibration is very annoying. Also the engine doesn't feel as responsive and it doesn't down shift as tightly as before. Perhaps just a computer issue or maybe a problem in the torque converter. Definitely the biggest issue I have at this point and it will be the first item on the list when it goes to the dealer for warranty work.
Conclusion - I regret to say my new Pathfinder has not met expectations. By purchasing Nissan I had hoped for a reasonably trouble free ownership experience. I'm hoping many of these problems can be resolved by the service department. It's always frustrating to have to lose time from work to take a brand new vehicle to the dealership for repair. I will get to find out how responsive Nissan is to my complaints. Maybe the next 5000 miles will be more enjoyable. Would I buy this vehicle again right now? Hard to say, but maybe not. We'll see how happy I am after a round at the service department.
#7792 of 8191 Re: 2005 Pathfinder - 5,000 Mile Report Card [gjaugie]
Feb 24, 2005 (9:50 am)
Great job on the report. Very organized and detailed. I hope they iron out the issues for you.
It is a new vehicle plant in the US which the new 05's are rolling off from. The factory has major teething problems as previously mentioned. Hopefully they will nip it in the bud as soon as possible and come up with the fixes you need. Previous R50 Pathfinders were built solid as a rock and hopefully they come up to speed on the newer models.
Quality issue: Is it because the '05 Pathfinders(titans, armadas, QX56) are built here in the new US plant that Nissan has to resort to using lower quality materials and build in order to offset the higher production costs??
#7793 of 8191 Re: 2005 Pathfinder - 5,000 Mile Report Card [lbinh]
Feb 24, 2005 (11:13 am)
the pathfinder, frontier, and xterra are all built in the smyrna, TN plant.
the new plant is in canton, MS
#7794 of 8191 Re: 2005 Pathfinder - 5,000 Mile Report Card [lbinh]
Feb 24, 2005 (11:41 am)
This report is very thorough and alraming. What is going on at Nissan USA? Everytime they come up with a supposedly good new produdct, they seem fall way off the expectation from the consumers. Just look at the Quest, Armada and now Path. I was anticipating the 05 Xterra but not I am not sure I want to take the plunge after seeing so many quality issues on new Nissans.
#7795 of 8191 Re: 2005 Pathfinder - 5,000 Mile Report Card [4rider]
Feb 24, 2005 (6:55 pm)
Thanks for the excellent info. I had the opportunity last year to wait for the 05 or purchase an 04 LE. After some research on Nissan's newer products in terms of quality and reliability I decided to buy the 04. I couldn't be happier. After 12,000 km I have yet to hear a squeak or a rattle, even in -35 C. I have not returned to the dealer since the day I picked it up last March. I was asked by several people if they should purchase an 04 or 05 and I always recommend the 04. This once again confirms my opinion. Hope things get better for you.
#7796 of 8191 Re: 2005 Pathfinder - 5,000 Mile Report Card [zzr12]
Feb 24, 2005 (8:42 pm)
just join the forum, Frank good decision.
My wife has the 2001 le 4x4, purchased two month after they roll out to the market, 38,000 plus on the odometer and it is rock solid, only oil changes and the rear bottoming issue which nissan
quickly fixed it. Hoping that the 2005 model we will have the same experienced as the 2001 model so, we purchased le 2x4 this time because of the
added third row seat for hauling kids to schools. To my disappointment it didn't meet my expectations, rattle on the engine compartment
which was the intake manifold issue (replacement parts on order by the dealer), brakes squeaks when backing out from the garage and poor radio
reception. Hopefully they will fixed all this issues and enjoy driving my pathy, Have 1,270 miles on it now. Overall I like my pathy.
Feb 25, 2005 (6:16 pm)
Hi, I have a 95 Pathfinder and my battery died but, the hood release isn't working for some reason. It just won't pop up in order for me to lift the lever. It's been sitting in my driveway for 1 week!!! Anyone have any ideas??? Does this have to do with the cold weather?
Feb 26, 2005 (8:18 am)
For all with cable operated hood releases - BE GENTLE! If you break the cable you are in trouble (unless you really like difficult mechanical problems). Be sure to lubricate the mechanism from time to time.
If you can still feel resistance when you pull the hood release your cable is still connected. Have someone hold the release in the activated position (gently) and work the hood - sometimes thumping it with your fist will let it release - sometimes you have to push the hood side to side or front to rear. Once you get it open, you will need to adjust it so it works properly again. If you have never lubricated it this is the time - use a spray on grease such as door hinge lub.
If you have no resistance when operating the release lever your cable is either broken or the end has slipped out of the notch. You will have to access it from under the vehicle. Study another vehicle like your own to see what you will have to do to release the latch - usually there is a tab that has to be pushed back (it has a slot in it and the cable end goes there to pull it back). Sometimes you can push the hood up enough to get a screwdriver in to push the release, sometimes you have to access it from below.
#7799 of 8191 '01 & '05 Pathfinders
Feb 26, 2005 (1:18 pm)
I have an '01 Path. LE with 85,000 miles on it. Have only done oil changes and new tires at 83,000 miles! (mostly highway driving) Other then a new rattle in the driver's left side woodgrain plastic AC vent, the SUV has been great! Time for a new one. I did extensive research and test driving. Lexus 330, 4R, MDX, Chose the Pathfinder for engine and great new look. Truck had to come from a dealer in Jacksonville so it had 150 miles on it. LE with Nav. and a few others. Storm gray with graphite interior...sharp! Dealer in Jacksonville had added mud guards, wheel locks, front end hood smoke protector, cargo rubber mat and net (Small rubber mat and net). I paid $200 over invoice and paid dealer cost for cargo mat, wheel locks and hood protector. Did not pay for mud guards. This dealer (Bill Ray Nissan) was the only Orlando rarea dealer to meet my faxed offer. The truck has been great...almost 1,000. I have had none of the above problems. Bought the truck end of January. I am wondering if the Jacksonville dealer maybe worked out some of the above listed concerns while they had it? The highway I drive has a stretch of uneven pavement...construction. Truck still rides great. No engine noise. No pillar rattling, etc. Rarely have passengers but the time I did, they could not believe how smooth the ride was. (Back seat still a little cramped and I keep third row down for carting stuff.) I would defintely buy again so far! Keeping my fingers crossed! (Email me if you need salesman's name.)