Image credits: © Nissan.

MSRP: $28,570-43,250
Invoice: $26,771-40,048

2012 Nissan Pathfinder

2012 Nissan Pathfinder – 3-Row, 7-Passenger Seating, With Plenty of Room for Style, Comfort and Performance

For more than 25 years, when people think of the Nissan Pathfinder, they imagine where it can take them. With a choice of powerful V6 or V8 engines, a rugged truck frame underneath and available four-wheel drive, the 2012 Pathfinder lives up to its reputation as an authentic, rugged adventure vehicle. Yet wîth an abundance of 'civilized' features, including available leather-appointed seat and DVD video entertainment system, today's Pathfinder owners also know that how it can take them – as in comfort and style – is of equal importance.

For 2012, the Nissan Pathfinder is available in 4x4 and 4x2 drive configurations and in five models: S V6, SV V6, Silver V6, LE V6 and LE V8 (4x4 only). Enhancements for the new model year include the addition of a power moonroof and DVD mobile entertainment system on the Silver model, standard navigation system on LE models and one new exterior color: Brilliant Silver (replaces Silver Lightning).

Pathfinder is again offered wîth a choice of a 5.6-liter DOHC V8 engine is rated at 310 horsepower and 388 lb-ft of torque, which helps it to achieve 7,000 lbs of maximum towing capacity (when properly equipped), or the proven 4.0-liter V6, which offers 266 horsepower and 288 lb-ft of torque.

Along wîth standard three-row seating for seven, Pathfinder's refined interior offers a range of amenities, including available heated §teering wheel, Nissan Intelligent Key®, Nissan Navigation System, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, XM® Satellite Radio (XM® subscription required, sold separately) and RearView Monitor.

An Iconic Exterior Design and Refined Interior
Throughout its history, Pathfinder has maintained an iconic exterior design, while also remaining fresh and dynamic. The exterior is defined by its unique combination of sophistication and rugged, go-anywhere looks.

Large headlamps, angled strut-style grille and a sweeping hood hint at the power underneath, while Pathfinder's broad shoulder line, large integrated fender flares covering purposeful wheel and tire combinations and distinctive C-pillar wîth high-mounted rear door handles reinforce the distinctive Pathfinder appearance.

A long wheelbase of 112.2 inches allows for a roomy three-row cabin while providing ride comfort and stability – wîth the manageable 192.3-inch overall length and short front and rear overhangs help enable drivers to feel comfortable driving or parking. Additional exterior highlights include standard roof rails wîth integrated front and rear grips and a rear tailgate design wîth flip-up rear glass hatch opening. Pathfinder also offers side running boards on SV, Silver and LE trims, fog lights (standard on all trim levels except S), available heated outside mirrors and power slide and tilt moonroof (Silver and LE models). Seven exterior colors are available for 2012, the new Brilliant Silver and carryover colors Super Black, Dark Slate, Red Brick, Avalanche, Espresso Black and Navy Blue.

Inside the ruggedly elegant body, the Pathfinder interior offers standard three-row seating and exceptional utility and storage capacity. Seating selections include an available 8-way power driver's seat, 4-way power front passenger's seat, fold-down front passenger seat, driver's seat auto entry/exit system wîth two-driver memory and heated front seats. A fold-down 3rd row seat, 40/20/40 split separate-folding 2nd row seats wîth easy one-touch release lever for 3rd row access come standard on all models.

Vital Stats
Engine : 4.0 L., 6-cylinder
Power: 266 hp
Torque: 288 ft-lbs

5-speed Automatic
Additional standard equipment includes power windows wîth driver and front passenger auto-up/down and safety reverse, power door locks wîth auto door lock function, tilt §teering wheel, Remote Keyless Entry, trip computer and climate control system.

Storage areas are plentiful throughout the spacious cabin, including eight cupholders and an overhead console wîth sunglass storage. Útility is enhanced wîth four 12-volt outlets (two on instrument panel center stack, one for 2nd row and one cargo area), driver's seatback pocket, plentiful passenger assist grips and available rear reading lamps (standard on all but S) and outside temperature gauge (standard on all but S).

The Nissan Navigation System, available on LE models, includes XM® NavTraffic Real-Time Traffic Information (XM® subscription required, sold separately).

Available Pathfinder technology and features includes Nissan Intelligent Key®, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System and XM® Satellite Radio (XM® subscription required, sold separately), a dual-zone automatic temperature control (standard on all but S), rear air conditioning, power-adjustable pedals (standard on all but S), leather-appointed 1st and 2nd row seats, power moonroof, HomeLink® Úniversal Transceiver, Bose® audio system, leather-appointed §teering wheel (standard on all but S), wood grain trim and DVD entertainment system wîth 7.0-inch color rear monitor and rear seat wireless headphones (Silver and LE models only).

Two Advanced Powerplants
The 2012 Pathfinder is available wîth a choice of two engines – a powerful 5.6-liter DOHC 32-valve V8 engine producing 310 horsepower and 388 lb-ft of torque and a 266-horsepower 4.0-liter V6. The V8 engine is offered wîth the Pathfinder LE 4x4 configuration, while the V6 is offered in S, SV, Silver and LE 4x4 and 4x2 models. Backing both engines is a standard electronically controlled 5-speed automatic transmission. (posted on The transmission, which is specially tuned for each engine application, features a wide gear ratio spread for maximum acceleration performance and a Direct Control System to provide smooth shift quality.

The 4.0-liter V8 engine's advanced design includes features such as an aluminum engine block wîth cast iron cylinder liners, chain-driven dual overhead camshafts wîth silent single-stage timing chain for quiet operation and durability, and electronic drive-by-wire throttle for precise control. For greater efficiency, graphite-coated pistons, microfinished forged steel crankshaft and microfinished camshaft help reduce friction. Maximum towing capacity wîth the V8 is a full 7,000 pounds when properly equipped.

Pathfinder's advanced 4.0-liter DOHC V6 is rated at 266 horsepower and 288 lb-ft of torque. This specially tuned engine, created for SÚV and truck applications, is part of Nissan's award-winning VQ engine series. The 4.0-liter design includes Electronic Throttle Control wîth secondary mapping in 4LO (4x4 models), Continuous Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS), Nissan variable Induction Control System (NICS), silent timing chain, microfinished camshaft and crankshaft surfaces, molybdenum-coated pistons and lightweight aluminum block. Maximum towing capacity for V6-equipped Pathfinders is 6,000 pounds when properly equipped for towing.

Pathfinder is offered wîth several advanced 4x4 systems. The Pathfinder LE V8 4x4 features a full-time All-Mode 4-wheel drive system that can instantly distribute torque to all four wheels whenever road conditions warrant (up to 50 percent can go to the front wheels on demand), resulting in optimal traction wîth improved fuel economy and enhanced cornering capability. Pathfinder V6-equipped 4x4 models are available wîth a part-time 4-wheel drive system (S, SV) or an All-Mode 4-wheel drive system that includes 2WD/AÚTO/4H/4LO modes and electronically controlled transfer case (LE V6).

Standard on all Pathfinder models is a responsive engine-speed-sensitive power-assisted rack-and-pinion §teering system and 4-wheel disc brakes wîth 4-wheel, 4-channel, 4-sensor Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) wîth G-sensor and Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD).

All Pathfinders continue to be built on a high-strength, fully boxed, all-steel ladder frame based on the full-size Nissan Armada SÚV. Pathfinder's long-travel front suspension is an all-steel double-wishbone design wîth coil-over shocks and large stabilizer bar. For smooth ride quality and optimized handling, the rear suspension is an independent double-wishbone design wîth the coils located on the toe control link (offset spring and shock) wîth stabilizer bar. Standard underbody component protection puts a plate under the radiator, and all models are equipped wîth an integrated tow hitch.

Wheel packages vary by Pathfinder model. Pathfinder S models offer standard 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels wîth P245/75R16 tires, while 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels wîth P265/65R17 BFGoodrich Long Trail tires are offered on SV and Silver. Pathfinder LE V6 and LE V8 models feature special 18-inch machine-finished aluminum-alloy wheels and P265/60R18 BFGoodrich BSW tires. All Pathfinders provide a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and full-size spare tire.

Standard Safety and Security Equipment
Pathfinder's long list of standard safety features and equipment includes Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS), featuring dual-stage front supplemental air bags wîth seat belt sensors and a front occupant classification sensor; supplemental front seat-mounted side-impact air bags; and roof-mounted supplemental curtain air bags for improved side impact and rollover head protection for outboard occupants in all three rows.

Other features include Zone Body construction wîth front and rear crumple zones; energy absorbing §teering column; front seat Active Head Restraints and 3-point front seat belts wîth pretensioners and load limiters, 3-point seat belts for all rear seat occupants, including the 2nd row center position; adjustable 2nd and 3rd row head restraints; LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren); Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).

Five Well-Equipped Models
The 2012 Pathfinder is offered in a choice of five models: S, SV, Silver, LE V6 and LE V8 (4x4 only), each wîth an array of standard features, including three-row seating.

Pathfinder SV models add 17-inch wheels wîth P265/65R17 tires, 7.0-inch multi-information display, 8-way power driver's seat, fold-down front passenger's seat, power-adjustable foot pedals, unique seat fabric, AM/FM/6CD audio system wîth MP3 capability, speed-sensitive front wipers, splash guards, illuminated §teering wheel audio controls, dual-zone automatic temperature control wîth rear air conditioning, 2nd row fold-down center armrest, leather-wrapped §teering wheel and shift knob, fog lights, body-color outside mirrors, side running boards, automatic on/off headlights, auto day/night rearview mirror, compass, HomeLink® Úniversal Transceiver and RearView Monitor.

Pathfinder Silver models add 17-inch machine-finished alloy wheels, body color side moldings wîth chrome inserts, 6CD Bose® audio unit wîth 10 speakers including subwoofer, XM® Satellite Radio (XM® subscription required, sold separately), Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, Nissan Intelligent Key®, 4-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, heated outside mirrors, leather-appointed interior and Silver badge.

Pathfinder LE models add enhanced levels of style and luxury. The LE V6 includes 18-inch bright machine-finished aluminum-alloy wheels, wood grain trim, driver memory package (seat, mirrors and pedals) wîth programmable remote keyfobs, heated §teering wheel, roof rack crossbars, power moonroof, LE Badge and front fascia underguard. The Pathfinder LE V8 adds the 5.6-liter V8, XN All-Mode 4x4 system, Nissan Navigation System and V8 badging.

Three option packages are available, including the DVD Mobile Entertainment System (Silver and LE V6 only) and the Silver Edition Moonroof Package (Siler only).

The LE V8 Value Package includes the power moonroof wîth slide and tilt, and DVD player wîth 7.0-inch color monitor for rear passengers, rear seat wireless headphones and remote control.

The 2012 Pathfinder is assembled at Nissan's award-winning Smyrna, Tennessee manufacturing facility, wîth engines supplied by Nissan's nearby Decherd, Tennessee engine facility.

Source - Nissan
A crossover SUV manufactured by Nissan Motors since 1986, the Pathfinder originated from Nissan's compact pickup truck platform. It fits nicely in between the similarly sized Nissan Murano and Armada, but is closer in price between the Xterra and Murano. The Pathfinder's biggest competitor is the Toyota 4Runner. The first generation of the Pathfinder was produced from 1985 until 1995 and was produced in Japan and manufactured in Kyūshū, Japan, Jakarta, Indonesia and Purwakarta, Indonesia.

The Pathfinder originally arrived on the scene in two different bodies and shared numerous styling and features with the Nissan Hardbody Truck. Nissan wanted to compete with the likes of the new Chevy Blazer, the Jeep Cherokee and the Ford Bronco so the Pathfinder was constructed on a ladder-type frame. The first generation WD21 Pathfinders was offered in both 2WD and 4WD configurations and until 1989 they came with a two-door body. The Pathfinder grew to a four-door body in the U.S. early on in 1990, and though some US models came in 2-door bodies, they were quite rare. To make the 4-door version look like a 2-door truck with a camper shell, Nissan designed the door handles to be concealed as part of the 'C' pillar trim, with the conventional door handles on the front doors. Today this design theme is still used on all Nissan SUVs, including the Xterra and the Armada.

Until 1990 the 2-door Pathfinder was available in Canada. Until 1989 the model was available with either the Nissan VG30i 3.0 L V6, or the Nissan Z24i 2.4 L I4. The V6 was upgraded in 1990 from throttle body injection to a multi point fuel injection system. This power plant was know as VG30E and was rated at 153 hp and 180 lb•ft of torque. The Z24i was also replaced with the KA24E in the same year. In various countries this first generation also came with a 2.7 L I4 Diesel Engine known as the TD27 with a turbocharger option to increase power rating.

In 1990 the Pathfinder underwent a revamp with the arrival of the 4-door model. Among the revisions was a revised front grille and a variety of interior trim level options along with numerous exterior packages being offered by dealerships. For 1993 the Pathfinder received a third brake light, and the following year a curved dashboard was introduced.

The second generation of the Pathfinder was introduced in 1996 until 2004. It debuted with a much more rounded styling design and a brand new redesign from the past generation. The model switched from body on frame construction to unibody construction. An engine upgrade this generation landed the Pathfinder with the VG33E with 168 hp and 196 lb•ft of torque.

1999 brought about another refresh of the lineup, and two years later a new 240 hp V6 engine, the VQ35DE was introduced. The Pathfinder grew larger in size through its facelift to make way for the very compact Xterra. The Japanese and European models continued to used diesel engines. The Pathfinder/Terrano model were not longer available for sale in Japan after 2002. Though the model is still available in North America, the Middle East and Europe.

For 2000 the Pathfinder underwent a pretty serious update that included a new front fascia two grille variants, rear fascia and the interior. Again in 2002 the car once again experienced a facelift that included adding the current Altima-lined Nissan logo along with a zestier grille. A new steering wheel and radio display was also added.

A whole new redesigned Pathfinder appeared at the 2004 North American International Auto Show for the 2005 model year. This was the third generation of the Pathfinder dubbed the R51 series from 2005 until 2012. The model used the Nissan F-Alpha platform, which returned the vehicle to a body on frame construction. This model is powered by a 4.0 L V6 engine VQ40DE, 288 lb•ft or a 2.5 L YD25DDTi, 403 N•m Turbo Diesel.

The full-size SUV Pathfinder Armada was introduced late during 2003. Despite sharing a common name the two models used different platforms and had very few similarities. In 2005 the 'Pathfinder' was dropped from its name, leaving it simply 'Armada'. Outside of North America the Pathfinder has been marketed as the 'Terrano'. Rising to International fame in 2005, the redesigned Pathfinder was sold worldwide, and for the first time in the UK. A third row of seats was added to the Pathfinder line for the first time in 2005. Unfortunately the 2005 thru 2010 models have been subject to a class action lawsuit due to cracks in the radiator that permit coolant to leak into the transmission which results in permanent damage. The only recourse is radiator and transmission replacement.

Introduced at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show was the redesigned 2008 Nissan Pathfinder. It sported newly updated badge positions on the rear lift-gate and the addition of the Titan's 5.6-liter V8 engine rated at 310 hp and 388 lb•ft. The Pathfinder was once again updated for the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. The model was now available with a Nissan 3.0-liter V6 Turbodiesel engine that produced 240 hp, 406 lb•ft at 2,500 rpm. Owners could choose an upgraded YD25DDTi Turbodiesel with power rising up to 140 kW – up 14 kW with torque increasing to 450 Nm. Certain markets offered a version of the engine with a diesel particulate filter (DPF). The R51 Series remains manufactured and sold outside of the U.S.

To set them apart from their predecessors, the updated models received a new look in the front and rear that included a new hood, a new bumper assembly and an updated grille. Both models increased in length about 80 mm and featured a more rounded bumper. Xenon lamps received a new headlamp design with projectors. Hidden under body color moldings in the bumpers were headlamp washers that popped up. New 18' alloy wheels went well with the existing range of 16-inch and 17-inch designs. The V6 models received subtle V7 badge at the leading edge of both front doors and a new side molding across the doors.

Late in 2012 the fourth generation R52 Pathfinder series was introduced as a 2013 model. Completely redesigned the Pathfinder was once again on a unibody design, moved away from body-on-frame, truck-based SUV. The newest model rides on the same platform as the Altima, Maxima, Infiniti JX, Murano and Quest. Much like previous generations, the Pathfinder balanced nicely between luxury and truck-like rugged capability.

Nissan expects that this generation will have a twenty-five percent improvement in fuel-efficiency over previous years. Only offered with a VQ35DE 3.5-Liter V6 engine, the power plant produces 260 hp. In its segment the Pathfinder is currently one of the lightest vehicles, with the FWD model only weighing 4,149 pounds and the 4WD model weighing only 4,290 pounds. Door handles were a thing of the past for this generation. The R52 series is only available in the U.S.

Debuting at the 2013 New York Auto Show was the Pathfinder Hybrid. It is scheduled to go on sale in the early fall in 2013 and is available with a new 2.5 L I4 Supercharged engine.


By Jessica Donaldson
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