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2009 Nissan Pathfinder Review

The 2009 Nissan Pathfinder delivers a spacious, versatile interior and decent off-road abilities. However, it ranks toward the bottom of the class as other competitors offer more refinement, as well as better safety scores.

Pros & Cons

  • Capable off-road
  • Roomy interior
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Low safety scores

Rankings & Research

The 2009 Nissan Pathfinder's #23 ranking is based on its score within the 2009 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. Currently the Nissan Pathfinder has a score of 7.6 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 46 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.0
Performance: 7.6
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.8
Safety: 8.6
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2009 Nissan Pathfinder Overview

If you’re looking for an SUV that’s up to more-rugged tasks, the 2009 Nissan Pathfinder offers several stand-out traits when compared with rival off-road SUVs. The Pathfinder is a fairly capable truck-based SUV with seating for seven and a basic but roomy interior. Uncommon for a traditional SUV, its road manners aren’t bad, and its available V8 engine adds a healthy dose of power and a hefty towing capacity. However, the Pathfinder’s safety scores are on the low end of the scale, and its fuel economy is poor when compared with crossovers. In general, if you don’t plan to take your SUV off-road, and you don’t plan to tow much, you’ll likely be better served by a more modern car-based crossover.

The Nissan Pathfinder is available with either a 4.0-liter V6 engine in S, SE and SE Off-Road trims or a 5.6-liter V8 engine in the top LE trim. S and SE models are available with rear- or four-wheel drive, while SE Off-Road and LE models come standard with four-wheel drive. Standard features are basic on the S trim, while higher trims can include features like a Bose audio system, leather-appointed first- and second-row seats, Bluetooth phone connectivity and dual-zone automatic climate control.

See the full 2009 Nissan Pathfinder specs »

Other Cars to Consider

The seven-seat 2009 Ford Explorer is just as capable off the beaten path as the Pathfinder. Like the Pathfinder, the Explorer doesn’t offer the best fuel economy, but reviewers agreed that when it was new, the Explorer was one of the best-handling off-road SUVs available.

If you don’t plan to tow a trailer or take your SUV off-road, consider the 2009 Toyota Highlander. It’s not nearly as capable of rugged tasks as the Nissan Pathfinder, but the Highlander is a much more family-focused SUV. With available seating for seven and a well-made interior, the Toyota Highlander impressed reviewers, and it ranks highly in the class with good safety scores. The base Highlander’s four-cylinder engine also gets fantastic fuel economy, though it’s not exactly powerful.

Compare the Pathfinder to the Explorer and Highlander »

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