2003 Nissan Pathfinder Reviews

2003 Nissan Pathfinder SE 3.5 from United Arab Emirates

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission 3.5 Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired90000 kilometres
Most recent distance152000 kilometres
Previous carVolvo S40

Summary:

Excellent

Faults:

Little suspension problem - 400 USD at 120,000km, and another repair to be done now on amortizers.

CD player stopped working, and it is impossible to take it out without breaking the wooden panel.

One seat belt lock on the back doesn't work.

General Comments:

I have been driving this car for 60k km now. No problems at all.

This car has been heavily used off-road in the desert, mountains, beach and so on. Extremely sturdy and reliable vehicle. Except for suspension (which had a hard beating from me when driving off-road), nothing was touched for last 50k km.

It does not have a soul or a fanciness of an European car (which I always owned before), but the reliability is amazing. Unfortunately, I have no other choice than to recommend it as excellent car with excellent reliability.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th July, 2010

2003 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5 V6 4x4 from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2002
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 3.5 V6 4x4 Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired200 miles
Most recent distance85000 miles
Previous carNissan Pathfinder

Summary:

Generally a solid performer

Faults:

Power seat on driver's side broke in the first year. Dealer replaced motor under warranty.

Chugging upon acceleration. Mechanic replaced the swirl valve and the problem went away... temporarily. It returned shortly after, mechanic rebooted the computer and it went away. Came back one more time months later, rebooted computer and hasn't returned in about a year.

Broken seals on cat. converters, sounds like a hole in the muffler. Mechanic put a temporary seal on them, but will both need to be replaced when the seal breaks.

CD player does not work when it's cool/cold outside (like lower than 60 degrees). CD skips. Sounds like it's a common problem among Pathfinders and Muranos. $2k to replace factory stereo. Blogs say that factory speakers are not rated for what you can buy in the stores. I've had many after market stereos stolen from previous cars so am just living with it.

General Comments:

This is my 3rd Pathfinder and the best yet. Great performance in the mountains and in the low lands. Excellent for winter driving in Colorado.

I thought it was comfortable until my husband got an Acura MDX. Mental note to never go straight from the Acura to the Nissan.

Lots of room for the family (2 adults, 1 child and a big dog).

Stopped going to the dealer after 36k miles. Local mechanic is not impressed with the issues mentioned above. Feels that we shouldn't be having these issues at 50k miles.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th July, 2009

2003 Nissan Pathfinder SE VQ 3.5 from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission VQ 3.5 Automatic
Distance when acquired88000 miles
Most recent distance88000 miles
Previous carNissan Maxima

Summary:

Still too early to tell, but it made a good first impression

Faults:

Nothing yet.

General Comments:

This will be my first entry for our new used 2003 Pathfinder. We picked it up in St.Paul, MN after 30 days of research and shopping Craigslist and CarSoup.

The truck was in pretty nice shape and we purchased it for $8635. Our pre-negotiated price was $8820. That price was based on the power seats option, which it did not have. I'm glad it has manual seats, one less thing to break. The truck has 88,000 miles on it.

It is an SE model with the following options.

- Power sunroof

- Heated cloth seats (didn't know there was such a thing)

- Bose audio

- Color matched bumpers

- Towing package

- Power windows, locks, cruise.

- Multi-CD

- Alloy wheels

- ABS

- Air bags

- Cassette

- Tilt

- Air conditioning

- Roof rack

- Running boards

- ABS

- Dunlop tires are nearly new

I got 23 mpg driving the Interstate back to Grand Forks, ND. I went 60 mph the whole way.

My first impression is very positive. It has a solid, quality feel to it.

I test drove 3 vehicles yesterday before deciding on this one.

First was a '04 Xterra, which was in poor condition and not worthy of our consideration. Pre-negotiated price was $8700. (Pre-negotiated means the price was determined before viewing, assuming condition was acceptable and options were as stated)

Second was a '01 Pathfinder LE. It had lower mileage than the one we bought, but it was in tougher shape. It also had a "cheapness" about it. When you locked the doors, it sounded like you were in a tin can. The paint was chipped and scratched all over. I would have had to repaint the entire car to get it looking as nice as the one we bought. We passed hoping for something better. We found it. Pre-negotiated price was $8600.

I will be going over the truck thoroughly this week replacing all fluids, cleaning the engine compartment and installing a new battery. The wife is going to use this truck in Bayfield, WI this winter. We bought a home there on the side of hill, and the Maxima would not have been a good winter vehicle. The Pathfinder may even face a challenge once in a while with the amount of snow we get.

Why did I choose Pathfinder? There were a few reasons.

1. Superior engine. On Wards 10 best list for many years.

2. I'm disappointed with the quality of domestic vehicles.

3. I think the Pathfinder is a very good value right now.

4. I would have liked an Xterra, but the 3.3 engine has a timing belt and low power. There also weren't many Xterras available at our mid to high 8 Gs price point.

Now all we need to do is sell our Maxima.

Check back soon for other feedback. I really enjoyed this site and used it a lot for our shopping.

Email me if you'd like a copy of my used car checklist.

We used a spreadsheet to drill down to a few cars that were worthy of consideration. If you'd like a copy of my spreadsheet and some info on using it, let me know.

removethese23charactersnissan@netcrafting.com

Thank you.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th September, 2008

2nd Oct 2008, 21:26

I'm the fella that started this thread. I'll try to precede future posts with my handle, coppcar.

After spending several days preparing for and tearing into our new truck, I have a couple of observations.

- Whenever you buy a used car, assume that no maintenance was done unless you have proof that it has been done. In our case, no proof was provided, and the previous owner only said that the oil had been changed regularly. With that in mind, I gave it a fresh oil change at Jiffy Lube before the 300 mile trip back to ND, with the intention of changing it again at home. This will give the system a nice flush. I hate taking my car to the shop. It seems every time I do, something is goofed up. I have many horror stories. This oil change had minimal backlash. He torqued the drain plug too tight and some bolts were missing from the brush guard. I had to fuss with the plug and find some new bolts... sigh...

- You'll need a special tool to pack the front bearings.

- The fairing on the roof rack makes cleaning the area behind it difficult.

- The fairing makes having the sunroof open at highway speeds infinitely more pleasant. The sunroof on our Maxima seldom gets used because of the noise.

- Maintenance chores won't be too tough. Once the splash guard is removed, you can get to lots of stuff easily. Oil filter is easy to get to. Serpentine belts are relatively easy to replace. Although getting the tension correct may prove challenging, since the truck does not have automatic tensioners like the ones on my GM cars. Draining the coolant is easy, just remove the lower radiator hose. Both axles have easily accessible drain and fill holes.

- I think I'll have a front end alignment done. I don't want to risk messing up the tires.

- I'll try to post bits and pieces of useful stuff on a Pathfinder page I'll be putting together. I'll try to keep my posts here focused on likes and dislikes. http://netcrafting.com/car_mx/pathfinder/

25th Oct 2008, 18:06

Coppcar writes:

Two things have surfaced regarding this series of Pathfinder. I found the information at http://www.nicoclub.com and http://www.nissanpathfinders.net/forum/

1. The screws holding the butterfly valves in the Power Valve assembly have been known to come loose and get ingested into the engine. It was uncommon in the Pathfinder, but happened nonetheless. I dismantled my intake plenum to find that mine were fine. I will be removing/reinstalling them with Locktite.

2. More unnerving was the problem of oil consumption in the VQ35 engine. Although not terribly bad, one quart per 1000 miles is being stated as somewhat common. After considerable research and study on my truck, I wrote an article about my findings. You can read it at http://netcrafting.com/car_mx/pathfinder/oil.html

19th Feb 2009, 07:29

Coppcar says on 2/19/09 - After several months of use, the truck has been doing very well. No repairs and it's great in the snow and ice. I bought a set of OEM rims on Ebay and four new Bridgestone Blizzaks for it. I highly recommend the use of dedicated snow tires. Husky floor liners are also a must have. Oil use in 3300 miles is 1.25 qts, which is acceptable.

2003 Nissan Pathfinder Armada LE Endurance 5.6-liter DOHC 32 valve V8 engine from North America

Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2006
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission Endurance 5.6-liter DOHC 32 valve V8 engine Automatic
Performance marks 4 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.6 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance2500 miles
Previous carNissan Titan

Summary:

Great

General Comments:

The Nissan Armada is great! Runs smooth on the road, and has comfortable interior.

Nissan should make a 415 horespower Armada to beat the Escalade. I bet sales will grow due to the fact a 415 HP SUV could carry anything.

Also make a better tranny, because my 1989 Pathfinder had 4 transmissions on it. I gave it up finally, and traded it for an Porsche Cayenne V6.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 24th August, 2007

2003 Nissan Pathfinder LE from North America

Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.2 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance4595 miles
Previous carHonda Civic

Summary:

Best value for the dollar

Faults:

Nothing Yet.

General Comments:

This is the highest quality vehicle I have owned- Power heated seats, Stereo controls on steering wheel, 4x4 is controlled with a turn of a knob. Fast, easy to drive, Sunroof is huge- I love the leather seats Its the greatest value for the dollar.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th June, 2003

2003 Nissan Pathfinder LE 3.5L from North America

Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 3.5L Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.8 / 10
Distance when acquired4 miles
Most recent distance70000 miles
Previous carToyota Corolla

Summary:

A really good quality for the right price

Faults:

Nothing yet.

General Comments:

This the an excellent SUV for a very good price. I did test drive several SUV's e.g. Toyota 4Runner, Honda Pilot, etc. but didn't have to think twice to make decision. Pathfinder LE is an excellent quality for a very good price. It is expensive, but provides better features than other comparable SUV's. With 245 hp, 3.5L and V6 engine, the pick up is amazing and ride is really smooth.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st June, 2003

Average review marks: 7.7 / 10, based on 6 reviews