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#23

in 2012 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $19,684 - $29,588
Original MSRP: $29,290 - $43,970
MPG: 13 City / 18 Hwy
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2012 Nissan Pathfinder Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Overall, the Nissan Pathfinder’s interior lags behind its competition. The controls aren’t as easy to use as others in its class, some interior materials feel cheap and the third row is small and difficult to access.

  • "Cabin surfaces are padded in places frequently touched. Most other panels are hard plastic, which imparts a low-budget ambiance. LE's wood-tone trim lends a classier look.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "The 2012 Nissan Pathfinder SUV's interior is inviting and comfortable, but not very modern. Hard plastic surfaces abound, although storage space is plentiful and we did like the seat fabric, which was both attractive and durable.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • “Interior feels dated.” -- Car and Driver

Seating

The Nissan Pathfinder can seat up to seven, with standard bench seats in the third and second rows and a driver’s seat that’s eight-way manually adjustable. It’s unusual for the class that second-row captain’s chairs aren’t offered, and that a fold-down center console in the second row isn’t available on the base model. Cloth upholstery is standard on all models except the Silver Edition and LE trims, which get standard leather-trimmed heated front seats.

Reviewers are mostly pleased with seat comfort, though the third row won’t fit adults. Test drivers say the third row is difficult to access, even though the second row tumbles forward to get out of the way. If you need to tote adults in the third row of your seven-seat SUV, consider the Ford Flex. Test drivers say it has one of the roomiest third-row accommodations of any midsize SUV.

  • “While the 2012 Nissan Pathfinder SUV claims to seat seven, in truth the third-row seat would be horribly cramped with two adults back there. Most people will probably choose to fold it away and take advantage of the roomy flat cargo floor that is perfect for a week's worth of groceries or a weekend's worth of gear.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Headroom is good in the 2nd row, even beneath the sunroof housing. Legroom is tight for tall riders with front seats set far back. The 3rd-row seat is sized for kids and tricky to access even with tumble-forward 2nd-row seats.” -- Consumer Guide
  • “In every significant measurement, from shoulder room to leg room, the Pathfinder is a few inches tighter than the Explorer and Traverse. This means the second row is really only comfortable for two occupants, and the third is even smaller. Full-size adults can forget about the third row's tiny nose-bleed seats.” -- Autoblog

Interior Features

The Pathfinder comes with fewer standard features than many midsize crossovers, though it’s on-par with truck-based seven-seaters. Standard features include manual air conditioning, cruise control, power locks and a six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo. The mid-level SV trim adds a six-disc CD player, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a second-row fold-down center armrest, while the premium LE trim comes standard with a heated steering wheel, wood-grain trim and a USB input jack. LE trims with the V8 engine come standard with a navigation system, though navigation is optional on V6 LE trims.

Reviewer opinion is mixed on the ease of use of the Pathfinder’s features. One tester says that most controls are simple to use, but others note that the layout needs an update, and say the buttons aren’t user-friendly. The navigation system doesn’t take over many other audio or climate functions, which reviewers appreciate.

  • "The gauges are easy to read, and most controls are simple to use. The LE's available navigation system takes time to learn, but doesn't absorb audio or climate controls--a plus.” -- Consumer Guide
  • " The rest of the center stack is covered in poorly labeled buttons that control functions on the seven-inch LCD screen mounted above. It's not exactly packed with features beyond offering digital readouts for the audio and climate control, but nevertheless, we even found it confusing to use while sitting still and impossible to get comfortable enough to use while driving.” -- Autoblog

Cargo

The 2012 Nissan Pathfinder provides 16.5 cubic feet of cargo volume with all seats in use, 48.9 with the third row folded flat and 79.2 with both the second and third rows folded flat. That’s about average for the class.

The Pathfinder's standout feature is in its versatility. Nissan says there are 64 different seating and cargo configurations. These are available through a fold-down front passenger's seat on SV trims, a second-row fold-flat bench seat and a third-row 50/50-split fold-flat bench seat. Small storage spaces include eight cup holders, side cargo nets, 12 cargo tie-down hooks and under-floor storage.

  • "All rear seats fold to form a level load deck without removing the headrests. The LE's DVD entertainment system eats into front console space. Cabin storage is otherwise ample, including a clever in-floor compartment under the 2nd-row seats.” -- Consumer Guide

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