What Changed for 2009:
- Standard alloy wheels on V-6 LE models
- Standard side and curtain air bags on all models
- New standard auto-lock door function
- Two new exterior color choices
After its introduction in 1986, the Nissan Pathfinder is entering its 23rd year as a nameplate. Now in its third generation (launched in 2005), the rugged 7-passenger sport utility vehicle (SUV) continues with a strong V-6 engine or its new-for-2008 V-8 powerplant shared with the full-size Nissan Titan pickup as well as the top-end Nissan Armada SUV. Maximum tow capacity for the midsize Pathfinder SUV is 7000 pounds, which in part is due to the sturdy F-Alpha platform that serves as the Pathfinder's base. Nissan added some standard convenience and safety equipment, and two new colors, to the SUV for 2009.
Nissan's New Vehicle Limited Warranty covers the 2009 Nissan Pathfinder during the first 3 years/36,000 miles. A powertrain warranty extends to 5 years/60,000 miles. There is no deductible on either warranty, and towing may be reimbursed if the vehicle is less than 36 months old.
The 7-passenger 2009 Nissan Pathfinder has a high number of mix-and-match options as to models, engines and drivetrains. Trims include S, SE, SE Off-Road (OR), and LE. The S and SE come standard with rear-wheel drive (RWD), with part-time 4-wheel drive (4WD) optional. The OR model comes standard with part-time 4WD, but the S and SE can get the part-time 4WD system as an option. Those trims come with a V-6 engine standard, but the buyer may upgrade to the LE or SE V-8 models, which have a standard full-time 4WD system as opposed to the part-time system on the V-6-equipped models. All models have a 5-speed automatic transmission.
All 2009 Nissan Pathfinder models offer standard second- and third-row fold-flat seats; power windows/door locks/mirrors; cruise control; air conditioning; four 12-volt auxiliary power outlets; remote keyless entry; and redundant steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. Other available amenities include: available leather-appointed seating; heated steering wheel; Nissan Intelligent Key with twist start; Nissan Navigation System with 9.3-gigabyte Music Box Hard Drive; Bluetooth hands-free phone system; XM satellite radio; and RearView Monitor. For 2009, Nissan has added 18-inch machined aluminum alloy wheels to the standard equipment list on the V-6 LE models (in 2008, they were standard only on V-8 models). A new auto door lock function is now standard on all models.
The Nissan Pathfinder offers two engine options for 2009. The standard engine is a 4.0-liter V-6, good for 266 hp and 288 lb.-ft. of torque. The V-6 allows up to 6000 pounds towing capacity, and delivers 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway fuel economy in RWD trim, and 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway in 4WD mode, according to the EPA. The optional engine is a 5.6-liter V-8. The 8-cylinder powerplant produces 310 hp and 388 lb.-ft. of torque. It is rated at 13 mpg city/19 mpg highway in RWD trim, and 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway in 4WD mode, according to the EPA.
The only transmission available on the 2009 Pathfinder is a 5-speed automatic; 4WD models come with a standard shift-on-the-fly switch-operated 2-speed transfer case. The SE Off-Road model features standard hill descent control and hill start assist, which Nissan says are invaluable tools for descending steep dirt hills without wearing down the brakes, and climbing hills without worrying about rolling backward. All models have 4-wheel vented anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution. The Off-Road model also features Bilstein off-road performance shocks.
The F-Alpha platform under the 2009 Nissan Pathfinder is a fully boxed, all-steel ladder frame that provides strength in the event of a collision, the manufacturer says. All Pathfinder SUVs feature standard dual-stage front air bags; front-occupant classification sensor that determines full, partial, or no air bag deployment strategies; seat-mounted side air bags for front-seat occupants; and, new for 2009, standard side curtain air bags to protect occupants in the event of a rollover or severe side impact. A tire-pressure-monitoring system is also standard on every Pathfinder, as is stability control.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2009 Nissan Pathfinder received 4 stars in frontal crash testing for both driver and front passenger. The Pathfinder received 3 stars for rollover resistance. It was not tested for side-impact protection. When crash tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2005-2009 Nissan Pathfinder received a \"Good\" rating (the Institute's highest score) in frontal offset crash testing, and a \"Good\" rating in side-impact testing.
The optional DVD-based navigation system on the 2009 Nissan Pathfinder features real-time traffic information that includes a 7-inch color LCD touch-screen monitor with voice recognition, along with a 9.3-gigabyte Music Box hard drive and compact flash slot that allows downloading of up to 2900 songs directly into the audio system, along with the ability to download photos from a compact flash card. The navigation system includes Bluetooth hands-free cell phone usage and the Intelligent Key keyless entry and ignition system. Satellite radio is optional. The RearView monitor is standard on all but the S model as part of the 7-inch multi-information display screen.