1995 Nissan Pathfinder?

I have been looking for a new vehicle, mostly because my current is wrecked. I would love to have a truck, but with a baby on the way, a SUV would be slightly better because of the room. I would like a 4x4 because of weather reasons around here and also because a truck or SUV would be able to tow a light boat easier, so I could finally get to use my little boat instead of letting it sit at my parents.

Yesterday I was at Target and I saw a 1995 Pathfinder. I couldn’t help but stare at it, mostly because it just still looked very nice. I wondered if anyone has opinions on these vehicles. Actually, opinions on a light SUV - 4runner, cherokee, pathfinder, passport?

I’m looking for something in the mid-90’s range for insurance as well as initial cost reasons, but if I found a late 80’s in great condition I might consider it. It would be something to drive to hunting and fishing trips as well as everyday.

Looking forward to Doper Opinions.


I had a '93 Pathfinder, and it never gave me a bit of trouble. I used 4x4 a LOT in that vehicle. Mostly for deep snow and icy roads. About 180 days out of the year. Liked it, and trusted it so much I bought an 06 Pathfinder.

I used to have a nissan pickup truck, which is essentially the exact same vehicle with a slightly different body stuck on top of it. Nissans have a reputation for being very hard to kill. Mrs Geek’s nissan car was a total piece of crap, but my truck definately lived up to the reputation. The truck just would not die. Even when it got to be very old and had well over 200,000 miles and I wanted it to die so I had an excuse to buy a new truck, it still wouldn’t die. I even refused to change the oil for the last couple years of its life. The only mechanical problem I ever had with it was the slave cylinder in the clutch went out at about 100,000 miles. Then, finally, the fuel pump went out and even though it was easy to fix, I used that as an excuse to junk it.

I replaced the nissan truck with a dodge which I am not happy with. I liked the nissan a lot better.

I have a '93 Nissan D21 pickup - basically everything but the body is the same as the Pathfinder - even the owner’s manual is for both vehicles. Runs like a dream and not a speck of rust. I’ve got 166,000 miles on it and I fully expect to get at least 250K before looking for a replacement.

I’d say go for it.

I had an 89 Pathfinder with a 3.0L engine.

Drive-train wise, this was a fantastic vehicle. It was retired with about 235,000km on it. I would bet that the engine had another couple hundred thousand kms available.

The 89 model year Pathfinders were plagued by corrosion problems. The frame and underbody were falling apart and it was not feasible to try to salvage it. Had to put it out to pasture. I understand this deficiency was corrected in later model years, but I don’t know when it stopped being an issue.

The other problem was that it was poorly geared and underpowered. 100km was the top speed.

I don’t know much about Pathfinders, but I would recommend an older 4Runner. They hold up remarkably well, and are one of the most unique looking midsize SUVs of their time. If you have a little mechanical knowledge - which your mention of boating and hunting makes me assume - you can keep an older Toyota running forever.

If you really want a rugged, go-anywhere vehicle with a lot of character, though, you should consider an FJ60 Land Cruiser.

Well…Fate of all fates has smiled my direction, I drove to my parents today and the dealer in town had a 1995 Pathfinder, 130k miles on it, sitting out in the front of the lot. The price on it wasn’t too bad (lower 3k range) so I stopped to look. It was immaculate inside and out, well-kept and very clean. There was only a few spots of rust and they are on the running boards, not the vehicle itself.

I’ve talked it over with Mrs. Small, and since the lot was closed tonight when I was there, her father and my father are both going to check in on it this week and maybe get some more info about the engine and history, then I’m going to go up and test drive it this weekend, and if that goes well I may make an offer.


I’m under the impression that Nissan had major league corrosion problems before Carlos Ghosn took over in 1999. My friend had a Nissan pickup that spent a bunch of harsh winters in Chicago and then Florida. I haven’t seen such a horrible case of body rot since I’ve looked at the 1961 Volkswagen single cab sitting in my driveway. Also, his car had significant rust on every nut and bolt on the engine. I suppose if it doesn’t have body rot by now, it’s probably OK. That said, I’d go ahead and crawl under it and check for significant body rot.

We have a 96 truck. Same stuff. Awsome vehicle. Reliable as a hammer, no rust (nothing does out here, though) and very easy to maintain/work on. Nissan put some thought into these.

I would recommend one.

Well, just got the call from the dealer. We offered 3k cash for it, he wouldn’t take that, but said if we traded in our 94 Nissan he would give it to us for 2500. He then explained he would only do this if we fixed certain things with our car (about 1000 worth of parts, plus work for me) and then we could trade it in. Apparently, two gages, I think the tachometer and the gas, don’t work at all, and it needs new brakes. I explained to him that I found several in the 94-96 range for under 3000, plus they had less miles in some cases, so I would be going elsewhere. Looks like I’ll be looking for one until summer.


Since you didn’t buy the Pathfinder, I’m going to back Argent’s recommendation of the 4Runner. I’ve got a 1984 and I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes 300,000 miles, which at the rate I’m going at will be some time around 2032. I know at least 10 people with 4Runners or Tacomas (pickup version of said vehicle) and we are all True Believers.

I think the 4runner seems like a good plan. I looked at an 88 when I was in high school, mostly because of the convertible back end, which I thought looked awesome and would come in handy, but I could never convince Mrs. Small that a 80’s was worth the money. She wanted me to go '93 and newer, which I can understand, but now that we’re still looking I can try to talk her into it.

(on the same note, today I found a 95 Land Rover and tried to show it to her. She hated it and said I could buy any year of car as long as it wasn’t a Land Rover. Not the desired effect, but not completely a loss)


This 4Runner here is in Georgetown, KY, which is about an hour south of Cincinnati. If you get in touch with that seller he’ll probably be willing to arrange a test drive, if you’re close enough for it to be worthwhile. Don’t be too scared by the high miles - these things are famous for their durability. Watch the news and you’ll notice that mid-80s Toyota SUVs are a favorite of insurgents and warlords in third-world countries - there’s a reason for it. They’re often modified into “technicals” and used as combat vehicles.

I was just thinking, just to be the devil’s advocate. Some of the older 4Runners are known to be slow. Toyota designed a truck that is extremely durable with a ton of low end torque. They are a respectable off-road vehicle and can climb some amazing shit. It’s a miracle for my 4Runner to hit 80mph (2.4L 22R 4 banger). I got a ticket for speeding and I was seriously thinking about going to court to fight it as I was written up for a speed which I was pretty sure could never be attained. For full disclosure, I have oversized tires and my speedometer is probably 10% slow. The 3.0 V6 is sometimes referred to as the 3 point Slow.

I love the 4Runner, but I’m just saying, it’s not the fastest car on the planet. On the other hand, my friend’s 2006 4Runner (4.7L V8) drives beautifully at 100mph when going in a straight line.