2014 Nissan Pathfinder Road Test and Review…
Nissan has upped the ante in the seven-seat SUV stakes with its all-new Nissan Pathfinder.
Built in the USA and designed primarily with the American market in mind (which explains the lack of a diesel option), the new Pathfinder is considerably bigger than the one it replaces and is a much softer, more user friendly machine.
Gone are the genuine off-road capabilities of the old Pathfinder, instead a more car like SUV takes its place with front wheel drive and all-wheel drive on demand variants on offer.
Priced from $39,990 for the entry-level ST, the mid spec ST-L model I tested is priced at a competitive $50,490 before on roads – and you get a lot of car for your money.
Powered by a familiar engine, the 3.5 litre Nissan V6 is silky smooth and effortlessly powerful.
Developing a healthy 190kW and 325Nm, the lusty six easily hauls around the 1960kg Pathfinder, and will happily tow anything with brakes up to 2700kgs.
Unfortunately it has a real thirst for standard unleaded fuel, consuming 11.7L/100kms over a week of city, suburban and freeway driving.
The CVT gearbox linked to the V6 is a pretty good combination with the transmission seemingly always able to have the engine right in the sweet spot.
Of course, as with all CVT gearboxes, if you really tramp the right foot there is the feeling of a slipping clutch, but with the power reserves on hand, it’s not something that happens a lot.
The front wheel drive only model we tested put its power down with little evidence of torque steer, although the steering did feel a tad on the heavy side.
On the road the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder shines with a whisper quiet ride that glides over even the worst road surfaces. Plush and refined, the ride is a real highlight.
Naturally this means when you really push the big Pathfinder through the corners there is plenty of body roll and at times the Nissan struggles to find its balance; but this is only really evident when there is lots of pace applied.
The enormous cabin is functional and hardy all while being rather luxurious.
Easy care leather seats and trims in combination with a mix of plastics on the dash make for an attractive and interesting cabin.
All-round visibility is excellent and the driving position has you sitting up high for a commanding view of the road ahead.
If lots of space is high on your list of priorities you won’t be disappointed with the Pathfinder.
Up front the cabin is light and airy with acres of legroom, headroom and shoulder space, while in the back legroom is equally as generous.
The second row of rear seats can be adjusted to create extra space for the third row seats, or pushed all the way back for a Rolls-Royce type experience.
The third row is a little limited for space but is perfect for kids and can easily accommodate adults on short trips.
Cargo space is huge with the third row of seats stowed, and plenty big enough for the shopping with the seats up.
The mid-spec ST-L isn’t short on goodies either.
Standard fare includes:
- Tri-zone climate control with second and third row air vents
- Cruise control
- Electrically operated seats
- Electric steering wheel adjustment
- Push button start
- Key-less entry and go
A generous 7-inch colour touchscreen has prime position in the centre of the dash and facilitates the standard reverse camera, climate and audio system.
The standard six-speaker stereo has a great sound and will happily stream tunes from your smartphone and even has a 2GB hard drive to store music.
With ten cup holders and a seemingly endless array of storage bins the Nissan Pathfinder is really easy to live with.
Overall the Pathfinder is a capable, well-executed seven-seat family SUV.
It’s a handsome rather luxurious wagon that is competitively priced, safe, and a real pleasure to live with.
In a crowded segment the Nissan Pathfinder shines,
While it’s not head and shoulders above its competitors, it is as good as anything else out there with the added bonus of genuinely likeable character.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 3.5 litre V6 petrol producing 190kW and 325Nm
Transmission: CVT auto only
Safety: Five stars
Origin: United States
Price: From $39,990