2014 Nissan Pathfinder ST Road Test and Review…
I know it’s only January, but something tells me the new Nissan Pathfinder is going to give our 2014 Car of the Year awards a real shake.
Priced from $39,990, the entire Pathfinder range is powered by the same 3.5 litre V6 petrol engine that develops 190kW and 325Nm, and there is only the one transmission on offer – a CVT.
The only real choice comes in the form of selecting a front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive Pathfinder, and the level of equipment you need.
I had the entry-level ST, with front-wheel drive and must say I was very impressed.
The new Pathfinder is probably not as rough and tough as previous models and with a car-like monocoque body (in other words the body doesn’t sit on a separate chassis frame) the result is a soft and comfortable driving experience.
The V6 engine provides good acceleration, but does take a bit of winding up before it reaches its potential, economy is reasonable – I averaged 12.8L/100km in city driving, the official combined figure is 9.9L/100km.
A sport mode gives the new Nissan Pathfinder even better performance, if required.
The CVT is smooth and hassle-free and the steering, while perhaps being a touch on the light side, is quite direct with a more than reasonable turning-circle.
As previously mentioned the ride is quite comfortable, but can be a touch floaty in the bends.
Inside the cabin the new Pathfinder impresses with excellent fit and finish and even in this entry-level configuration the seat trim and materials used throughout the cabin are top-notch.
As a seven-seat option the Pathfinder makes a compelling case.
With plenty of leg and headroom in the third row and a really clever, effective and easy to operate fold-and-slide middle seat, access is exceptionally good.
With the third row of seats in use the cargo space is a touch limited (as you might expect), but fold the seats down and the available space is extraordinary.
Middle row passengers also get heaps of legroom and with rear air-conditioning vents and controls the Pathfinder should always provide a comfortable environment. Leg room up front is also very good.
The standard features list, even in this entry-level model, is extremely generous.
Features such as dual-zone climate control, push-button ignition, auto headlights, reversing camera and Bluetooth are all included.
Clear gauges, attractive and functional driver info screen, lovely steering wheel, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, huge glove box and centre console bin and plenty of good-sized cup holders finish the package.
I did have one complaint though, and it really did bring down the Pathfinders cabin, the layout of the main controls for the centre display screen.
The whole layout and functionality is overly complex and just poorly thought-out.
This large button cluster also forces the air-conditioning controls way down low and that means you really have to take your eyes off the road if you want to make an adjustment on the run.
Visibility though is generally excellent from the driver’s seat – though chunky A pillars and big wing mirrors create some blind spots.
There is no compromise though when it comes to safety, the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder has a five-star ANCAP rating.
Summing it up – the Nissan SUV has had its rough edges knocked-off and the result is a very nicely designed and executed seven-seater. Great fit and finish, roomy cabin and generous features list are the highlights.
In all, the new Nissan Pathfinder is one of the most impressive cars I have come across in a while.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 3.5 litre V6 petrol delivering 190kW and 325Nm
Safety: Five stars
Origin: United States
Price: From $39,990.
For further information, please see Recalls and faults: Nissan R52 Pathfinder.