Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good When the current generation R51 series Pathfinder arrived to our shores in July 2005, it was a big change over the previous model. The styling is proudly tough – the square, chiselled lines, remind us of a Tonka truck. Plus, they've fitted the full-size spare tyre under the rear of the vehicle to increase cargo space. The mid life facelift arrived Down Under in 2010 with slightly freshened exterior styling = a new bonnet, grille, bumpers and headlight design.
Not so good Whilst the previous generation used a monocoque platform (car-like) the current Pathfinder has gone back to a "ladder" frame (body panels are bolted to the chassis rather than 'incorporated' into it) - so don’t expect car-like handling; if you're after that then perhaps the Nissan Murano may be more to your liking?
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good The big front seats are comfortable and the commanding view outwards is pretty good. The second row legroom is adequate and standard third row seating means seating for seven. Both the second and third row seats can fold fully flat into the floor to create a huge, smooth flat load area (a number of key off-road competitors can’t do this). The June 2010 facelift see's an all new and improved centre stack dash design, door trims and chrome highlights across the range. The ST-L grade now comes with electric adjustable, heated and leather covered front seats and the top-dog Ti grade looses the previous tacky woodgrain trim for a much more modern (and tougher looking) metallic trim.
Not so good The third row seats are best left for children, as most adults would find that they don’t provide enough support, or legroom.
Performance

Performance

Good The thirsty 4.0L Petrol V6 engine is no longer offered in the Pathfinder (from June 2010). The mid life facelift see's the previous 2.5L four-cylinder Turbo Diesel (which produced 128kW and 403Nm) upgraded to offer a much more respectable 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque. At the same time fuel economy has also improved (the six speed manual grade's official combined fuel economy was 9.8L per 100kms, it's now 8.5L and the five speed automatic grade's was 10.2L per 100kms, it's now 9.0L).
Not so good The Pathfinder definitely ain’t no featherweight (the top grades weigh 2,200kg) so the engine must still work hard for performance to be less than relaxed.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good Its on-road handling is superior to a number of competing medium to large-sized true 4x4’s (forget about the fancy luxury ones). Furthermore, the low-range gearbox and some serious ground clearance ensure the Pathfinder is also the real deal off the road.
Not so good It's a two-tonne plus, heavy duty 4x4, designed to handle the rough stuff so it ain't no limousine. Understeer is the order of the day if you bring excessive speed into a corner...
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good If you regularly tow or head off-road put the Nissan Pathfinder on your shopping list. It's still going strong from 2005, and now it looks even tougher. The 2010 facelift brings an improvement to the features list. The entry level ST grade now includes a six disc CD stacker, Bluetooth, iPod and USB connectivity, dual zone climate-control air-conditioning; the mid spec ST-L grade additions include curtain airbags, leather seats, keyless entry and reverse sensors; whilst the Ti grade now includes Satellite Navigation with a seven-inch colour touchscreen and DVD player (front and rear), 9.3Gb of storage (that's a decent number of songs) and full iPod and USB connectivity.
Not so good But, if you’ll be sticking solely to the tarmac go for a more car-based SUV like the Nissan Murano.