This Car Review Is About: Nissan’s Pathfinder with the extra N-Trek equipment list. It adds some visual pizazz to the ST and ST-L specification which are two or all-wheel drive, with ours being the AWD ST-L version.
What Does It Cost?: In standard trim, and in V6 all wheel drive form, the Nissan website lists the standard ST-L V6 AWD spec at $64,111 drive-away. Nissan confirms the price as of September as $59,140 (recommended retail plus on road costs) and the N-Trek as $60,640 (recommended retail plus ORC) for the AWD. Opt for the 2WD version and it’s $55,640 (RRP plus ORC) for the standard and $57,140 (RRP plus ORC) for the N-Trek spec. Check with your dealer for your prices due to differing state charges.Under The Bonnet Is: Nissan’s well proven 3.5L V6 that drinks petrol at a quoted figure of 10.1L/100km on the combined cycle. With 202kW (6,400rpm) and 340Nm of torque on tap at 4,800 driving a CVT and an on-demand AWD system, we saw 12.3L/100km on our 70/30 urban to highway drive cycle. The drive system is selectable too, with Auto, a lock for 4×4, or 2WD. Left in Auto it drives the front wheels and splits to the rear as required.On The Outside It’s: Here that the N-Trek specification lies. Our vehicle was in Ivory Pearl, with Caspian Blue, Gun Metallic, Redstone, Brilliant Silver, and Diamond Black the colour options at no extra cost. N-Spec adds blackouts to the body, with a black V-grille, roof rails, door handles, mirror covers, and front and rear garnishes. The alloys are machined and black painted, and 18 inches in diameter. Continental supplies the 255/60 rubber from their CrossContact LX Sport range.
Nissan changed the exterior look some years ago, moving to a more organic looking style, which does a great job of visually minimising the big 5,042mm length. It’s tall and broad too, at 1,793mm and 1,963mm. The rear lights have a hint of Subaru’s older Liberty/Outback wagon, with a distinctive forward pointing V. Up front there’s a somewhat heavy look, with a alloy hued chin splitting the black plastic that runs from front to rear.On The Inside It’s: Showing its age in a couple of key areas. The dash colours and button layouts, plus a smallish 8.0 inch touchscreen look with no visual engagement. There is no DAB, no Android Auto, no Apple CarPlay, no smartphone charge pad. The touchscreen has the standard driver alert safety message but requires a press of the OK section to access the audio or map etc. It doesn’t automatically disengage at all, irrespective of how long it’s left.However, standard leather seats with two-step heating up front, multi-position and lumbar support electrically for the driver, tilt & fold and slide centre row, and pull-strap third row seats go someway to redressing those missing features. Centre row aircon helps for those behind the front seats, and plenty of glass to the sides plus two separate glass roof inserts provide plenty of airy sensation. The second row seats have two levers to provide a fold and slide for a completely flat load area of 2,260 litres from a start point of 461L. That centre row also feels higher than the front.The main control section on the dash is where the Pathfinder’s age is apparent; it’s busy with far too many buttons to take in at a glance. When the Pathfinder powers up and the OK button is pressed, the touchscreen’s default look is a map, and it’s something probably once seen in road map books.
The driver’s info screen is better, if not quite intuitively linked to the tabs on the steering wheel. A small recessed and not especially colourful screen shows the drive mode, economy, driver and car settings etc, but a rocker tab on the tiller that one would reasonably expect to move info around is actually the station selector for the radio.Nissan, though, have hidden away a surprise or two. The touchscreen has an apps button, and this takes you through to driver oriented info such as a G-meter, fuel flow and consumption, compass and steering orientation. It’s an odd thing given what is missing, but no less odd than having a 13 speaker premium soundsystem but no digital audio…
A CD player is fitted for those that do like their digital sounds and Bluetooth phone connection with voice recognition add some extra tech. Four 12V sockets are onboard, with three up front. The centre row faces the third zone aircon controls and a pair of USB ports.Forward vision is very good except for the 10 and 2 from the driver’s seat. The A-pillars are on the thick side and provide a blind spot that on some intersections blanked off traffic.
On The Road It’s: A rolling definition of a mixed bag. The V6 is a free revver and when spun in anger emits a decently rorty tune. The CVT is never truly terrible but there’s a sense it holds back the engine’s willingness. Off the line acceleration is ok in the sense that ok is quick enough but could be better. Underway it purrs along quietly and the CVT is geared to see under 2,000rpm at highway speeds. The ratio changes are noticeable but not excessive in their obtrusiveness to the way the Pathfinder feels whilst underway, and the CVT kicks down readily when required. There’s no manual shift option but a Sport mode, via a press button on the drive lever, is available. For the most part it’s superfluous.There’s a truly odd sense to the way the steering feels too. There’s an underlying sense of weight from torque steer, especially at parking speeds, but the steering is in need of constant attention, requiring hands-on 100% of the time. This brings, then, a sense of lightness in a truly odd contrast to that torque-steer heft. For all that, it’s by no means a hard car to steer.
Ride quality hovers somewhere around good; it’s supple enough, reasonably well tied down, but does exhibit some float at the top end of the suspension travel. It stands out by doing what it’s supposed to do but it does lack that sharpness, that crispness, as found in its competition.Most road surfaces are levelled out, sketchy surfaces tend not to duly trouble it. Perhaps some of that lack of sharpness is down to the near two tonnes (dry) mass the multi-link rear and strut front suspension deals with. By the way, it’s not intended to be anything other than a gentle soft-roader, with just 180mm of clearance underneath.
What About Safety?: There is a 360 degree camera system, for starters, Blind Spot Warning, Intelligent Cruise Control, and six airbags. Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Tyre Pressure Monitoring are also standard. Just in case, there is also second and third row occupant warnings and reminders. Rear sensors are standard, yet no front sensors are fitted.
What About Service And Warranty?: Five years, unlimited kilometres, and capped price servicing. It’s a 12 month or 10,000 kilometre cycle, with costs being $290 for the first service, $309 for the next, $458 for the third, $367 for the fourth, $314 for the fifth and $502 for the sixth.
At The End Of The Drive. The extra visuals from adding N-Trek aren’t quite enough to overcome the age of the Pathfinder, with the cluttered dash and lack of now commonly accepted features (smartapps, front sensors, for example) adding to the ticks lost collection. On the plus side is the reasonably neutral ride, the flexibility of the seating, and the seven seats themselves. It’s absolutely a family oriented, and family friendly, machine, but an update to bring it closer to its immediate competition. That’s longhand for “needs to get closer to the Koreans”.
Otherwise there are a few from Europe and a couple from Japan that can be compared, both favourably and non. From our point of view, the Pathfinder isn’t quite the winner but it’s not quite the loser. Drive one yourself at your Nissan dealership and check out the ST-L here.