Pathfinder peps up for pop­u­lar­ity

Geraldton Guardian - - Motoring - Vani Naidoo

Of late, the Nis­san Pathfinder has proved some­thing of an enigma for the Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer.

This model, re­leased here in 2014, has not found as much favour among fam­i­lies as they ex­pected, so a of a re­jig was needed to pique in­ter­est.

Nis­san has tweaked the ride and de­sign, ad­justed a few of the func­tions and made it qui­eter than be­fore. We took the range-top­ping Ti home with us for the week.

This Pathfinder now sports Nis­san’s V Mo­tion grille and new head­lights and a few more curves to add appeal.

There is no get­ting away from the fact that this is a big car with gen­er­ous pro­por­tions — it only just fit in our garage — but step in­side and it is all rather man­age­able af­ter all.

There is oo­dles of room, which is re­fresh­ing, even for adults in the third row, al­beit for shorter jour­neys. There is tri-zone cli­mate con­trol so the driver, front pas­sen­ger and mid­dle row can ad­just their set­tings while those in the cheap seats get ad­justable vents.

The seats are on the com­fort­able side, par­tic­u­larly for the front seat oc­cu­pants, who get theirs heated and cooled. The sec­ond row could do with a tad more shape though, which would pre­vent pas­sen­gers from slid­ing around so much if the SUV is flung into tight cor­ners.

The 60/40 split mid­dle row eas­ily tilts up and flips back to al­low en­try into the third row and it can slide to ad­just leg room.

There are three top teth­ers and two Isofix points in the mid­dle row and one tether in the third for car seats. The cen­tre con­sole feels a touch busy with a fair few but­tons and dials, while the eight-inch in­fo­tain­ment screen is just a lit­tle lost in the ex­pan­sive dash.

Fam­i­lies will love the nod to stor­age and prob­a­bly a world-record 10 cuphold­ers. The boot is still some­what rea­son­able (453 litres) with all seven seats in use and is a very ac­com­mo­dat­ing 1354 litres with the third row stowed, grow­ing to a hu­mungous 2260 litres with the mid­dle row dropped flat. A 40/20/ 40 mid­dle row con­fig­u­ra­tion would be more use­ful for trans­port­ing longer items and pas­sen­gers.

The top-of-the-range Ti is very well equipped with all the modern con­ve­niences we now ex­pect from new cars in­clud­ing sur­round-view cam­eras, key­less en­try and start, LED day­time run­ning lights and head­lights, auto head­lights and wipers, re­verse cam­era with front and rear park­ing sen­sors, power tail­gate with mo­tion ac­ti­va­tion, a dou­ble sun­roof and a re­ally com­pre­hen­sive safety pack­age.

A 13-speaker sound sys­tem, Blue­tooth with voice ac­ti­va­tion, sat nav with pinch to zoom and MP3 and iPod com­pat­i­bil­ity are a few of the high­lights of the Pathfinder’s in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem.

The screen could be a bit big­ger and the graph­ics a bit sharper.

No Ap­ple CarPlay, An­droid Auto or dig­i­tal ra­dio ei­ther.

My girls loved the DVD screens mounted on the back of the front seats. It is op­er­ated from the front, though, which is a schlep, but the Blue­tooth head­phones mean you don’t have to lis­ten to the Looney Tunes DVD for the mil­lionth time.

The same 3.5-litre V6 petrol en­gine can be found across the Pathfinder range, ex­cept the hy­brid. It is quiet and strong and good for 202kW of power and 340Nm of torque. It is paired with a con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion that may not feel as good as a nor­mal auto trans­mis­sion but is one of the bet­ter CVTs around.

A ro­tary dial on our AWD Ti gave the op­tion of 2WD, Auto or Diff Lock for tricky bits un­der 40km/h. There is also hill de­scent con­trol.

The Pathfinder has a five-star AN­CAP rat­ing and boasts an im­pres­sive range of active and passive fea­tures.

Nis­san has given the Pathfinder a stiffer sus­pen­sion and made a few more tweaks to de­liver a much bet­ter all-round per­for­mance.

There is al­most none of the lean­ing into cor­ners and wal­low­ing that was so ap­par­ent in the last it­er­a­tion.

The V6 en­gine proves more than com­pe­tent; it is quiet and dig­ni­fied and goes about its busi­ness with ease. The Pathfinder is a size­able beast yet the en­gine doesn’t strain to move it even when pushed.

The CVT re­sponds well enough with only the oc­ca­sional high-rev mo­ment when you de­mand quick ac­tion.

The Pathfinder of old was known for its off-road prow­ess. Mod­els of new are less adept. This one, for ex­am­ple, would do bet­ter on gravel roads and could get through a slightly muddy track but more would leave you dis­ap­pointed.

Nis­san’s claimed fuel us­age is at 10.1 litres/100km for this AWD va­ri­ety on a com­bined cy­cle. Our week de­liv­ered closer to the13.4 litre mark. Oh for a diesel, though.

Given its long list of favourable qual­i­ties, it is in­ter­est­ing the Pathfinder has not been the sev­enseater won­der Nis­san ex­pected it to be. This round of tweaks adds to the appeal and hope­fully it will be enough to grab at­ten­tion.

Picture: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

Pathfinder now sports Nis­san’s V Mo­tion grille, new head­lights and a few more curves.

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