Driven: Nissan’s updated Pathfinder seven seater
IN recent tines the big and roomy Pathfinder has been shoved aside by rivals, but the Japanese car maker is hitting back.
For 2017 the full-size SUV receives engine, styling, technology and equipment updates.
The revised VQ-series 3.5litre petrol V6 engine adds direct petrol injection system and other updates, resulting in increased power and torque.
New advanced driver assistance technologies include Intelligent Emergency Braking, Intelligent Cruise Control, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Intelligent Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection and refined styling adds signature Nissan design cues.
The new Pathfinder arrived in showrooms in March and has arrested the sales decline.
Sales are only down -1.2 per cent this year compared to -13.6 per cent for all of last year.
Toyota’s Prado leads the segment followed by the natural rival Toyota Kluger.
Mazda’s award- winning CX-9 is going gangbusters, sales for the year up 425.4 per cent and 914.3 per cent for the year.
The review vehicle was the Pathfinder ST- L, which is $ 58,500 on the road in frontwheel drive only format.
If you are serious about offroading, which the Pathfinder is fully capable of, then the extra $4K is worth the investment.
On the outside the Pathfinder receives sharper front-end styling than the model it replaces, giving it a more modern look.
The tail-lights have also been updated.
Inside there are not many changes apart from a new driver display in the instrument cluster and an 8- inch touchscreen. There are quite a few buttons.
Six airbags are fitted as standard equipment to all model grades as is a reversing camera and rear parking sensors.
The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) awarded the Nissan Pathfinder its top 5 Star safety rating in 2013.
It is well equipped from a trip computer to a new “Advanced Drive-Assist Display” in front of the driver with intuitive 3D depth and tilt design to help drivers to absorb the information more quickly.
Other goodies are 8-inch colour touch screen display, Bluetooth hands free phone system and audio streaming, voice commanding, two USB ports, cruise control, tri-zone climate control with air vents for all three seating rows, remote keyless entry, roof rails, tinted glass in the second row and third row and rear, LED daytime running lights, adjustable tilt and telescopic steering column.
The second row of seats is split 60/ 40 and the third row 50/50. When both rows are folded to flat, the Pathfinder has 2260 litres of cargo space.
There are also 10 cup holders, six bottle holders, four 12v power outlets and an underfloor storage compartment behind the third row of seats.
The second row also includes ISOFIX child restraint anchorage and the right side of the second row can be tilt and slid on the right-side of the second row with an ISOFIX- compatible child seat in place to keep access to the third row.
The third row seating also includes recline adjustment and now comes with a rear tether point for child restraints.
The foot operated parking brake is old- hat when many today offer electric or electronic buttons in the centre console.
Visibility is superb due to low window frames and an arrow Dpillar, plus reversing sensors and an around- view camera with predictive guidelines make parking easier.
Second-row accommodation is impressive, with a firm but comfortable pew, and there is loads of head, knee and legroom.
There is a clever plastic step into the flat second row floor that helps avoid messy carpet on a wet day and a rubber seal on the wheel arch to prevent dirty pants when loading kids or shopping into the back door.
The Pathfinde ri s a t rue seven seater.
Getting into the third row is easy thanks to the slide and tilt second- row seats, which can even be moved when there is a child seat attached.
There is ample room for young ones to sit in the third row for longer journeys and the abundance of glass – including the panoramic roof in ST-L and Ti – means it doesn’t feel claustrophobic.
The big Nissan is powered by a worked-over version of venerable 3.5-litre V6 that delivers an extra 12kW/15Nm for an output of 202kW/340Nm.
Nissan has tweaked the suspension tune to make it a bit stiffer than before.
There was never a huge problem with the V6, but the Pathfinder is heavy so an extra bit of grunt is welcome.
In a straight line the Nissan is no slouch, with good acceleration and overtaking is a breeze.
The changes to the suspension have made a subtle difference to the ride and handling with the SUV not feeling quite as floaty as before.
It’s a bit more tied down now, but without impacting ride comfort.
It still feels big, but pushing the Pathfinder through the twisty Kuranda range road and down the Palmerston Highway there seems to be less bodyroll than before.
The steering is mainly sharp and nicely weighted.
The new-gen Xtronic continuously-variable transmission ( CVT) paired with the V6 is stepped now so feels more like a traditional torque converter auto, and not sounding or feeling like a sewing machine.
It’s quiet at 100km/h and only coarse bitumen surfaces upset the ambience.
The brakes were more than able of bringing the 2.7 tonne
wagon to a reasonable halt.
Fuel use was good, considering it’s a heavy car with a big V6. I achieved 9.2L/ 100km over 340kms. Nissan suggests 9.9.
The Pathfinder is big and roomy and ideal for soccer mums.
It is one of the more complete offerings in the segment.
It drives and rides well and has solid standard features for the price.
But its practicality as a realworld seven-seat family SUV is what makes it attractive.
REVIEW VEHICLE COURTESY OF WESTCO NISSAN, MULGRAVE RD, WESTCOURT.