If the path is paved, it finds its way just fine
You won’t be driving many rough or unpaved roads in this one.
Put simply: You won’t be going off-road — driving over rocks or fallen timber, crossing fast-flowing streams or churning through deep mud.
The Nissan Pathfinder, a compact sport-utility vehicle manufactured by the once-independent Nissan Motor Co., beginning in 1985, has changed.
Nissan is now part of a European automotive conglomerate that includes Renault. Its primary purpose is to sell cars instead of pleasing — at high production expense but low corporate profit — the hard-driving, small market-segment of off-roaders.
The trim name for the 2017 Pathfinder driven for this column, Platinum, is indicative.
You don’t drive platinum through mud. Nor do you deliberately bang it against rocks or drive it downhill, exposing it to the ravages of sticks, sharp stones and deep ditches hiding destructive surprises.
None of this means the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder is displeasing on long road trips. Quite the contrary. It is perfect for lengthy interstate drives. It behaves well in moderate rain and wind.
I drove the Pathfinder Platinum in midsummer, almost entirely on paved highways. I had no trouble in rain or wind, and I suspect I would have had perfect Pathfinder drives in moderate snow or other wintry conditions.
Moderate? Why do I cling to that word in automotive reviews? Simple.
The longer I live, the more I realize that “moderation” is an intimate friend of “common sense.” For example, in inclement weather — heavy rains, winds or snow — it makes sense to choose moderation in travel. Find a safe spot and park or shelter in place.
It matters little what type of vehicle you are driving. Overriding common sense can lead to disaster. Most of us realize that, which is why most of us avoid risky drives.
Frankly, I believe that is why the formerly rough-and-tumble Nissan Pathfinder has changed to a family comfort wagon.
It is now a get-me-there vehicle, one that insists on comfortable, safe and reasonably efficient transport. Power? It is equipped with a gasoline 3.5-liter V-6 (284 horsepower, 259 pound-feet of torque). That is more than enough oomph to safely enter and change lanes on highways. With this one, you also can tow a trailer weighing 6,000 pounds.
That is enough for most of us. We’re not really hankering for cars and trucks that can break the speed limit. We just want to get there and do so safely, comfortably, in style. Look around. Most of the things now called “sport-utility vehicles” have changed to satisfy those real customer needs and wants.
Of course, there are those who enjoy the risks and thrills of a high-mountain, two-week camp-and-drive trip along the U.S. Continental Divide. I was one of them. I was 33. I am now nearly 70. Neither my doctors, my family nor my bones would allow me to make that offroad trip again — not in a Nissan Pathfinder, a Jeep of any sort, or a Land Rover.
Most of my driving now is on paved roads, where I am a fellow motorist with the vast majority of you who want to get where you want to go — safely, comfortably, efficiently, in style.
That is why sport-utility vehicles have changed. That is why the Nissan Pathfinder no longer is the rough-andtumble vehicle it was in 1985. That is why it still sells.
It is perfect for interstate drives. It behaves well in moderate rain and wind.
Warren Brown ON WHEELS