THE Nissan Pathfinder STL is arguably the sweet spot of the seven-seat Pathfinder range.
You can save about $4000 by buying the twowheel drive version, or add $3100 for the hybrid.
Each gets a sunroof, leather-accented upholstery, 13-speaker Bose audio, eight-inch infotainment screen with satnav and power/heated front seats.
The warranty is ordinary at three years/100,000km and service intervals are 12 months/10,000km for the petrol-only versions, costing $1302 for the first four trips.
The hybrid needs six month/ 7000km service trips, the first six costing $1890.
The dash, though dated, is built with durable plastics and is well screwed together.
The heated front seats are reasonably supportive but favour plushness over side bolstering.
The second and third rows are flat backed and flat based but there are air vents for those in the middle pew.
Storage is good throughout and, even with all seats in use, there’s more boot space than some rivals.
The Pathfinder earns a five-star ANCAP rating thanks to scoring 35.73/37 on test in 2013.
The criticism was for “marginal” pedestrian protection rating.
Nissan has since fitted the ST-L and Ti with active driving aids including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring.
Six airbags are standard, the curtain bags covering the third row.
Carrying the crew and chattels smoothly over patched-up roads? That’s what the Nissan does best.
The steering and suspension are tuned to minimise stress and the seven pre-set ratios in the continuously variable transmission do a passable imitation of a conventional auto.
The V6 uses more fuel than we’d like but the outputs (202kW/340Nm) maintain a brisk pace even when loaded.
Outward vision is good for a seven-seater and the ride is quieter than some rivals.
Verdict: A reliable workhorse, even if the Pathfinder has ceded some ground to a fleet of shinier machines with turbo engines and the latest looks and features.