Cockburn Gazette - - DRIVEWAY -

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.

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