Pathfinder’s the real deal
HUMANS remain on the earth because they’re cunning little critters who can outthink other creatures.
They’re also adept at camouflage and, like a chameleon changes its appearance to suit the environment, humans change their presence to suit their social surroundings.
It is popular, for example, to be seen in the community as being a bit of an escapist. An adventurer or at least one with a sense of adventure.
Vehicle manufacturers prey convincingly on this dint in the armour of the earth’s greatest thinker by providing the prospect of adventure without the dust, dirt and flies. It’s called an SUV. For the real adventurers, there’s the Nissan Pathfinder.
Like a visit to a Paddy Pallin store, the real outdoors may be free but getting there in the right gear is darn expensive. Despite the fact that things are a lot cheaper in Spain than they are here, the Spanish-built Pathfinder doesn’t come cheap.
The mid-range ST-L model is $59,490, which is dearer than its Thai-built Mitsubishi Challenger counterpart at $56,390 and well above the other main contender, the US-made $43,000 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited four-door diesel.
But if you’re going Pathfinder, the ST-L is the best model choice.
The Pathfinder is portrayed as a medium-size SUV, but compared to a mid-size car it’s a whopper.
Though big and unfriendly in most carparks, it has light steering, excellent visibility, a squared body shape (with no hidden corners), silky automatic gearbox and gutsy low-speed engine in its favour.
Diesels aren’t quiet and the Pathfinder doesn’t disappoint. At idle it’s rough but settles as the revs rise to become almost inaudible at cruising speeds. It’s also responsive and if the tacho needle is swaying around 2500-3000rpm, it will accelerate surprisingly quickly without needing a gearbox downchange.
Sandy tracks are a breeze. The Pathfinder defaults to rear-wheel drive but a rotary dial on the dash selects 4WD High and 4WD Low, making it a very capable machine off the road. Yes, its independent suspension can hang up a wheel when crossing gnarly ruts or logs.
But the Pathfinder uses electronic wheel monitoring to shuffle power directly to the wheel(s) that are on the ground. Your chances of getting stuck are pretty remote.
Best of all, the Pathfinder has a 3000kg towing capability to suit travellers with caravans.
The Nissan Pathfinder is a 4WD for the serious adventurer