WELL WORN PATH

South Burnett Times - - FIND YOUR CAR ON FINDA - Craig Duff

VALUE

The ST-L is ar­guably the sweet spot of the sev­enseat Pathfinder range. You can save about $4000 by buy­ing the two-wheel 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.

COM­FORT

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.

SAFETY

The Pathfinder eaarns 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.

DRIV­ING

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 sev­enseater and the ride is qui­eter than some ri­vals.

AL­TER­NA­TIVES

MAZDA CX-9 GT $64,790 DRIVE-AWAY The newer CX-9 shows up the Nis­san on in­te­rior pol­ish and fuel use, is a bet­ter drive and has smart­phone mir­ror­ing for those who can’t live with­out teth­er­ing their mo­biles. SKODA KODIAQ SPORTLINE $50,290 DRIVE-AWAY The petrol ver­sion of the Kodiaq gives away some power and torque to the Nis­san as well as some space down back but is the bar­gain buy at this price. TOY­OTA KLUGER GXL $58,990 DRIVE-AWAY The all-wheel drive GXL uses marginally less fuel at 9.5L/100km and is a close match to the Nis­san on the key safety and in­fo­tain­ment fea­tures.

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