Nissan Pathfinder review
Off-road-biased Nissan Pathfinder is built to last, but struggles to compete on road
The Nissan Pathfinder is built with a purpose in mind – to be as practical, rugged and reliable as possible. It certainly achieves all of those aims with a huge cabin, enviable reliability record and fantastic off-road ability, but the Pathfinder simply doesn't feel at home on the road. Unlike other, more luxurious 4x4s the ride is uncomfortable, the engine is gruff and it feels very cumbersome to steer around corners. None of that will matter if you're after a simple, reliable workhorse, though.
Our pick: Nissan Pathfinder Acenta 2.5 dCi
The Nissan Pathfinder doesn't try too hard to be stylish, with a simple, boxy design. Still, it's far from an ugly car and many people will appreciate how understated it is. One thing that the Pathfinder can't hide is just how enormous it is, and that's something you'll realise from the inside too. The cabin itself has a few flourishes but it's a pretty bland and functional affair. It all feels well put together though.
The Pathfinder is currently only available with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, which doesn't sound big enough to power such a huge car, but actually does quite a good job. It produces 187bhp and can launch the Pathfinder from 0-62mph in 11 seconds (10.7 seconds with the automatic gearbox). It's particularly unrefined and noisy on the move, while the manual gearbox is vague and difficult to use. The ride is perfect for soaking up huge holes in the road, but it feels too clunky and fidgety to ever be comfortable. The handling is poor too, with imprecise steering and a fair amount of body roll.
The Nissan Pathfinder scored just four out five stars in the Euro NCAP crash safety test, which sounds bad when you consider most cars are scoring five out of five these days, but then a lot of large SUVs struggle to achieve that final star. All models get driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags along with ESP+, which consists of ABS, an electronic stability program and traction control. Reliability shouldn't be a problem as the Pathfinder is built to withstand a lot of punishment and general wear and tear.
The Pathfinder boasts some serious van-like practicality. All models come with seven-seats and a 190-litre boot, but if you fold the rearmost seats in to the floor that figure increases to 515 litres. Fold down all the seats, and there's not much you won't be able to carry in the 2,091-litre boot. There's a split tailgate too, which is useful for leaning on if you need to take muddy boots off, or you can just load through the rear screen so you don't have to open the whole boot.
The Pathfinder is a big and heavy car, which shows in its economy figures. The manual-equipped models are best with 33.2mpg, while the automatic claims just 31.4mpg. An 80-litre fuel tank will cost around £120 to fill-up (as of March 2012), too. High emissions put the automatic in the second highest road tax bracket.