Nissan Pathfinder

It might not have the hi-tech engine of the RX400h, but Nissan's latest off-roader has bags of traditional 4x4 appeal. Joining a growing range of Nissan four-wheel-drive models in the UK, the Pathfinder aims to steal the Land Rover Discovery's thunder.

Big off-roaders rarely offer top value for money, but the Nissan Pathfinder is a bargain. With seven seats, muscular styling and lots of kit, it has bags of appeal. It might not be the sharpest driver's car or have the most refined engine, but it is sure to make a splash.

It might not have the hi-tech engine of the RX400h, but Nissan's latest off-roader has bags of traditional 4x4 appeal. Joining a growing range of Nissan four-wheel-drive models in the UK, the Pathfinder aims to steal the Land Rover Discovery's thunder.

With styling inspired by the Dunehawk concept from 2003's Frankfurt Motor Show, the rugged off-roader has a chunky look. Details such as the rear door handles incorporated into the C-pillar and the near-vertical tailgate provide even more visual impact.

Inside, the dashboard is functional and there is plenty of room up front. Passengers in the rear will find the high floor leads to a low-seat, high-knee position. The good news is that behind them lie another two seats hidden under the boot floor - taking the total to seven. Despite being smaller than many 4x4 rivals, the Pathfinder feels enormous out on the road. Equipped with a 2.5-litre 172bhp version of the X-Trail's four-cylinder turbodiesel unit, the Nissan offers decent performance, but is not as refined as plush SUV rivals.

The ride quality is more competitive, though, while the handling is reasonable. It is certainly no BMW X5 beater on the tarmac, but the Pathfinder is a big step on from the larger Patrol.

What's more, the T Spec variant comes with a list of standard equipment that wouldn't disgrace a luxury saloon. It gets DVD-based sat-nav, Bluetooth phone compatibility, xenon headlamps and separate air-con controls in the rear.

But the best news is the price. The top-spec manual model is £30,660, which is £11,335 cheaper than the flagship diesel Discovery. If you can cope with the more rugged driving experience, then the right path to take will lead to your local Nissan dealer.

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