Here’s how it stacks up.
The Pathfinder starts at about $59,000 drive-away for the base ST model and stretches all the way to about $87,000 for the new range-topping Ti-L model, which is the car we tested. That’s a bigger asking price than key rivals from Toyota, Mazda and Hyundai. Unlike cheaper models the Ti-L has a fully digital driver cockpit, as well as a head-up display. There are leather accented heated and ventilated front seats, a power tailgate, a large sunroof and a rear view mirror that can double as a camera, allowing you to see the road behind you even when the view is blocked by people and luggage. Tech goodies include Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, wireless phone charging, satnav, digital radio and a 13-speaker Bose sound system. You can option the Pathfinder with seven or eight seats. It’s covered by a five-year warranty and a five-year servicing plan costs $2581 for five years. The sixth scheduled service costs a sizeable $1625, though.
The new Pathfinder is bigger and wider than its predecessor, which means more space for shoulders, knees and toes in both the second and third rows. The driver’s seat has two memory settings that also include individual positioning of the steering wheel and side mirrors. The seats are comfortable and supportive on longer trips. Nissan doesn’t skimp on comfort for the second- and third-row passengers either. The two individual “captain’s chairs” in the second row are heated and slide and recline. There are also individual airconditioning controls, USB ports and sunblinds. Entry to the third-row is easy: simply press a button on the seat back and the second row tilts and slides forward, leaving a decent opening to clamber into the back seats, which have their own air vents and one USB port for the kids to squabble over. Unusually, the rear bench can seat three, although it would be a cosy ride. It’s possible to create enough leg room for teens and smaller adults in the back pews by sliding the middle row forward.
The Pathfinder was independently crash-tested and scored a five-star rating, although its occupant protection rating of 86 per cent isn’t class-leading. It has nine airbags, including a centre airbag to stop the passenger and driver banging heads in a T-bone accident. Driver assistance tech includes all the usual stuff: lane-keeping, blind-spot alert, auto emergency braking, traffic-sign recognition and radar cruise control. The Pathfinder will stop you from crossing into the path of oncoming traffic and alert you if someone is still in the rear seat when you exit. It also has a trailer-sway control feature for towing.
ON THE ROAD
Older versions of the Pathfinder were focused more on off-road ability than comfort and on-road composure but the latest model is very much an urban warrior, with limited ground clearance and car-like driving characteristics. For a sizeable vehicle with a high centre of gravity the Pathfinder stays reasonably flat through corners and soaks up bumps and corrugations well, while all-wheel-drive helps power delivery and traction in the wet. The suspension is firmer than most in its class, which translates to better recovery from bigger bumps but a less plush ride on pockmarked inner-city streets. The V6 has decent power reserves and the nine-speed auto shifts smoothly, but it’s relatively thirsty, sipping an average of 10.5L/100km.
Three and a half stars
Spacious and comfortable, with plenty of room for bigger tribes, although you’ll pay for the size at the petrol pump.
Toyota Kluger Grande V6, from about $79,310 drive-away.Significantly cheaper with similar equipment levels. More power and torque, as well as better fuel efficiency.
Mazda CX-9 Azami LE AWD, from about $81,500. Cheaper, with only six seats but similar equipment levels. Four-cylinder turbo has less power but more torque.
Hyundai Palisade AWD, from about $83,364 drive-away. Front-drive only, powered by a bigger, thirstier V6 with more power and torque. Cabin feels more modern.
NISSAN PATHFINDER Ti-L
PRICE From $86,800 drive-away
WARRANTY/SERVICING Five years, unlimited km, $2581 over five years
ENGINE 3.5-litre petrol V6, 202kW and 340Nm
SAFETY Nine airbags, auto emergency braking, rear auto braking, rear-cross traffic alert, lane-keep and blind-spot assist, speed-sign recognition
SPARE Space saver
CARGO 554 litres