Refinements to the Nissan Pathfinder range make it an even better all-round family four-wheel-drive wagon.

By Mick Matheson

Nissan has given its popular Pathfinder four-wheel-drive wagon a minor facelift and power upgrade. And it’s a good thing.
The manufacturer has consolidated the Pathfinder range in Australia by deleting the V6 petrol engine and concentrating on the more efficient turbo-diesel, which now features 11 percent more power and 12% more torque than the previous generation, plus a 15% improvement in fuel consumption.
The Pathfinder’s 2.5-litre diesel engine is smaller than those in its seven-seat wagon competitors, such as Toyota Prado and Mitsubishi Pajero, but being in a smaller vehicle it punches above its weight delivering 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque. It is able to tow a three-tonne trailer.
The improved torque better suits the five-speed automatic transmission and the gear hunting that was evident in earlier Pathfinders is reduced to give a smoother drive. Full independent suspension gives a firm, stable ride that is great on the road, although it would be better off-road if it were more compliant. Electronic traction and stability control improve safety and ability both on- and off-road and both features are standard across the range.
The Pathy is a more serious off-road 4WD than many soft-roaders on the market, thanks to its low-range transmission for the rough stuff. There’s the choice of two-wheel- or all-wheel-drive for general driving duties, each selected by a dash-mounted dial.
Our test vehicle for a drive through the Central West and South Coast regions of New South Wales was the ST-L Auto, which has a list price of $59,490. The ST-L has received a swag of equipment upgrades as part of the revamp, including leather seats that are heated and power-adjustable at the front, side-curtain airbags, reverse-parking sensors to warn you when you get too close to something behind you, and a smart locking system that detects the key carrier is close to the vehicle and automatically unlocks the doors.

This story excerpt is from Issue #74

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2011