He: The big Aussie family car has grown to become a hulking seven-seat SUV, and Nissan’s Pathfinder is one of those. This latest-generation is no longer a ute-based SUV like its predecessor – and a growing breed of rugged alternatives such as the Ford Everest and Toyota Fortuner – but a more car-like soft roader capable of hauling a big tribe. Nissan recently updated the Pathfinder, slotting in a heavily-revised V6 petrol engine, minor styling tweaks and few more features. We’re testing the range-topping Ti 4x4 version, which costs $66,190 plus on-roads. What was your first impression Dani?

She: Amac, it’s second time around for me in the Nissan Pathfinder. Visually it doesn’t look too different following last year’s big design revamp and, though it presents well, it still lacks a little finesse. It’s unmistakably massive and stands out from the pack. I think this is the sort of car kids and dads get more excited about than mums, however there are a lot of features in the Pathfinder that would be pleasing for parents.



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He: It is a big car, and not quite as sleek as a Mazda CX-9 for example, so I can understand where you’re coming from there. It’s designed and built in America, where it slots right in with other family-sized SUVs. Anyway, I think it looks okay – both inside and out – and does what it says on the tin; it’s a comfortable and capable seven-seat SUV with plenty of space and a decent spread of equipment. Do you think it works as a family car?

She: I think the cabin is extremely comfortable and really well thought out. Being the top-spec model, there are lots of toys and creature comforts including three-zone entertainment, Bose stereo, heated and cooled leather seats and a panoramic sunroof. The infotainment system is a bit fussy to use and there’s no Apple CarPlay or Android auto, but it does have two-colour screens behind the front headrests that will keep the kids in the back entertained on long drives. My daughter had a blast watching a movie with the wireless headsets. I like how the seating in the second row glides and flips forward, providing easy access to the third-row. The US-spec version of the Pathfinder has rear door alert, which consists of a series of honks ensuring kids don’t get left behind in cars. It would’ve been nice to see that in Australia. 
 
 
2018 Nissan Pathfinder Ti 4x4 Photo: supplied
 
 
He: That’s a pretty rare feature here, but Hyundai’s new Santa Fe due here in the middle of the year will have it, and I think Nissan should also tick that box for local cars. The big ticket item in the updated Pathfinder is its new 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, which now features modern direct-injection technology that improves performance and efficiency, lifting power outputs to 202kW and 340Nm while reducing fuel consumption to 10.1L/100km – all of which are decent numbers. In our test car, the engine drives all four wheels through a revised CVT automatic transmission with seven pre-programmed ratios to give it a more natural feel under heavy acceleration. I think it’s a great powertrain that suits the suburban nature of the car, but it’s not a heavy-duty off-roader by any stretch even if it does have a rear diff lock to help in low-speed slippery conditions. How did you find driving it, Dani? 

She: I’m a huge fan of the Pathfinder’s V6 engine; it’s powerful and full of grunt but the CVT doesn’t do much for me. The ride is comfortable and, though it can feel heavy at times, it moves briskly once it gets going from a standstill. The 20-inch tyres on the Ti provide good grip, however driving the Pathfinder through tight, narrow streets in inner city suburbs can prove a little nerve wrecking. Being such a big car, advanced safety aids, such as blind-spot monitoring are really helpful and the 360-degree camera is really clear. There’s also automatic emergency braking and what’s even more pleasing is that AEB is now standard across all models.



He: Those updated safety functions make the Pathfinder a more convincing family option than before, especially because of its size. Personally, I think the Pathfinder is an under-rated choice among the growing breed of seven-seat SUVs as it drives well, has plenty of gear and is comfortable and convenient for the whole family. I don’t know if the all-wheel drive transmission is worth paying an additional $4000 for, as it’s not a serious off-roader, and would probably pick the cheaper front-drive version as a regular urban runabout. Do you think it’s good value?

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Quick Spin: Nissan Pathfinder Ti
What is the best seven-seat SUV?
She: It is right up there as one of the most expensive of its type, and it’s also costly to fuel up (using considerably more than the claimed 10.1L/100km if you stay within the boundaries of the suburbs). While there’s a lot of good equipment and decent safety, I think the Mazda’s CX-9 is still hard to top in this class.

He: I agree. There’s a lot to like about the CX-9, which is why it retained its place as the Best Family SUV in our annual Drive Car of the Year awards. But the Pathfinder shouldn’t be left off the shopping lists of those searching for a seven-seat family wagon.

2018 Nissan Pathfinder Ti Sport Price and Specifications

Price:  $66,190 (plus on-road costs)

Engine: 3.5-litre V6 petrol

Power: 202kW at 6400rpm

Torque: 340Nm at 4800rpm

Transmission: CVT automatic, all-wheel drive

Fuel use: 10.1L/100km
 
source : drive.com.au

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