It seems a shame to start this story by mentioning the new Pathfinder’s desperate lack of performance, because nearly everything else about this vehicle is superb. Hold that word ‘superb’ in your head. But – and this is a big but – you can’t ignore the fact that the car’s engine is overwhelmed in this application, especially at motorway speeds.\
The launch motor for the Pathfinder is a 2.5-litre version of the X-trail’s 2.2-litre turbodiesel four. In this tune it develops 297lb ft at 2000rpm and 171bhp at 4000rpm. Match that to a kerbweight of 2280kg and you can see where the problem lies. Our test car, the-top-of-the-line T-spec, was mated to a smooth-shifting five-speed auto with sequential shift – most customers will opt for the auto – and it never hits its stride. Floor the throttle at any speed and very little happens, other than a utilitarian roar from the overworked cylinders.
Overtaking on the motorway is an exercise in patience – overtaking with limited space on an A-road is an exercise in fine judgement and risk assessment. What it’s like seven-up towing a caravan doesn’t really bear thinking about.
So it’s a slug. More of a slug than the Land Rover Discovery diesel the Pathfinder is pitched against. But at least the Disco goes about its sloth-like work with a measure of dignity and decorum. This engine thrashes, to the point where I began to feel sorry for it. It’s not suitable.