A proper unpretentious old-school off-roader

What is it?

A refreshingly unpretentious alternative to the increasingly default choice of a gussied-up soft-roader.

The Pathfinder is very much the real deal, combining genuine off-road ability with reasonable on-road refinement and tough construction.

Now it has gained some mid-term revisions - and the arrival at the bottom of the range of a new entry-level five-seat version that undercuts the most basic Land Rover Discovery by nearly £4000.

What's it like?

Pretty impressive. The Pathfinder doesn't drive with the accuracy or smoothness of one of its road-biased soft-road rivals, but it puts in a credible performance on tarmac, with accurate steering and a well-damped ride.

Despite sitting at the bottom of the range, the Trek comes with all the essentials, including powerful air-con, a basic but decent-sounding stereo and some underfloor storage in the boot where seven-seat versions normally stash their third row.

The cabin is spacious, comfortable and finished in decently tough-feeling material. And although the 2.5-litre four-cylinder motor is a fairly industrial-sounding unit - with a nice line in induction whoosh when cold - at cruising speeds the noise fades into the background.

Performance is strong enough on tarmac, with a full set of low-range gears and a lockable diff giving genuine off-road ability.

So, should I buy one?

If you're in the market for a proper, unpretentious old-school off-roader then it's hard to think of a better purchase for the money. Just make sure you choose one in white - you'll be able to pretend you're a UN peacekeeper.

Mike Duff

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