From £32,270
Well priced and equipped, and versatile and spacious, but off the pace dynamically.

Our Verdict

Nissan Pathfinder

The Nissan Pathfinder is a tough large SUV, but no Discovery. It's spacious but unrefined

Matt Prior
2 September 2005

We’ve already pitched the turbodiesel Pathfinder against its similarly sized rivals, the Land Rover Discovery and Toyota Landcruiser. And although it couldn’t get near the Discovery on the road (or off it), the Nissan’s pricing, equipment and on-road agility were enough to see off the more expensive Toyota.

Now, a 4.0-litre V6 petrol version of the Pathfinder has arrived in the UK, and it offers more of the same. Available in top level T-Spec form only, at £33,960 it gets the likes of electrically adjustable leather seats, satellite navigation, reverse parking camera, Xenon headlights and a five-speed auto ‘box as standard.

The Pathfinder’s 4.0-litre engine is a development of the 350Z’s aluminium V6, in this form smoothly developing 265bhp and 284lb ft of torque. Even our 300-mile old test example revved willingly, while returning 19.1mpg in mixed driving; little different to the official combined figure of 20.9mpg. Nissan’s claimed 0-62mph time of 8.9sec feels believable, too.

Engine and equipment aside, however, the Pathfinder is less convincing. Its interior is pleasantly styled but of mixed quality. Some plastics feel soft and the steering wheel is tactile, but these mate with other harsher, less appealing materials.

The Pathfinder’s ride is another weakness, proving unsettled on uneven roads, accompanied by steering wheel shimmy over surface imperfections. It almost feels like the body (with separate ladder chassis) is flexing and, indeed, when we put the axles on minor opposite articulation, the tailgate closed with reduced conviction.

Dynamically, then, the Pathfinder can’t match £30k-ish SUVs like the XC90, Touareg or RX300. But similarly priced off-roaders can’t match its size, equipment or seating. SUVs that can, meanwhile, can’t get near the price.

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