The fourth generation Nissan Pathfinder, introduced in November 2013 is a very large seven-seat SUV with reasonable off-road capability in some models.
It’s not a body-on-chassis vehicle as in some of its earlier iterations, it’s now a monocoque, with all that means in the way of increased comfort and a quieter interior.
Pathfinder gen-four offers two-wheel drive, though all-wheel-drives have been the more popular sellers. All have a 190 kW 3.5-litre petrol V6 and continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The interior of this biggest ever Pathfinder is spacious and practical. The two-seat third row is relatively easy to access through large side doors although as usual children are the preferred occupants.
Those looking for something really unusual can even buy a supercharged-petrol / electric hybrid Nissan Pathfinder that went on sale in August 2014.
Pathfinder received a solid makeover in February 2017. A facelift made it look slightly more people mover than 4WD as, like most in its class, it’s seen as a family wagon not a bush battler. Nissan’s signature grille was revised, and there were boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights.
The biggest news was under the bonnet where the 3.5-litre petrol V6 engine had over 50 percent of its components changed. There’s a revised combustion chamber design, new pistons, new intake manifold and e-VTC (electronic Variable Timing Control).
Maximum power output is 202 kW (+12 kW on the superseded model). Maximum torque is 340 Nm (+15 Nm).
Complementing the almost-new engine was a new-generation Xtronic CVT. This provides stepped gear changes under heavy acceleration in the manner of a torque convertor automatic. It isn’t as efficient as a full CVT, but pleased traditionalists who liked to hear ratios being changed.
Note that the petrol-electric hybrid Pathfinder powertrain was unchanged at the time of the 2017 makeover.
The 2017 Pathfinder has an in-car infotainment system operated through an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen. It also has Bluetooth phone / audio streaming and voice control.
In-car navigation equipped with 3D mapping graphics is fitted to the Pathfinder ST-L and Ti. There are twin USB ports on the lower grades, three on the topline Pathfinder Ti.
Handling of the Pathfinder is okay for a large SUV, but certainly not to the comfort or safety of car standards. They are safe enough even if driven moderately hard and will attempt to look after silly drivers by way of stability control and ABS brakes. Don’t test these for yourself, though.
Nissan’s dealer network is widespread in Australia, with spare parts, repairs and servicing available in most areas, even in some pretty remote locations.
Experienced home mechanics can do a fair bit of their own work. There’s plenty of underbonnet and under-car space. Leave the safety items to qualified mechanics.
Insurance isn’t usually over expensive as befits a vehicle that is seldom driven hard.
Midway through 2019 Nissan Pathfinder received another makeover. It’s too new to comment on here but will be covered in a future edition of our Used Car Checkout series.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Engines should start easily and settle into a very smooth idle within a few seconds. If they don’t there may be serious troubles, or simple a tune up. The latter may mean servicing has not been done by the book.
The CVT automatic should be smooth in its operation, keep an eye on the tacho when you accelerate to make sure the revs aren’t jumping about too much when the transmission selects the best ratio.
Look for damage to the protection plates, the sill panels and the underneath of the bumper-bar corners. These are signs of hard off-road driving – or gentle off-roading by drivers that thrash their Pathfinders.
All Nissan Pathfinders that have been in severe off-road situations really should get a professional inspection.
Interior condition is important as disobedient children can create damage when they get bored.
Careless off-road drivers often toss in items into the boot or back seats without securing them, these get further tossed around and scar things they hit.
Off-road use, such as at the beach, can lead to damage to the upholstery in the cabin, check carpets and seats in particular.
Expect to pay from $12,000 to $18,000 for a 2013 Nissan Pathfinder ST-L; $15,000 to $21,000 for a 2015 ST; $17,000 to $24,000 for a 2016 ST Hybrid; $18,000 to $25,000 for a 2014 Ti or a 2016 ST-L; $22,000 to $30,000 for a 2015 Ti N-TREK or a 2016 Ti; $26,000 to $35,000 for a 2018 ST-L; $32,000 to $43,000 for a 2018 ST-L Hybrid; $36,000 to $48,000 for a 2019 ST-L; and $46,000 to $61,000 for a 2019 Ti Hybrid.
CAR BUYING TIP
Tough times may mean some people are desperate to sell their cars. Sad as it may seem this could be good news for you. However, if the seller has skipped servicing to save money serious problems may be on the way.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/