Pathfinder has been a cornerstone of the Nissan line-up since 1985, designed as a
softer, smaller sibling to the heavy-duty Patrol.
Now in its fifth generation it has moved with the times, shedding its humble Navara
origins and ladder chassis to become a standalone seven or eight-seat family hauler
with “some” off-road ability.
At the same time the latest design channels some of the machismo from the Navara
PRO-4X Warrior, with a blunter, bolder grille and elaborate front light assembly.
Released in November last year, with four grades and front and all-wheel drive options,
the line-up has been slashed to just the two grades over the past few weeks, due in
part Nissan says to wait times and the global component shortage.
Pathfinder is big and bold and eminently practical. It sits on the same platform as the
previous model, but is 38mm longer, 15mm wider, and 13mm higher, with the same
The latter is the distance between the front and rear axles and determines the amount
of interior space available to legroom and luggage capacity.
The range now comprises the Ti priced from $70,030 and Ti-L from $80,277, both with
all-wheel drive and both prices before on-road costs.
Ti is an eight-seater while the Ti-L seats seven, replacing the second-row bench seat
with two individual captain style chairs. For a car targeted mainly at family buyers, it’s a
strange thing to do – but that’s marketing for you.
Mechanically, the two versions are identical, except for the size of their wheels. Ti gets
18s, Ti-L rides on larger 20-inch rims.
It’s inside you’ll find the main differences.
There’s leather accented trim, tri-zone climate control air, with second and third row air
vents, power-adjust driver’s seat with lumbar control, plus heated front and second-row
window seats, tilt and reach adjust steering wheel, built-in rear sun shades and a power
Other kit includes LED exterior lights, with dusk-sensing headlights and auto high-beam
assist, auto dimming rear view mirror, remote engine start and EZ Flex latch-and-glide
But you have to fork out for the top-of-the-line Ti-L to get rain-sensing wipers which is a
Ti-L adds a power-adjust front passenger seat, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a
power sunroof, ventilated front seats, digital rear-view mirror, rain-sensing wipers and
ambient interior lighting.
Pathfinder is covered by a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, with 5-year roadside
assistance and fixed price servicing which adds up to $2581 over five years.
Both grades get the same 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system underpinned by a
13-speaker Bose audio system with dual subwoofers.
It includes Bluetooth, built-in navigation with voice control, AM/FM and DAB+ digital
radio, wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto, wireless phone charging, plus
two 12-volt power outlets and five USB ports.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Pathfinder is powered by a 3.5-litre petrol V6. There’s no hybrid and no diesel option.
The V6 develops 202kW of power at 6400 rpm and 340Nm of torque at 4800 revs, with
drive to all four wheels though a new nine-speed conventional automatic transmission.
Five-star safety starts with nine airbags, including curtain bags spanning all three
seating rows and a centre airbag which provides added protection to front seat
occupants in side impact crashes.
Autonomous emergency braking (Car-to-Car, Vulnerable Road User, Junction Assist
and Backover) as well as a lane support system with lane keep assist (LKA), lane
departure warning (LDW) and emergency lane keeping (ELK) and an advanced speed
assistance system (SAS) are standard equipment.
There’s also Intelligent Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection, plus a rear-
view camera with front and rear parking sensors.
Nissan’s advanced Pro-PILOT semi-autonomous driving system also makes its debut
on Pathfinder as a standard inclusion.
Child seat anchor points include ISOFIX and tethers for second row window seats, a
tether for centre seat plus the left third row seat has ISOFIX and tether points.
Our test vehicle was the Ti all-wheel drive in eight-seat configuration.
Ti retains traditional analogue instrument dials, separated by a 7.0-inch information
screen. Pay the 10 grand extra for the Ti-L and you get a full, 12.3-inch configurable
Both models however get a 10.8-inch colour head-up windscreen display, with
navigation instructions, negating the need for the driver to take their eyes off the road.
It’s a part time torque on demand all-wheel drive system that automatically sends
torque to the rear wheels as required, with a number of all-terrain settings — Standard,
Sport, Eco, Snow, Sand, Mud/Rut and Tow.
The system features direct coupling, which allows torque transfer directly on the clutch
pack using oil pressure, allowing for confident, immediate take-off in low-traction
Fuel consumption from a 71-litre tank is a claimed 10.5L/100km and it generates
245g/km of CO2.
The latter replaces the previous continuously variable CVT unit and comes complete
with wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
It’s an interesting move given that Nissan was one of the pioneers of CVT, claiming if
all car makers switched to this type of transmission, it would slash fuel consumption by
10 per cent across the world.
There has also been something of a drift away from dual/twin clutch transmissions in
Suspension is Mac strut at the front and independent multi-link rear at the rear, with
front and rear stabiliser bars.
New dual-pinion electric power steering provides engaging steering with a sporty feel,
Ti rides on 18-inch 255/60 series Kumho rubber, while the Ti-L sits on larger 20-inch
wheels with 255/50 series tyres.
Pathfinder is rated to tow a 2700kg braked load, with a specific Tow setting and trailer-
stability program to make towing easier and safer.
Weighing in at 2044kg, the V6 has some heavy lifting to do, but it gets going
reasonably quickly with enough kick for overtaking.
But we suspect a large part of this performance could be erased with two adults and a
couple of kids aboard, not to mention the whole tribe.
Although billed as a 4×4 with a long off-road heritage, we wouldn’t be taking Pathfinder
on anything more serious than rough dirt roads, or maybe the beach if you want to give
the transmission a workout.
Somewhere along the way it has lost its off-road mojo, along with low range gearing to
tackle the rough stuff.
Pathfinder remains sure-footed on the road however and can be pushed reasonably
hard with confidence, although it can become a little bouncy with the rise and fall of
On the motorway it’s almost a case of set and forget, or it would be if you could work
out how to engage the active cruise control.
Instead of activating and then setting the speed, one needs to activate, set the speed
then push a third blue button which finally engages cruise.
Until you get the sequence right it is really annoying. Must be something to do with Pro-
This model retains analogue instrument dials with a centre info panel that because of
its small size easily becomes cluttered.
The 9.0-inch touchscreen is smaller than the display suggests, with a large bezel and
space devoted to physical buttons.
Satnav, even in 3D mode, doesn’t provide a particularly easy view to follow.
As a long distance traveller it’s pretty comfortable, quiet and relaxing to drive as we
discovered on a run down the coast over the weekend.
Legroom in the back is generous, with a seat that slides fore or aft to increase space
for the third row.
EZ-Flex provides one press of a button to access the third row, sliding the second-row
forward and tilting the base forward and out of the way at the same time.
It’s not as good as Carnival, but then again, it’s not a dedicated people mover.
Ride and handling are good and the steering is reasonably sharp, but throttle response
can be exuberant at times.
We were getting 10.0L/100km with a best of 6.9L after close to 700km of mixed driving
which is surprisingly better than the manufacturer’s claim.
But in the context of real-world requirements, it is still way too much when a hybrid
petrol-electric powertrain could come close to halving this figure.
With petrol priced at around $2.00 per litre, that’s one dollar every 5km or $20 for every
We like it, but we’d like it more with a hybrid or turbo-diesel under the bonnet.
Here the family SUV market is a diesel market and has been for a long time.
It’s in the process of transitioning to a more environmentally friendly hybrid market.
Unfortunately, a big thirsty V6 just doesn’t cut it anymore.
AT A GLANCE
Pathfinder Ti 4WD: $70,030
Pathfinder Ti-L 4WD: $80,227
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Nissan dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Nissan Pathfinder Ti 3.5L 6-cylinder petrol, 9sp automatic, 4×4
Capacity: 3.5 litres
Configuration: Six cylinders in ‘V’
Maximum Power: 202 kW @ 6400 rpm
Maximum Torque: 340 Nm @ 4800 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 10.5 L/100km
Emissions CO2: 245 g/km
DRIVELINE: Nine-speed automatic transmission, five selectable drive modes,
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 5004 mm
Wheelbase: 2900 mm
Width: 1978 mm
Height: 1802 mm
Turning Circle: 11.8 metres
Kerb Mass: 2044 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 71 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Five years / unlimited kilometres