Test Drive – Nissan Pathfinder 3.0 AT image

The third generation of the Nissan Pathfinder is saying “farewell” to the production line but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the SUV has shown all of its tricks.

Engine and Transmission

We have recently went for a spin in the third generation of the Nissan Pathfinder and the version chosen was equipped with a 3.0 liter turbo diesel engine. The unit is producing a total output of 230 HP, at 3, 750 rpm, and it has a peak torque of 550 Nm available from 1,750 rpm. The two figures are providing enough power to pass a vehicle on open road safely and they can make you forget that you’re driving a 2,285 kg beast.

The engine in this version is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission, which is also used on other models in the company’s range, as well as on the premium brand owned by Nissan, Infiniti. The automatic gearbox is a “must” for every future Pathfinder owner because it will save you the unnecessary movement of shifting gears constantly while trying to keep an eye on your fuel consumption too, because we are talking about a heavy vehicle.

Fuel Consumption

The Nissan Pathfinder isn’t made for everyday use in the city, unless you’re the happy owner of a fuel pump which doesn’t need refilling because the urban environment will get your fuel consumption up to 13.5 liters / 100 km in normal driving. If your right foot is heavy, than be prepared for a larger number shown by your trip computer. Once you will hit the highway, at a constant speed of 110 km/h, with the cruise control on and the seat heater activated, along with the climate control and the radio, the fuel the average fuel consumption will drop to 8.2 liters / 100 km. Start climbing a mountain road and the figure will go up to 9.4 liters.

The Ride

Driving the Nissan Pathfinder may seem comfortable enough but let’s not forget that the vehicle is aimed towards off-road enthusiasts so the ride may be bumpy, even if the torque provided when pushing the gas pedal will sometimes make you forget it. The advantage is that you will feel exactly what every wheel is doing once you have accommodated to the vehicle and this is a big plus for Nissan, who obviously knows how to build off-roaders in which you can take your kids to school and then leave the road for some adrenaline.

Despite its massive size for European roads, a size which may go as “average” over-seas, the Nissan Pathfinder is quite agile in this configuration. The sprint is good, even if the model isn’t the best in its class in this chapter. The handling isn’t brilliant as you might have expected but it does its job without asking too many questions once the road has ended. The turning point, however, may give you a headache if you try to park it in a tight spot or if you try to maneuver it and you don’t have enough space.

Interior Design

The cabin of the Pathfinder is a little out of date, even if you are getting “goodies” such as Bluetooth, USB, AUX, satellite navigation system, seat heater, dual-zone climate control or leather seats but let’s not forget that we’re not talking about a premium SUV and this is not the new generation of the model. The noise in the cabin can be annoying at high speeds, some of the plastics may develop a sound of their own in time and the wood imitation may give it a “cheap” feel but if these will annoy you, you can always turn to the competition by paying a little extra, for a luxury SUV. We must tell you that there isn’t enough legroom on the rear seats and this is a compromise for having the 7-seat version. And speaking about the third row, we must tell you that the access over there is made quite hard.

The advantages come from the leather seats, from the navigation system, from the rear-view camera, handy while trying to park it or maneuver it outdoors with trees around you and the sunroof, which can be opened. The Bose premium sound system is enough if you don’t want to hear the birds singing while tackling some huge rocks and the low range gear box, available at the push of a button, is doing is job just like it should.

Likes / Dislikes

We must appreciate the high driving position offered by the Pathfinder which is a big plus. The front seats are comfortable and they are also providing side support, a thing needed while going off-roading. The side mirrors are large and they can easily be compared to the ones fitted onto a medium truck. The model performs well off-road, even if I’m not a big enthusiast of leaving the road in car. Its character is undefined and it will sometimes make you feel like you are in a premium SUV. There is enough torque to allow you to do just about everything and once the rain will start, you won’t have to worry on turning your windscreen wipers on, because the sensor will do it for you.

The downside of the model is having to live with the cheap plastics in the cabin, with the wood imitation, with the poor steering in a crowded city, the poor legroom on the rear seats, which will be a constant complain from your passengers and the not-so-good headlights. There are several common parts used in the cabin which can be found on cheaper Nissan vehicles and last, but not least, we must mention the price, which is quite high. Just over 55,000 euros will have to be paid for owning this version.