Test Drive: Nissan Pathfinder 3.0L AT image

Nissan has said “farewell” to the third generation of the Pathfinder last year as the model has been assembled in Smyrna, Tennessee, U.S., and in Barcelona, Spain. Even so, our team had a go in the hottest version of the model, the 3.0 liter diesel, equipped with an automatic transmission.

Engine and Transmission

The tested vehicle came with a 3.0 liter turbo diesel engine which, in this configuration, has a total output of 240 HP (175 kW), at 3,750 rpm, with a peak torque of 500 Nm (406 lb-ft), available at 2,500 rpm. The engine is providing enough power to get you up a steep mountain road and the fact that most of the torque is available at low rpms will be appreciated. The unit may seem underpowered sometimes, especially when you get used to the SUV, but you won’t feel the weight of the passengers or the cargo during a hill climb.

The automatic transmission is a “must” if you’re looking for a Pathfinder and if you have driven a Nissan or Infiniti before, you will easily get used to it. Changing gears doesn’t exactly feel smooth, but then again, nothing is smooth about this vehicle and that is not necessarily a bad thing because the Pathfinder has been built to last. Let’s put it this way, if the world would come to an end, you will feel comfortable taking the Pathfinder all the way across the countryside and you will trust it to get you there in one piece, without breaking down.

Fuel Consumption

The official fuel consumption figures provided by Nissan stand at 12.5 L / 100 km urban, 7.5 L / 100 km outside the city and an average of 9.3 L / 100 km. This doesn’t exactly look too “pink”, especially since we have the Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI BlueMotion in the segment too. As expected, the urban fuel figure indicated by the trip computer stood at approximately 13.0 L / 100 km, which isn’t that different from the official one. On the highway, in seventh gear and at around 120 km/h, the Pathfinder burned 9.5 L / 100 km, but I feel that the under 8L / 100km can be achieved at approximately 90 km/h. The average fuel consumption will eventually stabilize at more than 11.5L / 100km.

The Ride

The suspension setting of the Pathfinder isn’t exactly smooth but you won’t feel your kidneys falling off when you will go over a speed bump in the city. Its role will most come in handy when you will leave the road and head towards the woods because this is its main purpose, besides driving your kids to school safely. On the off-road you will feel exactly what every wheel is doing and if it lost grip so you can adjust your approach to the next rock.

Despite having a massive size for the Old Continent, the SUV is quite agile in this configuration, but you will have to push the throttle all the way down to experience some of the 500 Nm of torque. The steering is not brilliant and the turning circle may give you a headache most of the times so make sure you have enough space to maneuver it. The brakes work just like they should and they won’t make you feel like you’re trying to stop more than 2 tones of metal, plastic and rubber.

Interior Design

The Nissan Pathfinder is an ergonomic vehicle and all the buttons are where you would expect them to be, but in terms of looks, you won’t turn any heads in this. Some of the features equipping the SUV include the satellite navigation system, rearview camera, heated seats, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, AUX, USB, leather seats, some wood imitation. The 7-seat version means not enough legroom on the rear seats but this can be solved by ordering the regular 5-seat.

Some of the extra equipment found on the tested vehicle also included the Bose premium sound system which is enough to cover all nature sounds which are coming from the opened sunroof. The low range gearbox is available at the push and twist of a button and if you’re uncertain that your right leg can control the brake during a hill descent, the Pathfinder is also offering an HDC (hill descent control) system.

Likes / Dislikes

The rugged looks of the third-gen Nissan Pathfinder is definitely in the “likes” chapter, along with the comfortable front seats and the high driving position. The side mirrors, which seem more worthy of a medium sized truck, are also found here and even if I’m not an off-road enthusiast, I couldn’t help myself and I just had to leave the asphalt. I won’t provide you with any tips or secrets here because I’m sure most of you know what it can do. We have to tell you about the rain-sensing wipers which, in most vehicles are simply useless, but on the Pathfinder they are doing what they are supposed to, without asking too many questions. The sunroof, which can be opened, is a “must” for any Pathfinder owner because it will bring a new touch to the model.

One of the main drawbacks of having these “goodies” onto your vehicle is, of course, the price. This comes way too close to the premium segment where, we have to admit, it can’t compete with the Touareg. The turning radius has to be mentioned here too, along with the high fuel consumption or the two extra seats, which are more suitable for people without any legs, or head. The cheap plastics found in the cabin won’t earn it any points either but considering the fact you can have the entry-level version for almost 37,000 euros, don’t hesitate and take it out for a spin before checking out the competition.


When it was tested back in 2006, by the Euro NCAP, the Pathfinder managed to score four stars in Adult Occupant protection, three stars in Child Occupant and just two stars in Pedestrian Safety. We have to mention that the facelifted version hasn’t been crash tested.


Cheapest version – 36,900 EUR
Tested version – 55,000 EUR

Tested Vehicle
Nissan Pathfinder 3.0 AT
Engine: 3.0-liter six-cylinder (2,993cc)
Power: 240 HP @ 3,750 rpm
Torque: 500 Nm @ 2,500 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Dimensions: length 4,813mm, width 1,848mm, height 1,858mm
Weight: 2,285 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 80L
Trunk Capacity: 515L
0-100km/h: 8.9s
Top Speed: 200km/h

3.5 / 5