Nissan Pathfinder 3.0dCi V6 – The Mayor of Tough City

Nissan Pathfinder 4X4
Nissan Pathfinder - Mr Big! 
If I had to judge the cars I drive solely on the basis of how they make me feel, the Nissan Pathfinder would possibly be one of the best. If you’re surprised by that then you haven’t quite got the full picture of this car but in a nutshell, it’s big, chunky and powerful. What more could a man ask for? If Nissan needed a mayor for the folk and workhorses of Tough City, then this would him without a doubt.

Nissan is good at making tough cars of all sizes and in the Pathfinder, the philosophy seems to have been, ‘Size DOES count’. Everything about this car is big. The boxy design may come across as quite unimaginative but this design has made way for vast amounts of space in the cabin. The Pathfinder is a proper 7-seater if you need a tough people-mover. For the utilitarian in you, the cabin is practical enough for you to fold down all the seats transforming your car into a full on man-cave.

The bigness continues as you settle in to the driver’s seat. The entire facia that houses all the switchgear and multimedia screen is very big and extends well into the breathing space of the passenger side. I would generally think this would be a problem but the system is quite well arranged and as much as it may look over engineered at first, it’s fairly easy to operate and feels solid and chunky to the touch. The interface of this multimedia system is fully loaded with everything from touchscreen functionality, Bluetooth phone preparation, iPod connectivity via Bluetooth or Auxiliary inputs and even a Music Box storage system. This system allows for CD’s or even USB files to be transferred to the Music Box, and then played at a later stage without having to change CD’s all the time. The leather seats are also heated and electrically adjustable with 2 memory settings. To make parking this big guy easier, there is a fantastic reversing camera fitted to the rear tailgate.

On the safety front, this SUV has the full complement of front, curtain and side airbags. Dynamically, the ABS and EBD are standard as is Nissan’s Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and their Active Brake Limited Slip system (ABLS). Make no mistake; this car is a full house supersize package deal.

In keeping with the theme of toughness, the powertrain on this Nissan Pathfinder doesn't disappoint. This latest updated SUV features Nissan’s newest Diesel engine which is a 170kW mill. The 550Nm of torque is delivered from low down in the rev range(1,750rpm) which makes this machine the ideal tool for trekking over some tough terrain. As we like to do, we laid down some tough 4X4 obstacles for the Pathfinder on a wet and cold Saturday morning in the heart of Krugersdorp. The playing field was littered with Toyota Land Cruisers; Isuzu KB’s; Jeep Wranglers and yes, some Toyota Hilux and Fortuners were also in the mix. Everybody got a turn to show their muscle and thankfully, the Pathfinder didn't let us down. It wasn't the best in terms of approach and departure angles and we did have a few knocks on the undercarriage where the Fortuners and Wranglers didn’t have an issue. But other than that, the torque delivery in Lo range made the climbs very easy. Switching between 2WD, 4HI or 4LO was as easy as turning the chunky switch just above the gear lever. This switch also has an auto button that reads the terrain for you, and then changes the drivetrain accordingly to deal with it.

Rough terrain made easy
I love this car! I love the high driving position and the solid, robust design of everything. I love that it is fully loaded with high-end features and spec but still appears and feels tough and rugged. I love this diesel engine especially off-road and I love the man-cave space that this car offers for any lifestyle. Okay fine, on tar, the drive is not as refined as in some SUV’s I’ve driven and as heavy things go, it understeers very quickly. Okay fine, it's probably not the newest of cars on the road and the new one is already out and about in the USA. So what? This car makes me feel bigger than I am, like a mayor in a pretend-city of other wannabe tough people.

Some have raised eyebrows about the R681, 150 price tag and in some respects I understand. But the true competitor of this car is not the Toyota Fortuner but rather some higher end SUV players like the Jeep Grand Cherokee. So yes, it may seem quite expensive at first, but that’s a tough argument when you get into it. Literally.

- AM

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