Since its introduction in 1986, the Nissan Pathfinder has grown from a compact SUV to the roomy, mid-size sport 'ute it is today. While always offering the rugged durability of body-on-frame construction, through the years the Pathfinder has also become increasingly more refined. Its ride, styling and equipment have been constantly updated to compete in a rapidly evolving sport utility market.
The Pathfinder's swept back headlights and bold grille flow into an arched front bumper and fender flares that house the available 17-inch alloy wheels. These elements yield a solid design that is both forward thinking and practical.
Trims for the Pathfinder are Base S, SE, and LE. The standard engine is a 4-liter V6 that puts out 266 horsepower and 288 pound feet of torque. The LE is available with a 5.6-liter V8 that generates 310 horsepower and 388 pound feet of torque. Power is sent through a 5-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels or available 4-wheel drive with low range.
Fuel economy for the Pathfinder ranges from 12 miles per gallon city, up to 22 miles per gallon highway.
Seating for seven is standard on the Pathfinder, with split-fold 60/40-second row, and 50/50 third row seating. Those rows fold flat, giving way to up to nearly 80 cubic feet of cargo space. The second row on our SE test model came equipped with its own climate controls and storage compartments beneath the seats. The second row also folds neatly forward, giving easy access to the third row seating.
Our test model also came with touch screen navigation, multifunction-leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bose audio system, a trio of 12-volt power outlets, and a 2-piece rear hatch with a built-in first aid kit.
Helping to ensure the occupants wont need that first aid kit are standard safety features such as 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, front and rear crumple zones, energy absorbing steering column, and front and side impact airbags.
Base MSRP for the 2009 Nissan Pathfinder is $27,210. A fully loaded V8 LE model will top out at just over $46,000. The Pathfinder is backed by a 5-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
While capable 4-wheel drive and durable construction have always been necessities for SUV's, the versatile and family-friendly accommodations of the Pathfinder make it an attractive choice in today's mid-size SUV market.