Shopping for a new Nissan Pathfinder?
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With its impressive towing ability, an available V-8, a flat-fold seating arrangement, and handy touches like hidden storage trays and a standard 200-pound roof rack, the Pathfinder impresses as tough and up to the task. Unfortunately the 2011 Nissan Pathfinder just isn't as up to the task of ferrying around passengers, securely and comfortably, as most modern crossover models, and that's why it's only rated 6 out of 10 here at FamilyCarGuide.
The Pathfinder is an old-style SUV, meaning it has body-on-frame construction and shares most of its underpinnings with a pickup—in this case, the Nissan Frontier (as well as the more off-road-focused Xterra).
If you need strong towing ability yet don't have all that much parking space, the Pathfinder might fit your lifestyle pretty well. We'd recommend the V-6 and its 6,000-pound towing capacity over the V-8 (7,000 pounds), because with the V-8 you'll get much worse mileage in everyday driving (as low as 13 mpg city). Otherwise, the Pathfinder handles pretty well around town, and its short overhangs, good ground clearance, and available 4WD mean that it does quite well off-road or in any tough stuff. Compared to other trucks, it handles pretty well, too.
Ride quality and refinement, as well as interior comfort, aren't so impressive. The Pathfinder rides like a truck, and while it might be settled enough around town it can be a bit too busy on rough highway surfaces. Likewise, you end up hearing the engine far too much. And inside, while there's enough space for four adults, the front seats are a bit flat and the second row is skimpy on the padding. You might as well keep that third row folded; it's wee.
You probably will have no problem finding happiness from the feature set, which includes Bluetooth, Intelligent Key, and an excellent Bose audio system. You can even get a heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, real wood trim, and DVD entertainment on the LE model.
Safety has been another sore point, though; the Pathfinder has only managed a "marginal" score in the new IIHS roof strength test along with rear impact.
For more, including specs, pictures, and related news, see the full review of the 2011 Nissan Pathfinder over at The Car Connection.