Nissan Pathfinder is family-friendly with modern finish

The new Nissan Pathfinder.
The new Nissan Pathfinder.

FAMILY safety, an easy-to-use third row and general road comfort were the key factors stressed at Nissan's launch of the new Pathfinder this week.

Changes to the large SUV, a staple for the Japanese manufacturer, will allow Nissan to take further advantage of a quickly growing segment and entice non-traditional buyers with its new monocoque design which promises a smooth but adventurous drive.

Make no mistake, when Nissan talks "all new" they mean just that and this Pathfinder, which has been available in the US since late 2012, bears little resemblance to its predecessor. The exterior sports what is now becoming a trademark Nissan grille and headlight design while more soft touches and luxury items have been included in the modern-look interior.

A 3.5 litre V6 Xtronic CVT engine powers the range which is available in three grades either as a two-wheel drive or on-demand four-wheel drive. Prices start at $39,990 for the entry-level ST 2WD and extending to $64,890 for the top-of-the-range Ti 4WD offering.

Lovers of the old Pathfinder will miss the rugged no-nonsense feel and the absence of a diesel model which shows little chance of ever becoming a possibility.

"This Pathfinder is a 100% departure from the old model," said Peter Clissold, the executive general manager of marketing.

"The whole vehicle is a departure and not having a diesel model is part of that. Some of the biggest competition like the Mazda CX9 and the Toyota Kluger don't have diesel options and for people who really want that off road diesel there is the Patrol and Navara. "

Instead, greater emphasis has been placed on the Pathfinder's suitability for a growing family, its ability to seat seven adults and improved accessibility to the back seat. The latch and glide technology coupled with Isofix child seats - expected to finally get the nod from Australian testers early next year - means that passengers can access the third row without removing the child seat.

It has been a good year for Nissan Australia. Sales are up by 700 units to date on last year's figures which themselves reflected a 22% increase on the year before and management is confident the new Pathfinder will simply build on the enthusiasm created by the release of the Nissan Duke last month.

"The Pathfinder is perfect for families," said Managing Director and CEO Peter Jones. "It handles beautifully, is great value for money, has excellent towing capacity (2700kg) and really plays to Nissan's strengths."

New Pathfinder pricing
2WD ST - $39,990
2WD ST-L - $50,290
2WD Ti - $60,790
4WD ST - $44,290
4WD ST-L - $54,290
4WD Ti - $64,890

Topics:  cars news motoring

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