While it’s certainly true that sport utility vehicles are the hot items these days, I wouldn’t count the Pathfinder among the hottest of them. Those would be the ones that are basically cars with different, elevated chassis. Also, when you think of SUVs you usually think American. But Nissan has a range of SUVs covering the entire market, from the new Kicks to the immense Armada, not to mention the Qashqai, the popular Rogue and… the large Pathfinder.
First introduced in 1987, the Nissan Pathfinder stood out with its rugged shape, off-road tires and back door handles integrated diagonally into the C pillar. It was given a makeover in 1996, getting a smoother shape and losing its two-door version at the same time, while welcoming the 3.5L V6 engine. Code-named VQ35, this engine was a regular on people’s list of best engines on the market. That generation of the Pathfinder also served as the basis for the very first INFINITI SUV, the QX4.
The third generation arrived in 2005. It offered greater comfort and continued the move away from muddy trails. The next, and current, generation debuted in 2013. The present-day Pathfinder is bigger and can accommodate seven occupants, and has abandoned the 4X4 configuration to make its way into the category of multi-segment vehicles.
Many of those displeased by this new setup have migrated to the Xterra; others love that they have a worthy alternative to the Quest minivan and its odd contours.
The Pathfinder got a light makeover last year. I have to say that with each passing year, I find it less overly large. This is all on me, because the actual dimensions haven’t changed since 2013.