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First drive: Nissan Pathfinder – on sale now



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Nissan has been addressing the overt ruggedness of its off-road vehicles, recognizing that even serious mud-pluggers want to do it in some comfort.

The Pathfinder is the latest to face the interior design team.

Launched last year, the Land Rover Discovery rival maintains its preference for rocks, ruts and mud – Nissan makes no secret that this is an off-roader first – but has improved road manners thanks to the All Mode 4x4 system and independent double wishbone suspension. All Mode monitors grip and stability to boost driver confidence.

Inside, a soft-touch dashboard, stitched seamed two-tone interior, and higher quality cabin fixtures and fittings underline the car’s family credentials – even the weight of the carpets has been increased. In addition, with all seats folded, including front passenger, the Pathfinder has a totally flat floor.

The seven-seat Pathfinder is no match for Discovery’s on/off-road performance combination, although Nissan’s reputation for quality build and maintenance-free cars puts it at an advantage over its UK-built counterpart, despite Land Rover’s production improvements.

Pricing also puts the Pathfinder ahead of the sector leader. The 4.0-litre V6 petrol tested starts at £33,960, compared to almost £38,000 for the 4.4-litre Discovery and £34,350 for the Toyota Land Cruiser, although what is arguably its closest rival, the 3.5-litre V6 Mitsubishi Shogun, shaves £2,000 off Nissan’s price.

Price: £33,960
Engine: 4.0-litre V6 265bhp petrol
Performance: 0-62mph 8.9sec; top speed 118mpg
Transmission: Five-speed auto
Efficiency: 20.9mpg combined; 327g/km CO2
CAP RV 3yr/30k: £12,900 (42%)
Strengths: Off-road ability, build quality, reliability
Weakness: Still wobbly on-road
Opportunity: Raise SUV sales
Threat: Strength of rivals
USP: Well priced mud-plugger

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