2005 Nissan Pathfinder

Passenger Side View

The new Pathfinder continues Nissan's current predilection for trucks that are big and bold and not very pretty. Based on the underpinnings of the full-size Armada SUV and the Titan pickup, the Pathfinder has grown in size to rival vehicles such as the Ford Explorer and the Dodge Durango. It has a fully boxed steel frame and all-around independent suspension. It's powered by an all-new 4.0-liter DOHC V-6 engine that makes an estimated 265 hp and 285 lb-ft of torque, mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but there are available part-time and electronically controlled on-demand all-wheel-drive systems. A vehicle stability system is available, as are high-performance gas-charged dampers. Inside is a third-row flat-folding seat to give seven-passenger capability: The second- and third-row seats can be folded individually for maximum flexibility. Power-adjustable pedals are on the options list, along with full-length side-curtain air bags and the now obligatory DVD entertainment system to keep those back-seat riders quiet. The Pathfinder has definitely grown up, inside and out, but we wonder if it will be as talented a trail vehicle as the outgoing model. Most buyers will no doubt be happier with improved on-road ability and a more luxurious, more mainstream truck interior.

ON SALE: October 2004
PRICE: $28,000 (est.)
ENGINE: 265-hp, 4.0-liter V-6
BOTTOM LINE: Finally, a mainstream Nissan mid-size SUV.

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