2011 Nissan Pathfinder Review

This week I had the pleasure of driving the 2011 Nissan Pathfinder LE.  Our friends at Nissan Canada provided us with a gorgeous, fully loaded red Pathfinder.   To be honest, I have never been a fan of SUV’s.  However, after driving the Nissan Pathfinder, I will definitely consider an SUV for my next vehicle.

Performance:
Nissan uses it’s standard V6 engine in the Pathfinder. The vehicle has a 4.0L engine, pushing 266 horsepower at 5600 RPM.  The Pathfinder has a decent amount of torque, pulling at 288 lb/feet of torque at 4000 RPM.  It sounds like it has plenty of power, however, despite the 266 horsepower, I feel the Pathfinder is slightly underpowered for it’s size and would benefit from a V8 engine and a little more horsepower and torque under the hood. For a vehicle of that size and weight, I feel as though 300+ horse power would be much more suitable than the current 266-horsepower.

Interior:
The Pathfinder’s interior is absolutely gorgeous. The seats are firm and comfortable, and the ones in my tester were 8 way adjustable.  I am a big guy, and I found the seats extremely supportive yet always comfortable.  Nissan has always used quality leather in their vehicles and the latest version of the Pathfinder is no different. The LE model we tested came loaded with a variety of features. The refined interior offers a range of amenities, including available leather appointed seating, heated steering wheel, Nissan Intelligent Key with twist start, Nissan navigation system with a 9.3 GigaByte music box hard drive, Bluetooth hands free phone system, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, and a Rear View monitor. For me, when it comes to choosing a vehicle, the sound system is just as important as anything. The Pathfinder, much like the rest of the Nissan family, boasts a 10 speaker premium Bose audio system.  The audio is crisp and clear, with a good amount of bass.  No need to purchase an aftermarket system for this car!

While the rear view monitor is a great feature, it is still advised that you look before reversing. The rear-view camera isn’t the best in terms of clarity. I found it a bit blurry late at night. However, it’s a great feature nonetheless, especially considering how big the back end of the Pathfinder is!

The LE model also comes with the optional DVD player, 7.0-inch colour monitor for taking the kids on road trips, and if you don’t want to hear whatever they are watching, Nissan has even thrown in rear seat wireless headphones so you can have peace and quiet as you drive.  Our tester had a power moonroof, dual-zone climate control, rear air conditioning, power adjustable pedals and wood-grain trim. Personally, I don’t feel as though the wood grain trim suits the vehicle.  I would prefer a more youthful carbon fibre trim, but my parents definitely appreciated the wood grain.  At the end of the day its entirely a personal preference, however the options are always there!   The navigation system is fantastic and easy to use. The screen is a good size and easily visible to the driver.

Exterior:
Throughout its history, Pathfinder has maintained an iconic exterior design. The vehicle has a rugged, go anywhere look. The large headlamps are unique and distinctive, although adding HID headlamps would have been a nice touch and given the vehicle a more sophisticated look and feel. Other available features include side running boards to help the shorter passengers in and out, and heated outside mirrors. The LE model also comes equipped with some pretty 18 inch rims on BF Goodrich tires.

Final Thoughts:
The biggest knock on this year’s Pathfinder would have to be the fuel economy.  Nissan rates the vehicle at 14.9L / 100km city and 10.3L / 100km on the highway. To say the Pathfinder has a rabid thirst for fuel would be an understatement.  With the growing trend in the auto industry heading toward electric vehicles and saving money on fuel, Nissan could benefit from making a hybrid Pathfinder.  However, other than the fuel economy, the Pathfinder is great for large families or for people that simply enjoy the comfort and luxury of a large SUV!