Nissan’s Pathfinder has long been a staple of the medium-large SUV segment in the UAE, as its combination of three-row seating, moderate off-road ability and budget-friendly price positions it in a sweet spot in the market.
However, the existing fourth-gen model is now distinctly long in the tooth (it launched in 2013) so, right on cue, Nissan Middle East is set to roll out the revamped fifth-generation iteration, which promises to be a much-improved package in almost every respect.
Although underpinned by essentially the same platform as its predecessor, the newbie is longer, wider and taller. What’s more, the designers have thrown out the old styling template, so the new Pathfinder looks chunkier and more truck-like than its forerunner. The styling is likely to resonate well with local buyers, as the debutant looks more like a downsized Patrol and less like a family bus.
The new Pathfinder’s front end is far more upright than before and its face is distinguished by a three-slot V-motion grille and angular LED headlights. In addition, blacked-out roof pillars create the impression of a floating roofline. The rear end is also far boxier than before, with slim-line LED taillights stretching towards the badge on the tailgate.
As before, motive power for the Pathfinder comes from a 284 horsepower 3.5-litre V6, but the good news is that the old continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) has been ditched in lieu of a nine-speed automatic. Vehicles equipped with CVTs tend to drone annoyingly, so this is a welcome change.
Although Nissan Middle East is yet to reveal detailed specs of the new Pathfinder, overseas reports suggest it accelerates from 0-100 kilometres per hour in about seven seconds, which is decently brisk for its category. In addition, fuel consumption is said to be better than in the outgoing model.
Complementing the revamped exterior packaging, the cabin has been completely redesigned, and the quality of trim materials are a substantial step forward. There are many soft touch points on the dashboard, and the overall layout looks much better.
The third-row seating appears to offer more space for adults, while the second row can be ordered as a bench seat or optional captain’s chairs with armrests. The third-row seats have a 60:40 split fold function, enabling luggage space to be easily increased.
A fully digitised instrument cluster is also on offer, while a large infotainment touchscreen sits atop the centre of the dashboard. The all-new infotainment system features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless smartphone charging, and a 13-speaker Bose audio. A new digital Around View Monitor 360-degree camera system will also be available, offering higher resolution and wider viewing angle than the previous model. All-wheel-drive-equipped Pathfinder 4WD models will come with a seven-mode Drive and Terrain Mode selector, offering Standard, Sport, Eco, Snow, Sand, Mud/Rut and Tow modes.
Although yet to be confirmed by Nissan Middle East, available features in up-spec models are likely to include three-zone climate control, 20-inch alloy wheels, a Bose premium audio system, head-up display and a full suite of driver-assist functions including autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and rear cross traffic alert.
As before, the new Pathfinder isn’t pitched at die-hard off-roading enthusiasts, but rather at family buyers seeking an all-purpose SUV that can tackle the school and office runs, as well as serve as a weekend getaway vehicle that’s up for some light-duty all-terrain action.
At face value, it appears as though Nissan may have got many of the fundamentals right with the fifth-gen Pathfinder. It needs to be good as it will enter a busy and competitive segment in the market; its three-row competitors include the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Volkswagen Teramont, Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse and Toyota LandCruiser Prado.
It will obviously be crucial for Nissan ME to get the pricing equation right for the new Pathfinder to make a significant dent in the market. There’s as yet no word on that score, but we’d estimate the 2022 Pathfinder will start around the Dh130,000 mark, with the range-topping model positioned in the Dh180,000-Dh190,000 range.