2018 Nissan Pathfinder Long-Termer - Long Way Down
They say big cars cover big distances easily. They don’t say that? Well they should, because Nissan’s sizeable Pathfinder is a vehicle that comfortably mops up the miles.
Designed chiefly with Americans in mind where distances are vast, the Pathfinder travels the long road well. We had a down country mission to execute this month so wrangled the keys to the management’s executive cruiser. With six bodies piled inside the Nissan, we trekked headlong into a stiff southerly.
The further south we descended, the darker it got, and the more rain we encountered. With all the energy sucking systems working overtime - lights on high beam, demisters, heaters and wipers all going flat chat - and with plenty of traffic, it certainly proved that the conditions can affect the overall fuel consumption of a journey.
Our trip down the island netted 9.7L/100km over 600km while the return journey was a smoother affair with far less wind and no rain.
And with fewer bodies on board and less traffic to contend with, it allowed for a more efficient cruise. It saw the Pathfinder return 8.4L/100km, which is closer to its quoted extra urban fuel use figure of 7.9L/100km. You’d probably get closer still if you took a less enthusiastic approach to uphill passing lanes.
The Nissan munches through the miles comfortably and quietly with little wind noise and the added ride height of an SUV diminishes the roar of the coarse chip road surfaces. In concert with the CVT, the V6 is a real smoothy, quiet when cruising, ticking over just 1500rpm at a steady 100km/h. Extra go for the overtakes is smartly delivered, the CVT shortening the ratio to tap the power above 4000rpm.
To help keep speeds constant (and in check), the active cruise control of this top Ti model is easily set and adjusted. However it doesn’t regulate your velocity on the descents if there is no lead car to follow. LED technology illuminates the path ahead well, too well it seems as some on-coming traffic thought we still had the high beams on, judging by their crazed flashing.
Auto control of the dipping function would be a good additional extra here, one less thing to worry about. There are no concerns about back aches in the Pathfinder as it is fitted with Nissan’s Zero Gravity-inspired seats up front.
Intended to reduce fatigue, these have been designed to replicate a neutral posture, which research by Nasa concluded was best to reduce overall fatigue in space flight. Whatever, the front seats are supportive in all the right places, with various densities of padding and good adjustment so the majority of body types will find them comfortable and supportive.
The rear seats are pretty cushy too, although a high set floor means taller people will have their knees above their hip points. But leg room there’s plenty of, and with a good range of slide, tilt and recline movements, you can arrange the seating to accommodate those in the third row.
The system also allows them good access to the rear, even with a car seat strapped in place.
And while there is not a heap of luggage room left with both third row seats in use, there is enough to stuff six overnight type bags in, if you stack them thoughtfully.