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Nissan Pathfinder 4.0 V6 five speed Auto
no data Driven December 2005
The kids are getting bigger, and with the escalation of street-weaponry - what seems like every other suburbanite toting some two-tonne-plus Gorgon - you don't want to be left with a pointy stick when the rest of the world has just racked another round into the breech of their semi-automatic.
The problem being that the seven-seat Discovery 3 looks a bit too far away when you add up the mortgage, so why not a Nissan Pathfinder?
It's got all the faintly militaristic visual expression of the Land Rover - check out those small, square windows and the unapologetic boxy shape - and it's big enough to stare down all but the most committed kerbside bully.
It also comes with a comprehensive spec for just under £34k (T-spec) when a TDV6 Disco HSE drops the bank balance by some eight grand more.
So what we have here is the slightly less green four-litre V6 petrol, the car voted most likely to be painted white and used by the UN in the next war-torn country.
It's not that the Pathfinder isn't exactly what you expect from a big Nissan 4x4. The engine is more than powerful enough, the ride and handling almost eerily composed (if a bit wobbly when really pushed), and the interior accommodation more than satisfactory, both in terms of space and quality, for the money.
It's more that the Pathfinder feels utilitarian, for some almost undefinable reason. Where the Disco feels like an off-roaded premium car, a blue-collar Range Rover, the Pathfinder feels like it's a pickup truck that's had a load of leather and some nice interior bits lobbed in its direction.
Maybe it's the fact that the Pathfinder gave three of the test team backache, no matter how much we tried to adjust the seating.
It could be that the Navara pickup underpinnings are showing through, or that the SUV game has just not so subtley moved on from when the Pathfinder was conceived.
It has to be said, for the money and speed and street presence, the Pathfinder four-litre is actually quite a handy piece of kit, in the same manner as a Grand Cherokee. But we'd rather have a Landy or even an M-Class.