Saturday, September 23, 2017
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An emotionally-charged ride

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“This is automotive bliss!” I said, as I returned to the Nissan dealership on Hewletts Rd.

I had just returned the new Nissan Pathfinder, an upgraded version of Nissan’s take on the seven-seater SUV market.

It’s a long-established brand and one Nissan has upgraded with a new look, safety equipment and all-round performance. What had started out for this driver as an introduction to Nissan’s SUV range quickly turned into a ride that will linger long in the senses.

The Pathfinder TI, the top of the Nissan range, is a big, slightly intimidating sight but once inside the spacious interior, and snugly seated in the all-leather seats with superb fit and finish all round, it’s an easy acquaintance to make.
Start the engine and the fun really begins!



Fun on the road

When you get in a new car, a car you’ve never driven before and your first response is to tilt your head back and laugh out loud at the immediate joy of rubber hitting  asphalt, it’s then you know you’re in the presence of an emotionally-charged ride – and it’s likely to be one you won’t soon forget.

And that is what happened on the first drive of the new Nissan Pathfinder TI. My senses came alive in a way that is rare in modern SUVs. The quick engine response, seamless transmission shifts and near-silent road noise factor meant this ride was winning on key elements. This was a ride free of the fatigue factor of other large SUV rides.

I’m used to smaller cars than the seven-seater Pathfinder but on this day I became a believer. For the first time I asked the question out loud: ‘Why would anyone buy a car, a normal run-of-the-mill family car when they could have this?’

It was a driver’s rhetorical question, but it’s one that does introduce a crucial point.

When you can drive a car as responsive, powerful and quick as this off the line, as spacious, as decked out in navigation and entertainment goodies and with seven seats, why would you drive anything else? That answer depends on personal priorities, but this ride had me from the first push of the accelerator. I sped out onto Hewletts Rd, then down Takitimu Drive and felt the push of the V6 and it became an intoxicating driver experience.

This is Nissan bliss!

Quick off the line, and with enough driver assist tricks to keep navigation and music at the finger tips, the Pathfinder is a joy to drive. Yes, there is a degree of body-roll –in an SUV that‘s a tough quibble to conquer – but the overall ride is so exhilarating, any minor issues quickly fade as you change lanes with a bit of splash and panache, all while under firm control. I simply wanted to drive it for longer.



Inside the ride

For anyone in the market for a three-row, seven-seater SUV, the biq question is how much space does it have? The simple answer is a lot! There’s 453 litres available with the third row in place, 1354 litres with the third row folded down and 2260 litres with both the second and third row folded flat.

That’s room for a lot of golf clubs, household furniture or anything else a big family needs to transport on game day or when shifting house!

Entertainment is a big feature in the new Pathfinder. This ride is mobile entertainment with what Nissan describes as Tri-Zone entertainment, providing a degree of custom entertainment and screen viewing at your seated location.

The 13 Bose speakers in the ride (including boot-mounted subwoofer) provides a real musical surround experience.

Add in the LCD screens located in the back of the front seats that can screen movies independently and the Pathfinder stacks up as an entertainment system on wheels!

It is also equipped with one of the best radio tuners you will find, picking up low power FM radio stations other tuners struggled to lock on to along Takitimu Drive.

The eight-inch touchscreen provides easy control and displays all functions with controls located beneath.

Navigation was intuitive and easy to use.

There is an eight-way power adjusted seat, (both heated and cooled) and one of the best speedo and rev counter displays seen on any modern SUV.

The front sunroof provided a nice touch, and with an intelligent auto view monitor, everything is displayed for the driver to be more in touch with their surroundings.



Under the hood

The new Pathfinder TI is equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine rated at 284 hp, 259 lb-ft; CVT automatic transmission. This is a ride that will excite and it crosses the line into sports like performance with a responsive ride with power on tap. Intelligent cruise control is also a functional driver’s tool on tap.

Rounding out the ride

“This is the ride of the year!” I said upon returning to the Tauranga Nissan dealership.

The long ride back from the Greerton Golf Course to Nissan’s main dealership in Mount Maunganui meant I could experience a long ride home.

And yes it was Nissan bliss. It’s the emotions good cars bring out in the driver that make some rides stand out from others.

Once you’re out of this Nissan Pathfinder you’ll be sure to want to
get back in. It’s a great driving experience that lingers.

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