2007 Pathfinder New Car Test Drive
The 2007 Nissan Pathfinder is a big and brawny sport utility, an authentic off-highway vehicle, and an excellent alternative to the Toyota 4Runner.
Pathfinder is also a roomy family vehicle, with all the popular comfort and convenience features. It offers third-row seating for up to seven passengers. If you haven't looked at a Pathfinder in a while, you may be surprised by the large size and bold styling of the current generation. Only a few years ago Pathfinders were compact and understated. Since 2005, however, the Pathfinder has been built on a shortened version of the same superb ladder frame and mechanical package that underpins the full-size Nissan Titan pickup. And to go with its new-found bulk, Pathfinder styling has acquired a great deal of attitude.
In short, the current Pathfinder can go practically anywhere, and get there in style and comfort.
The 4WD Off-Road 4WD model is equipped with Hill Descent Control, which limits downhill speed without driver intervention, and Hill Start Assist, which briefly holds the Pathfinder on a slope while the driver releases the brake pedal and applies the accelerator.
The 4.0-liter V6 that powers the Pathfinder is a larger, retuned version of the engine that powers the 350Z sports car. Pathfinder's five-speed automatic transmission is specifically geared to capitalize on the engine's torque characteristics. For 2007, recalibrating has improved this engine's California emissions certification, from LEV2 LEV to LEV2 ULEV, making Pathfinder an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle. Maximum towing capacity, with proper equipment, is still 6000 pounds.
Also new for 2007: express up-down operation for the passenger-side window (with safety reverse), an auxiliary audio jack for MP3 player compatibility on specific models and packages, and a new exterior color called Desert Stone. The base-level model badge has been changed from XE to S, and the SE Off-Road model is now available only with 4WD.
The 2007 Nissan Pathfinder comes in four trim levels, three of which can be ordered with two-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD). All are powered by a 266-hp 4.0-liter V6 with a five-speed automatic.
The Pathfinder S ($25,600) and S 4WD ($27,600) come with fabric upholstery; air conditioning; cruise control; power mirrors, windows and door locks with keyless remote; AM/FM/CD stereo playing through six speakers; adjustable lumbar on the driver's seat; reclining backs on the middle-row seats; roof rails; and a pre-wired tow setup including hitch. S models also come standard with Vehicle Dynamic Control, a tire-pressure monitor, and 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Few options are offered, but among them is an Airbag Package ($700) that adds side impact air bags, plus roof-mounted side-curtain airbags with rollover sensor.
SE 2WD ($26,850) and SE 4WD ($28,850) add an eight-way power driver's seat, fold-flat front passenger sear, unique seat fabric, Easy Clean Cargo Area, rear reading lamps, cargo net, running boards, roof rack crossbars, fog lamps, front tow hook, first aid kit, body-color outside mirrors, and a middle seat fold-down center armrest.
Leather seating is optional ($1,500) for the SE. The SE Comfort Package ($1,550) includes dual-zone automatic air conditioning; auxiliary rear air conditioning with separate controls; six-disc CD changer with MP3 capability and auxiliary input jack; adjustable pedals; a multi-accessorized, auto-dimming rearview mirror; upgraded sunvisors; leather highlights (but not leather seating); and painted silver interior accents. The SE Premium Package ($1,700) adds a two-way power sunroof; automatic headlamps; programmable remote garage door opener; Bose stereo with nine speakers including subwoofer; redundant steering-wheel-mounted audio controls; and capabilities for MP3 and satellite radio.
The SE Off-Road ($31,650) is available only with 4WD. The Off-Road model comes with B.F. Goodrich Rugged Trail P265/75R16 tires on distinctive wheels; Rancho off-road shocks; and skid plates. Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist are exclusive to the SE Off-Road, making it the most trail-capable Pathfinder. Off-Road also comes with standard comfort features such as dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air conditioning with controller, adjustable pedals, digital compass, outside temperature gauge, leather steering wheel and shift knob, and upgraded audio. SE Off-Road is upholstered in a robust, waffle-texture fabric; Desert Leather is optional ($1,500).
The LE ($33,800) and LE 4WD ($36,000) come with all the comfort features of the SE Off-Road, but not its specific off-road equipment; plus leather upholstery, wood-toned trim, sunroof, Bose audio system with six-disc changer and nine speakers (including subwoofer), and 17-inch wheels and tires. The LE-exclusive DVD Navigation Package ($2,000) includes a seven-inch color LCD display.
The Mobile Entertainment System ($1,600) delivers a DVD player with a seven-inch color monitor and two infrared headphones. It is available on all Pathfinders except the basic S.
Safety features that come on all Pathfinders include two-stage frontal airbags; antilock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EDB); and electronic stability control, which Nissan calls Vehicle Dynamic Control. The optional Air Bag Package adds front-seat side-impact airbags and full-coverage side-curtain airbags. We strongly recommend opting for this last package as it can provide head protection to you and your passengers if someone crashes into the side of your vehicle, or if you roll over. Always wear your seatbelts as they are your first line of defense in an accident.
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