1999 Pathfinder New Car Test Drive
The Nissan Pathfinder has matured over the course of its long life span. Before the current sport-utility craze took off, it was little more than a Nissan pickup truck with a glorified camper shell added. But most of its competitors then offered little more. In time, the Pathfinder grew in size, complexity and feature count to become an all-around vehicle aimed at pleasing a much larger audience. It is no longer sufficient to build a vehicle that carries people into the woods; any machine worthy of consideration nowadays has to get them in and out of the wilderness comfortably, serve as daily transportation, and look good.
That small dose of history is meant to suggest that the folks at Nissan have paid attention to the world around them, and have adapted the Pathfinder to meet changing needs. The current Pathfinder provides the SUV buyer with a sophisticated unit-body structure intended to be strong and quiet. The suspension was designed to handle streets and trails alike. It's equipped with all the comforts of a loaded midsize sedan along with the spaciousness of a station wagon. Getting those disparate virtues to coexist in a single vehicle is a tall order.
Now in its fourth model year, the present Pathfinder differs little from the version offered last year. Or the year before when it was last redesigned. Frankly, little in the way of alteration was needed. Pathfinder acquits itself well against its competitors -- most notably the Ford Explorer, Chevy Blazer, Toyota 4Runner, Isuzu Rodeo and Honda Passport.