2001 Pathfinder New Car Test Drive
Perhaps more than any other single truck, the Nissan Pathfinder is responsible for the current popularity of sport-utility vehicles. More than a decade ago, when other manufacturers were only beginning to take note of SUVs, the compact, sturdy Pathfinder was already established with the knowledgeable, influential buyers who set such megatrends in motion.
Nissan is doing everything possible to keep its trendsetter at the forefront of SUV-buyers' minds. Last year marked the debut of a handsome new contemporary look for the Pathfinder, and in the odd way that Nissan does things, this year they have introduced the 2001 model with a new and dramatically more powerful engine. The combination of fresh looks and excellent power is certain to confirm Pathfinder's strong position in the market for years to come.
The 2001 Pathfinder line is divided into two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models. Three trim levels are available: XE ($26,399); SE ($27,349); LE ($29,299). Add $2,000 to all prices for 4x4 versions of the same models. XE and LE come standard with a four-speed automatic transmission. SE comes standard with a five-speed manual gearbox; add $1,000 to SE for automatic.
The base model is the Pathfinder XE, now fitted with a long list of standard features formerly available only as options. XE comes standard with power windows, heated mirrors and door locks, remote keyless entry, a rear cargo cover and rear cargo net, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
A sportier and more performance-oriented alternative, especially suitable for drivers who actually intend to use their Pathfinders off the pavement, is the rugged SE. The top-of-the-line LE provides the longest list of luxury amenities. A limited-slip differential can be ordered for SE or LE for $249. When equipped with the manual transmission, the SE delivers 250 horsepower - 10 more horsepower than its stable mates do.
Pathfinder SE and LE come with alloy wheels, larger P255/65R16 mud & snow tires and interior provisions not supplied in the base XE. SE adds painted six-spoke alloy wheels, body-colored fender flares and mirrors, a chrome grille surround, automatic on/off headlights, halogen fog lamps, driver's seat with memory, wood-tone trim, Bose audio system with in-dash six-disc CD changer, outside temperature gauge and compass, steering wheel audio controls and dual lighted vanity mirrors. Options include leather, a one-touch sunroof, and eight-way power seats.