2006 Pathfinder New Car Test Drive
The 2006 Nissan Pathfinder is a big and brawny sport utility. Pathfinder is built on the superb ladder frame from the big Nissan Titan pickup. As a result, it offers excellent off-road capability. The Pathfinder can go practically anywhere and get there in style and comfort. This is an authentic off-highway vehicle.
Totally redesigned and re-engineered for 2005, the current Pathfinder is significantly larger than previous models. It offers more interior space and more convenience features. It also offers third-row seating for up to seven people.
The 4.0-liter V6 that powers the Pathfinder is a larger, retuned version of the engine that powers the 350Z. Its five-speed automatic transmission is specifically geared to capitalize on the engine's torque characteristics. Maximum towing capacity, with proper equipment, is 6000 pounds.
The Off-Road 4WD model features 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.
In short, the Pathfinder is an excellent alternative to the Toyota 4Runner.
Only minor changes with option packages distinguish the 2006 Pathfinder from the '05 model.
The 2006 Nissan Pathfinder comes in four trim levels, each of which can be ordered with two-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD). All are powered by the 270-horsepower, 4.0-liter V6 engine with the five-speed automatic transmission.
The Pathfinder XE ($24,650) and XE 4WD ($26,650) come with fabric upholstery; air conditioning; cruise control; power mirrors, windows and door locks with keyless remote; halogen headlamps; 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. XE models come standard with Vehicle Dynamic Control and aluminum-alloy wheels. Buyers may choose XM or Sirius satellite radio ($400), but few other options are offered.
The SE ($25,850) and SE 4WD ($27,850) add a power adjustable driver's seat; halogen foglights; running boards; roof rack cross bars; and a middle seat fold-down center armrest. Leather seating is optional.
The SE Comfort Package ($1,350) adds dual-zone, automatic air conditioning; a six-disc CD changer; 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 eight speakers plus subwoofer; redundant steering wheel-mounted audio controls; and capabilities for MP3 and satellite radio. The Mobile Entertainment System ($1,600) delivers a DVD player with a seven-inch color monitor and two infrared headphones.
The next model up is the SE Off-Road ($28,450), which comes with B.F. Goodrich Rugged Trail P265/75R16 tires on distinctive wheels; Rancho off-road shocks; and skid plates. The 4WD SE Off-Road ($30,450) also comes with Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist. The Off-Road models are upholstered in a robust, waffle-texture fabric. An optional Desert Leather Package ($1,400) includes leather-trimmed and heated front seats, four-way power adjustable front passenger seat, leather-trimmed doors and heated outside mirrors. The Mobile Entertainment System is optional.
The LE ($32,550) and LE 4WD ($34,750) come with leather upholstery; wood-toned trim; sunroof; Bose audio system with six-disc changer, eight speakers and subwoofer; and 17-inch wheels and tires. The LE-exclusive DVD Navigation Package ($2,000) includes a seven-inch color LCD display.
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. An optional Air Bag Package ($700) 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.