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Workhorse with style.

Byline: ROBIN ROBERTS

WITH a hard won reputation for reliability in some of the most inhospitable places on earth, Nissan has softened its image with the latest Pathfinder.

This well-known workhorse was revised last year to accentuate style and refinement with the introduction of standard electronic stability control across the three-model range along with the most powerful ever diesel in the series and a simple 4x4 system on demand, whether or not you choose the entry level Acenta or higher specified Tekna in manual or automatic versions ranging from pounds 29,165 to pounds 33,765.

The result is an easier-to-drive, very capable 4x4 with a lot of room ranging from 190 litres to 2,091 litres behind the seats and what comfortable seats they are. Unlike most cars in this class, the Pathfinder has what can best be described as armchairs. Once you get the right position and angle for the squab and backrest, the seats soak up the worst bumps and insulate the occupants from road shocks which you can hear and feel through the steering and the soles of your feet. I covered more than 1,800 miles of mostly motorway and A-class roads and it acquitted itself without any concern or complaint, covering the miles with ease at the motorway limit. It never went below 29.6mpg and averaged just under 30mpg overall, about three mpg less than the stated combined consumption.

It is not a particularly quiet engine and it's intrusive when pressed hard, but it runs well and the gear ratios give it strong pull for overtaking while letting it lope along on main roads. Oddments room is reasonable in front with deep long door bins, console recesses and a lidded compartment and those behind have a single seat pocket. Behind the third row is a sensibly shaped luggage area which quickly increases capacity as required.

Access is very good to the front and middle seats but you have to be agile to reach the back pair. Legroom is reasonable, head space clear and shoulder room fairly good and all appreciate the low waistline and big window area to give good vision to front and sides.

There are electric windows all round and although the shallow back window hides objects close to the back of the vehicle, the camera takes care of these.

The performance is acceptable, but it's not a quick SUV and its rudimentary suspension shows up at times when its skips around a bumpy bend.

You are left with the impression that the Nissan Pathfinder is a very solid piece of kit which can take on a heavyweight roll but which retains a light touch, but it is not as sophisticated as some competitors in a sector which is seeing increasing refinement.

Facts and figures NISSAN PATHFINDER TEKNA 2.5DCI * PRICE: pounds 32,265 * MECHANICAL: 190ps, 2,495cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via six-speed manual gearbox * MAX SPEED: 115mph * 0-62MPH: 11 seconds * COMBINED MPG: 29.9 * INSURANCE GROUP: 14 * CO2 EMISSIONS: 224g/km * BIK RATING: 35% * WARRANTY: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles.

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SOLID - Nissan Pathfinder Tekna 2.5dCi
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 18, 2011
Words:520
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