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2015 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4X4 Review by John Heilig +VIDEO

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MODEL: 2015 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4X4
ENGINE: 3.5-liter V6
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 260 hp @ 6,400 rpm/240 lb.-ft. @4,400 rpm
WHEELBASE: 114.2 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 197.2 x 77.2 x 70.2 in.
TIRES: P235/55R20
CARGO: 16.0/79.8 cu. ft. (behind 3rd row/2ndand 3rd row down)
ECONOMY: 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/18.1 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 19.5 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 2,534 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Toyota 4Runner, Ford Flex
STICKER: $44,195 (includes $885 delivery, $210 options)

BOTTOM LINE: The former limited SUV has grown up into a fully capable vehicle that can handle off road driving,yet delivers a good ride when on-road. The Nissan Pathfinder is an SUV with an emphasis on the U.

There was a time when it seemed that every Nissan Pathfinder I saw on the road was being driven by a woman. Yeah, I know that's a sexist comment, but most other vehicles have a more equal distribution among the sexes. In fact, it earned the Pathfinder the nickname, "The Secretary's SUV. But now it seems to me that the Pathfinder now attracts a more evenly distributed array of drivers, but without an extensive and expensive true survey I can't prove anything I say...enough of that.

After a week with Pathfinder I feel that this Nissan SUV has everything I would want in a sport utility; cargo capacity when needed; passenger capacity when needed; off-road ability when needed; with all the features that make it very attractive to everyone.

Of primary importance to me, the Pathfinder is a comfortable driver/rider. We took it on a long-ish trip to the Philadelphia area and thoroughly enjoyed our ride. The variety of road types we encountered around and in the King of Prussia Malls area mix of Turnpike and back roads showed us what the Pathfinder can do.

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Our tester had three rows of seats. Constant readers of these musings will note that I'm not a big fan of three-row SUVs, although three rows are perfectly sensible in a full-size or mini-van. However, in the Pathfinder, access to the third row is made easier with second row tilt and glide seats (they "clamshell" and slide forward) that creates 5 to 6 inches of travel that makes it easier to get back there. There is still only enough room for small adults or children, but it is usable space.

Front seats offer good side support, and therefore good comfort. They are heated and cooled. Second row seats are flat and offer excellent leg and head room. Third row headrests fold forward easily for better driver rearward vision. My wife was thrilled by the large sun visors that have extensions.

The 2015 Pathfinder Platinum is equipped with Nissan's Around View Monitor that gives a 360 degree look at the car when you are parking. This is very convenient when you are trying to position the Pathfinder just-right between parallel parking lines. It also gives you a good view of what is in front and how close you may be to a concrete curb that is below bumper height.

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Two and four-wheel drive is available. You can choose among 2WD, automatic 4WD and 4WD lock by using a rotary dial on the center console. It is positioned conveniently within the driver's reach, so choosing your drive mode is quick and easy.

The infotainment screen dominates the center of the dash with an array of 14 buttons below it. The HVAC system, however is simple. HVAC is also very good to the second row seats.

A long dual sun roof is up top. Only the front half opens up for fresh air, much to the dismay of our grand daughters, who had hoped it would extend all the way back.They did get a good view of the sky, however.

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To me,the true test of an SUV is in the cargo area, and the Pathfinder does not disappoint. Even with the third row seat up there are 16 cubic feet of cargo capacity. Lower the second and third rows and this explodes to 79.8 cubic feet. We kept the third row seats lowered most of the time, especially when I wanted to carry my golf clubs. There is additional cargo capacity under the cargo floor for things that you would prefer to remain hidden from prying eyes. There are four hooks and four tie-downs in the cargo area, even a 12-volt outlet for powering whatever you need powering.

While the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder may have appeared to have been driven only by women in the past, the latest iteration definitely appeals to both sexes. While it may not be up to the challenge of serious recreational off-roading, it is up to the challenge of almost anything else you can throw at it. Definitely worth a place on your purchase consideration list.

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