Vehicle Profile: The 2012 Nissan Pathfinder
In the 25 years since its introduction, the Nissan Pathfinder has always remained true to its roots – offering buyers an SUV that is equally at home rollicking in the dirt as it is sticking to the paved road.
The seven-passenger 2012 Nissan Pathfinder (MSRP $28,570) continues the tradition of a rugged, yet comfortable go-anywhere SUV. While many competitors in its class have since moved to a car-like unibody construction with underwhelming performance in the dirt, the 2012 Pathfinder offers a modern, fully boxed, body-on-frame design that allows it to excel off-road. And for added on-road comfort and handling, the Pathfinder sports four-wheel independent suspension.
The Pathfinder is available in S, SV, Silver Edition, LE V6 and LE V8 models. All but the LE V8 – which is offered exclusively with All-Mode four-wheel drive – are available with rear-wheel drive or one of two four-wheel drive systems, both of which offer two-speed transfer cases. New for 2012, Silver Edition models now offer a power moonroof and the Nissan DVD Entertainment System with seven-inch monitor, auxiliary inputs, remote control and wireless headphones. Pathfinder LE models come with standard navigation in 2012.
Pathfinder four-wheel drive systems offer versatility. Available on all models except LE V8, the shift-on-the-fly 4WD system lets you change from 2WD to 4WD with the flick of a switch while on the move at speeds up to 60 mph. The two-speed transfer case offers “4LO” gearing to make crawling over whatever’s in your way easy. Standard in the LE V8, All-Mode full-time 4WD offers an electronically controlled transfer case with “2WD,” “Auto,” “4HI” and “4LO” settings. In Auto mode, the system senses loss of traction and switches between 2WD and 4WD automatically as needed.
Whether you opt for the standard 4.0-liter V6 or the more muscular 5.6-liter V8, you’ll have plenty of power on tap. The V6 powerplant cranks out 266 hp and 288 lb/ft of torque through its five-speed automatic transmission. In all but S models, the five-speed comes with a manual shift mode. The V6 offers an exceptional balance of power and efficiency, returning up to 22 mpg highway, and can also tow up to 6,000 pounds when properly equipped. For even more towing capability, the V8 – also found in the full-size Nissan Titan pickup – gives the Pathfinder 310 hp and 380 lb/ft of torque, upping the towing capacity to 7,000 pounds.
The 2012 Pathfinder rides atop a four-wheel independent double-wishbone suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars. Two-wheel and 4-wheel Active Brake Limited Slip (ABLS) systems, standard on 2WD and 4WD models, respectively, help you maintain control by automatically applying braking force to slipping wheels and redirecting power to the wheel(s) with better traction. These features give the Pathfinder handling and ride quality that are quite communicative and composed, especially on rougher roads.
A stylish, yet functional interior welcomes all occupants. Three-row, seven-passenger seating is standard equipment in all models. The third row folds completely flat and a 40/20/40 split second row provides one-touch third-row access. Even the front passenger’s seat folds. With both the second and third rows folded, the Pathfinder provides 79.2 cubic feet of cargo room. Four 12-volt outlets can be found from the dashboard to the rear cargo area, easily accommodating any power accessory requirements, and cavernous storage consoles keep those accessories safely hidden when not in use.
Standard equipment on the S includes full power accessories, a tow hitch receiver, roof rails, air conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, cruise control with steering wheel, trip computer and a six-speaker CD stereo all rolling on 16-inch alloy wheels.
Choose the SV and you get power adjustable pedals, an eight-way power driver’s seat, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shifter handle, automatic climate control with air conditioning in the rear, an Information Center with seven-inch display, RearView Monitor camera, an in-dash six-CD changer, auxiliary input for the stereo, steering wheel audio controls, larger, 17-inch alloy wheels, running boards and foglamps.
Silver Edition highlights include leather upholstery, heated front seats, a four-way power passenger’s seat, heated side mirrors, Nissan Intelligent Key keyless entry and ignition, a 10-speaker Bose stereo with six-disc changer and XM Satellite radio and on the outside, chrome accents with color matched moldings. Wood-grain trim, 18-inch wheels and a sunroof come standard on the LE V6 and the LE V8 features navigation with a 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive. LE models can also be outfitted with a DVD entertainment system for rear-seat passengers.
Every Pathfinder is equipped standard with four-wheel anti-lock disc braking, electronic brakeforce distribution, traction control, Vehicle Dynamic Control with Traction Control System and the Nissan Advanced Airbag System that includes side-impact airbags and roof-mounted curtain airbags across all three rows for protection in the event of a rollover. All of these safety features enabled the Pathfinder to receive a top rating of “Good” in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) frontal-offset and side impact tests.
For those seeking the perfect balance between a rugged, off-road-capable truck and a family-friendly, comfortable SUV, the Pathfinder excels handsomely in both categories. A quarter-century of quality and refinement makes this iconic machine even more attractive, so come in today and discover the dual-purpose personality of the 2012 Nissan Pathfinder.
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