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2014 Kia Optima, Metal Bronze, 9 mi., $22,595
Review of the 2012 Nissan Pathfinder
IntroductionThe 2012 Nissan Pathfinder is a mid-size seven-passenger SUV that offers truck-like ride quality, off-road prowess and a roomy, comfortable cabin. Pathfinder is a still a famed model twenty-five years after the introduction of the original Nissan Pathfinder. Nissan introduces the new 2011 Pathfinder Silver Edition model to celebrate the successful completion of 25 years. The Silver Edition model comes with special features and equipment including a V6 engine, 5-speed automatic transmission and a choice of 4x2 or 4x4. The key features of this model are Bose audio system with 10 speakers, 17-inch machine-finished aluminum-alloy wheels, XM Satellite Radio (XM subscription required, sold separately), Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System, Nissan Intelligent Key, heated front seats and leather-appointed interior.
Exterior Design and Special FeaturesApart from the Silver Edition model, the 2012 Nissan Pathfinder is available in four other models: Pathfinder S V6 (4x2 and 4x4), Pathfinder SV V6 (4x2 and 4x4), Pathfinder LE V6 (4x2 and 4x4) and Pathfinder LE V8 (4x4 only). The refined interior is equipped with available leather-appointed seating, heated steering wheel, Nissan Intelligent Key with twist start, Nissan Navigation System with 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive, Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System, XM Satellite Radio (XM subscription required, sold separately) and Rearview Monitor. Espresso Black is new and the Pathfinder SV model replaces the previous SE model. The Nissan Pathfinder is built on a sturdy frame and gets a tough exterior and a functional cabin with well-placed gauges and user-friendly controls. Along with a choice of V6 or V8 engines and 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive, the refined interior offers a long list of amenities, including available leather-appointed seating, heated steering wheel, Nissan Intelligent Key with twist start, Nissan Navigation System with 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive, Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System, XM Satellite Radio (XM subscription required, sold separately) and RearView Monitor. The Pathfinder comes with 16-, 17- and 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels; remote keyless entry; lower radiator skid plate; front UV reducing solar glass; full-size spare tire; four 12-volt DC power outlets; tow receiver hitch; tilt steering column; roof rails; flip-up liftgate window; cruise control with steering wheel-mounted controls; front map lights; voltage and oil pressure gauges; trip computer; second-row 40/20/40-split fold-flat bench seat with tip-up easy entry for third row; side cargo nets; eight cup holders; and third-row 50/50-split fold-flat bench seat.
EngineThe Pathfinder's 5.6-liter DOHC V8 engine is good for 310 horsepower and 388 lb-ft of torque, which helps it to achieve 7,000 lbs of maximum towing capacity. A proven 266-horsepower 4.0-liter version of the award-winning Nissan VQ-series V6 engine is also available. The 4x2 V6 models deliver 15 mpg in city and 22 on highways while the 4x4 V6 models yield 14/20. The Pathfinder's cargo capacity stands at 16.3 cubic feet.
SafetyThe 2012 Pathfinder models are built on a high-strength, fully boxed, all-steel frame based on the full-size Nissan Armada SUV. Nissan Advanced Air Bag System with dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt and occupant-classification sensors, driver and front-passenger seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), LATCH System (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren), Nissan Vehicle Immobilizer System and Vehicle Security System are standard.