The Pathfinder sports one of the friendliest interiors of any SUV that we've tested in recent years. Ample passenger space fore and aft, a large cargo area with convenient tie-down hooks, standard dual air bags, a killer sound system, comfortable seats and a great view are just a few of the reasons we like this truck so much.
A few things we don't like, however, are the narrow rear doors and tubular running boards. This poorly planned combination means that passengers exiting from the rear of the truck will undoubtedly have their pants dirtied by the ineffectual running board as they try to squeeze through the small door.
With Nissan's 1996 Pathfinder redesign came a more sophisticated, aerodynamic look and a gutsier version of their 3.3-liter SOHC V6 engine. Though not the engine of choice for speed freaks, it moves the Pathfinder along highways and two-track roads with ease. Speaking of two-track roads, the Nissan lost none of its sporting personality when it acquired its much-heralded car-like ride. Just ask our editor-in-chief, who took the Pathfinder on a day-long jaunt along the Continental Divide and managed to squeeze the truck through some nasty Jeep trails without scratching the paint.
In 1999, the LE model gets a bit of a polish, with new alloy wheels, body-colored fender flares and tubular running boards. The only option available for the LE is a luxury package, which includes power sunroof and power front seats. Colors available are Sierra Silver, Cayenne Red, Neptune Blue, Mahogany Pearl, Sahara Beige, Rain Forest Green, Super Black and Cloud White.
The Nissan Pathfinder gives a competent on- and off-road ride, while surrounding its passengers in surprising comfort and luxury. Our favorite model is the tough-looking SE five-speed equipped with the Off-Road Package and Bose Audio/Sunroof Package. If you require a rugged yet sophisticated vehicle for hauling your tribe around town and over the hills, the Pathfinder deserves your attention.