Nissan Pathfinder is the SUV for drivers who can’t bring themselves to buy a minivan


SUV drivers who would be better off in a minivan often can't bring themselves to switch because of the vans' reputations. They want something that looks tougher and has more features like cup holders and space for pets. The new Pathfinder SUV fits that bill.

Nissan's fifth-generation SUV is roomy and comfortable, with back seats that slide and flip forward to make it easier to get into the third row. You don't even have to take baby carriers out of the car! The top Platinum edition comes with six USB ports, 10 cup holders, six bottle holders, plus Sand and Mud/Rut settings among its seven electronic drive modes.


This SUV has a reasonably sized trunk: 470 litres of cargo room behind the third row, and 1,274 litres with the third row flat. When the second row is also flat (and it is truly flat), that bumps to 2,421 litres, with some hidden space beneath the cargo floor. That might not be as much space as a minivan offers, but it's generous for a mid-sized SUV. You'll find cubbies everywhere in this car, including beneath the front seat console; plus there are hooks in back for holding grocery bags so they don't spill during your drive home.


Compared to its predecessor, this latest Pathfinder generation has a shorter overhang at the front, and a more upright grille and windows. It also sits on large 20-inch wheels (or even 18-inch ones for other trims), which gives it a much sturdier look than your average car or wimpy crossover—and definitely doesn't make it look like a minivan.


I put my tester to the ultimate comfort test on a few long drives, and it passed with flying colours. Even though it had quilted-leather seats (which come at an extra cost), I'm certain the regular material would have been just as comfortable. In terms of storage space, there's more than enough room for everything you need; plus, all the buttons and controls are within easy reach. The head-up display on the Platinum edition is alsoreadable even when wearing polarized lenses - something that can't be said for many other luxury vehicles.

I liked the touch screen in the middle of the car that had actual knobs to adjust volume and tune into stations. The buttons on steering wheel also did this, but it was more Intuitive to use the knobson the centre console. I really liked how sleek it looked without a big gear shift stick poking out.


The Pathfinder comes with a Sport driving mode, but let's face it--this isn't a sporty SUV. You can opt for Manual and use the paddle shifters to get your fill of racing, but you're unlikely to come in first. And that's perfectly fine--the Pathfinder is designed more for passenger comfort and ease on all types of roads. All Pathfinders in Canada are equipped with all-wheel drive; however, Americans have the slightly cheaper option of two-wheel drive.


Although Nissan has been working on developing semi-autonomous driving aids for some time now, they still have yet to perfect the system. When I removed my hands from the steering wheel, the car gradually began to swerve out of its lane; however, when I put my hands back on the wheel, it would buzz continuously. This might just be an issue with camera calibration and how it works together with radar rather than the system as a whole; nevertheless, if I had purchased this feature and was unable to use it comfortably, I would certainly be frustrated.