Road & Travel Magazine

Auto Advice & Tips
Auto Buyer's Guides
Car Care Maintenance
Climate Change News
Auto Awards Archive
Insurance & Accidents
Legends & Leaders
New Car Reviews
Planet Driven
Road Humor
Road Trips
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Teens & Tots Tips
Tire Buying Tips
Used Car Buying
Vehicle Model Guide

Travel Channel
Adventure Travel
Advice & Tips
Airline Rules
Bed & Breakfasts
Cruises & Tours
Destination Reviews
Earth Tones
Family Travel Tips
Health Trip
Hotels & Resorts
Luxury Travel
Pet Travel
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Spa Reviews
Train Vacations
World Travel Directory

Bookmark and Share

2005 Nissan Pathfinder
by Jeff Voth

2005 Nissan Pathfinder New Truck Road Test

Seattle, Washington is a city best known for introducing the world to the wonderfully addictive aroma and taste of coffee. The downtown core is filled with business people and tourists walking around holding paper cups sheathed in cardboard sleeves.

In front of the W Hotel where Nissan hosted the introduction of the new 2005 Pathfinder, the street runs down to the Pacific Ocean in a series of steep, short hills reminiscent of San Francisco. Across the bay lies Bainbridge Island, a favorite destination for those seeking respite from the hustle and bustle of big city life. The ferry is the main source of transportation to and from the island, and thousands of commuters make the trek into Seattle everyday.

Bainbridge Island is a biodiversity hotspot and provided an excellent backdrop to test drive the all-new 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. Why anyone would ever want to leave the island is beyond me. The only rationale I can think of is that mainland coffee tastes better.

2005 Nissan Pathfinder Exterior

A completely new vehicle for 2005, the Pathfinder offers positive proof of just how far Nissan has come in recent years. Their success of late has been phenomenal. A recognized leader in design and engineering, the new Pathfinder strengthens that position in the market. This is an excellent vehicle, and it is only the start of what Nissan has planned over the next few months.

Styling for the new SUV is derived from its larger sibling the Armada. The 2005 Nissan Pathfinder offers more space and a bigger engine than previous models. This is important as Nissan has positioned the Pathfinder as a midsize SUV, with hopes to recapture the desire of its current owner group and persuade active families across North America that modern transportation need not begin and end with a minivan.

This new Pathfinder offers seven passenger seating and excellent off-road capability. Similar in size to a Honda Pilot and Toyota 4Runner, it differs from its two main competitors by offering superior on-road agility and a multi-flex interior.

At 6,000 lbs. the new Pathfinder is no flyweight. However, an engine proven to easily compensate for the added beefiness propels this substantial amount of mass. Based on the award winning 3.5-liter VQ engine, the 4.0-liter, DOHC V6 engine in the Pathfinder produces 270 horsepower @ 5600 rpm and an impressive 291 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm.

Several journalists on the trip suggested the new Pathfinder would need to offer a V8 in order to compete with the comparabe Toyota 4Runner. I couldn't disagree more. The Nissan V6 has a proven track record of performance and reliability. With the added power and torque of the 2005 model, it takes a backseat to no one.

A 5-speed automatic transmission provides seamless gear changes. Shifts are unbelievably smooth. Through accurate design and execution, Nissan has been able to properly define the shift mapping and neutralize gear shock.

The body of the 2005 Pathfinder is a new body on frame (ladder-type) design. This design offered the engineers a rigid platform on which to build their new SUV. The result is a tough underbody with excellent off-road strength. It also allowed for a clean underfloor. Taking a few steps back from the Pathfinder reveals excellent ground clearance and no exposed mechanical parts.

2005 Nissan Pathfinder Off-Road

To test the off-road capability of the new Pathfinder, Nissan designed a tough outdoor course in the middle of Bainbridge Island and turned us loose. Only once did we get hung up, and then only for a few minutes. Through mud and loose gravel, over tree stumps and around tight hairpin turns, the Pathfinder proved its mettle as an off-road competitor.

Steering is engine speed sensitive, power-assisted rack and pinion. Both front and rear suspension is independent double wishbone. A 3-spoke urethane or leather steering wheel, depending on trim level, offers audio controls and manual tilt adjustment.

Brakes are 4-wheel disc, with 4-wheel ABS and EBD (electronic brake force distribution) included. Stopping in both off-road and on-road conditions is excellent, with no obvious signs of fade.

Sixteen-inch aluminum alloy wheels come standard on the XE, SE and SE Off-Road. The LE offers an upgrade to 17" alloy wheels. Tires range from P245/75 R16 BSW up to P265/65 R17 respectively. A full-size spare tire is included.

The interior of the new Pathfinder is all Nissan. That is to say it offers excellent function and careful attention to detail. I would prefer that the interior plastic pieces offer a more solid feel and be a little less angular, but the package looks good and to most consumers that is more important.

Nissan Pathfinder Interior

Seating is both comfortable and functional. An 8-way power seat is standard on all but the base XE model, with adjustable lumbar being added to the upper level LE. The 2nd row of seating offers space for three and a 40/20/40 split bench arrangement. The 3rd row comfortably seats two adults and provides a 50/50 split.

Cruise control, power windows with one-touch down in front, power door locks and remote keyless entry are standard across the model range. Air conditioning is a single manual temperature control on XE models, with dual automatic controls optional on the SE and standard on SE Off-Road and LE models.

A total of six cup holders and 12 tie-downs compliment the excellent storage found in the new Pathfinder. The trunk area is very large, with a luggage floor box included as part of the overall package. And then there is the flexibility of 64 unique seating and cargo configurations. The new Pathfinder is even versatile enough to store a kayak and still allow the trunk to close. Optional features include an upgraded Bose 6-disc CD/AM/FM eight speaker sound system, DVD player with a 7" screen and infrared headphones and leather seats.

The SE Off-Road offers BFGoodrich Rugged Trail tires, Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist, Rancho shocks, skid plates and an off-road badge for good measure.

For most, off-roading means riding the curb at our favorite coffee stop, navigating the tight confines of the drive-thru line. If this is all you require from your SUV, the new Pathfinder is more than up to the task. And for those whose desire for adventure runs to the extreme, the 2005 Nissan Pathfinder is also equipped to satisfy.

I guess the only question left to ask those looking to buy a new SUV is would you prefer the new 2005 Nissan Pathfinder in black, with a little cream, or in a nice crisp caramel color? Either way, the resulting flavor and aroma should be very satisfying indeed. Just make sure they remove the cardboard shipping wrapper, because that only works on coffee cups.

Description: Mid-size Sport Utility Vehicle
Model options: XE, SE, OR, LE
Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
Overall length: 187.6 inches
Engine size: 4.0-liter DOHC V6
Transmission: Auto/5
Drive: 2WD/4WD
Braking: Power 4-disc, ABS/EBD
Air bags: 2 (front)
Optional on XE, SE (side impact/side curtain)
Standard on OR, LE (side impact/side curtain)
Fuel mileage city/hwy: 4x4 15 city, 21 hwy
4x2 16 city, 23 hwy
Base MSRP: $24,650

For More Information Click : Nissan Pathfinder
For the Nissan SUV 2005 Model Guide : Click Here