The 2010 Nissan Pathfinder SE is a solid entry in an otherwise dwindling segment. As crossovers become all the rage, the Pathfinder is one of the few offerings left on the market that's still designed for buyers looking for a rugged, seven-passenger SUV that can tow and go off-roading.
That being said, there are a couple of recent arrivals with a mission similar to the Pathfinder's, namely Jeep's all-new Grand Cherokee and Toyota's still-fresh 4Runner. So, where does that leave the much older Pathfinder?
On its own merits, the Pathfinder shines brightest when used for towing or to haul the family, on road or off. Purchase the Pathfinder as a seven-passenger grocery-getter with a high view of the road and you've chosen the wrong vehicle. But until the new Quest minivan arrives in dealerships sometime next year, the Pathfinder is the cheapest seven-passenger vehicle Nissan offers in the U.S.
As you would expect with the Pathfinder's fully boxed, all-steel frame, the Nissan rides rougher than most crossovers, and the tires will complain if you take a corner too quickly. Then again, few crossovers can tow 6000 pounds like the Pathfinder V-6, when properly equipped. If that's not enough, the optional V-8 -- with 310 horsepower and 388 lb.-ft. of torque -- can tow up to 7000 pounds. The V-8, though, is only available as a top-of-the-line LE trim and stickers for more than $42,000.
The Pathfinder's sweet spot is the V-6 SE we recently had in for a test drive -- a midlevel trim eschewing luxury extras like leather seats and wood trim. A 7-inch information screen in the center stack is standard on the SE, featuring a graphical display for instant and average fuel economy as well as details about the song and artist currently playing. Opt for the Premium Journey package and you'll get the attractive 17-inch alloy wheels shown here, plus a 10-speaker Bose audio system.