Where we take issue with the Pathfinder's interior is a couple missteps in quality. When using the shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system off-road, your left knee may hit an uncomfortably hard piece of plastic on the door panel below the door handles. Then there's the instrument cluster, which glows orange at night; it's time Nissan incorporated updated electroluminescent gauges. More amusing is the trip computer's reset button, which feels like a wobbly toothpick.

Crank up the volume on the Bose system and you can cover most of the Pathfinder's road noise, but not the strong sounds consistently coming from Nissan's 4.0-liter V-6. Producing 266 horsepower and 288 lb.-ft. of torque, the engine is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.

Our tester saw fuel economy of about 15-16 mpg, which falls within the Pathfinder V-6 4x4's estimated 14/20 mpg city/highway rating. A V-6 Grand Cherokee is rated 16/22 mpg, while the V-6 4Runner gets 17/22 mpg.

Those SUVs have nothing on the Pathfinder's style. Like previous Pathfinders, this one has the rear door handles mounted on the C-pillar so you know it's a Pathfinder. (Well, that or the outgoing Armada SUV.) What really sets the Pathfinder apart is a roofline that meets the D-pillar almost at a 90-degree angle. The look unapologetically shows off the SUV's size.

Think of the Pathfinder as a larger SUV for those who have outgrown their Xterras. People who still need a tough SUV can turn to the Pathfinder before heading outside the Nissan family. It's a quality entry in a shrinking segment overrun by on-road-oriented crossovers. Plus, thanks to Nissan's newer competitors, the Pathfinder is also a relative value.

2010 Nissan Pathfinder SE 4x4
Base Price $33,410
Price as Tested $36,615
Vehicle Layout Front engine, 4WD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 4.0L/266-hp/288 lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Curb Weight (dist f/r) 4779 lb (51/49%)
Wheelbase 112.2 in
Length x Width x Height 192.3 x 72.8 x 72.6 in
Cargo Volume, Behind f/m/r 79.2/49.2/16.5 cu ft
0-60 mph 7.3 sec (MT est)
EPA City/Hwy Fuel Econ 14/20 mpg
CO2 Emissions 1.20 lb/mile