All photos by Nissan
The Nissan Pathfinder has been one of the mainstays in the SUV category for many years, so we were looking forward to testing the 2012 Pathfinder LE 4X4. The Brilliant Silver exterior paint looked nice and clean when we first took the test model, but that changed quickly during January while driving in the Midwest.
There is no mistaking a Pathfinder on the road with its iconic exterior design and the combination of the unique combination of sophistication and rugged go-anywhere looks. The angled strut-style grille with her large headlamps lets you know the Pathfinder is coming well in advance. Our test model included fog lights, dual-power heated side-view mirrors, chrome-surround mesh grille, roof rails with crossbars, side-running boards and splash guards. We agree with Nissan that “a sweeping hood hints at the power underneath, while Pathfinder’s broad shoulder line, large integrated fender flares covering purposeful wheel and tire combinations and distinctive C-pillar with high-mounted rear door handles reinforce the distinctive Pathfinder appearance.”
Nissan has been building and perfecting the Pathfinder for 25 years in North America so they know what they’re doing inside this SUV too! There is standard three row seating and our LE model was loaded with leather appointed first and second row seats, 8-way power driver seat with lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, reclining second row seats, driver memory system (seat, mirrors, pedals) power adjustable pedals, wood tone trim, leather-heated steering wheel, leather-wrapped shift knob, steering wheel mounted controls, HDD Navigation system, XM Nav Traffic Real Time traffic, Bose audio am/fm in dash with single CD and MP3 playback capability, 10 speakers including dual subwoofer, XM satellite radio and auxillary, Bluetooth hands free phone system, 7-inch multi information color display, power sliding moonroof, rearview monitor, dual zone auto temperature controls and rear AC controls, Nissan Intelligent key, tilt steering column, opening rear glass liftgate, front and rear 12 volt DC outlets and Homelink Universal Transceiver. That was a lot, but hey, I told you this Pathfinder was loaded! Even with all of these options, the interior of the 2012 Nissan Pathfinder LE 4X4 was roomy and uncluttered with plenty of storage in the utility area.
This is where the Pathfinder LE 4X4 sets itself apart from many of the competitors out there with an advanced 4.0-liter DOHC V6 that is rated at 266 horsepower and 288 lb-ft of torque. Combined with a 5 speed transmission and fully boxed high strength steel frame, the 2012 Nissan Pathfinder LE 4X4 is up to just about any task. It’s good to feel like you are actually in an SUV that can both drive comfortably and plow through the elements. The Pathfinder LE V8 4x4 features a full-time All-Mode 4-wheel drive system that can instantly distribute torque to all four wheels whenever road conditions warrant it (up to 50 percent can go to the front wheels on demand), resulting in optimal traction with improved fuel economy and enhanced cornering capability. Standard on all Pathfinder models is a responsive engine-speed-sensitive power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system and 4-wheel disc brakes with 4-wheel, 4-channel, 4-sensor Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with G-sensor and Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD). The 18-inch machine finished alloy wheels looked great and were strong anchors to what turned out to be a sturdy and fun vehicle to drive. Gas mileage came in at 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg highway driving, which was about what we expected in a powerful machine like the Pathfinder.
We really enjoyed our time behind the wheel of the 2012 Nissan Pathfinder LE 4X4 and were very impressed with both the sharp exterior design and refined interior. As noted above, our LE package was loaded, and for a price of $42,730, there is value in this vehicle compared to rivals in this segment. You get luxury and a very durable SUV that is true to her history.
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