2005 Nissan Pathfinder First Drive
Finding its way among larger SUVs
Page 1: Intro
SEATTLE – Almost 20 years have disappeared since the first Nissan Pathfinder rolled onto the streets of America, days in which the world of cars and trucks has mirrored the frenetic changes that have coursed through America. It was 1986, sport-utility vehicles were just catching on, and the Pathfinder was a rugged utility vehicle with hardbody good looks. It was quite popular with the young crowd, not so much with families – and especially so with people who liked to go adventuring and had the time to do it.
Much has changed since then. We’re all a bit larger and, maybe, a little more desirous of creature comforts. Today’s SUVs make the grade as more an alternative to a minivan than an off-road adventure vehicle for the young. To meet this need, the family of Nissan utility vehicles has grown significantly in size and scope, now encompassing the Pathfinder, Xterra, Murano and the recently introduced full-size 2004 Armada.
And so the rise of the beast is complete. Hulking sport-utility vehicles now dominate traffic lanes like grazing buffalo, snorting and clamoring for more room, casting a long shadow on our roads and on the decisions we make when we buy a car. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you can’t avoid them and they have changed everything. And though signs now point to a decline in the popularity of large and truck-based SUVs, these vehicles continue to impact the buying decisions people make, simply because they offer more: more room and versatility than most cars, and in a sportier-looking package -- with better performance character -- than the typical minivan.