AN X-CELLENT RIDE

I'm not the X Games type, and yet I feel pretty gonzo in the redesigned Pathfinder. Everything about this SUV is athletic: its angular physique and robust flared fenders; the beefy, cut, rubber side runners and tailgate pad, and the macho, tough-looking chrome grille. Inside, the dash gets a rugged and utilitarian treatment with chrome trim. And though it might seem trite, I adore the excellent cup holders that actually keep drinks secure, even over bumpy pavement. The shift handle and steering wheel are grippy rubber, and seats are covered in supersoft and comfy terrylike fabric. Pretty unusual for a truck.

Nissan's Pathfinder was one of the first SUVs. Like all early sport utes, it was a rough ride with iffy fit and finish. Now the Pathfinder jams on the same sturdy platform as Nissan's behemoth Titan and Armada, and has exceptionally stable handling despite its high ride. It also has admirable acceleration from a 4.0-liter, 270-horsepower engine. Your family will feel at home in the residentially sized interior, which is 14 percent roomier than the outgoing model. So, dude, get your shakka going. The Pathfinder is an extreme ride for extreme-sports lovers.

Tip: Off-roaders will want the Off-Road model with hill-descent control, rugged off-road tires and springier shocks for an added $2,600.

AN X-CELLENT RIDE | News