Toyota Kluger GX and GXL 2014 review
Prices for the third generation Kluger start from $40,990 for the GX front wheel drive, or $44,990 for the all-wheel drive version.
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Nissan’s new Pathfinder has abandoned its former hardcore offroader track and headed down the family softroader route. The Pathfinder has built its reputation on three generations of tough four-wheel drive performers that can also cart families in reasonable comfort. But Nissan has torn up the formula with the new model. The adventurous streak is still there, but the focus is more on urban lifestyle and comfort.
One engine and transmission is standard across the range. Nissan’s 3.5-litre V6 mated to a CVT automatic transmission is available. It delivers 190kW and 325Nm of torque, similar figures to its closest petrol rivals – the Toyota Kluger, Mazda CX-9, Ford Territory, Holden Captiva 7, Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento.
All but the Toyota and Mazda have a diesel option available, which Nissan will not offer on the Pathfinder. But next year, buyers will also be able to opt for a hybrid 2.5-litre supercharged petrol engine coupled with a 15kW electric motor, claimed to reduce emissions by 25 per cent.
The new Pathfinder is available in three trim levels – ST, ST-L and Ti. The new entry-level price of $39,990 for an ST front wheel drive represents a $9,000 saving over the previous entry level model. Opt for the all-wheel drive and you’ll get Nissan’s ALL-MODE system for a $4,300 premium.
At ST level you still get a long list of standard equipment, including six airbags, electronic stability program, tri-zone climate control, surround cameras and 7 inch multimedia screen, 6 speakers and 18 inch alloy wheels. The mid-range ST-L takes the cost to $50,290 for the 2WD and $54,290 for the 4WD. For that you get leather seats, sliding front sunroof, panoramic fixed glass roof in the rear, heated seats and mirrors and fog lights.
The top of the range Ti will cost $60,790 and $64,890 for two and four wheel drive respectively. This will include a Tri-zone entertainment system with a larger 8 inch multimedia screen in the front being supplemented by rear screens and a 13 speaker BOSE sound system. Multimedia storage is up from 2MB to 9MB. An automatic tailgate, satellite navigation and electric lumbar and steering adjustments are also standard in this version. The package is rounded off with 20 inch alloy wheels outside.
The new model is 195mm longer -- now over five metres long -- 112mm wider, and up to 400kg lighter depending on the model. This weight advantage is partially attributed to a new monocoque construction and the loss of a low-range transfer case. Like its predecessor, the Pathfinder uses all-corner independent suspension, but the new version is developed for the tarmac rather than the outback.
This new construction has also resulted in better packaging inside. The Pathfinder now has one of the roomiest cabins in any four-wheel drive, accommodating seven adults with some luggage. The middle row has 60/40 split seats with slide adjustment, and the third row features two individual seats that fold flat into the floor. While the third row may not be suitable for large adults on extended interstate trips, it will give the Y62 Patrol a run for its money. However, this only created enough room for a space saver spare wheel rather than a full sized one.
When ISOFIX baby seats have reached Australian Design Rules certification, Pathfinder owners will be able to fold the second row of seats forward to access the third row without removing the baby seat -- making the Pathfinder’s impressive access to the rearmost pew even smarter.
On the road, the Pathfinder is a much more capable performer than ever before. It rides comfortably even on rough surfaces, smoothing out potholes and bumps with relative ease. Despite its considerable size, it changes direction responsively too. There’s some bodyroll and sway present -- as you would expect from a large four-wheel drive -- but the Pathfinder remains fairly composed when pushed through corners. However, it can’t match the Ford Territory for sheer dynamic competence if urged to the limit.
Despite being just short on power and torque of the Territory, Sorrento and Kluger V6 petrol engines, the Pathfinder is an effortless performer. It accelerates and overtakes with ease. The CVT generally does a good job of finding the right ratio, although it’s not as intuitive and accurate as some other traditional automatics.
Nissan uses electric power steering with speed-sensitive weighting, which is very good at parking and highway speeds but it lacks the communicative feel of more traditional setups. No complaints with the brakes, however, as they do a superb job on any surface. The new Pathfinder also performs well on dirt roads. But with a ground clearance of 165mm (compared to the old model’s 235mm), the new model is clearly not intended to venture too far into the wild.
Nissan hopes to keep serious offroad enthusiast buyers on side too, pointing at the Navara 4X4 and Y61 Patrol diesel as similarly-priced options that can take over the Pathfinder’s hardcore duties.
The Pathfinder is now an excellent all-round family car that represents superb value – particularly the 2WD base model. It may have lost some of its ability to tackle extreme terrain, but the gains in interior comfort and versatility, on-road capability and family touring capacity far outweigh the loss.
|Adventure S.E.||2.5L, Diesel, 5 SP AUTO||$24,640 – 30,360||2013 Nissan Pathfinder 2013 Adventure S.E. Pricing and Specs|
|ST (4x2)||3.5L, PULP, CVT AUTO||$19,488 – 25,880||2013 Nissan Pathfinder 2013 ST (4x2) Pricing and Specs|
|ST (4x4)||2.5L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN||$22,990 – 26,500||2013 Nissan Pathfinder 2013 ST (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
|ST-L (4x2)||3.5L, PULP, CVT AUTO||$21,488 – 29,990||2013 Nissan Pathfinder 2013 ST-L (4x2) Pricing and Specs|