THE SELL: A rugged ute gets civilized.
THE TEST: The new 4x4 Pathfinder is still off-road capable—the 3.5-liter V-6 let us crawl up a 20-degree mud slope like it was paved. But now Nissan’s signature SUV is also refined. It’s lighter, more aerodynamic, and, with 26mpg on the highway, almost 30 percent more efficient than its predecessor. You could knock Nissan for reducing ground clearance two inches, but it makes loading gear and kids (there’s passenger room for seven) easier. The second and third rows of seats fold down for skis and coolers.
THE VERDICT: The Pathfinder is big on storage, ready to rough it, and way more efficient than old-school SUVs. 19mpg city/26 hwy