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2006 Nissan Pathfinder LE 4x4 first take

2006 Nissan Pathfinder LE 4x4 first take

We just picked up the 2006 Nissan Pathfinder, which will be getting Car Tech's full review treatment over the next week. On first impression, the 2006 Pathfinder is a competent SUV. It is a little short for a seven-seater, leading to a shortage of legroom for both second- and third-row adult passengers. But those fewer couple of feet really tell in the car's handling and all-round responsive feel. Taking it for a short blast on the freeway, the Pathfinder reminded us a lot of the 2006 Jeep Commander Limited. While it lacks the Commander's HEMI power, the Pathfinder is no slouch: it packs a 4-liter V-6, which is capable of a respectable 270 horsepower. And its performance prowess is not limited to the highway. The 4x4 Pathfinder costs about $2,000 more than the rear-wheel-drive models, but that price premium gives you a car that has some chance of--ahem--finding paths away from the asphalt: Rancho performance shocks, "rugged trail" BF Goodrich tires, and Nissan's All-Mode automatic 4WD system combine to give the Pathfinder some serious off-road credentials.

Our tester is a top-of-the-range LE model, which includes a bevy of standard comfort features (leather trim/heated seats/trizone climate control). Our favorite standard feature is the 10-speaker Bose audio system, which plays MP3s and sounds great.

Our car is also optioned up to the teeth with DVD-based navigation (the same joystick-operated system that we saw in the 2006 Nissan Quest); a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with wireless headphones; and Sirius satellite radio, although we couldn't get the latter to work. We'll keep trying and get back to you with the results in our full review later this week.