As the flagship trim of the V6-equipped 2012 Nissan Pathfinder trim lineup, the Pathfinder LE sports 3 rows of seating for seven and 79.2 cubic feet of total cargo area. This top-shelf midsize SUV also remains eligible for full-time 4-wheel drive (4WD) that boasts electronic hi-lo gear selection and a driver-selectable automatic mode for instantaneous shifting of torque from the rear wheels only (RWD) to all 4 wheels when things get slippery. Though not as terrain-taming as part-time 4WD, this system can be left engaged when driving on dry pavement.
In any case, the 2012 Pathfinder LE is delivered in standard RWD form, and totes a variable-valve-timed (VVT) V6 powerplant and 5-speed shiftable automatic transmission that combine for 266 hp and 288 lb-ft of torque. Towing is maxed out at 6,000 pounds, with mileage pegged at 15 mpg city/22 highway. Should the available 4-wheel drivetrain be selected, towing capability drops to some 5,400 pounds, and mileage drops to 14/20.
Standard appearance features, meanwhile, include 18-inch alloy wheels, step running boards, a roof rack, a power moonroof and skid plates. Cabin accoutrements again include leather upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats, reclining second-row seats, split-folding second- and third-row seats, full power accessories (including pedals) and driver memory settings. The heated, tilt-adjustable leather and simulated alloy steering wheel mounts audio and cruise controls, and is complemented by tri-zone climate control. Leather, simulated wood and simulated alloy cabin accents, meantime, presage a most welcoming cabin ambiance.
Of course, a universal remote garage door opener comes standard in the flagship Pathfinder LE, as do a rear-view camera and auto-dimming rear-view mirror, while a standard voice-activated hard-drive-based navigation suite helps keep drivers on target and on time. Further techno-goodies include a 6-CD-endowed Bose audio system with 10 premium speakers, satellite radio, a memory card slot and an auxiliary MP3 input, with all this complemented by standard Bluetooth hands-free calling.
Options-wise, look for rear-seat DVD entertainment to be available to this year's top-end Pathfinder trim, as well as carpeted floor and cargo mats, all as standalone options. The available Protection Package, meantime, boasts a vehicle impact sensor, wheel locks and an emergency road kit.
Finally, standard safety features include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, 3-row head airbags, front side-mounted airbags and front head restraint whiplash protection. Further standard safety equipment includes front fog/driving lights and dusk-sensing headlights, as well as a remote antitheft alarm.