WHEN Nissan's range of four-wheel-drive vehicles was expanding at a rate of knots it seemed that the world's appetite for SUVs could not be sated.
Then in the midst of such soaring and seemingly unstoppable demand the world's economy was brought to its knees and SUVs have become as hard to shift as a case of seasonal flu.
Of course the clever thing about Nissan's range is that it offers SUVs for all seasons and tastes. From the modest Qashqai to the massive Patrol there's something for everyone and the company has cleverly avoided having all its eggs in one basket.
The Pathfinder sits near the top of the tree and is just one of many Far Eastern competitors taking on Land Rover's Discovery. Though it can't quite match the all-conquering Discovery it still has plenty going for it as a practical and commendable family motor.
It's a versatile vehicle that comes with the almost de rigueur seven-seat option which means it can add people-carrying capacity to its list of capabilities.
Those who denigrate four-by-fours should remember they are often carrying extra people on board. If it's being used as such then owners are actually being environmentally friendly by using one vehicle to transport people rather than two.
As with all vehicles that boast an extra couple of folding seats they do have their limitations. They're not the sort of seats two adults would want to sit in for a long journey but are ideally suited to younger travellers. In fairness the Pathfinder's seats are better than many of its competitors, where the third row cater for small children full stop.
As you might expect boot space with all seven seats in use is fairly limited and perhaps more suited to carrying the shopping home rather than lots of luggage but with the rearmost seats folded it's hard to imagine needing more load-lugging capacity.
The Pathfinder is comfortable to travel in, its smooth but potent diesel engine delivering power smoothly and effortlessly through the rev range.
Its design lines are fairly rugged and it appears pretty large, though surprisingly it isn't that difficult to manoeuvre, even in tight spots.
Those workhorse looks, which are softened on the inside, belie the fact it is actually quite a comfortable vehicle to travel in and it's not a bad drive either.
When it comes to handling you experience the kind of pitch and roll one might expect to encounter in a vehicle of this size and stature but keen pricing ensures anyone interested in a large SUV would be foolish not to take a closer look.
Nissan Pathfinder 2.5 dCi Trek 5dr
Mechanical: 171bhp, 2,488cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 6spd manual gearbox
Max speed: 112mph
0-62mph: 11.9 secs
Combined mpg: 28.8
Insurance group: 13
CO2 emissions: 264g/km
BiK rating: 35%
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles, 3yrs paint, 12yrs anti-rust