The third-generation Nissan Pathfinder, like many of its kind, is menacing and purposeful, but will that be enough to lure buyers away from Toyota's Prado and Land Rover's new Discovery?

The third-generation Nissan Pathfinder, like many of its kind, is menacing and purposeful, but will that be enough to lure buyers away from Toyota's Prado and Land Rover's new Discovery?

The launch of the new-generation Nissan Pathfinder will be remembered for being a day of hurried trips between airports dotted with several aviation near misses by all the journalists in attendance. And while a chaotic day in the sticks was not anyone's idea of fun, time spent in the new SUV made it somewhat more bearable...

Nissan's new-generation medium SUV was put through its paces on the roads and ditches between Tzaneen and Polokwane where journalists were also allowed an opportunity to test the vehicle's 4X4 capabilities on a challenging trek through George's Valley.

The vehicle is available in three models - the "top-of-the-range" petrol 4,0-litre V6 - with five speed automatic transmission - and a turbodiesel 2,5-litre dCi with a choice of five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmissions. Luckily, all models are equipped with the same level of specification and with no badging indicating the engine derivative, we had the fun task of tuning in to the engine notes to differentiate between the petrol and diesel derivatives!

The naturally-aspirated all-aluminium 4,0-litre petrol engine produces maximum power of 198 kW at 5 600 r/min and its peak torque of 385 N.m at 4 000 r/min. The turbodiesel is equipped with an intercooler and second-generation common rail technology and produces 128 kW at 4 000 r/min and 403 N.m at 2 000 r/min. The two models reach maximum speeds of 190 and 175 km/h, respectively.

To read more about the new Nissan Pathfinder and view the gallery click here.