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1997 Nissan Pathfinder Overview Like other areas of the automotive market, the sport-utility world is changing. It's a quiet kind of revolution, one that indicates manufacturers are paying close attention to the needs and wants of today's customers. Not so long ago, sport-utility vehicles were evolutionary updates on pickup trucks. That was certainly the genesis of the original Nissan Pathfinder, and the same formula worked for early Chevy Blazers and Toyota 4Runners as well. Now, increasingly sophisticated buyers are looking for something different. The hard-riding but off-road capable mid-size sport-utes of past years won't satisfy them; what they want is a machine with car-like comfort, equipment and driving characteristics, without giving up the traditional SUV high stance and suitability for those rare off-road forays. Introduced last year, the latest Pathfinder reflects the requirements of this evolving market. Its direct competition comes from the Toyota 4Runner, also a year-old design; other candidates for consideration include the Blazer (or GMC Jimmy or Olds Bravada), Ford Explorer or Mercury Villager, Isuzu Rodeo/Honda Passport and Jeep Cherokees, Grand and regular. But combining the attributes of a passenger sedan with those of a sport-utility entails compromise. Knowing your own priorities before stepping into a showroom is vital; old- and new-style sport-utes do many things well, but not necessarily the same things.
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