ABS standard. Side air bags available from 1999, standard from 2003. Head protection air bags available from 2003, standard from 2009. ESC available from 2003, standard from 2005.
The long-running Pathfinder has transformed from a truck-based workhorse into a softer, gentler, car-based SUV with three rows and seven seats. An enlarged interior and easier access moves it closer to a family-friendly minivan substitute, which could be a good thing. But the Pathfinder is a little too much like a minivan: practical but really boring to drive and no longer capable of the off-road ruggedness and substantial towing capacity of the old vehicle.
While it handles most of the everyday-driving basics pretty well, the Pathfinder doesn't stand out from the pack. It has a pretty good ride, decent power, and straightforward controls. The second row has a handy feature: It can slide forward to clear a path to the third row even when a child seat is installed in it. Kids will probably like the two-person third row just fine, but adults won't be comfortable there, so this car isn't a great choice for car-pooling grownups. Furthermore, mounting child seats can be a bit of a chore.