I read two articles this past week discussing the fact that Nissan is in the midst of determining what the next Pathfinder will be in terms of design, capacity, and layout. With the change in US market tendencies and looming fuel economy improvement mandates, Nissan is considering moving the PF over to a unibody, FWD/AWD crossover vehicle as it may better suit the majority of US buyers. They are considering keeping body-on-frame architecture for other parts of the world where it is used as a 4WD vehicle in harsh environs (such as Australia and Africa). They are expected to make the decision early this year.
Interesting, and not overly suprising. But they were sure headed in the right direction with the current one. A little more maximum axle articulation, 2nd row buckets, a tiny bit more room and a little nicer interior and the next bodystyle would be a natural trade-up for us. A second sunroof for the kids would be cool too, but would conflict with body-stiffening needs (to mitigate flex) if you were trying to make it a better off roader.
Conflicting with that is my wife's recent interest in the new GMC Acadia - interestingly enough with more room, 2nd row buckets, and in SLT leather trim, a very nice interior. Where we live in the country, AWD would work okay as we don't have many local off-roading opportunities and we could still haul bikes and kayaks, as well as camping equipment. I still like the rough and tumble nature of the PF, but a few more amenities would not be unappreciated. Seems Nissan is dead on with at least assessing buyer needs as we represent both types of potential future buyer.
At any rate, we are exceedingly happy with ours... it's taken us all over the country from Florida to WA state on many grand adventures. No plans to replace it, Just looking ahead as I always do.