Entry Price: $26,850

Price As Tested: $44,395

This week, we're driving Nissan's new generation Pathfinder, a larger SUV that is now more dedicated to highway driving comfort more so than the previous Pathfinders, even though the name "Pathfinder" exudes more of an off-road affinity.

The new Pathfinder is still a four-door, seven-passenger SUV that comes in eight shades of dress, from the two wheel drive "S" at $28,650 up the top line Platinum 4x4, which goes for $41,150... and happens to be our tester for the week.

Important to note is all new Pathfinders come with the same engine under the hood, which means regardless of choice you're receiving the same underpinnings and mechanical attributes. Specifically, a fine running 3.5-liter V6 produces a stout 260-horses and 240 lb. ft. of torque. Pathfinder also delivers excellent fuel mileage at 20 city and 26 highway EPA numbers. If you opt for the 4x4 versions, you'll lose just one MPG on both ends thanks to Nissan's new and standard on all models Xtronic CVT overdrive automatic.

Pathfinder's major change, however, lies underneath for 2013. The former truck style full chassis that made Pathfinder a real off-road and towing mouthpiece is now swapped for a car-like unibody construction, resulting in more creature comfort and less truck like stiffness. There's also more interior room to utilize for the family and suitcases although as for towing, the weight allowed is lower than the last generation by 2,000 lbs. Still, Pathfinder's new tow numbers are good for a unibody at 5,000 lbs. max.

During our week long test, we allowed a fellow newspaper auto enthusiast a test drive and he was quick to give much praise. He cited Pathfinder as one of the very best riding and amenity loaded Crossover/SUVs he's ever driven.

Inside, the top line Platinum is indeed "top line," and is as close to sibling Infiniti in luxury as Nissan allows. The seating is firm yet very comfortable, and the reclining features of front and second rows are an added feature.

We utilized the second row slid and tilt feature while moving some bigger items. The seats also fold in the third row for even more cargo space. Notable is the ease of entry for adults that ride in the third row, which really is for full size adults.

Standard equipment on all Pathfinders include the necessities like tri-zone air, 18-inch tires, nice alloy wheels, keyless entry, cruise, 60/40-split second-row (slides, reclines and folds), tilt-and-telescopic, and a nice six-speaker stereo with six-CD player.

When you arrive at the top line Platinum, everything imaginable is included as standard, including power front seats, leather, Bluetooth, eight-inch color display, rearview safety camera, XM radio, USB/iPod,

fog lamps, roof rack, rear park sensors, roof rack, heated front and rear seats, driver memory functions, 20-inch wheels on alloys, tow package, multi-view parking camera, cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, navigation system, real-time traffic and a spectacular 13-speaker Bose stereo audio system.

The options on our tester came in the form of a $2,300 Platinum Premium package that includes a dual panoramic sunroof and a DVD movie/entertainment system with two headrest seven-inch displays and some power tint sunshades. A roof rail costs $300 and carpeted floor mats were $200.

The "All-Mode Intuitive" 4x4 system is either automatic, which applies power between the front and rear axles as needed or as a "lockdown" for full-time 4x4.

On the safety side, Pathfinders come with antilock 4-wheel disc brakes, stability and traction control and all the airbags. The performance is noteworthy also, as the V6 pulls with authority yet still delivers that good fuel economy.

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 114.2 inches, 4,471 lb. curb weight, from 16 to 79.8 cu. ft. of cargo space with seats up/down and a 19.5 regular fuel gas tank.

There are even more features that come standard on the new Pathfinder, which your dealer will explain. My recommendation is to first drive one of the less expensive Pathfinders, and then move up as needed. Keep in mind, however, regardless of choice, it's the same vehicle mechanically from bottom to top.

Likes: Mechanicals, new design, ride, fuel economy, features.

Dislikes: Handling softer and not as nimble in tight corners.

(Greg Zyla is a syndicated auto columnist).