Alongside the new Frontier pick-up, Nissan has also revealed the fifth-generation Pathfinder at a virtual event today. The company’s flagship three-row monocoque SUV has been shorn of its predecessor’s smooth styling, instead adopting the chiselled looks of the body-on-frame Patrol/Armada.

That means the Pathfinder wears the latest Nissan SUV design language, sporting a massive V-motion grille – with three slots at the top to mimic the original, also sold here as the Terrano – and distinctive C-shaped LED headlights. Prominent front and rear fender bulges give the car added muscle and definition, joined together by a faint U-shaped impression on the body side.

Continuing the rugged theme, the C-pillars are body-coloured and are split to enable the option of a black roof, a Pathfinder first. The rear end features slim trapezoidal LED taillights joined together by a black strip, with the spaced-out Pathfinder badge and a boxed-out imprint sitting underneath. The rear number plate recess now sits low down, within the bumper’s skid plate-like insert.

Nissan is offering a total of 14 colour combinations, including five two-tone schemes. New hues include the Scarlet Ember you see here and a handsome Obsidian Green Pearl, matched to sharp alloy wheel designs that measure up to 20 inches in diameter.

The rugged, angular redesign continues inside, with solid-looking surfaces and interlocking air vent and door finishers providing a structural appearance. The tall bridge-like centre console features a stumpy electronic gearlever, freeing up ample storage space underneath.

Available new toys include a 12.3-inch digital instrument display and a 10.8-inch head-up display – another first for the Pathfinder. A touchscreen NissanConnect infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality comes as standard, while the upgraded nine-inch unit adds wireless CarPlay, a WiFi hotspot, Qi wireless charging, a 13-speaker Bose sound system, NissanConnect Services, door-to-door navigation and a higher-resolution 360-degree camera system.

Buyers can choose from fabric, leather and quilted semi-aniline leather upholstery options, paired with new materials and colours. There are seven available interior “environments”, including brushed bronze accents; you’ll also find a new ambient lighting system.

Practicality has taken another step forward thanks to the addition of a third-row middle seat, making this an eight-seater SUV. For the first time, the Pathfinder is also available with second-row captain’s chairs and a centre console that can be removed without using any tools. The standard middle-row bench features an EZ-Flex push-button release for the one-touch fold-and-slide function.

Even with all seats up, you get 470 litres of boot space, which Nissan says is enough to fit a 114-litre cooler box or four golf bags. The load bay is also generous enough to swallow 4×8-foot plywood sheets if required.

Refinement has been improved through the use of an acoustic glass windscreen, thicker second-row windows, increased door and floor sound insulation and a 60% increase in engine noise absorption. A 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and triple-zone automatic climate control can also be specified for increased comfort.

Under the bonnet sits an unchanged 3.5 litre naturally-aspirated V6, producing 284 hp and 351 Nm of torque. However, the outgoing Xtronic CVT has been banished in favour of a ZF nine-speed automatic gearbox. The new Intelligent 4WD system features a seven-position Drive and Terrain Mode Selector that includes Standard, Sport, Eco, Snow, Sand, Mud/Rut and Tow settings.

Nissan is claiming sporty and stable handling through the use of a new dual-pinion electric power steering system and 255 mm-wide tyres. The Pathfinder can also tow up to 2,700 kg, a figure which is said to be best in class – aided by standard-fit Trailer Sway Control.

Every new Pathfinder comes fitted with the Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of driver assistance systems, including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection and reverse braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and automatic high beam, plus a driver attention monitor and a rear occupant reminder.

Higher grades get ProPilot Assist, adding adaptive cruise control with stop and go and lane centring assist into the mix, while the top Platinum model throws in a Navi-link function that can slow the car for highway curves, exit ramps and junctions. Blind spot collision avoidance, lane keeping assist and traffic sign recognition are also part of the options list, while ten airbags come as standard.