Off-Roading

Diverse and inspiring Rebelle Rally participants take on 2,300 km wilderness challenge

Team Record the Journey is taking on the 2,000-mile Rebelle Rally route in a CUV that has been adapted with hand controls.

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.

The 2019 Rebelle Rally, an all-female off-roading competitive adventure kicked off this week in Squaw Valley, California. Among the 38 teams are a number that stand out for their beefy builds and courageous drivers.

Team #176: Escape the Paved

This team met under less than ideal circumstances. Rebelle Rally participants Sarah Homer and Lindsey Hunterwere first introduced when they were mucking out their houses after Hurricane Harvey struck in 2017 and they have become fast friends. Homer is a Houston, Texas resident and Director of Surgical Acute Care at Houston Methodist while Hunter is an engineer who now lives in Anchorage, Alaska.

They'll be piloting a 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor during the expedition and are sponsored by Ford Motor Company, Roush Performance, BuiltRight Industries, and Homer IP LLC Innovation Design and Graphics.

Team #106: Team Wild Grace

Driven and navigated by Sedona Blinson and Lyn Woodward, the team will be driving a 2019 Nissan Armada. Both previously competed in the 2017 Rebelle Rally and, like many other teams, has come back for another go.

Rebelle Rally Team Wild Grace Team Wild Grace will be driving the Nissan Armada Mountain Patrol across California.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Armada they're driving is the specially modified Armada Mountain Patrol. The rig is a world traveler, having traversed the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert and rock crawled in Moab, Utah. The SUV is outfitted with Nitto Trail Grappler tires; Icon Bronze rebound wheels; Rhino Rack Backbone System and shovel; Hi-Lift jack; Baja Designs XL80 lights, LP9 lights and light bar; Calmini bumpers, rock sliders, and a 6-inch lift; Icon coilovers; Warn Zeon Platinum 12S winch; Factor55 closeloop winch; and an ARB fridge, drawers, and twin screw air compressor.

Team #207: Record the Journey

The Rebelle Rally is all about overcoming obstacles and it's obvious even to the casual observer that Team Record the Journey will have to overcome more than most. Three-time Rebelle and Team Spirit Award winner and 31-year U.S. Army veteran Rachael Ridenour has partnered with Karah Behrend, a Houston, Texas-based U.S. Air Force veteran who is an adaptive athlete who uses a wheelchair.

Behrend is the first adaptive athlete to compete in the Rally. Mitsubishi Motors has specially equipped the 2018 Eclipse Cross the two will be adventuring in with hand controls and designated storage space for Behrend's wheelchair.

The partnership is the first step in Mitsubishi's new "Small Batch – Big Investment" corporate social responsibility initiative which allows a number of Mitsubishi vehicle loans to small nonprofits and start-up social benefit corporations to help support their local communities. Record the Journey, a non-profit run by Ridenour, will keep the vehicle after the Rally and use it for various charitable programming.

Team #124: Fueled by Chocolate

It's clear from their team name that teammates Kristian Rene and Chelsea Vachon love chocolate. So does their 1992 Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, which has been re-engineered to run on a biofuel made from waste chocolate. Additionally, eighty percent of the vehicle is made from remanufactured or recycled parts.

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This is Rebelle We launch tomorrow October 11, 2019 There is no reality except in action. -Jean Paul Sartre LIVE TRACKING Make sure to follow us, Team #124 (#FueledbyChocolove), and the other Colorado teams--#105 Mile High Spirit Rebelles - Team #105 (Red FJ Cruiser), #154 Team Roads Less Traveled (White FJ Cruiser with orange and blue coloring), #130 Front Range Rebelles (Maroon FJ Cruiser) and #164 Team Anam Cara (Bright blue Land Rover Discovery) https://www.rebellerally.com/live-tracking/ YOU CAN GO HERE TOO: https://www.rebellerally.com/live/ REBELLE RALLY WEBSITE: https://www.rebellerally.com/ DAILY UPDATES https://www.rebellerally.com/daily-updates/ You can also follow Rebelle Rally on Facebook and Instagram at @rebellerally for updates too! You can attend the public awards ceremony and/or gala on the pier in San Diego! (Tickets for the gala must be purchased by October 11). The public ceremony is free and a great way to see the amazing women and the amazing vehicles they competed in! A great way to experience the spirit of the Rebelle Rally! https://www.rebellerally.com/product/2019-rebellation-awards-gala-ticket/ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thank you again, from the bottom of our hearts, for all the incredible support from our family, friends, coworkers, and amazing sponsors and partners! ❤️❤️❤️ SPONSORS Chocolove Always Be Rolling PARTNER Rainforest Alliance And extra special thanks for Timmy, Chocolove, @waltconway, G Box, @karsbykevin @samcofab @rebellerally @live2ridegr8snow @connortieulie @sethbeckton @sumprods @emily_offroad
A post shared by Kristian (@kristian__rene) on Oct 10, 2019 at 1:40pm PDT

This team originally hails from Boulder, Colorado, where Rene still lives, but Vachon is coming to the U.S. for the event from her home in Noosa Heads, Queensland, Australia. They are sponsored by Chocolove, Rainforest Alliance, and Always Be Rollling.

Team #200: Team Jeeves

Using #PardonMe to promote their drive is appropriate for CNET automotive journalist Emme Hall and her co-driver Rebecca Donaghe, a producer originally from Houston, Texas who lives in Marina del Ray, California. They're piloting a specially equipped Rolls-Royce Cullinan from Lake Tahoe to San Diego- easily the plushest and most expensive ride on the journey.

The teammates have been competing together since 2016 and are the 2019 co-champion Rebelle Rally team. Hall and Donaghe are no stranger to adventure. The CNET host is an avid off-road racer and recently went to Monster Jam University to learn how to drive a 12,000-pound monster truck. Following the Rally, Dongahe is planning to cross Morocco over seven days riding a 50cc motorbike.

Team #130: Front Range Rebelles

Team member Kathy Locke is originally from Okinawa, Japan but family camping trips in California, Nevada, and across the Rocky Mountains as a teen in a 1978 Ford Bronco that most shaped her adventurous spirit. Locke is the Creative Director for Toyota Cruisers & Trucks magazine. Locke first attended the Rebelle Rally in 2018 as a journalist and is returning in 2019 as a participant.

Littleton, Colorado resident Stacey May is a self-employed designer and Locke's co-driver. She too has an adventurous spirit. A dozen years ago she traded in her Manhattan high-rise lifestyle to travel the U.S. in an 18' travel trailer with her husband. That lasted three years before they once again put down roots, this time in Colorado.

They're driving a 20118 Toyota FJ Cruiser that has a long list of sponsors: Toytec Lifts, ActionTrax, Colorado FJ Cruisers, Refined Cycle and Offroad, and Blue Crush Auto Glass The Art Consultant, LLC.

The Rebelle Rally runs through Oct. 19. You can follow the journey online at www.RebelleRally.com.

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The Nissan Pathfinder is just at home on the trial as it is on the road.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

One of my favorite poems is Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken". The message is about making choices and, how the road taken made all the difference. Often in life and on the road, we have to make one choice. Take one road. No turning back. I thought of this poem on my recent test drive in the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder in the hinterlands of Montana, when I could take two different roads—paved and dirt—and that made all the difference!

Nissan has redesigned and retooled its fifth-generation Pathfinder instilling greater latitude for buyers who want to travel both types of roads and expand their adventure footprint. After seven decades of off-road development, 35 years in the business of selling Pathfinders, and with more than 1.8 million sold in the U.S., this Japanese automaker has moved the needle with a ground-up revision of the previous-gen model.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is a capable off-roader.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The full-sized sport utility is available in four trims (S, SV, SL and Platinum) and two- and four-wheel drive versions; Nissan expects that nearly 60 percent of buyers will choose four-wheel drive. The Pathfinder is in a segment that has grown larger each year as more families want a vehicle for around-town, school and playdate runs and for weekend getaways with traction technology that allows travel in the backcountry and good towing capability. Direct competitors are the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, and Ford Explorer.

A day-long drive of approximately 150 miles on tarmac and over a variety of dirt roads and tracks provided the opportunity to assess the Pathfinder's updates. A late-spring snowstorm added slickness to all the road surfaces in the region and allowed the Pathfinder to show off its traction capabilities at both slow and higher speeds and with lane change and emergency-braking maneuvers, when towing. I concentrated my evaluation on the augmented hardware and software designed to enhance the crossover's capabilities for backcountry travel and towing.

What I found most notable over every road surface was the comfortable ride and responsive handling that come from a collection of upgrades—and, in particular, as a result of the following: the gearing on the new nine-speed transmission, with paddle shifters for personal and more precise shifting for sport driving and slowing over rough terrain; the new terrain mode system that's engineered for different driving conditions; the four-wheel drive system that moves torque more quickly to avoid wheel slip; the improved suspension system; and new tires with a larger contact patch and more aggressive tread pattern, among other changes.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Pathfinder's drive modes are designed to inspire confidence. Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Pathfinder provided sure-footed motoring and comfort over uneven surfaces. Its 7.1 inches of ground clearance easily maneuvered over the small obstacles on the trail and hill descent control took the reigns without hesitation for steeper and longer downhills on traction-compromised surfaces.

I was also impressed with the Pathfinder's towing competence and appreciated the standard trailer sway control onboard all trims. It offered notably strong, mannered acceleration from a standing start and excellent straight-line braking without porpoising for either exercise.

The new 2022 Pathfinder brings off-road and towing attributes that are important to families who are seeking to spend time in the backcountry for days trips and longer and for overlanding in terrain that doesn't require a true off-road vehicle with a low range. It's will appeal to buyers who want don't want to have to choose only one road.

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The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder arrives on dealer lots this summer.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder doesn't have to be capable of rock crawling or deep water fording. What it has to do is service the needs of families in their daily life and give them the opportunity to competently go off-roading on rocky trails should they desire. The new, fifth-generation models does just that and adds in enough nifty features to make it among the most compelling choices for three-row SUV buyers.

The 2022 Pathfinder is thoroughly modern though not the boxy off-roader it once was. The SUV's styling harkens back to that time with a tilted, darkened C-pillar and a return to a more muscular body style. That styling makes straightforward visibility good but for shorter drivers seeing what is immediately in front of the grille is a challenge that necessitates using surround view camera technology (available only in upper trim levels) when navigating challenging terrain.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder can easily handle the roads less traveled.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Under the hood is a 3.5-liter V6 that offers up 291 horsepower and torque - plenty to do the job without complaint. The SUV's nine-speed automatic transmission replaces the continuously variable transmission (CVT) from the previous generation and delivers smooth shifts. Though low-end torque isn't as robust as I like it to be, once up over 35 mph, the Pathfinder's powertrain delivers smooth, powerful sailing.

The redesigned architecture and components underpinning the Pathfinder make it stable on the road and don't allow it to wallow on winding roads. Even off-road, the suspension provides the right blend of stability while the drive dynamics allowing the driver to feel engaged with their surroundings whether on freshly paved roads, city streets, or muddy trails.

Nissan has given the Pathfinder a 6,000-pound towing capacity and even when maxed out the engine's functionality is strong as ever. The transmission can get held up in a gear mid-range when performing this function, however, with 5,000-6,000 rpms registering on the tachometer but a quick release of the gas pedal recalibrates the offering bringing it down to a more traditional 2,000 rpm range.

The eight-seater Pathfinder clearly has the Toyota Highlander in its sights, with good reason. It's the top-selling three-row SUV in the country. Nissan boasts that three adults can fit across the rear bench seat of the Pathfinder and, as long as they're average size or smaller, the marketing talking point holds up. There is gobs more room back there than there is in the Highlander.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Nissan has given the Pathfinder ample cargo space.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Getting in and out of the third row is easy thanks to one-touch buttons on the outboard side of the second-row chairs that move the SUV's captain's seats forward creating enough room to get through to the back. Smartly, Nissan's engineers have put duplicates of these buttons on the back side of the same seats allowing third-row passengers to simply press the button to move the seat up.

The third row can also be accessed via a split between the captain's chairs as well, a space traditionally occupied by a center stowage bin/cup holders/arm rest. Owners can quickly remove the center console by opening a panel on the front and pulling the release mechanism. The one-handed operation takes seconds and the console can be easily stored in the under-floor trunk space behind the third row seat for ease.

Speaking of cargo space... The Pathfinder is one of the most spacious midsize SUVs on the market today for both passengers and cargo. There is a substantial amount of room behind the third-row seat and the under-floor storage area is nearly twice the size of the one in the Highlander. Plus, it has a feature that allows the area cover to be automatically propped up when pushed up by a user. This is especially help when carrying groceries or plants home and keeps them from being crushed.

The first- and second-row seats are suitably comfortable, even for extended periods of time and standard trig-zone climate control makes finding the right in-cabin mix easy. Bottle holders in the pockets of the front doors are exceptionally large, fitting even bulky water bottles.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder's front row seats are comfortable.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

In front of the driver is a standard tachometer, speedometer, and 7.0-inch driver information display. Buyers can upgrade to a fully digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster and head-up display but they're not reason enough to upgrade to the top-tier Pathfinder Platinum on their own.

Nissan packs the new Pathfinder with a host of desirable features that make living with the Pathfinder easier including one-touch auto up/down windows, a wireless phone charger, grocery hooks in the rear cargo area, USB ports in all three rows, second-row sunshades, rear door keyless entry, wireless Apple CarPlay, and a motion-activated lift gate.

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is priced to start at $33,410 for the two-wheel drive S base model and $35,310 for the four-wheel drive S base model. The model tops out around $50,000 with destination and delivery included, which seems fair when comparing the Pathfinder to other vehicles in the market.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder can tow up to 6,000 pounds.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

If you're thinking of purchasing a Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Honda Pilot, or Highlander, do yourself a favor and schedule a test drive of the new Pathfinder when it arrives at a dealer lot near you. You may just be surprised how seamlessly it fits into your daily life compared to the competition.

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