Pathfinder & Captiva 245DS

More and more RVers are turning to small SUVs as their everyday-use vehicles that double as
tow rigs. The Nissan’s V-6 engine has the potential for reasonable solo fuel economy, and
its 6,000-pound tow rating enables it to handle a family-size RV with ease, while
Coachmen’s Captiva series is aimed at downsized tow rigs with modest tow ratings. The model
245DS reviewed here is a 27-foot, 4,800-pound trailer that’s sized just right for the
Nissan. From the outside, this trailer looks pretty much like many other contemporary
lightweight units. Smooth fiberglass, clean graphics, minimal detail clutter and a front
cap are common features of the breed. Inside, the 245 is a surprise, as it packages several
interesting features we wouldn’t expect in this kind of RV. A huge triangular corner shower
normally associated with much larger RVs, a breakfast bar with two barstools and a
giant-size U-shaped dinette in a slideout room all caught our attention on first
examination. Our three-adult, plus-one-large-Macaw crew found the space in the 245 DS was
more than accommodating. The Pathfinder’s seven-passenger capacity includes a third-row
seat that’s accessed by clambering past a flip/fold middle-row seat section. On the road,
the Pathfinder does not disappoint. Coil-spring independent suspension at all four corners
provides a pleasant ride. Yet, its steering and braking have the non-mushy feel we
appreciate in an SUV, and the rig controls a proper-size trailer reasonably well. The
270-hp V-6 moves the rig smartly down the highway, and the five-speed automatic
transmission shifts solidly. While towing (after several hitch-up adjustments), we had to
keep our foot firmly on the accelerator and manually shift out of overdrive to maintain
freeway speed against any headwind and on anything but dead level road. That’s typical for
a smaller rig asked to pull a hefty load. Our uphill grades were handled in fair fashion as
well. In today’s economy, when every transportation and recreation dollar must be spent
wisely, a lash up like the Pathfinder and Captiva gives a family a broad range of
functionality for the investment. Pick up the April 2007 issue of Trailer Life magazine for
full test impressions and details on the Pathfinder & Captiva 245DS — then subscribe to Trailer Life, so
you can stay informed on the latest tests, previews, tow vehicles, and technical and
RV-lifestyle information. Coachmen Recreational Vehicle Company, (574) 825-5821,
www.coachmenrv.com

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