IT HAS A NEW, STRONGER ENGINE
For 2017, the Pathfinder sports a new 3.5L V6 engine that boasts 284 horsepower (up from 260) and 259 lb-ft. of torque (up from 240 lb-ft.) Also increased is the towing capacity, up 1,000 lbs to a class leading 6,000 lbs.
All gear shifts are done through their third-generation Xtronic transmission (similar to the Maxima) and for those who worry about the indecisiveness of ratcheting between gears that can come with a CVT, there was little evidence of that in this mid-sized SUV. It’s not the strongest in its class but it does perform well in both urban and rural conditions regarding responsive acceleration. Fuel economy slides upwards as you reach higher trim levels.
On the scale of L/100 km for highway and city, the base “S” hits 8.5 and 11.6, the mid SV and SL’s see 8.9 and 12.1 and the range topping Platinum trim rates at 9.2 and 12.4. The reason? More weight on the high trim, which directly affects fuel economy.
IT’S BEEN REFRESHED FOR 2017
The last major overhaul was in 2013 and for 2017, there’s been a bit of tinkering to avoid looking dated. Similar to the Maxima and Murano, the Pathfinder sports the new "V-Motion" grille and boomerang-shaped headlights with LED daytime running lights. New LED headlights are standard on the Pathfinder Platinum. Fog lights, a new grille design, the front bumper, tail lights and hood get some touching-up and give a strong look and feel overall. On the safety side, integrated turn signals are now standard fare.
While this is more function than fashion, the lift gate on all but the base “S” trim gets the “make a kicking motion” Motion-Activated liftgate that also offers a liftgate position memory, since we’re of varying heights.
It looked good before and with these changes, it only looks better.
THERE ARE FIVE (AND A HALF) TRIM LEVELS
As with most Nissan offerings, trim levels rise in this order: S, SV, SL, Platinum.
As of December 2016, here’s the MSRP:
- S 2WD $32,498
- S 4WD $35,398
- SV $38,098
- SL $41,098
- SL Premium Tech $44,598
- Platinum $48,398
For the Pathfinder, the S (which comes in 2WD or 4WD) highlights include six speakers and a six CD changer and tri-zone temperature controls.
The SV adds a heated steering wheel and heated front seats and keyless entry, while the SL further adds a remote starter and leather seats for the first and second rows, as well as 4-way power front passenger's seat, driver's seat 2-way power lumbar support.
SL Premium Tech, which is the half trim level, gives you navigation and a Bose 13-speaker premium audio system and panoramic moonroof.
Choosing the Platinum option adds 20” wheels (as opposed to the standard 18”), Dual 8" headrest DVD entertainment system, heated/cooled front seats and forward emergency braking.
There are plenty of safety add-ons, which I’ll touch on next.
The 2017 Pathfinder has a variety of safety technology available, including rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring and forward emergency braking. As is the case with most manufactures, these features aren’t available on lower trim models. Intelligent cruise control and forward emergency braking, for example, are only available on the Platinum trim.
ON THE ROAD
Drive quality for this larger vehicle scored well with me through close to 500 km of mixed driving. Acceleration was responsive when merging onto our network of highways and the moderate amount of road noise was easily diminished through slightly increasing the audio levels.
Now this certainly isn’t a 370Z regarding cornering/handling/performance but what I can say is that there’s a strong level of comfort inside the cabin on twists, turns and straightaways. With the Pathfinder being rated to tow up to 6,000 pounds, Nissan has engineered a solid vehicle that does well at lower speeds (because you’re not going to be running 140 km/h with 6,000 pounds attached to you…at least you shouldn’t!) as well as higher speeds.
Following the simple yet effective interior design of other Nissan offerings, the Pathfinder gets it right with a balance of comfort and practicality.
Instead of having the trip reset feature for trips A and B buried in a maze of screens, there’s a huge button above the dashboard that says “TRIP RESET” that’s impossible to miss.
Two large dials (speed and RPM) are very easy to read and the infotainment system is, as always, easy to maneuver.
The rear headrests fold down for a clearer line of sight and collapsing the rear two rows of seats is especially easy to do.
My only gripe about the interior is that there’s no specific “phone” button on the infotainment system, whereas nearly all other vehicles I’ve driven have the button clearly laid out. If Nissan were to combine the NAVI and MAP button into one, there’d be room for a dedicated “phone” button, which would make driving life easier.
Seating is rather comfortable up front and while this is far from a shot at only the Pathfinder, there’s very little comfort in the far rear seats…but I do understand the appeal of saying “seating for seven.” For a mid-sized SUV, the Pathfinder scores very well for interior quality.
Enjoy the full gallery below: