2018 Pathfinder New Car Test Drive
The Nissan Pathfinder midsize crossover SUV, last redesigned for 2014, gets refreshed for 2017. There's new front and rear fascia on the 2017 Pathfinder, a better engine, firmer suspension, new infotainment and available active safety features.
Somehow, it still seems a vehicle from another time.
It's front-wheel drive with available all-wheel drive, as well as an optional third row that's roomier and easier to reach than others, making it a useful seven-seater. It drives more like a car than a truck, but can still handle moderate offroad work, and can tow 6000 pounds. That's an increase of 1000 pounds, thanks to the new engine and chassis reinforcements in the region where the tow hitch mounts.
The 3.5-liter V6 engine is upgraded with direct injection and variable valve timing, increasing horsepower to 284 from 260, and torque to 259 pound-feet from 240, a solid boost for both. It's mated to the existing continuously variable transmission (CVT), that's better than many, thanks to Nissan's D-Step logic, but when you floor it there are still delays to the otherwise good acceleration.
The Pathfinder is EPA-rated at 20 miles per gallon city, 27 highway, and 23 combined with front-wheel drive, one less mpg with all-wheel drive.
Standard safety equipment includes six airbags, with the side-curtain airbags having a rollover sensor and covering all three rows. A rearview camera and rear sonar parking sensors are also standard. Then there's the inventive Easy Fill Tire Alert that honks the horn when you've inflated a tire to the correct amount. Better than being honked at every time you get out of the car, for locking it or not locking it.
The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder hasn't been crash-tested by the IIHS, but the 2016 impressively got the top score in every category, as well as five stars overall from the NHTSA.
2017 Nissan Pathfinder models include S ($29,990), SV, SL, and Platinum. Pathfinder SV ($32,680) comes well equipped with tri-zone automatic climate control, eight-inch touchscreen, HD radio, satellite radio with SiriusXM Travel Link, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, rearview camera, and 18-inch alloy wheels. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
Pathfinder SL ($35,700) gets rear park assist, blind-spot monitors, surround view, and rear cross-traffic alerts. The Pathfinder Platinum ($41,870) gets navigation, heated and ventilated front seats, a 13-speaker Bose audio system, panoramic sunroof, motion-activated power liftgate, 20-inch wheels, and active safety features including adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning and emergency braking.
All-wheel drive will add just under $2000.