2018 Pathfinder New Car Test Drive
The Nissan Pathfinder is a front-wheel-drive midsize crossover with an optional (and relatively roomy) third row, and available all-wheel drive.
Last redesigned for 2014, it was substantially freshened for 2017 with a tweaked nose and tail, new engine, firmer suspension and better infotainment. The 2018 Pathfinder is updated with automatic emergency braking, and another warning, called Rear Door Alert, to check the back seats for forgotten pets or children, after you get out of the car.
A crossover that drives more like a car than a truck, Pathfinder is built on the chassis of the Altima and Maxima sedans. However, with all-wheel drive it can manage snow and rugged terrain, and it is rated to tow up to 6000 pounds. For 2017, the chassis was reinforced where the tow hitch mounts, to create this capability.
The 3.5-liter V6 engine has direct injection and variable valve timing, and makes 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. It's mated to a continuously variable transmission. The CVT is better than many.
It's EPA-rated at 20 miles per gallon City, 27 Highway, and 23 Combined with front-wheel drive, one less mpg with all-wheel drive. It aces the crash tests. NHTSA gives it five stars overall, and the IIHS gave it the top score in every category.
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 Easy Fill Tire Alert that honks the horn when you've inflated a tire to the correct amount.
2018 Pathfinder models include S with front-wheel drive ($30,790) or all-wheel drive ($32,480), SV, SL, and Platinum. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
Pathfinder SV ($33,480) 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. It's available with all-wheel drive ($35,170).
Pathfinder SL ($37,500) and SL AWD ($39,190) get rear park assist, blind-spot monitors, surround view, and rear cross-traffic alerts.
Pathfinder Platinum ($42,320) and AWD ($42,010) 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.