Nissan Reveals 2017 Pathfinder at Enthusiast Network Offices
Updated SUV Gets Aerodynamic Styling, Direct Injection, And Extra Equipment
The fourth-generation Nissan Pathfinder has been on sale since the 2013 model year, and even though it’s one of the company’s bestselling products, it’s showing its age a little bit. That will change with the 2017 Pathfinder, which is extensively updated over its immediate predecessor. Luckily for us, Nissan brought it around to The Enthusiast Network’s offices so we could get a closer look at its new baby.
Outside, it’ll take a keen eye to spot the differences. They start with reshaped headlights and a “V-Motion” grille that takes cues from the Nissan Murano. Boomerang-shaped LED driving lights give the Pathfinder a familial resemblance, tying it in to the stable that includes the similarly styled Maxima and Altima sedans and Murano and Juke crossovers. A resculpted hood, new taillights, and new front and rear bumpers round out the changes, giving the Pathfinder an improved, slightly more aggressive look. More importantly, the reshaped exterior optimizes airflow around and below the SUV, reducing its drag coefficient to 0.326 (from 0.34).
Of more interest to most people will be the Pathfinder’s newly direct-injected 3.5L V-6. Featuring the same fuel injection technology as the Nissan Armada’s 5.6L V-8, the Pathfinder has 24 more horsepower (at 284) and 19 more lb-ft of torque (at 259) than the vehicle it replaces. In spite of that extra muscle, maximum fuel economy remains the same, at 20/27/22 mpg city/highway/combined. Paired with the company’s new-to-Pathfinder third-gen Xtronic CVT transmission, the V-6 can tow up to 6,000 pounds, which Nissan claims is best in its class. Note, however, the Ward’s vehicle segmentation that Nissan cites excludes the Dodge Durango (which can tow a 7,400-pound trailer) from the Pathfinder’s playing field.
Nissan has also added content to the 2017 Pathfinder, with features like optional hands-free liftgate operation, available Moving Object Detection for the Around View Monitor, and the standard Advanced Drive-Assist Display. That last feature is an information monitor mounted in the center of the Pathfinder’s instrument panel, featuring additional infotainment and driver-assist screens to help Pathfinder owners use their vehicles more easily. Voice recognition is likewise enhanced with a new high-definition microphone.
Nissan claims the 2017 Pathfinder’s suspension has been retuned for better body control and a more composed ride. Stiffer front and rear shocks contribute to the cause, while new front rebound springs and retuned rear rebound springs help assist with roll balance. A quicker hydraulic-electric steering system improves maneuverability as well, although we hope not at the expense of freeway stability.
Carrying over from 2016 is a long list of family-friendly features like Latch And Glide, Nissan’s unique seat design that allows for easy third-row access, even when a child safety seat is installed in the second row. Manual operation for the available all-wheel-drive system is another Pathfinder exclusive, allowing drivers to operate their crossovers in 2WD, Auto, or 4WD Lock modes depending on conditions. Auto will operate like most all-wheel-drive systems, shuffling power around when wheelspin is detected, while 2WD offers maximum fuel economy and 4WD Lock guarantees instant traction. While not as off-road–ready as previous generations of the Pathfinder, the novel all-wheel-drive system is still a good fit for most.
With four trim levels and several optional packages, Pathfinder shoppers will be spoiled for choice. Base Pathfinders get Bluetooth phone connectivity, Latch And Glide, automatic climate control, and a rear camera, among other things. From there, shoppers can opt for the Pathfinder SV, SL, or Platinum, with a commensurate increase in equipment and price at each stratum. Were it our money, we’d go for the Pathfinder SL thanks to its leather seating, expanded camera system, and hands-free power liftgate.
Speaking of money, prices for the 2017 Pathfinder have yet to be announced, but look for the bottom lines closer to the crossover’s onsale date later this year. With stiff competition in the way of the redesigned GMC Acadia, Mazda CX-9, and Honda Pilot, Nissan should be worried, but its fairly extensive refresh of the Pathfinder makes the three-row crossover more attractive than ever.