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2017 Nissan Pathfinder First Drive

Pathfinder Reborn: More Where it Matters

Gary Witzenburg
Aug 31, 2016
Photographers: Nissan
The Nissan Pathfinder's 30th birthday brings a substantial update of its fourth generation, which debuted for ’13. Beyond a somewhat more aggressive look, the most important changes are its more powerful and more efficient 3.5L V-6 engine, its 6,000-pound tow rating, and its many new driver-assistance/safety features.
Photo 2/31   |   2017 Nissan Pathfinder First Drive Terrain
Photo 3/31   |   2017 Nissan Pathfinder First Drive Far View
Photo 4/31   |   2017 Nissan Pathfinder First Drive Over Rocks
A new Nissan "V-Motion" grille is flanked by swept-back "boomerang" headlamps (LED on Platinum models) with LED daytime running lights under a taller, sleeker hood. The front bumper and fog lamps are new, and aerodynamic drag (Cd) is down to 0.326 from 0.340. The side mirrors have new turn signal repeaters, and the rear bumper and tail lamps are revised.
Photo 5/31   |   2017 Nissan Pathfinder First Drive Interior
Photo 6/31   |   2017 Nissan Pathfinder First Drive Interior Black
Photo 7/31   |   2017 Nissan Pathfinder First Drive Interior White
Most significant inside are the new, more user-friendly touchscreen infotainment system, a new Advanced Drive-Assist Display between the gauges, and improved voice recognition. Standard on Platinum are NissanConnect Navigation with three years of SiriusXM with Traffic and NissanConnect Services with automatic collision notification, emergency call, stolen vehicle locator, service scheduling, and maintenance alerts. Available driver assistance features include Intelligent Cruise Control, Forward Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The three-row cabin (leather is standard on SL and Platinum) offers good room for up to seven, though front-seat travel seems somewhat compromised in favor of second-row legroom. Nissan’s EZ Flex Seating with Latch-and-Glide and the 60/40-split, tilt-and-glide second-row seat eases access to the 50/50-split third-row even with a child safety seat in place on the passenger side. Also available are heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, heated second-row seats, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, Intelligent Key with Pushbutton Start, multi-user memory settings, 13-speaker Bose Audio, the class-exclusive Around View Monitor with new Moving Object Detection, Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Control, Bluetooth connectivity, remote engine start and Nissan's Tire Pressure Monitoring System with Easy-Fill Tire Alert that signals when the pressure is correct.
Photo 8/31   |   2017 Nissan Pathfinder First Drive Engine
Photo 9/31   |   2017 Nissan Pathfinder First Drive Wheel
The upgraded DOHC, 24-valve, direct-injected aluminum 3.5L V-6's intake manifold, heads and combustion chambers are redesigned for significantly better flow, friction is reduced throughout and a stiffer oil pan reduces vibrations. It spins out a healthy 284 hp at 6,400 rpm and 259 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm, while scoring 20 mpg city, 27 highway, and 23 combined EPA fuel-economy ratings with front-wheel drive, one mpg less with available all-wheel-drive. Hill Start Assist is standard, Hill Descent Control comes with all-wheel-drive, and the third-generation Xtronic CVT transmission's DStep Logic Control simulates the feel of a conventional automatic.
Photo 10/31   |   2017 Nissan Pathfinder First Drive Front View On Dirt
Photo 11/31   |   2017 Nissan Pathfinder First Drive Rear With Trees
In a day of piloting a ’17 Pathfinder Platinum on a variety roads, we found its performance good, ride quietly comfortable, handling surprisingly precise, and CVT (normally not our favorite) virtually transparent. The new touchscreen infotainment system pleases with large, easy-to-use icons, and it works well with a just-right array of handy knobs and buttons. While not intended for serious rockcrawling, it performed very capably in a mildly challenging off-road test. Our only gripes are that the front seats need a bit more travel for long-legged occupants and the Hill Descent Control button on top of the driving mode rotary switch is too easy to activate inadvertently.
Photo 12/31   |   2017 Nissan Pathfinder First Drive Rear With Rocks
Photo 13/31   |   2017 Nissan Pathfinder First Drive 4wd Platinum
The ’17 Pathfinder is available in four models: base S, mid-range SV and SL, and top-line Platinum. Options include a Trailer Tow Package; an SV Cold Package with heated front cloth seats, heated steering wheel, and heated outside rearview mirrors; an SV Tech Package with Navigation, Blind Spot Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert; an SL Tech Package with the Bose Audio, Navigation, and trailer towing harness and hitch receiver; an SL Premium Package with Navigation, Bose Audio, a Dual Panorama Moonroof, and a tow hitch receiver with integrated finisher; and a Family Entertainment Package with dual 8.0-inch headrest displays, rear seat wireless headphones, wireless remote control, rear headphone jacks with volume control, a USB port, and HDMI and VTR jacks.
The updated ’17 Pathfinder is a substantial improvement in virtually every way over the ’16 and a newly strong competitor in the important and profitable three-row CUV segment.
Photo 14/31   |   2017 Nissan Pathfinder First Drive Passenger Side View
Photo 15/31   |   2017 Nissan Pathfinder First Drive On Grass
Photo 16/31   |   2017 Nissan Pathfinder First Drive With Clouds
Vehicle: 2017 Nissan Pathfinder
Vehicle type: Crossover Utility Vehicle
Base price: Less Than $30,000
Price as tested: N/A
Engine: 3.5L V-6
Transmission: Continuously variable (CVT)
Horsepower: 284 @ 6,400 rpm
Torque: 259 @ 4,800 rpm
Curb weight: 4292 lbs
Towing capacity: 6,000 lbs
EPA mileage rating: 20/27/23 mpg (fwd); 19/26/22 mpg (4wd)

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