2017 Nissan Pathfinder Review

The holiday season has many of us thinking about our families and if you’re in the need of a new sports utility vehicle fit for the kids, you might want to take a look at the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder. The company began selling the vehicle in 1987. Since then, it has undergone plenty of changes but Nissan says it’s most proud of the upgrades it made to the vehicle for the 2017 model year.

“For 2017, Pathfinder receives much more than your typical facelift. It now offers more power, towing capability, improved driving dynamics and new available driver assistance features –more of what you need for safe, comfortable every day and weekend family adventures,” said Michael Bunce, vice president of product planning for Nissan North America, Inc.

The seven-passenger vehicle is offered in two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations and comes in four trim levels: S, SV, SL and Platinum.

Redesigned Exterior

Nissan gave its 2017 Pathfinder’s exterior a redesign. It’s the first time major changes have been made since 2013, when Nissan unveiled its fourth generation Pathfinder. The updated appearance for the fifth generation includes the new “V-Motion” grille and boomerang-shaped headlights with LED daytime running lights that Nissan introduced on the Maxima sport sedan and Murano crossover. New LED headlights come standard on the Platinum grade. A major benefit of the new grille design is that it helps improve the aerodynamics of the vehicle. A new front chin spoiler design also helps optimize air flow around and below the exterior.

Other changes to the 2017 Pathfinder’s exterior include a new, more aggressive looking hood, front bumper and fog lights. In the rear, there are new taillights and a stronger bumper design. Also added for 2017 are 18-inch and 20-inch machined aluminum-alloy wheel designs. The S, SV and SL trims receive the 18-inch wheels while the Platinum grade gets the larger wheels. There are also now two new exterior colors for customers to choose from: Sandstone and Caspian Blue. Finally, customers can now activate their power liftgate by waving their foot under the Pathfinder’s rear bumper. It comes standard on SL and Platinum grades.

“More than just a more powerful appearance, the 2017 Pathfinder offers more functionality – from the convenience of the Motion-Activated liftgate to user-friendly interior upgrades,” said Bunce.

Interior

Upgrades to the 2017 Pathfinder’s interior include a redesigned center console featuring an additional USB port, reshaped cup holders and new cloth seat materials for S and SV grades. Leather-appointed seating is standard on SL and Platinum models. Those trims also get new interior finishers. Nissan says the biggest change to the Pathfinder’s interior, however, is the adoption of new-generation information technology.

“The standard Advanced Drive-Assist Display (ADAD), located in the center of the instrument display between the tachometer and speedometer, features additional infotainment and driver assistance displays (versus the 2016 Pathfinder design). Voice recognition has been enhanced with a new HD microphone,” states the company.

The standard 8.0-inch touchscreen monitor provides control of a variety of driver-selectable vehicle systems and settings. The 2016 model featured a smaller, 7.0-inch display.

As in previous model years, Nissan says the fifth generation Pathfinder offers plenty of space for the whole family. A wide range of seating and cargo carrying combinations are available with an overall interior roominess of 173.8 cubic feet.

Other available features for the Pathfinder’s interior include a family entertainment system with now 8-inch rear displays, an advanced Bose audio system with 13 speakers and Nissan Intelligent Key.

Revised Performance

The 2017 Pathfinder features a revised 3.5-liter V6 engine. It offers more power, torque and towing capacity. It churns out 284 horsepower. The previous engine produced 260 hp. The engine’s new Direct Injection Gasoline system, which the company says can also be found on the all-new flagship Nissan Armada full-size SUV, “provides better wide-open throttle performance and improved fuel economy and emissions performance (versus a non-direct-injection system).”

Nissan says fuel economy estimates for 2WD models remain at 20 miles per gallon in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 22 mph combined. All models are paired with Nissan’s third-generation Xtronic transmission. The company says it’s similar to the transmission utilized in the sporty Nissan Maxima. It includes D-Step Logic Control which simulates shifts, giving a more natural acceleration feeling.

When it comes to towing, capacity has increased by 1,000 pounds to 6,000 pounds. The increased towing capacity comes from the enhanced powertrain and body reinforcements added around the trailer hitch area.

“As part of Nissan’s ongoing, extensive research into consumers’ real-world towing activities, we’ve found that mid-size SUV owners really want the ability to tow two-axle recreational trailers, whether for watercraft, flatbeds or campers,” said Bunce. “The 2017 Pathfinder now fits most of those needs with the added confidence of its standard 6,000-pound towing rating.”

Nissan also retuned the Pathfinder’s 4-wheel independent suspension for 2017. It features 11 percent stiffer front shock absorbers and seven percent stiffer rear shocks. Rebound springs have been added to the front struts.

“Fine tuning of the spring rates and the addition of front strut rebound springs has allowed better control of typical body motions such as roll and pitch and bounce. The result is the Pathfinder remains flatter while cornering and road vibrations are well controlled, especially on rough roads and during off-road driving,” said Bunce.

The hydraulic electric steering system was also revised for the 2017 model year. The steering ratio is now 11 percent quicker, enhancing maneuverability.

Safety

New advanced driver assistance technology for the 2017 Pathfinder includes Forward Emergency Braking and Intelligent Cruise Control. Moving Object Detection has also been added to the available Around View Monitor. Other available safety features include Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The vehicle received an overall 5-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Our Take

With a starting MSRP of $30,290, the Nissan Pathfinder remains a great option for families. Having been on the market for 30 years, it’s safe to say many already have a love for the Pathfinder. However, changes to the 2017 model make it even more appealing. With an updated exterior look, revised engine and additional available safety features, the Pathfinder makes its mark.

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