The Nissan Pathfinder gets a thorough update for the 2017 model year. The three-row crossover gets a fresh look up front, a power boost, increased towing capacity, and more features. Does all of this make a significant difference on a daily basis? I had a chance to drive the new Pathfinder around town, on the highway, and high in the Rocky Mountains. Turns out, the refreshed Pathfinder is a whole lot better.
It’s common for any car or crossover to get what’s called a mid-cycle refresh two to three years after a fully redesigned model is introduced. The Pathfinder was due for such a refresh, but Nissan went beyond a simple grille replacement and feature/trim update. This is indicative of a more competitive market place, especially in the large crossover segment. Class-leading Ford Explorer received an update for the 2016 model year, there is an all-new 2016 Honda Pilot, and the Toyota Highlander gets a refresh for 2017 – just to name a few.
The model in question for the purposes of this review is the fully-loaded Platinum 4WD with an as-tested price of $46,160. The front-end in unmistakably new. The headlights, grille, hood, and the front bumper are all new pieces. The new tail lights and rear bumper present a less drastic update.
The interior of the Platinum model is luxurious and comfortable, the split front and rear sunroofs add to the airy feel and premium character of this top-of-the-line Pathfinder. There is a standard 8-inch infotainment screen up front, and optional ($1,700) dual DVD screens for the rear passengers.
The meat and potatoes of the refresh are under the skin. The 3.5L V6 gets Nissan’s Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG) system for more power, improved throttle response at wide-open, and fewer emissions. Nissan didn’t stop there. The intake manifold, pistons, are the combustion chamber are among the upgraded parts. Nissan says 56 percent of the engine components are new for 2017. The result is a healthy output of 284 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. The V6 is still mated to the Xtronic CVT, which mimics a regular automatic on acceleration, but also helps deliver good fuel efficiency: 19 MPG in the city, 26 MPG on the highway, and 21 MPG combined, nearly identical to the 2016 model but curiously one mile per gallon less combined.
The 2017 Pathfinder is noticeably quicker at high elevations than the outgoing 2016 model. This large crossover accelerates with authority, even going up a steep grade of I-70 above 10,000 feet of elevation. All the work they put into updating the engine and power delivery really shows.
I did not have a chance to take the Pathfinder off-road or tow with it. The 2017 Pathfinder is now rated at a maximum of 6,000 lbs of towing capacity, which is a 1,000 lbs more than the 2016 model. I hope TFLcar can test out the towing and off-road capabilities of the Pathfinder soon.
Check out this TFLcar video of everything you want to know about the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder: