Nissan’s original Pathfinder first appeared on the scene in mid-1986 as a compact 1987 model SUV intended to serve the needs of adventuresome families. Over the years, the Nissan Pathfinder has continued to grow considerably not only in size, but also in comfort, performance capabilities, seating capacity, innovative features and functionality.
Now a mid-size SUV rather than a compact, Pathfinder offers seating room for seven occupants along with all of their gear. The 2017 three-row Pathfinder provides first-class accommodations, along with a rugged, enhanced drivetrain capable of going nearly anywhere on- or off-road. It has a longer wheelbase and is longer overall, wider, and taller than its predecessors, while at the same time managing to lose weight.
My test 2017 Nissan Pathfinder came in Platinum trim, with the All-Mode Four Wheel Drive system. The base sticker was set at $43,560 while optional features and equipment elevated the final total to $44,685. Optional cost features and equipment included: Carpeted floor mats and the Destination charge. The standard equipment inventory is most impressive in its own right.
The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder is available in four different trim levels: S, SV, SL and Platinum. Significant changes for the 2017 model year include: a major redesign with a new bolder front end featuring signature boomerang-shaped headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights and available LED headlights; the new 3.5-liter V6 engine that adds a direct injection system, with more horsepower, increasing the maximum towing capacity to a class-leading 6,000 pounds (when properly equipped), enhanced user friendliness features ranging from a Motion-Activated liftgate to updated vehicle connected services, and new advanced driver assistance technology with Forward Emergency Braking, Intelligent Cruise Control and Around View® Monitor with Moving Object Detection.
Power for the new Pathfinder now comes from a VQ35DD, 3.5-liter, DOHC, 60-degree V6 available in either a two-wheel (front) drive or four-wheel drive configuration. There is no longer a V8 available. The V6 engine delivers 284-horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 259 pound feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. The engine adds a direct fuel injection system. All Pathfinders are built on a high-strength, fully boxed, all-steel frame — the same architecture as that of the Nissan Altima.
The new VQ35DD 3.5-liter, DOHC, 24-valve V6 with added Multipoint Direct Injection, delivers more than sufficient horsepower and torque across a broad range, while providing decent fuel economy for an SUV.
Handling characteristics border on the athletic, but certainly not on the order of a luxury sedan. If that were the case, it wouldn’t serve its intended SUV purpose well. The ride quality is a tad on the firm side, and the All-Wheel Drive system results in a slightly reduced turning radius.
Pathfinder provides selectable 2WD, Auto or 4WD Lock modes for its available intuitive ALL-MODE 4×4-i system, allowing the driver choose full-time 2WD for maximum fuel economy, Auto mode to automatically monitor conditions and adjust the balance of power between front and rear wheels for best traction, or 4WD Lock mode when full-time 4WD is desired. In addition, the standard Hill Start Assist helps prevent loss of control when starting and driving away on a steep incline (both 4WD and 2WD models), while standard Hill Descent Control (4WD only) helps by adjusting speed and brake pressure when traveling slowly down steep, rough terrain grades. There are those who detest CVT transmissions, but Nissan’s Xtronic CVT with D-Step Logic Control normally goes unnoticed. It works well.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
NissanConnect with Voice Recognition for audio, Bluetooth and important vehicle information delivers a high level of connectivity and infotainment access. Overall comfort has grown by leaps and bounds and is both roomy and supportive for four adults, with room for personal gear. My test Pathfinder served yeoman’s duty on a recent road trip from California’s San Francisco Bay Area to Klamath Falls, Oregon to pick up our newest family member – an 8 week old Bearded Collie puppy. There was plenty of room for a crate, whelping box, food and supplies for all.
The Pathfinder is now much more contemporary in its overall appeal, and is considerably less boxy than the original. Acceleration is satisfactory with the V6, and the level of amenities has grown substantially over the first generation Pathfinder, along with the increased interior room and comfort level. A wide range of seating and cargo carrying combinations are available with the 2nd row 60/40-split seat with manual slide/recline/fold flat and the 3rd row 50/50-split seat featuring manual recline/flat fold, enhancing versatility and functionality.
Bottom line, the 2017 Pathfinder Platinum 4×4 reflects a favorable evolution toward perfection. Arguably, as there are many who look upon SUVs with disdain, and will likely find nothing good to say at all, given its category. On the other hand, for SUV fans, the Pathfinder has blazed the trail earning the right to reign with continuing popularity
- Base Price: $43,560, price as Tested: $44,685
- Engine Type and Size: VQ35DD 3.5-liter, DOHC, 24-valve V6 with Multipoint Direct Injection
- Horsepower (bhp): 284 @ 6,400 rpm
- Torque (ft./ lbs.): 259 @ 4,800 rpm
- Transmission: Xtronic CVT with D-Step Logic Control
- Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / All-mode 4×4-I drive selectable
- Suspension: Front – Independent strut with 26 mm solid stabilizer bar and twin-tube, dual-flow path shock absorbers
- Rear – Multilink with 26.5 hollow tube stabilizer bar and twin-tube, dual-flow path shock absorbers
- Brakes: Power-assisted hydraulic electric, vehicle speed-sensitive Four-wheel vented discs with ABS, EBD, BA, VDC, Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control
- Tires: Bridgestone Dueler HP Sport A/S 235/55 R 20 mounted on alloy wheels
- Wheelbase: 114.2 inches
- Length Overall: 198.5 inches
- Width: 77.2 inches
- Height: 70.2 inches – with roof rails
- Curb Weight: 4,660 lbs.
- Turning Circle: 38.7 ft.
- Fuel Capacity: 19.5 gallons
- EPA Mileage Estimates: 19 mpg city / 26 mpg highway
- Drag Coefficient: 0.326