The Nissan Pathfinder as we know it gets its first major makeover since its introduction as a 2013 model, when it moved from a truck based SUV with hair on its chest to a car based crossover tailored more for the shopping mall.

While it’s pretty much the same overall picture as before Nissan has updated the styling up front to give it a more chiseled appearance, bringing it in line with the new full-sized Armada that hits the showrooms about the same time.

A new V-Motion grille is more upright and square chinned, framed by a new boomerang headlight design. LED daytime running lights are standard and LED headlamps come on the top-end Platinum grade.

The hood and front fascia also get a bit more of a masculine appearance than before, but the side profile and hip lines remain mom-jeans. The rear three-quarter view gets new tail lights and a revised lower bumper. In the redesign, it retains its current approach and departure angles.

New wheel designs are available across the lineup, with 18-inch alloys for S, SV and SL grades, and a new 20-inch wheel for the Platinum. There are also two new colors, Sandstone and Caspian Blue.

Inside the Pathfinder, Nissan revised the trims here and there, most notably on the center stack and console which gets new finishes and a cup holder layout that’s more flexible. Connectivity is enhanced with now two USB ports in the center console.

The instrument cluster gets a new center display screen that’s customizable with any number of information sets from trip computer functions to infotainment and connectivity. It’s standard equipment too, not just for the top-end grades.

Also standard is an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system that can be upgraded to include navigation and a suite of NissanConnect functions. It also displays the backup camera and available Around View Monitor.

Aside the styling, the big news is what’s under the hood. A variation of the next-generation 3.5-liter VQ V6 engine similar to that of the Maxima joins the Pathfinder. It’s tune here is up from last year with now 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque.

This comes by way of direct fuel-injection, a higher compression ratio at 11.0:1 and an electronically controlled intake system. Mated to the third-generation of Nissan’s continuously variable transmission, we’re told it will have best-in-class towing capacity at 6,000 pounds – an increase of 1,000 pounds.
Even with the additional horsepower, fuel-economy remains at 20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined for front-wheel drive Pathfinders.

And lastly, the suspension has been re-tuned with stiffer struts up front by 11 percent and 7 percent at the rear. Rear rebound spring rates have increased a whopping 25% and the steering ratio is now 11 percent faster. All of this should be welcome for those who felt the Pathfinder felt a bit too fluffy before, as did we.

Continued too is the Pathfinder’s intuitive four-wheel drive system that offers a pretty robust for its class 4WD lock for above average traction articulation in more challenging situations than some of its competitors can muster.

We’ll be test driving the new 2017 Nissan Pathfinder very soon and will bring a more detailed report when that happens. It arrives in North American Nissan dealerships this fall.