In 2013, the Nissan Pathfinder was lifted from its truck-based ladder frame and made the transition to a softer, rounder car-based crossover format like most of its competitors. While many hard core enthusiast complained, sales expanded handsomely.
And while Nissan has been comfortable in their strategy, the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder has gotten an infusion of new styling, new capabilities and new features to back-fill its credibility when it comes to off-road treks, trailer towing, and even horsepower bragging rights.
To start with, the softer more car like style has been updated with a more square and masculine face that adopts the latest iteration of Nissan’s V-Motion grille. The hood is now taller with more of a truck silhouette, the lower front fascia more rugged looking. A new tail light design goes along with a lower rear fascia that mimics the new themes you see up front.
The interior of our Platinum tester saw most of the upgrades with a new wood finish that is the best faux tree we’ve seen with a matte open pore finish. A new center console is here with redesigned spaces, but other wise the interior remains the same as before.
Seats are comfortable up front with power adjustments and both heating and ventilation. Memory settings for the driver are more than welcome. The driving position can be high like and SUV or low and car-like with its range of height adjustment.
Infotainment is the latest generation Nissan Connect suite found in a colorful touchscreen system. Audio from its Bose hardware is good, graphics are easily seen in most light and the menus easy to understand. There is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto yet however.
Rear seat passengers will find the second row mostly spacious, but the lower cushion is a bit low. Third row seats are mostly for children, though the second row can slide forward to make more room. All of the seats fold down for a near flat load floor quite easily.
Under the hood you’ll find a revised 3.5 liter V6 that gains a number of substantial updates chief among them direct-fuel injection. This boosts output to now 284 horsepower from 260 with torque up to 259 pound-feet from 240.
It’s a small increase but you can feel it through its continuously variable transmission (CVT). The transmission lets you pretend shift with simulated changes in ratio, a bone to throw those who complain about the rubber band feel of the CVT.
The EPA rates it 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined. In our week with it we achieved 20 mpg combined, the air-conditioner on at all times.
Handling is bolstered considerably with a stiffer suspension this year. Front and rear shocks have been stiffened up as have the rebound springs. These changes along with the extra power give a higher tow rating, now at a class leading 6,000 pounds.
Now you can push the Pathfinder into a curve with a more stable platform under you and tow a trailer too without that squishy feeling it once had under load. On our off-road drive it handled the rigors of the washboard road reasonably well with only mild rattling of interior trims.
Priced at $46,150 our 2017 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum was about fully loaded including the rear seat entrainment system. With all its features it makes it a competitive value to many, though some in class do offer a few more items for that price. Pathfinder however does offer a few more inches of space than most.