Nissan Pathfinder — Upgraded for 2017

By David Finkelstein

The Nissan Pathfinder has a remarkable track record in the nearly 60-year history its been sold in the United States. For the 2017 model year, it now has updated styling and capability, a freshened exterior look and enhanced safety and technology plus a higher level of overall performance with it's re-engineered 3.5-liter V6 engine. More precisely, the engine itself now has more than 56 percent all new componentry. 

Horsepower for the V6 increases to 284, from the previous 260 rating. Engine torque has also increased to 259 lb-ft, up from 240 lb-ft on the engine it replaces. With the addition of more performance, Pathfinder fuel economy remains 20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined with the front-wheel-drive models.

Maximum towing capacity has increased by 1,000 pounds. It's rated best-in-class at 6,000 pounds, when properly equipped from the factory.

All '17 Pathfinder models are equipped with a “third-generation” Xtronic CVT automatic transmission. This addition gives the feel of more responsive shift points plus smoother acceleration, due in part to the advancements in it's logic control module. Pathfinder also features selectable 2WD, Auto or 4WD lock modes, from the optional intuitive ALL-MODE 4x4-i system. It's governed by a rotary switch mounted on the center console.

Also contributing to the enhanced driving dynamics is the extensively retuned 4-wheel independent suspension. This was developed at Nissan's Arizona proving grounds to meet the needs of motorists here state-side. The end game is improved body control and a refined ride. Additionally, the reworked and revised electronic/hydraulic power steering system further provides improved cornering feel, when compared to the outgoing '16 model.

With all new body sheet metal forward of the vehicles A-pillar (basically from the windshield forward), Pathfinder's refreshed exterior provides a stronger sense of adventure character and presence by adding Nissan signature design elements, such as the new “V-Motion” grille and boomerang-shaped headlights with LED daytime running lights.

New LED headlights are standard on the Pathfinder Platinum grade. Other exterior enhancements include a new front bumper, fog lights, outside rearview mirrors with integrated turn signals and new wheel designs. In the rear, changes include new taillight and bumper designs. These modifications help optimize air flow around the exterior resulting in lower wind drag numbers.

Another significant addition for 2017 is the available Motion-Activated liftgate with liftgate position memory. It's standard on SL and Platinum grades. A simple wave of the foot under the center of the liftgate activates the power opening function. Two new exterior colors are offered — Sandstone and Caspian Blue. Nine exterior colors are available in total.

Standard are 18-inch machined aluminum-alloy wheels fitted with 235/65-R18 all-season tires. 20-inch machined aluminum-alloy wheels with light gun metallic paint finish and 235/55-R20 all-season tires are standard on the Platinum grade as well as optional on the other trims. Pathfinder's modern and adventure-ready interior includes comfortable seating for seven and it's updated connectivity features.

Every new Pathfinder interior is anchored by Nissan's innovative EZ Flex Seating System.For instance, the 2nd row seat glides forward and tilts thus allowing easy 3rd row access. A wide range of seating combinations are also available. New cloth seat fabric is added for S and SV grades, along with new interior finishers for SL and Platinum grade levels. Leather-appointed seating is standard on SL and Platinum models.

Heated and Cooled front seats, heated rear seats and heated steering wheel are also available. Other enhancements for this year include a new center console design with an illuminated front storage bin and redesigned cupholders.

The standard 8.0-inch touch-screen monitor positioned in the middle of the instrument panel provides intuitive interaction and control of a variety of driver-selectable vehicle systems and settings. Navigation is standard on Pathfinder Platinum and optional on SV and SL grades. The system includes voice recognition and SiriusXM Traffic, with three years of complimentary service. NissanConnect Services powered by SiriusXM features automatic collision notification, emergency call and stolen vehicle locator, customizable alerts plus dealer service scheduling and maintenance reminders. It comes standard on Platinum grade and optional on SV and SL grades.

The wide range of available convenience features and driving aids also includes standard Bluetooth hands-free phone system, tri-zone automatic climate control, rearview monitor and available 13-speaker Bose premium audio. The family entertainment package with dual headrest's and 8.0-inch DVD monitors is also available as is the Nissan Intelligent Key system with programmable settings, remote engine start, dual panorama moonroof and easy-fill tire air pressure alert.

Advanced driver assistance technology includes forward emergency braking and intelligent cruise control. Moving object detection has been added to the available Around View Monitor feature. Also offered are blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert. Pricing starts out at $32,290. The high end Midnight Model shows an MSRP of $43,265.