When the fourth-generation Pathfinder was introduced for the 2013 model year, its design represented a major step forward in refined styling and aerodynamic emphasis.
For 2017, the refreshed exterior goes even farther, adding a stronger sense of adventure, character and presence and continued fine-tuning of aero efficiency.
This past weekend, this media outlet got the opportunity to test-drive this elegant, roomy and comfortable vehicle, taking in many of its family-friendly features.
The Pathfinder’s updated appearance incorporates the latest Nissan signature design elements introduced on the Maxima sport sedan and Murano crossover — including 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, more aggressive hood, front bumper and fog lights. The outside rearview mirrors now include standard integrated turn signals. In the rear, changes include new taillights and a stronger bumper design.
Another significant addition for 2017 is the motion-activated liftgate with position memory. With a wave of the foot under the center of the liftgate, one can activate the power opening function. It is standard on SL and Platinum grades.
A roomy, refined interior
The enhancements to the Pathfinder interior for 2017 focus on convenience and connectivity. For example, the cupholders have been reshaped to accommodate mug handles and an illuminated front storage bin. There are now two USB ports inside the console versus the previous single port, making it ideal for both the driver and the passenger to keep their mobile devices charged.
The biggest change, however, is the adoption of new-generation information technology. The standard Advanced Drive-Assist Display (ADAD), located in the center of the instrument display between the tachometer and speedometer, features additional infotainment and driver assistance displays (versus the 2016 Pathfinder design). Voice recognition has been enhanced with a new HD microphone.
The standard 8.0-inch touch-screen monitor, mounted in the middle of the instrument panel, provides intuitive interaction and control of a variety of driver-selectable vehicle systems and settings – including the standard NissanConnectSM with Voice Recognition for audio, Bluetooth and vehicle information. In addition, the available NissanConnect Navigation system (offered as standard equipment on Pathfinder Platinum and optional on SV and SL grades) includes Voice Recognition.
As in previous years, the 2017 Pathfinder’s three-row/seven-passenger interior combines comfortable seating with the cargo capacity that families need every day. It offers the benefits of a mid-size crossover with the comfort of a larger SUV, including a flat floor for enhanced interior packaging flexibility and ample space.
Every 2017 Pathfinder interior is anchored by Nissan’s innovative EZ Flex Seating System with “latch and glide,” a second row tilt and glide seat that allows third row access with a child safety seat remaining securely in place (on the passenger curb side).
Pathfinder also offers available “Around View Monitor” (AVM) with “Moving Object Detection” (MOD) added for 2017. Other available technology includes tri-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth hands-free phone system and iPod integration.
Revised engine, amped towing capacity
In a major step up, Pathfinder’s new 3.5-liter V6 engine features more power, torque and towing capacity. It utilizes more than 50 percent new or new-to-Pathfinder engine parts and components, Nissan confirmed.
Horsepower for the new V6 increases to 284 hp (from the previous 260 hp) and torque is now rated at 259 lb-ft (up from 240 lb-ft). And, while adding more horsepower and torque, Pathfinder fuel economy remains at an estimated 20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined for 2WD models.
All 2017 Pathfinder models are equipped with Nissan’s third-generation Xtronic transmission — similar to that utilized in the Nissan Maxima — which includes D-Step Logic Control that simulates shifts, giving a more natural acceleration feeling.
The new Pathfinder powertrain helps provide real world driving benefits of more responsive acceleration and re-acceleration, such as when entering highways or passing.
Maximum towing capacity has increased by 1,000 pounds to a best-in-class 6,000 pounds (when properly equipped) due to the enhanced powertrain and body reinforcements added around the trailer hitch area. The advanced Xtronic transmission design also helps keep engine rpm optimized while towing without the typical “hunting for a gear” feel.
As in previous years, Pathfinder also features selectable 2WD, Auto or 4WD Lock modes from the available intuitive “All mode” 4×4-i system. With the available intuitive four-wheel drive, Pathfinder continues to serve as an excellent vehicle for inclement weather driving conditions.
In addition, 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.
The 2017 Pathfinder is available at dealerships islandwide and comes in four models: S, SV, SL and Platinum.