Pathfinder first look: Rethought, but not groundbreaking
Something you will take notice of, though, is the new motion-activated liftgate. Just wave your foot under the liftgate, and it’ll open much like the Ford Escape’s hatch started doing back in 2012.
Arguably the most important part of a large SUV like the Pathfinder is the interior. Nissan adds some nice touches to make it a bit more user friendly for our fast and tech-laden lifestyles. Two USB ports are provided in the center console, as opposed to just one from the 2016 model year. A new drive-assist display is now located between the tach and speedo, and will work in tandem with the 8.0-inch touchscreen mounted in the center stack. Between the two of them, you’ll get all the normal radio, navigation and Bluetooth controls seen on infotainment systems today. Design-wise, the interior remains mostly untouched except for the added tech. There’s still a good bit of plastic, even in the Platinum trim level. The lack of an overhaul to the interior makes it feel a bit dated when compared to other cars in this segment.
Power-wise, we’re looking at Nissan’s workhorse 3.5-liter V6, featuring a little more giddy-up compared to last year’s engine.
“We wanted to give the Pathfinder a more powerful feeling,” said Chris Reed, chief engineer for the Pathfinder.
Nissan claims the re-engineered engine produces 284 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. That’s an extra 24 hp and 19 lb-ft, which comes courtesy of the engine’s new direct-injection system and combustion chamber design. Also, new pistons help raise the compression ratio to 11.0:1, further increasing power. Every Pathfinder is equipped with a CVT automatic transmission that “simulates shifts” in an effort to make it feel like a traditional auto. We weren’t too perturbed by the CVT when we drove it in the previous generation, but this is a big SUV so the threshold for high-performance satisfaction is low.
When properly equipped, the new Pathfinder’s towing capacity is 6,000 pounds. That’s a 1,000-pound increase over last year due to the increased power and body reinforcements around the trailer hitch. Thankfully, the car won’t be taking a hit in fuel economy from the added power, as the SUV retains its 20-mpg city, 27-mpg highway ratings in front-wheel-drive form. All-wheel-drive cars carry over the same 19-/26-mpg ratings from last year as well.