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2017 Nissan Pathfinder, Now Even More - Review By Larry Nutson

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2017 Nissan Pathfinder
Now with even more

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Nissan recently hosted us at their Adventure Drive media launch of three new 2017 vehicles in their truck lineup. The 2017 Pathfinder was one of them and this gave us a chance for both on-road and off-road driving experiences around California’s Central Coast.

It’s Nissan’s Year of the Truck and the refreshed 2017 Pathfinder is a part of their onslaught to make inroads in the ever-popular U.S. pickup and SUV market.

The current generation Pathfinder was introduced in 2013 and sales climbed 90% over the previous version. Now for 2017 this mid-cycle refresh brings more newness.

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On the outside there’s new front and rear facias, a new V-motion grille and available LED headlights and LED daytime running lights. The hood, fog lamps, tail lamps and wheels are also new. Overall the Pathfinder looks more SUV-like and less car-like.

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On the inside the center console has been redesigned with an illuminated front storage bin and redesigned cupholder size and shape. There’s also new metallic and wood trim finishes. The biggest change is in technology and the new standard Advanced Drive-Assist display located in the center of the instrument cluster that provides a quick look at infotainment and driver-assistance features.

The 3.5-L V6 has gotten some refinement and now is rated at 284 HP (up from 260 HP) and develops 259 lb.-ft. of torque (up from 240 lb.-ft.) to provide improved acceleration, highway merging and mid-range performance needed, for example, after turning a corner and coming back up to speed. In our test drives we drove freeways, hilly terrain, and local roads and the new Pathfinder performed well with no noted shortcomings.

The 2017 Pathfinder uses Nissan’s third-generation Xtronic transmission. This CVT uses D-step control logic that gives a better feel under acceleration and works well with the V6 engine.

EPA test-cycle fuel economy ratings for the 2WD Pathfinder are 23 mpg combined, with 22 city mpg and 27 highway mpg. EPA tweaked their test procedure that, in general, caused all manufacturers combined mpg rating to drop by one. The improvements in the Pathfinder engine offset that and negated the one-mpg drop keeping their ratings among the best in class. At the same time the Pathfinder’s max trailer towing weight increased to 6000 lbs. (was 5000 lbs.).

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Road manners have been improved through changes to springs, front struts and rear shocks. There’s less body roll, pitching and an overall better ride quality. Steering effort and feedback is quite good with quicker response due to changed steering ratio. Tire design has even been tweaked for better road manners.

The Pathfinder still has great off-road abilities with its available on-demand four-wheel-drive system. For on-road efficiency, power goes to the front wheels but easily switches to the rear wheels under slippery conditions. We bounced around a mild off-road trail and the Pathfinder proved its ability.

All Pathfinders have an 8-inch touch-screen display and a motion-activated rear liftgate that opens with a swing of the foot under the rear bumper. Rear cargo space is 16 cuft with all seats upright and is nearly 80 cuft with both seat rows folded.

Nissan has added new driver-assistance safety features to the Pathfinder line-up. Forward emergency braking, blind spot warning, intelligent cruise control, an around view monitor with moving object detection, rear cross traffic alert and rear sonar system are available, depending on model.

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The ramp-up in driver-assistance safety features really help in real-world driving. All these new-technology safety features will help prevent accidental collisions and avoid possible injury and costly repair. The around view monitor with moving object detection provides a 360-degree view while backing or moving forward at slow speeds. Forward emergency braking can help prevent that rear-ender in a moment of distraction perhaps from one of your toddlers. Eventually it will be standard on all vehicles.

The seven-passenger 2017 Pathfinder is offered in 2-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive configurations and a choice of four trims or grades: S, SV, SL and Platinum. There are various option packages to upgrade equipment on each.

Detailed information and specs on the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder can be found here at Take a look right here at The Auto Channel for information on other competitors SUVs.

The 2017 Pathfinder offers a lot and is well suited as a family hauler. There’s lots of versatility and enough cargo space for all those toddler-necessities. Its overall size doesn’t make it too unwieldy and urban dwellers should be comfortable maneuvering the congested streets of a large city. And, you still get towing and off-road capability for those weekend jaunts.

The 2017 Pathfinder will be priced under $30,000 to start and goes on sale in September. We expect full pricing to be released around the on-sale date.

© 2016 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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