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Enjoy The Drive: 2018 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD Review By John Heilig

2018 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD (select to view enlarged photo)
2018 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD

By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2018 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD
ENGINE: 3.5-liter V6
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 284 hp @ 6,400 rpm/259 lb.-ft. @ 4,800 rpm
WHEELBASE: 114.2 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 198..5 x 77.2 x 70.2 in.
TIRES: P235/55R20
CARGO CAPACITY: 16.0/47.8 cu. ft. (3rd row seats up/down)
ECONOMY: 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/20.8 mpg test
TANK: 19.5 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 4,660 lbs. #/HP: 16.4
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Toyota Highlander, Buick Envision, Ford Explorer
STICKER: $47,840 (includes $960 destination, $2,8870 options)

BOTTOM LINE: The Nissan Pathfinder is a nearly ideal size for a sport utility in that it has all the cargo capacity one would normally need, yet it isn’t too big to be unwieldy.

The problem with most three-row SUVs is that they are either too big or the third row is so small that you have to be either a contortionist or very small to fit there. So let’s put it to rest by saying that the Nissan Pathfinder is a good size, both overall and in three-row practicality. That said, too, we kept the third row folded most of the time except for check-out time.

Pathfinder is rated as a small SUV, but the 2017 model year revision nudges it up close to standard-size territory. It has a nice 114-inch wheelbase that aids in ride quality, while its overall length of just under 200 inches (16.5 feet) makes it a practical overall size.

The standard 3.5-liter V6 offers plenty of power (284 horsepower) and torque (259 lb.-ft.) for good over-the-road performance. We were never at a loss when we wanted to pull ahead. Generally, the engine was quiet, but it did make a fuss when provoked.

Handling is good for an SUV. The Pathfinder is relatively tall (70.2 inches) and tends to lean a bit in corners. This isn’t bad, though. When I began this scribbling 34 years ago, my first tester was a 2-door SUV. It was pretty basic with none of the amenities we expect today. The Pathfinder is fully equipped with a full alphabet of safety features and power aids - ABS, RCTA, RDA, AEB (Automatic Emergency Braking), ICC (Intelligent Cruise Control), and AEB (Automatic Emergency Braking).

My wife often complains about my parking ability. Too often (and I agree) I’m not spaced very evenly between the lines. The Pathfinder has a normal backup camera plus a 360-degree “overhead” view that allowed me to nail it almost every time. The cameras can also be turned on for “forward” parking as well to keep from hitting concrete stops (or other cars).

After 2017’s extensive revisions, Nissan engineers still had a few tricks up their sleeves for 2018. One is RDA for Rear Door Alert system. The system detects that a rear door was opened or closed prior to a trip, but was not re-opened again after the trip was completed. After the Pathfinder is put in park and the ignition turned off, the system responds with a series of notifications, starting with a display in the instrument panel and progressing to subtle but distinctive chirps of the horn. Since we eat out often and just as often bring home “doggie bags,” we have often left them in the car after returning home, so this system works for us, as well as for parents of small children.

Front seats are comfortable. The center console/arm rest has two levels for added practicality with all the plug-ins you’d need. In addition, there’s a large cubby at the base of the center stack with two USB and a 12-volt outlet for charging.

On the center console itself is a rotary knob for 4WD selection, from 2WD, through AUTO, to 4X4 Low Lock.

Second row seating offers excellent leg room. There’s also a standard sun roof over the front row and a larger one for second and third row passengers.

My only complaint is that several times I shifted into L instead of D, but that may not be the Pathfinder’s fault.

Overall, the Pathfinder is a good package, Styling is in the Nissan mode and interior space and practicality are excellent.

(c) 2018 The Auto Page Syndicate

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