2017 Nissan Pathfinder

Starting MSRP: $29,990 - $43,560

Estimated MPG: 20 city / 27 hwy

2017 Nissan Pathfinder Review

Thanks to a significant refresh, the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder is improved both inside and out. Under the hood, Nissan’s three-row crossover gets a significant power boost, enhancing performance and towing capacity without diminishing fuel economy.

By Chris Brewer
Last Updated 11/03/2016

The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder is available in four trim levels: S, SV, SL and Platinum. A V6 engine and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) are standard, and paired with front-wheel drive or an available all-wheel drive system.

Exterior

Exterior
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For 2017, Nissan refreshed the Pathfinder’s front and rear fascia. Its headlights and “V-Motion” grille help the Pathfinder fall in line with the rest of the manufacturer’s recently adopted design language. The new design adds a slightly boxier flavor.

Pathfinder S, SV and SL models are fit with 18-inch alloy wheels, and Platinum models receive 20-inch alloys. Base S models come with halogen headlights that are complemented by standard LED daytime running lights and power-adjustable sideview mirrors with turn-signal indicators. Base models also come with a roof rack and rear privacy glass.

SV models up the ante with fog lights and automatic headlights. The SL trim adds a motion-activated tailgate and heated outside mirrors.

Top-trim Platinum models include a dual-panel panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, chrome body side moldings and a standard tow hitch receiver with trailer wiring.

Interior

Interior
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The Pathfinder's interior is spacious, welcoming and comfortable. Our test Pathfinder Platinum called to mind premium offerings from the related Infiniti brand, albeit with a few reminders of its considerably lower price tag. Fit and finish are excellent, and the Pathfinder’s thoughtful interior design provides an excellent driving experience. Controls are within easy reach and straightforward to use.

The Pathfinder’s standard three-row seating sends its utility almost into minivan territory. While larger families will find its cargo capacity limited when compared with a minivan's, the Pathfinder will likely be adequate for families with two to four children. The second-row bench seat is comfortable and slides back and forth, allowing occupants to configure the vehicle’s legroom based on the number of occupants. The third row's low-profile seats help maximize available headroom.

The Pathfinder excels at providing comfortable transportation for family road trips, especially if the family is comprised of five people or less. Folding down the third row to accommodate extra luggage converts the tight seven-seater with 16 cubic feet of cargo space into a spacious five-passenger SUV with 47.8 cubic feet of capacity. Lowering both rear rows opens up a maximum of 79.8 cubic feet of cargo space.

Features like power-adjustable front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering column and a heated steering wheel are available.

Performance

Performance
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Nissan knows how to build a V6 engine. The company has been perfecting the Pathfinder’s gutsy 3.5-liter V6 for years, and the newly designed version is better than ever. The Pathfinder’s V6 cranks out 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. The new numbers best those of the outgoing model by 24 horsepower and 19 pound-feet, a difference that is notable on paper and tangible on the road.

Our Pathfinder's CVT did a nice job of supporting this crossover's performance. It provided a solid driving experience that was entertaining, even when the throttle was nearly buried to the floor on highway entrance ramps or in passing situations.

The 2017 Pathfinder’s suspension is a nice blend of comfort and performance. It's firm enough to communicate with the driver, but soft enough that it doesn’t grow tiresome during daily commuting. Nissan boasts that the increased spring rates and a sharper turning ratio add to the sporting nature of the Pathfinder, a fact we confirmed time and again during our week-long review period.

Fuel economy is strong, especially for the segment. Front-wheel drive models achieve an EPA-estimated 20/27 mpg city/highway. All-wheel drive models are rated at 19/26 mpg.

With 7 inches of ground clearance, the Pathfinder can tackle snowy roads or light trails. Towing capacity stands at 6,000 pounds.

Technology

Technology
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The Nissan Pathfinder offers a premium level of standard equipment. All models include an 8-inch touch-screen display and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player. Base-model Pathfinders also come standard with a USB port, Bluetooth, satellite radio, tri-zone automatic climate control and push-button start/stop.

Available tech features include navigation, an upgraded 13-speaker Bose audio system and a rear-seat entertainment system.

Safety

Safety
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In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash tests, the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder earned a perfect five star score for its overall performance.

The Pathfinder comes with a rearview camera, battery of air bags, antilock brakes and a tire pressure monitoring system. Available driver-assistance features include blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Platinum models add forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
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The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder S starts at $29,990, not including a $940 destination charge. The all-wheel drive Pathfinder S starts at $31,680, while SV models start at $32,680 and $34,470 with front- and all-wheel drive, respectively.

SL models start at $37,390. We'd recommend choosing this trim for its useful standard features, which include blind spot monitoring, heated first- and second-row seats and a heated steering wheel.

The top-trim Platinum model starts at $41,870, and the all-wheel-drive Platinum begins at $43,560. The Platinum provides premium features for a very reasonable cost.

Overall

Overall
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With a spacious and comfortable interior, strong curb appeal and a capable, efficient power plant, the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder is a family-friendly crossover SUV that won’t break the bank.

Many midsize crossovers offer superb value. However, if you like its styling and appreciate comfort and versatility, the 2017 Pathfinder will make an excellent purchase.