For 30 years, Nissan's Pathfinder has been a fixture in the brand's product lineup. Over the years, it has evolved from a rough and tumble compact trucklet to a capable and spacious family hauler. For 2017, the fourth-generation Pathfinder continues to improve with refreshed styling, more power, and more equipment.
Where last year's updates to the Altima and Sentra were quite noticeable, by comparison, the Pathfinder's facelift is subtle. New LED headlamps with LED accents flank a chunky chrome-accented grille that sports Nissan's new V-Motion design language. A new hood and restyled bumpers cut the Pathfinder's already efficient drag rating to just 0.33, reducing wind noise and fuel consumption. Nissan has also added a new hands-free function for the available power liftgate, plus restyled 20-inch wheels for the top-of-the-line Platinum trim.
Under the hood, the Pathfinder gets an upgraded 3.5-litre V6 engine. It features direct injection for 284 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque, which is up from last year's 260 hp and 240 lb-ft. Both power and torque are produced at lower RPMs, making the engine more tractable. The Pathfinder continues to use a CVT as its only transmission; front-wheel drive is standard on the base S trim, with all-wheel drive as standard on the S AWD, SV, SL, and Platinum.
The added power of the new engine allows the Pathfinder to tow up to 6,000 lbs, which leads the class for midsize crossover utilities. That's 1,000 lbs more than last year's model, as well as 1,000 lbs more than the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. While Infiniti offers a hybrid version of its luxe Pathfinder-derived QX60, the 2017 Pathfinder will not be available as a hybrid.
With three rows of seating as standard, and a unique second-row bench that can tilt and slide with a full-size child's seat attached, the Pathfinder remains one of the segment's most family-friendly models. Upgrades to the 2017 model's cabin focus mainly on technology. A redesigned centre console features a brand new 8.0-inch touchscreen display front and centre. Standard on all models, it can be upgraded with navigation and Nissan's new NissanConnect telematics services on higher trim levels. Where equipped, the Pathfinder's 360-degree surround view parking camera system has been updated to include moving object detection, while adaptive cruise control and emergency autonomous braking are now available. There are new trim options including new cloth upholstery, plus an intriguing wavy-finish wood trim. Also upgraded is the optional rear-seat entertainment system. Nissan has increased the screen size on the dual headrest monitors to 8.0 inches, which are larger by one inch.
The current generation Pathfinder is by far and away the most comfortable and car-like iteration to date. The 2017 model continues to refine the ride and handling of the vehicle with a re-tuned front and rear suspension system that gets stiffer shocks and increased spring rates that aim to reduce body roll. The Pathfidner's electro-hydraulic power steering system is also 11 percent quicker than before to make the crossover feel less bulky and more nimble.