Sales of Pathfinder increased when the current R52 series was introduced in late 2013.
But Nissan executives admit their full-size SUV still flies under the radar and remains something of a “forgotten car” with consumers.
The latest enhancements for model year 2017, backed up by increased marketing efforts, are aimed at getting more consumers to put the ‘Pathy’ on their shopping list. Engine, styling, technology and equipment updates have been made for MY2017.
External styling revisions include a new ‘V-Motion’ grille design, a more aggressively styled bonnet, headlamps with boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights, revised front and rear bumpers, new tail-lights, and integrated turn indicators in the exterior mirror heads.
The previous model’s six paint colours carry over with the addition of one new colour, Caspian Blue. A new high-contrast alloy wheel design is fitted – 18” for ST and ST-L grades, while the Ti scores 20” with 235/55 R20 rubber.
To improve handling, body control and ride quality, Nissan’s chassis engineers have stiffened up the front and rear suspensions slightly and made steering response ‘quicker’.
The 3.5-litre VQ series V6 engine is heavily revised with a higher compression ratio, 50 percent of its componentry new (or new to Pathfinder), and it now uses direct petrol injection technology. Engine cylinders also feature a mirror-bore coating that reduces friction between the piston rings and bore surface, as well as reducing weight by eliminating the need for a heavy cast iron cylinder liner.
Peak power and torque are increased to 202kW (+12kW) and 340Nm (+15Nm), while fuel consumption improves marginally, with official combined consumption of 9.9 litres/100km for 2WD versions and 10.1 l for AWD models.
Like its predecessor, all Pathfinder models are fitted with a CVT auto transmission. However, the updated model now uses the third-generation of Nissan’s Xtronic CVT with D-Step Logic Control, delivering stepped ratio shifts on heavy acceleration for a more natural feel that mimics a conventional auto. Engine and gearbox combine well for solid performance, delivered with an agreeable level of refinement.
Nissan continue to offer a 2.5-litre supercharged four-cylinder petrol and electric hybrid powertrain model that carries over from the previous version. A 15kW electric motor supplements the petrol engine’s outputs for maximum combined power of 188kW and 330Nm. Official combined fuel consumption is 8.6 litres/100km and 8.7 for the front and all-wheel-drive models, respectively. Having been designed primarily for the US market, Nissan don’t offer a diesel engine option.
All three model grades with V6 engine – ST, ST-L and Ti – are offered in either front or all-wheel-drive. Pathfinder hybrid in base model ST specification comes as front-drive only, while the ST-L and Ti are all-wheel-drive only.
The mid-spec ST-L and range leader, the Ti, now have added Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies. Both grades feature intelligent emergency braking and forward collision warning, plus rear cross-traffic alert and intelligent cruise control. The Ti now also has LED headlights with auto-levelling.
Amongst the extra standard goodies on all models, there’s a new infotainment system with 8” colour touch-screen display and two USB ports, and Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity with voice recognition. ST-L and Ti versions also score navigation with 3D mapping graphics and multi-touch controls. A third USB port and an HDMI port for the second-row entertainment screens, plus a motion-activated power tailgate have been added to Ti versions too.
With more than 65 percent of Pathfinders currently finding homes with families with more than two children, potential buyers will be pleased to know that seven seats remain standard and Nissan’s EZ Flex seating system carries over from the MY2016 series. The second-row seats offer the practicality of three child restraint points (outer positions are ISOFIX compatible), a 60:40 split fold, plus a latch and glide system for third row access.
The right side can still tilt and slide with an ISOFIX child restraint installed. Third row seating backrests recline and new for MY17, the third row now has one child restraint anchor point. The comfort of tri-zone climate control is standard across the range.
Our launch drive of the updated V6 models showed the Pathfinder is family-friendly and practical, and would make a comfortable and capable long distance tourer.