Engine: 3.5-liter V6
Torque: 259 pound-feet
Transmission: XTRONIC continually variable automatic transmission (CVT)
EPA Ratings: 19/city, 26/highway, 21/combined
Base Price: $43,560
As Tested: $44,685
Overview: The midsized Nissan Pathfinder crossover SUV was redesigned for 2014, but refreshed for 2017. It boasts an improved powerplant, firmer suspension, plus new infotainment and active safety options. While it drives more like a car than a truck, in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions, it can handle sensible off-roading, plus tow 6,000 pounds thanks to the new engine and chassis reinforcements.
Walkaround: The new front and rear fascia, including bumpers, are designed to make the Pathfinder appear more truck-like. A new chrome grille supports that goal. Otherwise, lines are car-like — long hood, raked windshield and chrome touches.
Interior: This is obviously a family vehicle. Our test drivers had leather seating with plastic surfaces hard, smooth and textured — durable and easy to clean. The new NissanConnect infotainment system with the touchscreen’s pinch-and-swipe controls and tile icons are obviously Infiniti-influenced. The Pathfinder’s size means lots of interior room. Nissan balances comfort, access, space and storage well. There’s cupholders galore, bins, map pockets, bottle holders in each rear door and cupholders on each side of the third row — which is roomier and easier to access than most. The comfortable front seats offer good support, with lots of adjustments. Our seat time included road trips to Blaine and from Atlanta to Gulf Shores, Alabama. No complaints about comfort or quietness. With all the seats up, the Pathfinder has 16 cubic feet behind the third row, and 79.8 cubic feet with them folded.
Behind the Wheel: According to Nissan, 57 percent of the parts in the 3.5-liter V6 are new — including direct injection replacing port injection, electronic variable valve timing, and a new air intake system. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) is unchanged and Nissan’s D-Step shift logic mimics an automatic’s distinct shifts — but it’s sometimes slow to respond. Although the suspension has been stiffened, the ride is comfortable and handling is more controlled, making it easy to forget the Pathfinder is a big SUV.
Bottom Line: Substantial changes, starting with the new V6, make the Pathfinder worth a new look. The interior gets high marks for function, and if you need seven seats, this is the one.