2017 Nissan Pathfinder Review: Keeping Pace With Maturing Competition

– Cleveland, Ohio

The timing for this refresh of the Nissan Pathfinder couldn’t be better. Nissan’s largest crossover has stiff competition to contend with from old stalwarts like the Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander, and brand new three-row crossovers, like the Volkswagen Atlas and upcoming Subaru Ascent, are joining this already-crowded segment every year. The Pathfinder has to keep up, and Nissan is making sure it’s up to the job with a new face up front and more powerful engine under the hood. The rest remains status quo for the most part, which is fine since the Pathfinder was an above-average option to begin with.




Better engine. The Pathfinder’s 3.5-liter V6 engine has been upgraded with direct injection and a higher compression ratio, and 50 percent of its parts are new. The result is a big jump in power. Horsepower climbs from 260 to 284 and torque increases from 240 to 259 pound-feet. This brings the Pathfinder more in line with popular competition like the 280-hp Ford Explorer and 295-hp Toyota Highlander. The Pathfinder still isn’t the most powerful three-row crossover available (the V8-powered Dodge Durango R/T makes 360 hp and the biturbo V6 Ford Explorer Sport generates 365 hp), but Nissan doesn’t need to offer a hot rod motor that only a fraction of buyers want. The upgraded V6 is plenty powerful for a standard engine.

Tow king. The Pathfinder’s maximum towing capacity has also been raised thanks to its more powerful V6 and new body reinforcements a...