2015 Nissan Pathfinder Continues on a Good Path

By Sue Mead, November 29th, 2014

The Nissan Pathfinder crossover utility vehicle soldiers on with a few technology and comfort upgrades for 2015, as well as additional safety and creature features.

Manufacturer photo: The 2015 Pathfinder offers exceptional levels of versatility, fuel efficiency and full-size comfort for seven passengers
Manufacturer photo: The 2015 Pathfinder offers exceptional levels of versatility, fuel efficiency and full-size comfort for seven passengers

The changes to the fourth-generation Pathfinder keep it very fresh and relevant in the midsize segment. Of note are some clever cargo features and technology capabilities that you can't find elsewhere in its segment. The seven-passenger Pathfinder boasts car-like ride and handling, comes in 2WD and 4WD versions, and competes with the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot/Passport, Toyota Highlander/4Runner, and the Chevy Traverse/Trailblazer.

From the outside, the Pathfinder's black honeycomb grille stretches like a pair of wings across the entire front end, and is dominated by a large Nissan badge. Big halogen headlamps wrap around to the sides, while optional fog lamps are mounted in the lower part of the grille.

The roofline slants sharply down from the shoulders to the tail end, giving it a more coupe-like stance despite its longer, three-row size. Character lines scoop out the midsection like a waist, and the rear liftback gets an integrated spoiler on top.

Inside, Pathfinder is bright and roomy overall, boasting as much as 79.8 cu.-ft. of stowage. The second row splits 60/40 and can slide back and forth 5.5 inches, allowing easier entry into the third row, while still keeping a child safety seat latched in place on the passenger side. The third row, which splits 50/50, also reclines, and both rows can fold flat to accommodate large cargo. There's under-floor storage behind the third row, as well.

Manufacturer photo: The 2015 Pathfinder offers exceptional levels of versatility, fuel efficiency and full-size comfort for seven passengers

Starting at $29,510, the 2015 Pathfinder comes in four trim levels: S, SV, SL, and Platinum. The Pathfinder receives the addition of blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert on the SL and Platinum trim levels.

Blind spot monitoring uses sensors in the rear of the vehicle to detect a car in the blind spot of the driver, and shows a warning light accordingly. Rear cross traffic warning systems typically use the same sensors, but watch for vehicles approaching from the sides. This is useful when backing out of a parking space as a warning chime will sound and indicate which direction the car is coming from.

The Pathfinder is powered by a V-6 engine that makes 260 horsepower and 240 lb.-ft. of torque, mated to a continuously variable transmission. For 2015, Nissan has revised the D-Step Shift Logic for the CVT to improve performance.

Higher-end Pathfinders also have Nissan's ALL-MODE 4x4-I system, which has selectable 2WD, Auto, or 4WD Lock modes. Fuel economy estimates are 26 mpg highway/20 mpg city for 2WD models and 25/19 mpg highway/city for 4WD models; top towing capacity is 5,000 pounds.

On our ride and drive, we made note of the bright interior, with comfortable ergonomics for driver and front seat passenger, as well as the good second- and third-row seat roominess; notable is the simple ease of access to the back row. This cockpit is whisper-quiet, with a luxurious ride and ample elbow room.

Manufacturer photo: The 2015 Pathfinder offers exceptional levels of versatility, fuel efficiency and full-size comfort for seven passengers

Nissan claims best-in-class passenger volume, front head and leg room, class-exclusive third-row reclining seats. Meanwhile, Nissan's EZ Flex seating system with latch and glide promises a straight-forward system to get smaller riders situated in all rows.

Specifications

Base price $29,510 (as tested: $30,395)
Curb weight 4,330 lbs.
Displacement 3.5-liter
Engine type DOHC V-6 w/SMPFI
Epa mileage rating 20 mpg city, 26 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 19.5 gal.
Horsepower (net) 260 at 6400 rpm
Overall length 197.2 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 240 at 4400 rpm
Transmission CVT
Vehicle type 7-passenger full-size 2WD CUV
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