A Closer Look at Nissan’s Significantly Refreshed Crossover
The refreshed 2017 Nissan Pathfinder has been unveiled, and with the mid-cycle freshening comes many updates to make this three-row crossover safer, more powerful, and more rugged than its predecessor. While not a full redesign, the Pathfinder gets a much needed infusion of performance and technology to keep it fresh and competitive with key rivals like the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, and Ford Explorer. Here are nine notable features on the refreshed 2017 Nissan Pathfinder, which goes on sale in September of this year.
Yes, the VQ Engine Lives On
You heard right, the workhorse VQ35 3.5-liter V-6 lives on but with 56 percent of the engine comprised of new parts. As a result, it now makes 284 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque thanks to the addition of direct injection, a new intake manifold, new pistons, and an increased compression ratio of 11.0:1. Compared to its predecessor, the revised VQ35 is also lighter thanks to the use of an aluminum block and heads with mirror-bore cylinder coating. As with the older version of the VQ35, expect this one to trickle down to other cars including the Murano, Maxima, and Altima.
More Power, Same Fuel Economy
Despite the new engine getting a healthy dose of power and torque, don’t expect the 2017 Pathfinder to be less efficient. In fact, Nissan says that fuel economy ratings from the pre-facelift Pathfinder, 20/27 mpg (11.8/8.7L/100km) city/highway for front-drive models and 19/26 mpg (12.4/9L/100km) for all-wheel-drive variants, should carry over for the refreshed model.
Suspension and Steering Tweaked for Improved Driving Dynamics
In an effort to make the Pathfinder a better handling vehicle, Nissan has also tweaked the car’s suspension. The front and rear shock absorbers are now stiffer and rear spring rates have been increased by 25 percent. New rebound springs in the front struts have been added while the steering ratio has been increased by 11 percent to make it more responsive.
No, There’s No Hybrid Coming…For Now
When asked whether a hybrid variant of the Pathfinder would return as part of the refreshed 2017 lineup, Nissan says that’s not in the cards…for now. Despite the quiet addition of a Murano Hybrid and the return of the Infiniti QX60 Hybrid, the Pathfinder won’t get a hybrid variant in the near future. The Pathfinder Hybrid was sold only for a short period and featured a 2.5-liter supercharged I-4 coupled to an electric motor for a total output of 250 hp.
There’s More Tech to Keep You From Crashing
Yes, there are more nannies to keep you from rear-ending another car on the road. Safety features that will be added to the 2017 Pathfinder include automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and Moving Object Detection. These features, which have been available on the related Infiniti JX35/QX60 for some time, should keep you from getting into too much trouble.
Improved Infotainment System
The latest version of NissanConnect has found its way into the 2017 Pathfinder and the touchscreen has grown to 8 inches from the previous car’s 7-inch unit. Along with it comes a number of connected functions such as SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link and navigation. However, Apple CarPlay, which was added to the 2017 Maxima, and Android Auto are conspicuously missing in the version of NissanConnect found in the 2017 Pathfinder.
The CVT is New, and it’s Still the Only Transmission Offered
Nissan’s third-generation CVT, which saw duty first in the 2016 Maxima, has found its way to the 2017 Pathfinder. Like in the Maxima, this transmission features Nissan’s D-Step Logic Control, which is a fancy way of saying that it makes simulated gear changes so that it feels like a stepped gearbox.
7 Inches of Ground Clearance
Don’t expect the refreshed 2017 Pathfinder to be able to go rock crawling like its body-on-frame predecessors because it only has 7 inches of ground clearance and doesn’t have the right underpinnings to do so. Instead, this is a crossover meant for transporting the family through snow or on light trails to get to the campsite.
A More Rugged Face
The 2017 Pathfinder received a nip and tuck that gave it a new front fascia. Its headlights, in particular, have been reshaped and feature a kink that kicks up a little. The front end features a different take on Nissan’s V-Motion grille, which is less aggressive and emphasizes the width of the car by placing the chrome bars far apart from each other and positioned more upright compared to other Nissan models with the new corporate face.