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  • 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid

#15

in Affordable Midsize SUVs

MSRP: $35,300 - $44,550
Invoice: $32,548 - $41,065
MPG: 25 City / 28 Hwy
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Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid Performance

Although some reviewers say the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid has good driving manners, many write that its hybrid powertrain is underpowered and produces a coarse sound. Other auto journalists note that the steering, while accurate, offers the driver little road feedback, and some say that it takes a while to acclimate to the overly-grabby regenerative brakes.

  • "All-in, the Pathfinder Hybrid just isn't as smooth and easy to drive as its non-hybrid sibling." -- Autoblog
  • "Unfortunately, the limitations of this powertrain show as soon as you take your foot off the gas pedal. Since the small electric motor can only power the car when creeping forward very slowly, the gasoline engine is constantly starting and stopping at low speeds with a noticeable shudder. When you add the unpredictable feel as the regenerative brakes engage, the Pathfinder Hybrid's progress around town feels clumsy, especially compared to the seamless system in Toyota's hybrids." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Like the normal Pathfinder, the Pathfinder Hybrid is a highly capable, well-mannered family crossover." -- AutoTrader

Acceleration and Power

The Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid is powered by a supercharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor that together produce 250 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 25/28 mpg city/highway, which is very good for the class, though not quite as good as the Toyota Highlander Hybrid's fuel economy rating.

Critics find that the Pathfinder Hybrid feels slow and sluggish from a stop and at highway speeds, and some think that the powertrain is outmatched by the Pathfinder Hybrid's heft. Some also note that the engine produces an unpleasant sound. Auto journalists say that the CVT transmits power smoothly.

  • "Beyond the low-speed issues, the Pathfinder Hybrid's powertrain lacks refinement. Part of the problem might be attributed to the supercharged four-cylinder engine, which is meant to deliver the power of a V-6 only with less sacrifice at the gas station. The engine note is coarse and the power delivery seems to come and go sometimes, although the well-tuned CVT does its best to process the power in a smoothly predictable way." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "While its 0-to-60 miles per hour time is around eight seconds, the Pathfinder Hybrid feels sluggish at higher speeds, such as passing on the highway. A 4-cylinder is just no match for the SUV's weight and size." -- AutoTrader
  • "That said, the hybrid system isn't nearly as smooth as we'd like, especially off the line. The throttle feels dead at initial tip-in, and you really have to dig into the rightmost pedal to get the Pathfinder Hybrid to move. Once it's in motion, the gasoline engine kicks in with an uncultivated action and coarse sound." -- Autoblog
  • "Out on the open road, we found that the Pathfinder Hybrid provides essentially the same pick-up as its V6 kin, albeit with a hint of blower whine that's certainly out of the ordinary - but not at all unpleasant - for a vehicle in this segment." -- Left Lane News

Handling and Braking

While some test drivers write that the Pathfinder Hybrid is generally pleasing to drive, critics note that the steering, while precise, offers very little road feel. Some reviewers think the Pathfinder Hybrid's regenerative brakes feel fairly refined, yet others complain that the brakes seem overly grabby at first.

  • "Beyond acceleration and gas mileage, we find the Pathfinder Hybrid to be very likable on the road. Steering is a bit numb, but the midsize crossover segment is hardly known for its sports-car-like handling." -- AutoTrader
  • "The regenerative brakes are admirably refined in the low-speed situations that throw many other hybrids off their groove, and, while the steering is light and largely devoid of feel, it's at least unerringly accurate." --Left Lane News
  • "There's a similar sort of displeasure when its time to bring things to a halt. Just the opposite from the vague throttle response, the brakes are particularly grabby right from the get-go, presumably because the system is programed to eke out as much regenerative braking energy as it can. Sure, you get used to it, but we'd certainly like a brake pedal that's easier to modulate with a more linear feel." -- Autoblog
Review Last Updated: 5/15/14

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