Nissan Pathfinder

#16 in Midsize SUVs Overall Score: 7.5 / 10
2017 Nissan Pathfinder View More Photos » Nissan North America, Inc.
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2017 Nissan Pathfinder Overview

The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder ranks 16 out of 18 Midsize SUVs.

The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder undergoes a significant refresh for the new model year, receiving updated styling, improvements to the engine and suspension, and more features available at lower trim levels. However, despite Nissan’s best ...

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Pros & Cons

  • Strong V6 engine
  • Intuitive infotainment system
  • Good overall cargo space
  • Rough ride quality
  • Lackluster interior design
  • Dull driving dynamics
  • Unimpressive passenger space

Notable for 2017

  • Updated headlights, taillights, and exterior design
  • More powerful engine and improved suspension
  • 8-inch touch-screen display and NissanConnect now standard
  • Increased towing capacity

Nissan Pathfinder Rankings and Research

The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder ranking is based on its score within the Midsize SUVs category. Currently the Nissan Pathfinder has a score of 7.5 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 40 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.


Overall: 7.5
Critics' Rating: 7.7
Performance: 7.6
Interior: 7.8
Safety: 8.5
Reliability: N/A


2017 Nissan Pathfinder Pictures

2017 Nissan Pathfinder Review

By Bryan Siwik September 30, 2016

The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder undergoes a significant refresh for the new model year, receiving updated styling, improvements to the engine and suspension, and more features available at lower trim levels. However, despite Nissan’s best efforts and based on our analysis of professional reviews and data, the Pathfinder can’t seem to find a path from near the bottom of our midsize SUV rankings.

A V6 powers the Pathfinder, and while it provides good acceleration and towing capacity, handling and ride quality are subpar. Cargo room is somewhat impressive, giving the Pathfinder a healthy measure of utility, but passenger space is only OK.

While the Pathfinder adequately does everything it’s supposed to do, there are many others in the class that do those things better, and some at a much lower price.  

Pathfinder Performance

Veritable V6

The 2017 Pathfinder is only available with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that gets a 24 horsepower boost from the 2016 model, to 284 horsepower. This power plant delivers decent acceleration from a stop or at highway passing speeds. The engine is paired to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), a type of automatic often used by Nissan and some other manufacturers. Delayed power delivery and/or a loud whirring sound are common complaints about CVTs, but the Pathfinder stifles those concerns.

In addition, towing capacity is now at 6,000 pounds, up from the 2016 Pathfinder’s 5,000 pounds. That value is second in the class, only behind the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which can haul up to 7,400 pounds.

Modest Gas Mileage

Fuel economy of the Pathfinder is slightly above average for the class. Standard front-wheel drive models get 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, while all-wheel drive models get 19 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway. Unsurprisingly, the most efficient vehicle in the class is a hybrid – the Toyota Highlander Hybrid returns 27 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway, but at a massive price increase over the Pathfinder. Among nonhybrids in the class, the Mazda CX-9 performs the best, getting 22/28 mpg city/highway.

Half-Baked Handling

When it comes to steering and handling, the Pathfinder is only adequate, at best. Nissan made several tweaks to the suspension for 2017, and test drivers are split on how those shake out. Some say the Pathfinder has a harsh ride quality, broadcasting bumps from the road into the cabin, while others say it’s perfectly comfortable as a family hauler.

From the driver’s seat, it’s also a mixed bag, as some reviews tout competent steering and stability around turns, while others think the Pathfinder lacks precision.

Read more about performance »

Pathfinder Interior

Mediocre Room Inside

If you have a large family, the Pathfinder probably sticks out because of its standard 3-row configuration. While other similarly equipped SUVs only fit small children comfortably in the third row, the Pathfinder offers a little more utility – teenagers or smaller adults can fit, with just slightly cramped legroom. The Pathfinder's third row is also easy to access. Passengers in other seats should find just enough space to be comfortable, but other rivals tend to offer more space to stretch out. The Honda Pilot boasts extensive room for all occupants and features a large third row that can seat three.

The Pathfinder has two complete LATCH car seat systems on the outboard seats of the second row. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the lower anchors are too deep in the seat, which could cause some frustration. Once you find them though, it’s easy to maneuver around them and attach the cables with little trouble. The second-row middle seat and one third-row seat have only a top tether anchor.

Cargo space can be a highlight of the Pathfinder, depending on how you structure the seats. With all three rows up, you’ll get 16 cubic feet of space, which is average for 3-row midsize SUVs. With the back row folded, the Pathfinder can be compared to 2-row midsize SUVs, and in this matchup, it offers excellent space at 47.8 cubic feet. If you fold all the seats down, you’ll enjoy 79.8 cubic feet of space, which is a little above average for the class. The Toyota 4Runner and Honda Pilot offer more maximum cargo areas, while the Chevy Traverse blows away most of the competition with its space.

Excellent Infotainment

New for 2017, an infotainment system complete with an 8-inch touch screen is standard in all Pathfinders. It features voice activation for system commands and hands-free text messaging so you can stay focused on the road but still connected to the world. The technology earns praise for being easy to use, even for first-timers, and you’ll probably appreciate the inclusion of familiar smartphone gestures like swiping or pinching to zoom.

Outside the screen, Nissan still employs physical knobs for common controls like volume, radio tuning, and climate, so you won’t have to keep tapping through virtual menus to accomplish a simple task.

Read more about interior »

Pathfinder Pricing, Options, and Trims

The 2017 Pathfinder comes in four trim levels: S, SV, SL, and Platinum. A 3.5-liter V6 engine with an automatic transmission is the only powertrain combination for all models. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive can be added to any trim for $1,690.

The base S trim starts at $29,990 and includes many more standard features than the 2016 model. Standard features include cloth seating, tri-zone automatic climate control, push-button ignition, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, the NissanConnect infotainment system with an 8-inch touch-screen display, a rearview camera, voice command recognition, hands-free text messaging, HD Radio, satellite radio, and a USB port. At this trim level, there are no additional option packages available.

Upgrading to the SV trim will run you at least $32,680, but you’ll get a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an eight-way power driver’s seat, rear park assist, proximity key entry, and remote start. A cold weather package costs $400 and includes heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and heated outside mirrors. The Tech Package costs $1,150 and adds navigation, satellite radio traffic, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and NissanConnect Services, which include automatic collision notification, a stolen vehicle locator, and maintenance alerts and scheduling. A towing package is also available for $400.

The SL model starts at $35,700 and includes standard leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, a four-way power passenger’s seat, driver’s seat memory settings, a surround-view camera, a motion-activated power liftgate, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. At this level, the Tech Package costs $2,100 and includes navigation, satellite radio traffic, a Bose 13-speaker premium sound system, NissanConnect Services, and towing equipment. For $3,400, the Premium package includes everything in the Tech Package and a dual-pane panoramic moonroof. You can also purchase the towing package separately for $400.

Topping the trim range is the Platinum at $41,870. Added features include a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, LED headlights, a dual-pane panoramic moonroof, heated and ventilated front seats, a Bose sound system, navigation, NissanConnect Services, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and towing equipment. The available Family Entertainment Package costs $1,700 and includes a DVD player with two 8-inch rear-headrest screens, wireless remote control, another USB port, an HDMI input, and a rear headphone jack.

See 2017 Nissan Pathfinder specs and trims »

Pathfinder Safety and Reliability

The 2017 Pathfinder earns a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with four out of five stars in the frontal crash and rollover assessments. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not yet evaluated the Pathfinder. In the class, several models get high safety scores from both organizations: the Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan Murano, Kia Sorento, Buick Enclave, and Chevy Traverse.  

Most models in the class, including the Pathfinder, come standard with a rearview camera. No vehicle in the class includes other driver assistance technologies as standard. Optional features in the Pathfinder include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, rear park assist, and a 360-degree surround-view camera.  

Data on reliability is currently unavailable for the Pathfinder, but a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty will cover you if you need to see a mechanic.

Read more about safety »

Read more about reliability »

Other Cars to Consider

The Kia Sorento was fully redesigned for 2016 and sits near the top of our rankings of midsize SUVs. The interior evokes comparisons to luxury SUVs, with ample premium materials and soft surfaces. Your comfort inside will be boosted by the Sorento’s supple ride quality as it soaks up bumps and shocks on the road. Drivers looking for good steering feedback and capable maneuvering should be pleased with the Sorento’s handling. Additionally, high safety scores and a plethora of available driver assistance technologies make the Sorento a smart bet for a family car.

Like the Pathfinder, the Hyundai Santa Fe receives a refresh for 2017 and continues to perform well in our rankings. A 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty coupled with above-average reliability ratings mean the Santa Fe should stay in top shape for a long time. It is available in 2-row or 3-row outfits to match your needs. If you go with the smaller 2-row Santa Fe Sport, an available turbocharged engine provides plenty of pep. Like the Pathfinder and most other 3-row midsize SUVs, the 3-row Santa Fe has a standard V6 engine.

Compare the Pathfinder, Sorento, and Santa Fe in more detail »

Details: 2017 Nissan Pathfinder

The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder is a 3-row SUV with seating for seven. It comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 engine, a continuously variable automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional. The Pathfinder comes in four trim levels: S, SV, SL, and Platinum. Nissan last fully redesigned the Pathfinder for 2013, and it undergoes a major midcycle refresh for 2017. Because the Pathfinder is still short of a full redesign, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2013 through 2017 model years.

Standard features include cloth seating, tri-zone automatic climate control, push-button ignition, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, the NissanConnect infotainment system with an 8-inch touch-screen display, a rearview camera, voice command recognition, hands-free text messaging, HD Radio, satellite radio, and a USB port.

Optional features include leather seating, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, power driver and passenger’s seats, a panoramic moonroof, a 13-speaker Bose premium sound system, proximity key entry, remote ignition, navigation, a surround-view camera, satellite radio traffic, automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, rear park assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, LED headlights, a power liftgate, towing equipment, and a DVD player with rear headrest screens.

See 2017 Nissan Pathfinder specs and trims »

  • "Though improved, the new Pathfinder still ranks as entirely average. … there's no excuse for Nissan's seemingly half-hearted approach to creating 3-row family transportation. This is especially true because the Pathfinder nameplate once stood synonymous with capability and rugged sensibility. Now, sitting on a fortified Altima sedan platform, the Pathfinder exists as a neutered shell of its former adventuresome self while the competition runs rings around nearly every one of its crossover-ized capabilities." -- New York Daily News
  • "In the end, the new Pathfinder presents some improvements over the old one (powertrain, multimedia) and some disappointments as well (suspension performance, some questionable interior materials). Whether this will be enough to spur interest in the Pathfinder with the arrival of new models like the gorgeous Mazda CX-9 and continued popularity of fan favorites like the Ford Explorer remains to be seen." --
  • "The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder is more of the same, but that's not a bad thing. The three-row segment is a crowded one, and loyalties are starting to matter more than they once did. Those who liked the 2016 Pathfinder will feel right at home here, and buyers coming from another manufacturer will find enough familiarity in both features and driving style to acclimate quickly." -- Left Lane News

Research Prices: 2017 Nissan Pathfinder

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