GO
#13

in Affordable Midsize SUVs

MSRP: $29,210 - $41,550
Invoice: $26,942 - $38,303
MPG: 20 City / 26 Hwy
Find the best local price: submit
How the Best Price Program works »

Nissan Pathfinder Performance

Reviewers say the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder has sufficient power and a comfortable ride, but that its transmission can be slow to react. Additionally, some test drivers note that competing midsize SUVs are more fun to drive.

  • "Unless rock-crawling ability is a must, you'll probably find the 2014 Pathfinder a very likable crossover SUV." -- AutoTrader
  • "The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder feels right at home in its role as suburban runabout." -- Edmunds
  • "The driving experience can be summed up as mature. Suspension tuning is firm enough to keep cornering attitudes level, without compromising the comfort quotient, and there's enough power to minimize drama in passing on two-lane highways." -- Road and Track (2013)
  • "Although the Pathfinder's days of crossing the Rubicon Trail are long gone, it should handle just about anything the average family - and winter storm - can throw at it." -- Left Lane News (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Pathfinder is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 260 horsepower. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. Power is routed to the wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). A front-wheel drive Pathfinder achieves an EPA-estimated 20/26 mpg city/highway, which is fairly good for the class. All-wheel drive models average just slightly less.

Most reviewers agree that the Pathfinder's engine has enough power for most situations, but some note that the CVT isn’t responsive enough when more power is needed.

  • "The 3.5-liter V6 and CVT deliver respectable acceleration in most situations. The V6 can feel a little sluggish during passing maneuvers, and the efficiency-oriented CVT can be slow to respond if you get aggressive with the gas pedal. In time, you get used to both of these traits, but we've never really made peace with the engine's noisy soundtrack: This V6 simply doesn't sound as good as competitors' six-cylinders." -- Edmunds
  • "The eerily smooth CVT does its best to keep the V6 in its sweet spot, and it usually succeeds. If you're like us, you'll only wish for more grunt with a full load aboard." -- AutoTrader
  • "Like the Murano and other Nissan vehicles, the Pathfinder uses a continuously-variable automatic transmission (CVT). Such transmissions don't have traditional shift points, but Nissan's setups generally do well in mimicking them, and this particular Xtronic version is nicely matched with the Pathfinder's strong V6 engine." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say that the Pathfinder's ride is fairly smooth and comfortable, but not as sporty as some would like. Still, some agree that the Pathfinder's body motions through turns are minimal. The steering likewise earns mixed reviews, with one critic saying it is well-weighted and accurate, while another says it is too heavy.

  • "Although the Pathfinder's steering is light and precise, handling is not a strong suit and it feels large from behind the wheel. Consumers looking for sportier handling will likely prefer the Mazda CX-9 or Ford Flex, although, we suspect most Pathfinder buyers won't find this to be a significant weakness." -- Edmunds
  • "Not surprisingly, the handling is tuned more for safety than for smiles, but the new Pathfinder puts forth a reassuringly carlike stability at speed." -- AutoTrader
  • "The latest Pathfinder feels more stable in everyday driving, and its suspension and stability systems help keep body roll in check through corners." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The speed-sensitive power steering is so dead and heavy that the driver feels like a pallbearer at Luciano Pavarotti's funeral. On-road ride motions, however, are controlled and always comfortable." -- Car and Driver (2013)
Review Last Updated: 5/15/14

Next Steps: Nissan Pathfinder